Winners of the Vultures in Focus – Photography Contest

Share This Post

Ready to discover the winners of the Vultures in Focus Photography Contest? We were overwhelmed by the number of submissions (450 from 116 talented photographers!) and thrilled by the outstanding quality of the works received. It certainly made the jury’s decision a very tough one! Meet the ten finalists and the three big winners of this Vulture in Focus.

1st Prize

Winner of the 1st Prize of the Vultures in Focus – Photography Contest. Bearded Vultures mating in Aravis Massif, Haute-Savoie, France © Samuel Saulnier

  • Samuel Saulnier
  • Aravis massif, Haute-Savoie, France

“The story behind this photo involves a rather challenging approach, as the ascent to the middle of this remote gorge is not straightforward, especially for someone like me who is not an avid hiker.” Added to the difficulty, there is also all the photographic equipment Samuel needs to take with him and provisions for the day. Typically, wildlife photographers begin their photo expeditions in the dark to be in place at dawn, as Samuel did that day. After spending many days photographing outdoors, the long 8 to 10 hours of waiting are now easy for him to bear; he confesses: “This requires patience, something I did not have before starting photography”.

And he sits there, “Waiting for the wild to come to me, not the other way around.” Olivier defends that knowing the animal you want to photograph is crucial, especially when dealing with birds of prey. Over several months, he has learned about their habits, mating periods, and how they rebuild their nests after each storm. “Observing wildlife is truly enriching.”

“What strikes me the most about living beings is their adaptability and never being caught off guard. They always have a solution for every circumstance. For example, when a snowstorm arrives, they immediately know how to survive. This is even more evident with vultures.”

Samuel Saulnier

When there’s a strong wind facing the side where the Bearded Vulture has built its nest, it will find shelter and return home when the storm has passed. “Watching it soar through the air is incredible; it can cover hundreds of kilometres in a day, not for tourism in France but to find food for itself and its youngsters”.

Griffon Vultures © Samuel Saulnier
“The vulture knows the sky and its traps like no one else, navigating between cliffs without ever making a fatal mistake. Vultures are incredibly elegant, refined, and not mean at all. On a dead chamois or ibex, each species will wait its turn to eat what it needs, and in the end, the Bearded Vulture will finish the cleanup, leaving no trace of the carcass. Nature is well-designed; we just need to stop bothering it.”


Instagram: samuel_nature_photographie

2nd Prize

Winner of the 2nd Prize in the Vultures in Focus – Photography Contest. Griffon Vulture perched on a foggy day, Vercors France © Samuel Saulnier
  • Olivier Teilhard
  • Winter, Vercors, France

Olivier Teilhard told us the photo was taken in the southern Vercors on a late winter’s day. Returning from a hike, Olivier stood near a cliff where he knew vultures often roost overnight. It was a misty sunset with clouds and fog. He was willing to grasp that golden hour, but it didn’t happen: something better was about to come.

“The vulture is majestic, holding an undeniable posture of someone who belongs there – a timeless moment where its colour blends with the rock. What’s most striking in nature photography is that even the most common or negatively perceived subjects have an aesthetic.”

Olivier Teilhard

Olivier is conscious that the lack of knowledge and awareness about vultures reflects the generalised feeling of fearing them. His artwork, particularly this photo, “can be appreciated without any preconceived ideas”.

You can follow more of his work at:

3rd Prize

  • Torsten Pröhl, Germany
  • November 2022, Andalusia, Spain

Torsten visited a feeding site managed by Fundacion Monte Mediterraneo at the Dehesa San Francisco, near Santa Olalla del Cala. Over 1000 Griffon Vultures and 100 Cinereous Vultures can sometimes be seen simultaneously in the feeding station, fighting for their share.

“The photo shows a welcoming ceremony of the Cinereous Vulture couple. They do this every time they meet again. The couple stays together throughout the year.”

Torsten Pröhl

From his experience in photographing vultures, Torsten reveals that “vultures observe very closely. They can be trusting towards people when they are not being followed. On the other hand, they are very cautious where people hunt them.”

Torsten is currently working with Dr. Kai Gedeon on a book about Old World Vultures, which will be published in 2025. He had the chance to meet Torsten in person, as he attended the European Vulture Conference and saw his winner photo being displayed to the entire audience.

“I hope that more people will get involved in protecting vultures. The conference in Caceres 2023 shows me that it is possible.”

Torsten Pröhl


The 450 candidate photos were all published on a public Facebook Album. We asked our followers to vote on their preferred photos, to help us identifying the 30 finalists. From a list of 30, our Jury selected the 10 finalists and the winners. The Jury was composed by Hansruedi Weyrich,

  • Alain Herrault
  • Camille Robert
  • Helen Goli
  • Martin Boone
  • Rupali Thakur
  • Urs Leuthäusser
  • Yana Barzova

Winners of the Vultures in Focus announced at the European Vulture Conference

The exciting announcement of the finalists and winners took place at the European Vulture Conference, hosted in Cáceres last month. The event, which gathered over 400 vulture experts and enthusiasts, was an opportunity to showcase the work of the finalist photographers. More than that, it allowed the delegates to discover the captivating world of vultures through new lenses and perspectives.

We’ve received 450 photographs from across the globe, picturing at least 18 different vulture species. We were staggered by unique vulture portraits, both in the wild and in captivity, many depicting their natural habitat from the savannah to the highest and most inauspicious mountain tops. Flying, perching, mating or simply fighting for food, photographers have immortalised vultures’ behaviour in visual poems.

The Jury

Thank you to Hansruedi Weyrich, Massimo Prati and Bruno Berthemi for accepting the difficult task of selecting the finalist and winning photos. They are all fantastic wildlife photographers with a keen love for vultures. You can follow the artwork of our Juries in:

Vultures in Focus Photography Contest

A profound thank you to all who’ve participated and shared their artwork with us. We will surely made the best use of your photos, as a powerful communication tool, they will have a vital role in changing the negative perception of vultures. Thank you for helping us showcase the beauty and magnificence of vultures and show the world their importance for healthy and functional ecosystems.

Related Posts

Scroll to Top