The Sony World Photography Awards has revealed some stunning images from the natural world, submitted as part of its 2016 open competition

© Govindarajan Venugopal, India, Entry, Nature and Wildlife, Open, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

Govindarajan Venugopal, who took the shot above, said: ‘It was our last day at the Masai Mara and in stark contrast to the last few sunny days that we witnessed, the skies became cloudy.

‘The sun shone through thick clouds and presented some very dramatic scenes before us. I looked for a subject in which to capture the beauty of the sun’s rays. A line of three zebras presented themselves before me.

‘The image was made on a Canon [PowerShot] G15 and processed in Lightroom 4 to bring out details, as well as add more warmth and contrast to the scene.’

This year’s entries also include a spectacular photo by Simone Cmoon (below), who had to overcome difficult terrain in the Bernese Alps, Switzerland.

© Simone Cmoon, Switzerland, Entry, Travel, Open, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards.web© Simone Cmoon, Switzerland, Entry, Travel, Open, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

Simone told contest organisers: ‘It was a very hard and dangerous way to this beautiful place: climbing/walking up [and] down mountains…

‘One time I had to put my dog into my backpack to climb down a wall.

‘We were 36 hours on the road with heavy backpacks, only two hours sleep – I’m very happy that we arrived back alive…’

The 2016 Sony World Photography Awards, billed as the world’s largest photography competition, is free to enter and open until 5 January 2016.

The Open category carries a $5,000 cash prize, while the overall professional winner stands to pocket $30,000.

Last year’s competition pulled in 173,444 entries, and a record 33,394 people attended the resulting exhibition at Somerset House.

For details of the Sony World Photography Awards 2016 visit the competition website.

© Christopher Yeoh, Australia, Entry, Open, Travel, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards.web© Christopher Yeoh, Australia, Entry, Open, Travel, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

© Taha Ahmad, India, Entry, Nature and Wildlife, Open, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards.web© Taha Ahmad, India, Entry, Nature and Wildlife, Open, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

© Julian Ghahreman-Rad, Austria, Entry, Nature and Wildlife, Open, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards.web© Julian Ghahreman-Rad, Austria, Entry, Nature and Wildlife, Open, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards