Striking images from one of the world's best wildlife photographers

National Geographic photographer Frans Lanting has earned a lifetime achievement award for his intimate photos of wild animals.

There's an art to taking a good wildlife photo, and few photographers can turn photos into art as masterfully as Frans Lanting.

The former National Geographic photographer-in-residence was recently awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition run by the Natural History Museum in London. Lanting is the first photographer to be awarded in the new category. (See the 2018 winners of the competition.)

“To be recognized with so many peers, colleagues, friends, and brilliant young photographers in attendance was a moving experience,” Lanting wrote in a post on his Instagram. With the award, he was given a sculpture of an elephant resembling a photo he took of an elephant named “Survivor” that lived through a 1980s poaching epidemic in Zambia.

Lanting has previously worked as a National Geographic photographer-in-residence where he's photographed everything from cheetahs playing in Tanzania to penguins traveling in Antarctica. His photos show an intimate, almost human-like side to animals in the wild.

His photo of a Namibian salt pan called Dead Vlei struck readers when it was published in 2011. A bright orange dune looming over a blue more landscape appeared to many to look more like a painting than a photograph.

In addition to creating striking imagery, Lanting has often used his medium to highlight the plight of animals like Survivor that face cruelty or are threatened with extinction.

The Dutch photographer is no stranger to being honored for both his work as a photographer and conservationist, and in 2001 he was inducted as a Knight in the Royal Order of the Golden Ark in the Netherlands.