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 😦



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
© 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)

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

Best Photos 2016

My yearly tradition is to review my photos from the previous year. Here is the link for previous years. So without further ado here are my top picks for this year (so far).

Top underwater photos in no particular order, I only went on one trip this year:










Other Photos:

From my trip to a cathedral for my course.
Cathedral ceiling

From my trip to Hylands House:

I had too many of my lovely family too choose from so I’ll be updating this again once I’ve combed through them 🙂

Happy Valentines

Happy Valentines day everyone!

Bite-Back Calendar

I’ve finally gotten around to putting the 2016 calendar up on the fridge. If you don’t yet have one head over to bite-back to get yours now for half price! (or simply drop by to donate) The money raised goes to shark conservation. Luckily my husband gets me mine for Christmas every year 🙂









“This outstanding collection of images feature underwater encounters from around the world including sand tigers, oceanic whitetips, lemon, nurse, sevengill and reef sharks plus a sea snake, beluga whale, nudibranch, monk seal, gannets and eagle ray.

Each image has been donated by award-winning photographers including Alex Mustard, Alex Tattersall, Amanda Cotton, Andy Murch, Christian Vizl, Ellen Cuylaerts, George Probst, Jane Morgan, Jason Isley, John Bantin, Lia Barrett, Richard Shucksmith and Tanya Houppermans.”


Best Photos 2015 & Year in Review

It’s a yearly tradition on my blog to round off the year with a review of my photos, you can see previous years with this link. This year I didn’t take any underwater photos to review! Oh No! I was heavily pregnant the first half of the year and baby surviving the latter half. My little one is now 7 months and she’s absolutely perfect. I’m only just coming up for air and wondering where all the time has gone? :-/ I’ve had an amazing 2015, however, in early December I started to review my pictures and realised they were basically all dodgy phone photos of the baby! *Sigh*, new mothers. I resolved to at least attempt some nicer ones of her, so you see, the review did serve its purpose of giving me a kick in the butt I needed and many of the new ones made the top ten.

As a consequence I also signed up for the next module of my degree course which had sadly fallen by the wayside as soon as the morning sickness had kicked in (and I was thinking of ditching). The new course is art history, I think I have my work cut out for me but it looks really interesting, next year is going to be really *focused* because I now have less than 2 years to do 2 modules! My new mini site for it is here.

Although I’ve not taken any underwater photos, I’ve not had a bad year photographically. I’ve been published a couple of times (woot) and even got around to processing a video (for world octopus day), although I have so many more (arguably better quality) videos to process and actually a lot of photos languishing in the archives. Perhaps I’ll get around to processing more as I go through them for my 100YearDiary project. I also started a new blog this year (to share my baby & cat pictures mostly 🙂 ) http://www.chocolatemilkforbreakfast.co.uk

So without further ado, I give you my top ten photos of 2015 (in no particular order)…

honorary mention, Leeloo in a bag:

I hope you guys all had an amazing 2015 too! Happy New Year. Hopefully next year I’ll be back underwater and have something new and fishy to share 🙂

Happy world Octopus Day!

Today is world octopus day! I love these guys, especially when they change colours & textures to match the reef (see video below).

Octopuses are worthy of appreciation for a number of reasons. First of all, they are one of earth’s great survivors. Indeed, despite their relatively short life span, octopus fossils date back more than 300 million years, meaning that they pre-date even dinosaurs. They are also highly intelligent, with around 500 million neurons located in their brains and arms, allowing them to bypass their insticts, learn lessons and solve problems.

In addition, they are visually stunning, coming in various different colours and shapes, while the Giant Pacific Octopus is able to grow to weigh more than 600 pounds!

source: daysoftheyear.com

I meet the one above on the barge wreck in the Red Sea, part of a mating pair (at least I assume mating and not flighting). Here’s the video. Apologies for the quality, I was using a macro lens so I was very far away from them but its interesting footage. The photobombing fish didn’t help 😉

Not sure if wonderpus count but I doubt they get their own day so here is a cheeky chappy I meet in Raja Ampat:

to see some others I’ve meet see the last ‘world octopus day’ post I made here. For more octopus fun check twitter, theres some really cool stuff online today. Don’t forget to add me, I’m scuba_suzy on twitter.

Happy Earth Day!


I want my child to grow up and see the majesty of whalesharks feeding at the surface as I was able to a few year ago…. Today is Earth Day 2015. Let’s not have empty oceans by 2048 please.

Earth Day Network’s year-round mission is to broaden, diversify and activate the environmental movement worldwide, through a combination of education, public policy, and consumer campaigns. (source EarthDay.org).

Today I wanted to highlight the film Racing Extinction and how to get involved which can be as simple as sharing a link on your phone or exposing some environmental villains.

Here’s the trailer:


It doesn’t take special training or equipment to expose environmental villains. When you see polluters or unsustainable practices, take a photo with your phone and share it here. If we can call-out and fix a million small problems, we will make an enormous singular impact.

Help uncover the story. (source racingextinction.com).


On a more light hearted side of Earth Day – Have you seen the Google doodle earth day quiz today? Apparently I’m a giant squid and Mike is Coral.

I'm a giant squid Mike is Coral


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!

Best Photos 2014

At this time of year I like to review the previous year to select my favourite (best?) photos and generally reflect on where I’ve been. I also check back on my previous top tens so I can see if I’m making any progress. This year I went to 3 places, which is two more than I was expecting. I was lucky enough to go back underwater in both Raja Ampat and the Red Sea again this year. And by September I was pregnant (so no diving for a while) but very much enjoyed our topside trip to Sardinia to our Friend Alex’s Wedding.

Without further ado (and in no particular order) here is my top ten underwater images from 2014:

I played a bit with backlighting and off camera strobes again this year. Here is one from the Toberlone Tunnel in Raja Ampat. We don’t usually get up that far but we were having fun and games crossing the equator underwater.

In last years top ten I said that this year I wanted to concentrate on trying to get a Manta shot I was happy with. I like this one because its a bit different from the manta images you usually see (often in black and white and from below).

Continuing with the big animals theme, we saw lots of Woebegones (carpet sharks to you and me) when we were in Raja and this year I actually had the wide angle lens on for some of the encounters.

In the same area as the Mantas on one of the many amazing night dives I encountered this lovely little fellow.

One thing I love taking photos of but don’t often get the opportunity to is the night sky. I’m either on a rocky boat or in a city with lots of light pollution.

This year I was introduced to a new critter – the hairy shrimp. So so minuscule I could only just about see him as a spec of fluffy with my naked eye.

I don’t know why I like the image from the Red Sea so much but I do. Its just a simple images of the rusting pillars of the Carnatic. I had to de-fisheye the photo for one of the rare ones underwater where the fisheye lens made the scene look funny.

I like this one because it looks like a film set. Its actually deep inside the engine room of the Ghanis D wreck in the Red Sea.

This year I couldn’t believe how many Anthias there were on the reef. The place was teaming with millions of them.

The great thing about photographs is that they transport you back to a time and place, this one will forever remind me of snorkelling around the mangroves for a good few hours trying to spot the tiny shark baby I occasionally saw swim past and trying to avoid getting sunburnt, just the thing for a cold december night.

We also got our lovely little baby cats. Hard to imagine we’ve had them less than a year now. Leeloo & Dallas…


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And an honourable mention for my forthcoming little baby – although I didn’t take this photo myself 😉

baby scan

I’ve had an amazing 2014, and I hope you all did too. I’m very much looking forward to next year. Exciting times afoot.