47 incredible nature photos that show how small humans and animals are compared to the world around us

'We are small' by @filippobellisola (Italy)

  • Agora, a free photography app, recently held its #Small2020 contest.
  • More than 14,000 images were submitted by photographers around the world.
  • Their pictures show everything from small animals to humans surrounded by massive areas of nature.
  • The winning photographer, Rafid Yasar from Bangladesh, took home the $1,000 prize for his image of a small bird.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Photographers have a unique ability to magnify some of the smallest things in our world.

And that's exactly what Agora, a free photography app, hoped to show with its #Small2020 contest. From October 30 until November 13, more than 14,000 images were submitted by photographers around the world.

Their photos showed everything from "tiny bees at work" to "small humans facing the greatness of mother nature," according to Agora. The winning photographer, Rafid Yasar from Bangladesh, was awarded $1,000.

Here's a looking at the winning image and 49 other nominees.

"First Light" by Rafid Yasar

Speaking to Agora, Yasar said his winning photograph taken in Bogura, Bangladesh, "hides a heartbreaking story."

"I was filming a short documentary about black-naped monarch birds and I captured some shots of this nest," he said. "This was the last time I saw this hatchling. One day later, a storm came by and destroyed the nest. I believe this picture symbolizes some of its last moments."

"All Aboard" by Jonny Rogers

Rogers told the photography app that he wanted to show how the giant Glenfinnan Viaduct in Scotland looks small compared to its surrounding landscape.

"The train just adds a great sense of scale and a hit of different color among the sea of green," he said.

"Be Epic" by Arthur Kanatov

Kanatov told Agora that he had been "standing on the edge of a cliff" near Mount Elbrus in Russia when he took this photo. It shows him "illuminated by the sun against the mountains' snow-white peaks."

"Belleza Natural" by Fito Tejada

This close-up shot of an insect sitting atop a flower was taken in Guatemala.

"Car in the pine forest" by Bastian AS

The photographer told Agora that he was driving through a pine forest in Bandung, Indonesia, when he pulled over, took out his drone, and captured this aerial shot.

"Black and yellow seahorse" by Erwin Gucci

Gucci took this underwater shot in Jakarta, Indonesia, to shed light on the declining number of seahorses around the world, as he told the photography app.

"Cheetah looking for food" by Mohamed Tazi

Tazi's nominated photograph, which shows a cheetah standing on a rock in a field, was taken at the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. 

"Tam Tien fish market" by Hà Vũ Linh

Linh's aerial photograph shows a seafood market alongside a beach in the Quảng Nam province of Vietnam.

"Close up of a Damselfly" by Pedro Luis Ajuriaguerra Saiz

This colorful portrait of a red damselfly was taken by Saiz in Bilbao, Spain.

"I wanted to show the small details that are imperceptible to the human eye," he told Agora. "You can see how the drops of water remain suspended in the face, transforming it completely."

"Da Nang Perspectives" by Stephen Akpakwu

Akpakwu told Agora that he arrived at the Golden Bridge near Da Nang, Vietnam, to "capture a lone walker" moving across it.

"Within minutes of taking this photo, the bridge was full of tourists snapping away in awe!" he said. "I was quite lucky to have this brief moment to myself (and the stranger)."

"Drop with daisy. Gota con margarita" by Jafter

This colorful photo taken in Málaga, Spain, shows the reflection of a daisy in a droplet.

"Feeling small never felt so good" by Ester Turri

The Italian mountain and surrounding fog in Turri's photograph are so breathtaking that you might not notice the small outline of a person standing at its base.

"From the top of the cliff" by Agnieszka Wieczorek

Though you might think Wieczorek's beach photo was taken with a drone, it was actually captured from the edge of a cliff on Indonesia's Nusa Penida island.

"I had to bend a little bit, but I saw this amazing composition and couldn't help myself," the photographer told Agora.

