The coveted title of Shell Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2007 has been awarded to a British photographer during a gala ceremony at the Natural History Museum, London.
Ben Osborne from Shrewsbury was named Shell Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2007 for his image Elephant creation.
11-year-old Patrick Corning from Surrey was named Shell Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2007 for his picture Monkey Moment.
Ben's winning image of a large bull elephant kicking and spraying mud in a waterhole was judged to be the best picture of 2007 in what has been the most successful, competitive event in the competition's 43-year history.
The judging panel, which included some of the world's best nature photographers and most respected wildlife experts, spent three months deliberating over a record 32,000 entries from 78 countries.
Debbie Sage, Competition Manager said, 'This year's winners have gone to great lengths to capture such rare moments in nature. These images are the best in the world and give us all an insight into the beauty, drama and variety of the environment around us.'
Ben used his vehicle as a hide while he staked out a water hole in Chobe National Park for three weeks during Botswana's dry season.
When a bull elephant used his trunk to spray himself in the muddy water Ben used a slow shutter speed to capture the low morning light and texture of the mud.
Ben said, 'I love the energy in this image. In fact, it has more to do with physics than biology as the mix of light, texture, mass, stress, force, velocity and acceleration are all captured in a visually dramatic moment in time. And apart from anything else, it looks like pretty good fun too.'
Shell Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2007, Patrick Corning, captured his winning moment when he was only nine-years-old.
While on holiday with his parents in Costa Rica, Patrick discovered that one of the best places to spot the local wildlife was from his balcony.
The three squirrel monkeys in Patrick's winning shot were among the regular visitors. One day after feeding on the surrounding fruit trees they stuck around and played. He said, 'I think it is cute how one of the monkeys is pulling another one's ear. I remember thinking to the monkeys "don't move!"'
Patrick was given his first SLR camera when he was eight-years-old. His favourite subject at school is science and he is a very keen bird watcher; often taking pictures of birds in his garden.
He has recently achieved his open-water scuba diving certificate, which could open up new opportunities in underwater photography for the Surrey schoolboy!
Of Patrick's picture, Judge's Chair Mark Carwardine said, 'Everything comes together in this perfect wildlife moment. Well observed and composed, it is transformed into something original and eye-catching by that simple gesture - one individual tweaking the ear of another. It raises a smile every time.'
See these winning images and more than 100 others when the exhibition opens at the Natural History Museum, London on Friday 26 October .
The award-winning images for 2007 are: