Wildlife Photographer of the Year Winners Announced

I’m honoured to bring you photos from some of the winners of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year at the Natural History Museum.

As long time readers of the blog will know I love this exhibition. I haven’t seen these in person yet but I cannot wait! Here is what the Natural History Museum press release had to say about it this year…

Wildlife Photographer of the Year is produced by the Museum and is one of its most popular exhibitions. Last year, three million people across five continents saw the exhibition after it premiered in London. The exhibition celebrates 100 winning images, selected by a panel of international experts for their creativity, originality and technical excellence. Wildlife Photographer of the Year reveals the power of photography to capture the astonishing diversity of life and highlight our responsibility to protect it.
The Wildlife Photographer of the Year 52 was the most competitive to date, with 50,000 entries from 95 countries. It will tour across the UK and internationally to locations such as Spain, Canada and the USA.

 

There are plenty of amazing underwater images. As always the exhibition does an amazing job to raise critical public awareness for creatures who cannot speak for themselves. I suspect I shall be in tears again as I go around the exhibition, do you think thats why they have it so dark with lightboxes so you can have a secret teary-eyed moment? Don’t be ashamed, go, see, cry, show support.

The ice monster
© Laurent Ballesta / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

 

The sperm whales pictured here had just emerged from milling around in a gigantic cluster, with many of the whales defecating to such an extent that the water was opaque with poop and the water slick with secretions. The lingering remnants are visible in the background. Tactile contact features prominently in sperm whale social gatherings. In part, this facilitates the slouging off of skin, as is clearly visible in the whales here. Photographed in the Indian Ocean, off the northeast corner of Sri Lanka. Sperm whales are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.
Giant gathering
© Tony Wu / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

 

Leatherback Turtles nesting and hatching at Sandy Pint on St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands. Sandy Point is a US Fish & Wildlife reserve that has some level of protection for wildlife. But the waters off this beach remain largely unprotected. Several species of sea turtles frequent these waters and nest on these beaches. All species of sea turtles are endangered, with leatherbacks being among the most endangered.
Leatherback Turtle crawls back to the sea after nesting under moonlight at Sandy Point on the island of St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands, a location that has been designated as critical habitat for this endangered species. This photo was made at nearly 2am using a long exposure and light from the full moon. Leatherbacks are the oldest, deepest-diving and widest ranging of all sea turtle species. It is unknown exactly at what age these animals are sexually mature, but female leatherbacks return to beaches near where they hatched at perhaps age 30, to lay their eggs. Their eggs typically hatch approximately 60 days later, with often between 25-50 hatchlings emerging. They quickly crawl to the sea and begin a lifetime of perpetual swimming. Leatherbacks lives remain largely shrouded in mystery with little known about their behaviors while at sea. Researchers have been studying this population on St. Croix in hopes of learning more.
The ancient ritual
© Brian Skerry / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

 

This image features a very unusual (and fortunate) encounter between an aggregation of spider crabs (Leptomithrax gaimardii) and a predatory octopus (Octopus maorum). This is previously unknown site for spider crab aggregations and came as a complete surprise during the dive. When I saw the octopus in the distance, I couldn’t believe my luck. It was super excited and behaving akin to a child in a candy store trying to work out which crab it was going to catch and eat. The crab featured in the octopus’s tentacles was its final catch. This very rare and exciting encounter took place off Maria Island, Tasmania, Australia, Pacific Ocean, Southern Ocean.
Crab surprise
© Justin Gilligan / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

 

The incubator bird
© Gerry Pearce / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

 

The good life
© Daniel Nelson / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

 

HLUHLUWE UMFOLOZI GAME RESERVE, KWAZULU NATAL, SOUTH AFRICA, 17 MAY 2016: A Black Rhino Bull is seen dead, poached for its horns less than 24 hours earlier at Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve, South Africa. It is suspected that the killers came from a local community approximately 5 kilometers away, entering the park illegally, shooting the rhino at a water hole with a high-powered, silenced hunting rifle. An autopsy and postmortem carried out by members of the KZN Ezemvelo later revealed that the large calibre bullet went straight through this rhino, causing massive tissue damage. It was noted that he did not die immediately but ran a short distance, fell to his knees and a coup de grace shot was administered to the head from close range. Black Rhino are the most endangered rhino, HluHluwe Umfolozi is one of the last repositories for these animals, with less than 3000 left in the wild today. (Photo by Brent Stirton/Getty Images Reportage for National Geographic Magazine.)
© Brent Stirton / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

see this feature blogpost on the brutal reality of Rhino poaching 😦

http://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/the-brutal-reality-of-rhino-poaching.html

 

The jellyfish jockey
© Anthony Berberian / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

 

The night raider
© Marcio Cabral / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

 

An image taken from Hamnøy village in Lofoten Islands, Norway, looking towards the slopes found east of Olstinden peak, right above Vorfjorden. It was a quiet morning, I was all by myself on the shores of the fjord, when clouds broke here and there allowing light to pass and illuminate the huge migmatite and gneiss walls. These mountains rise steeply from the sea, a couple of hundred meters of vertical drop in some places, yet the birch trees, whose bright yellows and oranges decorate the landscape, grow on their slopes, some clinging to existence in the most precipitous spots.
Tapestry of life
© Dorin Bofan / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

 

Palm-oil survivors
© Aaron Gekoski / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

 

This adult male Chimpanzee lies on the forest floor with is hands clasped behind his head. He has a spent an hour trying to coax a female to join him from the canopy above, Alas to no avail, Now he lies and dreams of what could have been , Chibale, Uganda
Contemplation
© Peter Delaney / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

 

Sea Gulls – Flatanger Norway
In the grip of the gulls
© Ekaterina Bee / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

 

Stuck in: Driving through Lamar Valley area of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, USA, we saw a female Red Fox hunting along the road. We stopped and watched her for awhile as she walked quietly across the snow, listening for prey deep underneath. Finally, she stopped parallel to our car and tilted her head, staring at the ground a few feet in front of her nose. I grabbed my lens and placed it on the beanbag. Then I increased my ISO to 1000 hoping that I had enough shutter speed in case she jumped (moused). I knew that with the Canon 7dMII that I would get a lot of frames per second, so I placed her low in the frame down on the right and waited. She jumped! I captured the whole series, and once she landed, I recomposed and took a couple of shots of her buried deep in the snow. She stayed like this for about 10 seconds and then lifted herself out with a disappointed look on her face. She missed. 😦 This is fullframe.
(Post processing: minor exposure adjustment, selective desaturation of blues and selective saturation of orange because the light was so flat, midtones adjustment and minor sharpening of the fox)

© Ashleigh Scully / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

 

Polar pas de deux
© Eilo Elvinger / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Also check out this blog post from NHM of Justin Hofman’s image, Sewage surfer (a little seahorse on a qtip, not shown here)
http://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/the-reality-of-a-sewage-surfer.html

Wildlife Photographer of the Year is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum, London

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Valentines Trip to LIDS2015

Happy Valentines day for yesterday!

Mike and I took a trip into London for the London Diveshow at ExCel yesterday. It was lovely to catch up with a lot of our diving friends. We stopped by the BSoup stand and hung around chatting in the Underwater Photographer of the Year exhibition area. Even grabbed a shot of Alex hugging a shark at the bite-back stand as we were heading through the hall onto somewhere else (and now kicking myself we didn’t go back and get a pick of Mike & I hugging a shark – doh!)

Hug a shark

Stopped by the Ocean Leisure stand to see Alex Tattersall and hear the disappointing news that the Olympus OMD EM5 Mark 2 isn’t going to fit into a modified Mark 1 Nauticam housing (boo!)

I think I should have worn my “Baby Onboard” badge, I think many people we knew just thought I got really fat 😉 I tell you what, there is definitely a gap in the market for diving holidays for the those with new babies and young children. If both parents dive, there are no choices but to holiday separately 😦 Obviously most divers don’t want kids hanging around, which is understandable, I wouldn’t either, but someone needs to come up with a specialised resort. Nice warm water and reef that isn’t too pristine by the shore, good day care and the potential for boat trips for the serious diving parent(s). Maybe there is such a thing (I haven’t done any research) but nothing being advertised at the show that I could immediately see. So there we go rich VCs, get cracking and plug that niche market before its too late!

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013

Wildlife Photographer of the yearYou’ve probably seen that the winners of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013 were announced last week, I congratulate all the winners on their wonderful images. The overall winner, Essence of elephants by Greg du Toit is pictured below but what I’ve been most impressed by is the celebration of the oceans that seems to be going on across the exhibition, not only limited to the underwater category. I’m especially pleased by all the familiar names of friends & acquaintances, congratulations guys! I wrote to the NHM press department and they’ve let me use these images in this ocean special review of the exhibition. I haven’t seen the photos in person yet but as always I look forward to seeing the full exhibition before it closes early next year. Click on each of the images in this post to read the full captions associated with them.

Overall Winner & Winner of Animal Portraits:

Essence of elephants - (Greg du Toit / Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013)

Essence of elephants – (Greg du Toit / Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013)

WINNER of Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013 by 14-year old Udayan Rao Pawar:

Mother's little headful - (Udayan Rao Pawar / Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013)

Mother’s little headful – (Udayan Rao Pawar / Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013)

WINNER: The World in Our Hands Award:

The fish trap - (Mike Veitch / Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013)

The fish trap – (Mike Veitch / Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013)

WINNER: Behaviour: Cold-Blooded Animals:

Dive Buddy - (Luis Javier Sandoval / Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013)

Dive Buddy – (Luis Javier Sandoval / Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013)

RUNNER-UP: Behaviour: Cold-Blooded Animals:

Confusing beauty - (Julian Cohen / Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013)

Confusing beauty – (Julian Cohen / Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013)

WINNER: Underwater Worlds

Feast of the ancient mariner - (Brian Skerry / Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013)

Feast of the ancient mariner – (Brian Skerry / Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013)