"Golden river" by Anastasia Mazureva

Mazureva told Agora that her nominated image was taken during the summer in Russia from the observation deck of the Moscow International Business Center.

"On that day, the weather was quite cloudy and I had already lost faith in the sun," she said. "But no. The clouds parted slightly and colored the surrounding area with this warm, golden light."

"Harvest" by Hamid Jamshidian

Jamshidian's aerial image was taken in Iran. It shows farm machinery moving through a field.

"Haystack ride" by Vitaly Tyuk

In Tyuk's photograph, taken in Vladivostok, Russia, you can see a woman sitting on a wooden chair that's placed on top of a haystack. Another person is seemingly pushing the hay at the same time.

"Herds of Yak" by Victor Ferreira

Ferreira's photograph shows the sandy landscape of the Sarchu camp along the Himalayas in India. He described the area to Agora as "absolutely stunning," and even more so "when you get to see Yaks grazing."

"I suffered from altitude sickness, which caused me headaches and shortness of breath," he said about his experience taking the photo. "It was all worth it though."

"It takes everything to stand alone" by Karen Heslinga

In Enkhuizen, Netherlands, Heslinga photographed this foggy scene of trees reflecting in a pond with a white swan swimming by.

"Swans usually go in pairs, but not in this case — it was just swimming alone," she told Agora. "In combination with the environment, it made this feeling of being alone even more amplified."

"Little man on the ridge" by Paal Uglefisk Lund

"I wanted to show how small we are compared to the mountains," Lund told Agora about his picture, which was taken in Norway. "My plan was to get the wind blowing off the ridge, but a small man and the clouds reflecting orange light changed the story."

"Long exposure photo, microlight painting around feather" by Sergey Savenko

To capture this close-up shot, Savenko put a feather on a mirror, used a long-exposure technique, and "painted around the feather with a thin hair of the optical fiber."

"The light from the optical fiber is quite weak, and this light was not enough to expose the picture," he told Agora. "So I built a structure of several flashlights, which shone with the whole stream into one thin hair to make it as bright as possible."

"Motherhood" by Saurabh Shukla

Shukla's nominated photo shows a gray langur monkey and its offspring sitting on a tree branch in Medininagar, which is located in the Indian state of Jharkhand.

"My little friend" by Chandra Diantara

"I took this photo in my garden, which is often visited by many tame birds," Diantara told Agora about his image, taken in Narmada, Indonesia.

"Nap" by Waldemar Graf

Graf captured this cozy, close-up shot of a kitten in Bonn, Germany.

"Point on the map" by Andrei Pugach

Pugach's photograph shows the bell tower of St. Nicholas Cathedral in Kalyazin, Russia. Though the structure is massive when standing close by, it appears much smaller from this aerial view.

"Sharjah Mosque" by S. M. Rezaul Haque

Haque told Agora that he waited 30 minutes for people to step into the frame of his photograph, highlighting how small humans are compared to buildings in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.

"Skydiving" by Pito Kung

The photographer captured these paratroopers flying through the sky of Jakarta, Indonesia, and later told Agora that he was "impressed by their teamwork."

"Small compared to the nature" by Lia Indriani

According to Indriani, she had to walk 45 minutes to reach the West Java, Indonesia, location seen in her photograph.

"Only a local guide could lead us to the waterfall," she told the photography app. "Up and down the hill, we stumbled upon a giant rock, and at first, we were reluctant to pass, but that was the end of the journey where we finally saw the beautiful waterfall. A wonderful trip to see this hidden, natural beauty."

"Small natural beauty" by Shahedul Sadik

It was a rainy morning when Sadik stumbled upon this small spider sitting atop a rose in Rajshahi, Bangladesh.

"Small World" by Kate Omely

Omely's nominated image, which shows a child smiling at a snail, was taken in Moscow, Russia.

"Small" by Igor Dudkovskiy

Dudkovskiy's photograph was taken in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russia. It shows a woman lying on a paved section of what looks like a lavender field.

