From years spent studying the oceans' great predators to sleepless nights waiting for a glimpse of an endangered species, wildlife photographers have gone to great lengths to capture rare moments in nature for Shell Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2007.
The first stop for this international touring photographic exhibition is the Natural History Museum at Tring from Saturday 8 December 2007 until Sunday 13 January 2008.
Shell Wildlife Photographer of the Year is the most prestigious photographic contest of its kind.
With a history spanning more than 40 years, it is an international leader in the artistic representation of the natural world.
This year's judges deliberated over an overwhelming 32,000 entries, from amateur and professional photographers from 78 countries, to find this year's winning images.
The overall winner Elephant creation, shown above, by Ben Osborne from Shrewsbury, shows a large bull elephant kicking and spraying mud in a waterhole.
The title of Shell Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2007 was won by 11-year-old Patrick Corning from Surrey in England, for his image Monkey moment, which captures three squirrel monkeys playing in fruit trees.
'These are some of the most impressive photographs of nature that you can see', said Paul Kitching, manager of the Natural History Museum at Tring.
'Shell Wildlife Photographer of the Year is one of our most popular temporary exhibitions, and visitors will enjoy an impressive range of images that capture the richness and diversity of the natural world.'
The exhibition includes all winning and commended images, giving visitors an insight into the beauty, drama and variety of the natural world and inspiring them to see their environment with new eyes.
The winning images will also be published in a commemorative book by the BBC, Portfolio 17, priced £25, available at the Museum, through BBC Wildlife Magazine, bbcshop.com and all good retailers.
Shell Wildlife Photographer of the Year owned by the Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine, and sponsored by Shell