The nonprofit Sanctuary Nature Foundation, which publishes wildlife and photography magazine Sanctuary Asia, presented the Sanctuary Wildlife Photography Awards at a virtual ceremony on Saturday.

The first prize went to photographer Pratik Uday Pradhan for capturing a crane fly on a thin twig in Matheran, a hill station near Mumbai. “In the dark of night, Pratik Pradhan watches this little dancer under the steady beam of a torchlight,” the citation for the photograph read. “He adjusts the shutter speed of his camera, and clicks. The cranefly is captured; its body still, its legs a blur of spectral blue waves reminiscent of the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights.”

Photographers Sitaram Dinkar Raul and Mousam Ray shared the second prize. While Raul captured a fruit bat framed by a ring of leaves in Maharashtra’s Badlapur, Ray took a picture of crimson sunbird in the petal of a banana flower West Bengal’s Coochbehar city.

The third prize went to Priyanka Rahut Mitra for managing to capture a picture of a leopard preying on a giant squirrel in Bandipur Tiger Reserve in Karnataka. “Both mammals display their arboreal prowess,” the citation said. “Then the leopard reaches out, Priyanka Mitra releases her shutter, and the squirrel finds itself in the jaws of death. The picture, made seconds before the climax of the hunt, encapsulates all the drama of the moment, without giving away its conclusion.”

A look at the award-winning photographs:

A crane fly alights on a slender twig in Matheran in Maharashtra. Its legs, a blur of spectral blue waves, are reminiscent of the Northern Lights (Photo credit: Pratik Uday Pradhan)
A fruit bat is momentarily framed by a ring of leaves in Badlapur in Maharashtra. The play of light yields its wings translucent, revealing the exquisite structure of its modified forelimbs and giving a mother-of-pearl shine to its rounded ears. (Photo credit: Sitaram Dinkar Raul)
A female crimson sunbird in the unfurled petal of a banana flower in Coochbehar, West Bengal. Droplets fly as she splashes and frolics in the collected dew. The photo won the joint-second prize at Sanctuary Wildlife Photography Awards 2020. (Photo credit: Mousam Ray)

Photographs that received certificates of merit:

The young and old olive Ridley turtles come together during coinciding mass nesting and mass hatching at the Rushikulya estuary on the coast of Odisha. (Photo credit: Arghya Adhikary)
The flutter of a Lepidoptera moth’s wings as it hovers above a troop of mushrooms in Badlapur in Maharashtra. The image creates an illusion of enchanted woodland creatures. (Photo credit: Mandar Ghumare)
A school of silverside fish swim just below the surface of the water off Maalhos island in the Maldives. Their bodies seem as fluid as the water. (Photo credit: Umeed Mistry)