GDT Nature Photographer of the Year 2024

GDT Nature Photographer of the Year 2024

1. Platz: Dieter Damschen (DE) | Winterhochwasser im Auwald | Winter in the floodplain forest

Overall Winner: Dieter Damschen - Winter flood in a riparian forest

Winter is my favourite time of year and one of my favoured motifs is the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Elbe River Landscape. I often visit this hardwood riparian forest in the foreland of the dyke to take photographs at fixed points with lines of sight that reveal carefully selected compositions. Although I claim to know this location very well and sometimes get the feeling that I have seen and photographed everything here many times, I am regularly surprised by how different a supposedly familiar place can appear.
After several years with extremely low water levels, a long awaited winter flood inundated the old oak trees in January 2024. On this particular morning, the trunks and branches of the trees were plastered with snow on one side, thanks to snowfall in combination with strong winds during the previous night. The resulting contrasting lines emphasise the time-worn structures of the mighty trees, creating the special graphic effect of this fleeting moment.
Fujifilm GFX100S, 5.6/100-200mm @150 mm, ISO 100, f16, 6.5 sec

About Dieter Damschen
Dieter Damschen was born in the city of Moers on the western bank of the Lower Rhine in 1970 and was affectionately called Hanns-Stare-in-the-Air by his father. At the age of twelve, regular ornithological excursions awaken his interest in nature and led him to forsake all other interests. Deeply impressed by the martial appearance of the Novoflex 8.0/600mm rapid-focus lens carried by one of the other excursion participants, Dieter made his first contact with photography and was immediately hooked. An internship at a photo studio followed (portraits, passport photos, wedding photos): After spending two weeks handling darkroom chemicals, Dieter came to the conclusion: "I definitely don't want to become a photographer!"
In 1986, Dieter Damschen visited Wendland in Lower Saxony, and it was love at first sight: "The Elbe is the beautiful version of the Rhine!"
After reading Fritz Pölking's book on bird photography, Dieter decided to become a nature photographer in 1988. In 1990, he graduated from high school, opted for alternative civilian service (counting geese for NABU), and was still uncertain about his career path. In the gap before the scheduled start of his university studies in biology in 1991 (career goal: an outdoors job having to do with photography), Dieter worked as an assistant in a print shop. His work contract was extended several times, and, after more than twelve years under the neon sun, he finally returned to the out-of-doors and the skills recognised by his father so long ago. In 2003, Dieter moved to the Elbe, started his own business as a nature photographer and, yes, now makes living from his passion. Career goal achieved!

Dieter Damschen

Category 1: Birds

Category 2: Mammals

Category 3: Other Animals

Category 4: Plants and Fungi

Category 5: Landscapes

Category 6: Nature's Studio

Special Category: All things flow - Germany's river landscapes

Rivers are lifelines of nature, shaping our landscapes over thousands of years and providing habitats for countless, often highly specialised, animal and plant species. The ecosystems of Germany‘s riverscapes are extremely diverse and multifaceted: wild rivers in the foothills of the Alps, shady creeks in secluded mountain valleys, mighty streams flowing through wide plains, as well as riparian forests and meander belts.
Riverine landscapes have always fascinated humans. Thus it is not surprising that generations of poets and painters have been inspired by the unique beauty of rivers. Today, nature photographers enthusiastically explore the almost unlimited photographic potential of rivers both great and small.

Prize of the Jury

9. Platz: Jan Sohler (DE) | Jäger und Gejagte | Predator and prey Prize of the Jury | Jan Sohler (DE) | Predator and prey

Thank you!


The GDT would like to sincerely thank the company AC-Foto for their generous and constant support in this competition!

Jury 2024

Martin Stock

Martin Stock

The photographer Martin Stock is an veteran expert on the Wadden Sea. His enthusiasm for the coastal waters of the south-eastern North Sea began during his alternative civilian service at the Wadden Sea Conservation Station on the German hallig (island) ofLangeness. After graduating with a doctorate in biology, he initially worked for the WWF and later moved to a job in the administration of the Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park. Martin's extensive experience in and around the Wadden Sea has resulted in numerous scientific, popular science and illustrated books, as well as calendars and magazine articles. Organisations throughout the Wadden Sea region use his photographs for public relations purposes, and Martin presents his pictures in exhibitions throughout Europe. He recently published the illustrated book Wunderwelt Wattenmeertogether with Tim Schröder. Martin holds workshops on the Wadden Sea and other topics.

Sandra Westermann

Sandra Westermann

Sandra Westermann (*1980) began her career as a freelance photographer ten years ago. When photographing nature, her focus lies on landscapes and plants. Sandra's goal is to create images that show much more than just the obvious. She seeks to reveal her own personal point of view with special attention to the details that expose the beauty and aesthetics of nature.Sandra lives and photographs in northern Lower Saxony.

Bernhard Schubert

Bernhard Schubert

Bernhard Schubert is a zoologist and freelance nature photographer. His natural sciences background enables Bernhard to realise his visions in animal and nature photography. Bernhard's love of nature was fostered by the many hikes he went on with hisfamily as a child. Already at a young age, he was enthralled by plants and animals of all kinds. Meeting like-minded enthusiasts at university and having the opportunity to realise a childhood dream during an internship in the tropics inspired Bernhard todelve deeper into nature photography.Bernhard excels in diverse approaches to nature photography, be it the use of drones, underwater cameras, camera traps, wide-angle macro lenses or super telephoto lenses. Anything that helps him to capture nature in all its facets awakens his interest in new technologies.When on the hunt for photo motifs, the award-winning and internationally renowned photographer from Wiener Neustadt in Austria gravitates towards the tropics, the Mediterranean regionand the pristine regions of his home country.