"Sunset bridge" by Victor de Valles

In Menorca, Spain, de Valles photographed himself paddling underneath a natural rock bridge. He told Agora the water was "so cold" and filled with jellyfish that day.

"Swiss waterfall" by Samuele Miccoli

Miccoli told the photography app that his nominated image is meant to convey the message that "humans are powerless in front of nature." He captured the shot in Switzerland.

"The baby going to the sea" by W. Rahardjo

Rahardjo's photograph of a young turtle heading towards the ocean was taken at Indonesia's Samas Beach. He told Agora that he was "impressed" by the animal's "determination and struggle to reach the water."

"The call of the mountain" by Santi Nieto

"I was at the top of a little mountain, waiting for the sunset with my wide-angle lens and my composition ready for almost an hour," Nieto told Agora of his photo, taken at the Peak District National Park in England.

"Suddenly something called my attention: I saw the silhouettes of three people walking up the mountain," he added.

"Tide lagoon in Sumba" by Maky and Matt

The photography duo described Indonesia's Sumba island, where they took their photo, as "absolutely magical" while speaking to Agora.

"Tiny surfers paddling from above always reminds me of tiny fishes" by Ilaria Ronchi

Ronchi's drone photo of people on surfboards was taken in Gironde, France.

"Every time I fly, I pay attention to interesting patterns or repetition of elements," he told Agora. "In this case, I was mesmerized by the colorful boards and the gorgeous texture of the ocean. What I love about aerial perspective is how subjects we see every day look completely different from there, as these tiny humans."

"Tiny vehicles" by Mark Curé

Curé's aerial image makes rows of giant vehicles look small. It was taken in Moerdijk, Netherlands.

"Train station" by Keaghan Vryenhoek

Vryenhoek's photo, which features geometric architecture, was taken in Arnhem, Netherlands.

"Vindodden" by Øystein Karlsen

At first glance, Karlsen's photo simply shows a landscape in Svalbard, Norway. Upon a closer look, however, you can see a small house in the far right corner.

"Walking in the crater" by Aurora Picas Casanovas

Casanovas took her nominated photo while visiting a remote area of the French island Réunion.

"It was very difficult to reach this spot as it was pouring with rain and we had to descend a hazardous path," she told Agora. "After having made the effort to reach the panoramic viewpoint, we were disappointed to find the visibility was very restricted until the view opened up before our very eyes."

"Wandering birds" by Bachir Badaoui

Badaoui told the photography app that his photo shows birds working together to find food. He captured the shot in Sacramento, California.

"We are small" by Filippo Bellisola

Bellisola slept in a cold tent within Italy's Province of Belluno to capture this photograph, as he told Agora. But with friends, a sunset, good food, and a beautiful sunrise, he noted that "everything was perfect."

"Why do we feel so small?" by Luke Simpson

"Why do we feel so small when we are in fact a part of something so incredibly large?" Simpson said of his photo, taken at the Arches National Park in Utah.

"Looking up at the night sky and Milky Way reminds me how awesome it is to be part of something so vast," he added.

"Wilderness" by Waqas Afzal

In Pakistan's Neelum Valley, Afzal photographed a young man and his 7-month-old daughter standing on a small cliff. Earlier that day, they had hiked together and the man told Afzal that he was "very excited" to introduce his daughter to nature.

"The bond between this brave father and his daughter was really inspiring," the photographer told Agora.

"Windows Cleaner" by Hendra Permana

Permana captured this vibrant shot while walking through the streets of Jakarta, Indonesia.

"Workers" by Tamzeed Alam Token

Token told Agora that his nominated picture shows the longest railway bridge in Bangladesh.

"Working" by Simon Pastor

In Tours, France, Pastor photographed a small bee perched on a flower while highlighted by a single beam of light.

"I waited patiently for 30 minutes behind these lavender flowers to take this photo," he told Agora.

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