Whether you're an aspiring wildlife photographer, an animal lover, or a conservationist who has dedicated much of your life to helping preserve the animal kingdom, these ten 500px photographers offer an endless source of inspiration and beauty through their images.
Fair warning: I wouldn't be surprised if you lose an entire day... or week... browsing these incredible shooters' accounts.
1. Morkel Erasmus
I could easily fill this list with just African wildlife photographers. In the interest of variety, I've decided not to do this, but a few names had to make it, and Morkel Erasmus was definitely one of them.
Already boasting a little over 5,000 followers, he deserves many more than that. His love for Africa, its people, and its wildlife is apparent -- something that factors prominently in his bio as well:
The fact of the matter is this: I love Africa. I love its people, its wild places and its wildlife. I love being immersed in these places, observing and photographing the fall of light on the land and the daily lives of the creatures that call it home, and presenting the results to whoever will take a look.
Go ahead and take a look:
2. Roeselien Raimond
Dutch photographer Roeselien Raimond captures her images far away from the African plains. Her photographs of foxes, birds, bunnies, and other forest wildlife are all about, "expression, creation, and communication."
But before you head off and learn how to take amazing pictures like Roeselien, here are some of her photos for inspiration:
3. Tin Man
Photographer Tin Man Lee strives to capture love in the wild. Whether that's possible or not, not even he can tell you. Here's a revealing snippet from his bio:
Maybe it's all just his fantasy... No matter what, he always finds happiness just being in nature because he has a deep love with the wild animals. His mission is to make you fall in love with them too.
One thing's for sure, his photographs of bear families, endangered foxes, owls and more will have you planning your next trip to the nearby National Park:
4. Jaco Marx
Jaco Marx is a dental surgeon... but if all dental surgeons from South Africa take pictures like this, professional wildlife photographers would be in serious trouble. Dedicated to conservation, his photography serves a deeper purpose than just something beautiful to look at:
The thing that had me take up my camera was a drive for conservation. This in the end is even more important than the most beautiful photo taken. And photography is one of the strongest tools in conservation of fauna and flora.
We need to be awaken! We need to take charge before it's too late. Caring for this planet is our duty, I proudly make a stand to do whatever I can to save this beautiful land, river, forest...
His hope is that the beautiful images of Africa's wild animals that he captures will make this cause personal to each of us:
Read Jaco's tips on capturing wildlife photographs like these on 500px ISO here and here. And if you'd like to follow him as he uploads more beautiful photography, follow him on 500px, check out his website, or show him some Social Media love on Facebook and Twitter.
5. Marsel van Oosten
Like most professional nature photographers, Netherlands-based Marcel van Oosten inspires quite a bit of envy in us less-traveled dreamers. The good news is that he actually does his best to help alleviate some of that jealousy.
Together with producer and videographer Daniëlla Sibbing, they lead wildlife photography tours and workshops for small groups to some of the most incredible place around the globe.
As for Marcel's photography, his aim is simplicity:
My images are most known for composition, clarity and graphic qualities. In my work I try to simplify, to get rid of the extraneous: Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
Here's a look at some of the international award-winning photographer's incredible images:
6. Marina Cano
One of the most-followed wildlife photographers on 500px, Marina Cano often captures a moving intimacy in her images. Based in Cantabria, in the North of Spain, Cano has been taking pictures since she was a teenager and won international awards for her exceptional work.
Not limited to any particular region, when she's not taking pictures near her home, she's traveling all over the world to capture unique moments that take our breath away:
Want to know what a day in Marina's shoes is like? You're in luck, because she's actually been featured in 500px ISO's Day in the Life series. Find out what a typical shooting day looks like for Marina by clicking here.
7. Kyriakos Kaziras
Born in Greece but now living in France, Kyriakos Kaziras owes his passion for photography to his two grandfathers, one an artist and the other a keen amateur photographer.
As such, his photography is heavily influenced by painting:
He draws inspiration from light, the search for emotion and encounters. Highly influenced by painting, Kyriakos Kaziras has a very pictorial approach to photography. The cameras are his paintbrushes.
There's not much more to say... Kyriakos' images speak for themselves better than we can speak on their behalf:
8. Sue Demetriou
Four years ago, Sue Demetriou received a life-changing Christmas present: a camera. Since then, she's traveled extensively within her native UK, "visiting wildlife parks, wetlands, zoos, and WHF in Kent. Hoping to pick up the skills I need to become a nature photographer and then head to broader horizons."
She's also not afraid to use Photoshop to give her images a "creative spin," which is just fine with us. Have a look yourself:
9. Sergey Ivanov
Sergey Ivanov seems to specialize in capturing fleeting moments. Whether it's something akin to shock on a set of bear cubs' faces, or a surprised look from a pair of birds, each image shows you something atypical.
From the silly to the intense, his images run the gamut:
If you're interested in browsing the rest of Sergey's work, you're pretty much limited to what you'll find on his 500px profile... pretty awesome if you ask us.
10. Will Burrard-Lucas
No 500px wildlife photographer list would be complete with 500px.com/wildlife himself, Will Burrard-Lucas. Known perhaps best for his comical encounter with some friendly meerkats that took a liking to him (or at least found him useful to get a better view of the surroundings) Burrard-Lucas' wildlife photography skills go way beyond being able to befriend the wildlife.
Sometimes he photographs them from afar, sometimes he creates little lion-proof camera rovers that can get up close and personal, and other times, yes, he ends up cuddling with them. Can't lie... we'd love to experience that last one.
A version of this post first appeared on the 500px ISO blog.