Brilliant auroras on a night when the forecast called for cloud. The patient gaze of a bighorn sheep as you round a bend in a mountain trail. A perfectly-timed lightning bolt. These are the moments photographers live for, the ones that get them out of bed before dawn, keep them out long past sunset, and compel them to drive and hike hundreds of kilometres every year in search of the perfect shot.

And while the unexpected and serendipitous seemed to be a unifying theme among the images favoured this year by our judges — Can Geo creative director Javier Frutos, photographer-in-residence Michelle Valberg, and Ottawa-based travel and lifestyle photographer Julia Weber — the five winning photos are also a testament to the skill and determination of the photographers.

We are once again proud to present the winners of our Annual Photo Competition. View the runners-up and honourable mentions on the competition page

Winner: Canadian Landscapes

Bow river and mountains by Ramtin Kazemi

Snow clouds diffuse the light over Haddo Peak, Saddle Mountain and Fairview Mountain in Banff National Park, Alta. (Photo: Ramtin Kazemi, Toronto, Ont.)

Winner: Flora and Fauna

Bighorn sheep on a mountainside west of the Kootenay Plains Natural Area in western Alberta

A bighorn sheep stands on a mountainside west of the Kootenay Plains Natural Area in western Alberta. (Photo: Ron Good, Red Deer County, Alta.)

Winner: Urban Canada 

Parc rene-levesque montreal winter night

A man is reflected in a puddle while walking in Montreal’s Parc Rene-Levesque on a foggy winter evening. (Photo: Marianna Armata, Montreal, Que.) 

Winner: Active Outdoors

The aurora borealis dance over a campsite on Sproatt Mountain in Whistler, B.C. (Photo: Eric Poulin, Whistler, B.C.)

Winner: Wild Weather 

Lightning strikes near the grain elevator in Leader, Sask. during a summer thunderstorm. (Photo: Ryan Wunsch, Leader, Sask.)

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