Photo Contest

Your Pictures: The Beauty of Winter

With shorter days and plunging temperatures comes unique natural splendor.

Massive ice blocks on a body of water with sun rising over mountains in the background.
Abraham Lake Abraham Lake in Alberta, Canada © Ying Han

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When the Northern Hemisphere is wrapped in winter’s dark shadow, nature puts on a spectacular show for anyone willing to brave the cold. The stillness of the frozen air heightens each of the senses, making the little details of a glimmering blanket of snow or a cardinal’s song even more inspiring.

Though the days are the shortest, they are still filled with natural wonder. We’re celebrating the Winter Solstice with these stunning images from our 2019 photo contest that highlight the little things that make this season so special.

Precious Hours of Daylight

The Winter Solstice marks the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Seeing the sun emerge after each long night brings a new sense of renewal and light.

Unobstructed Views

Bare trees no longer provide as much cover for elusive wildlife, making chance encounters on a morning stroll more likely.

Buck standing under stow-covered trees.
× Buck standing under stow-covered trees.
Owl camouflaged among bare branches.
Camouflaged The barred owl's brown and white feathers seamlessly blend in among the bare trees, tipped with snow. © Oli Moorman/TNC Photo Contest 2019
× Owl camouflaged among bare branches.

Quote: Oli Moorman

Crunching along a snow covered trail, I turned a corner and we were suddenly face to face. We stared at each other for a few minutes before I slowly backed away.

2019 Photo Contest Participant


Stillness allows time for quiet reflection and tranquil moments of peace.

Sparkle and Shine

The landscape shimmers as the warm sun illuminates each tiny crystal of ice and nature’s intricate patterns.

Skyward view of snow-covered tree tops.
The aspen forest in Steamboat Springs, CO
× Skyward view of snow-covered tree tops.
Frost on red leaves
× Frost on red leaves

Color and Contrast

A crisp, white blanket of snow is the perfect minimalist backdrop to allow nature’s colors to pop.

Time is Frozen

Frigid temperatures have the power to seemingly stop time, turning a powerful waterfall into a cascading tower of icy spires.

Glowing Nights

Long, dark nights become otherworldly in the upper most reaches of the globe. The Northern Lights dance across an inky black sky, dotted with twinkling stars.

Northern lights glowing orange and green
Nature puts on a spectacular light show when charged particles from the sun get trapped in Earth's magnetic field.

Even amid winter’s dark shadows and frigid air, the beauty of our natural world shines bright.