RUNNER-UP: Underwater Worlds

Lionfish bait - (Alex Tattersall / Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013)

Lionfish bait – (Alex Tattersall / Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013)

I loved all of the underwater world category

COMMENDED: Nature in Black and White

giant with sunbeams - (Alexander Mustard / Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013)

giant with sunbeams – (Alexander Mustard / Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013)

WINNER: Animals in their Environment:

The water bear - (Paul Sounders / Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013)

The water bear – (Paul Sounders / Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013)

I also liked this image – though not underwater, its often one of my fav categories…
WINNER: Wildscapes

The Cauldron - (Sergey Gorshkov / Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013)

The Cauldron – (Sergey Gorshkov / Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013)

I hope you enjoyed this watery highlight of the WPOTY Exhibition, do go and see it if you’re in London. You can see a selection of the other images at the NHM online galleries here. And congratulations again everyone – I know some of you read this blog 🙂

Wildlife Photographer of the Year is co-owned by the Natural History Museum and BBC Worldwide. The original photographers hold the copyright to these images. Permission granted for their use in this article by Natural History Museum.

Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year – review

Paul Nicklen / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012

Last Friday we made our annual pilgrimage to the Natural History Museum to see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year. We have a tradition to go to one of the great “late events” to see the exhibition and enjoy a nice glass of wine after work on a friday every year. This year we saw the exhibition a little earlier than usual which might explain why it was so busy. The evening had completely sold out. I prefer to see it when its slightly less busy but that didnt make the photographs any less spectacular, just harder to get to.

Please click on the images in this post to show more information about each, these are copyright the artists and Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012 so please don’t reuse without their permission.

Paul Nicklen / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012

In previous years I’ve often been disappointed with the underwater section, with maybe one of two outstanding images but the rest – and often the winners – being somehow less good than I know the images out there by some underwater photographers to be. However, not the case this year. The excellent Paul Nicklen took overall winner of the whole shebang and well deserved it was too. I’ve long been a fan (if you dont have his book on polar bears, you should hot foot it over to amazon now). I couldn’t quite make up my mind whether I liked the winner (with the many penguins, shown above at the top of the post) or the runner up in the underwater category (with the single penguin streaming to the surface – not shown here) better, but they were both amazing. He also took winner for the birds behaviour category with these cute little penguins springing into view (above).

And a huge well done to all the other underwater photographers who made the list for making the show for me! 🙂 This one by Claudio Gazzaroli was specially commended and taken in the Grand Cayman sandbar which I know well, although I’ve never been there at evening time.

Claudio Gazzaroli / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012

I was also very pleased to see more and more underwater photographs creeping into the other categories. This photo by Luciano Candisani won the Behaviour: Cold-Blooded Animals category.

Luciano Candisani / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012

Also in that category was a close up of a jawfish brooding his eggs in his mouth by Steven Kovacs.

As usual for this competition there was a strong sustainability theme (although not as strong as last years). These photographs from the special award category “The world in ours hands” show the seedier side of humanity and our impact on the natural world and are quite upsetting ….

Huang-Ju Chen / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012

Paul Hilton / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012

Hopefully photographs such as those will raise even more awareness about the horrors of captive dolphin shows and perhaps even bring and end to sharks-fin soup – before we bring an end to sharks for good.

There seemed to be a lot of polar bears in the show (although none from Paul Nicklen that I saw). This one by Anna Henly won the “The world in ours hands” category.

Anna Henly / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012

I also enjoyed the Animal portraits category – this is often the best in the show. I liked the winning crocodile well enough but this little guy made me laugh so I had to feature him here (as runner up). It seems that I’m not the only one to think so too as he seemed to be the face of the exhibition:

John E Marriott / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012

And last but not least, the landscape section blew me away again this year…

Vladimir Medvedev / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012

Thilo Bubek / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012

I hope you enjoyed my little review. Thanks to the guys who gave me access to the press pack to use these amazing images with permission. You can see an online preview of the show here, but I strongly urge you to get down there and visit the exhibition in person.

[Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year is owned by the Natural History Museum and
BBC Worldwide]

Leigh Art Trail on until Sunday

I had the opportunity to visit the Leigh-on-sea Art Trail last night. It’s on until this Sunday so if you are in the area or want to take the train out of London somewhere nice this weekend then it’s worth considering…

Leigh-on-sea is a lovely little fishing town about 35-45mins out on the train from London. It was a lovely sunny evening last night and the walk around the trail (those artists who were open late anyway) and back along the sea front to the station was lovely in the warm sunshine.

All the artists we met were extremely friendly and talented (and most provide free wine). We didn’t get to see all the Artists but of those we did my favourites were the potter Richard Baxter, the illustrator Dominic Mylroie and the mosaic guy Paul Siggins.

I collected business cards of all the artists I saw on the way around, pictured here:

Art Trail Biz Cards

Some artists are open late again tonight and the event is on until Sunday. Check out the official site

http://www.leigharttrail.co.uk/

that has a map of the trail and a bio on all the artists. There’s also a blog:  http://leigharttrail.blogspot.com/

Happy Art Hunting!