Exhibition open to the public: 23 October 2004 – 17 April 2005
The winners of this year's Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition were announced on Wednesday 20 October 2004, at a special viewing held at the Natural History Museum, London, and presented by wildlife photographer and film-maker Chris Packham. Doug Perrine of Hawaii was named Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2004 for his image Bronze whalers charging a baitball and Gabby Salazar, 17, of North Carolina was named Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2004 for her image Green anole.
The winning image of two sharks swimming around a baitball of sardines was among more than 18,500 entries, from over 50 countries. Wildlife Photographer of the Year is the world's biggest and most prestigious wildlife photographic competition, jointly organised each year by the Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine .
The award-winning images from the 2004 competition are:
“The judges were unanimous in the choice of Bronze whalers charging a baitball ,” said judge Roz Kidman Cox, “as a spectacle of light and movement and a moment of great impact caught in a single frame. What makes the drama, the great swirling mass of frantic fish and the power of the almost balletic charging sharks, also creates the beautiful dynamic lines of movement and contrast of light and shade, silver and blue. The photographer has chosen to capture the moment when both sharks have snatched huge mouthfuls of sardines, whose heads project out of a wall of teeth at the moment of their death. To get such a shot requires great skill, knowledge and experience, together with the final, vital ingredient: artistry.”
During the annual sardine run, vast shoals of sardines migrate up the east coast of South Africa. A kilometre off Transkei's Wild Coast, a pod of common dolphins herded sardines to the surface in a ‘baitball'. Other predators soon rushed in, including bottlenose dolphins, tuna, Cape gannets and thousands of sharks. The sharks would charge through the baitball, bursting through the other side or shooting clear out of the water, their mouths stuffed full of fish. So intent were they on feeding that they often bumped Doug as they rushed past. It was one of the most intense experiences of his life.
Currently, Doug is filming a documentary on sharks in Hawaii. He is widely regarded as one the world's foremost marine wildlife photographers. Doug has had a varied career, as a marine biologist, a scuba-diving instructor and boat captain, an interpretative naturalist and tour leader, and a photojournalist. He is the author of seven books on marine life, and his photographs have been published in hundreds of other books as well as most of the world's major nature and science magazines. Doug has served as a consultant for filming projects for the National Geographic Society, the Discovery Channel, Disney and other companies. His photography has garnered a number of awards as well as prizes in this competition.
Green anole by 17-year-old Gabby Salazar of North Carolina, USA, shows a lizard camouflaged by leaves. Gabby was scouting for insects on the flowers in the Valley Nature Center in Weslaco, south Texas, when a flash of pink caught her attention. It was a male green anole displaying its dewlap, a large pink fan of skin on its neck, as a territorial ‘flag'. But the anole stopped as she approached and, as he was no more than 12 centimetres long, Gabby needed to get as close as possible to take a photograph. So she edged very slowly forward, trying to avoid the sharp spines of a prickly pear cactus, until she could focus and then waited until he moved forward into the early morning light, providing a pose for a portrait that, for her, summed up the essence of lizard.
Gabby went on her first photo trip at 12 and was instantly hooked. She and her younger sister and father now go on regular trips, as far afield as Russia, learning from each other. But she prefers to take pictures close to home in North Carolina. She had her first picture published when just 14, on the cover of Our State magazine. A turning point was a scholarship to attend the summit of the North American Nature Photography Association, after which she became determined to dedicate her life ‘to preserving the natural world'. Now 17, she has already won several photographic awards and is pursuing a degree in biochemistry.
Bronze whalers charging a baitball and Green anole will join the category winners and others in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, which displays all 90 winning and commended images from the 2004 competition. The exhibition opens to visitors in the Natural History Museum's Jerwood Gallery on Saturday 23 October 2004 and runs until 17 April 2005. It will then tour the UK and five continents after its London debut.
Organised by BBC Wildlife Magazine and the Natural History Museum, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition invites entries from amateur and professional photographers of all ages from across the world. The total competition prize money amounts to more than £16,500, and the judges include key figures from wildlife, art and photography arenas.
The competition's aim is to showcase the very best photographic images of nature to a worldwide audience, showing the splendour, drama and variety of life on Earth and inspiring people to care for its future. At the same time, it aims to show the artistry involved in wildlife photography and encourage a new generation of photographers to produce visionary and expressive interpretations of nature.
All prize-winning pictures will be reproduced in a special souvenir brochure with the November issue of BBC Wildlife Magazine . The winning and commended images will also be published by the BBC in a commemorative book, Wildlife Photographer of the Year Portfolio 14 , priced £25, available from the Museum's bookshop, bbcshop.com and all good retailers.
Notes for editors
Dates: Saturday 23 October 2004 – Sunday 17 April 2005
Tickets: £5, £3 concessions, £12 family, free to under 5s, NHM Patrons and Members
Open: Monday to Saturday 10.00–17.50, Sunday 11.00–17.50
Visitor enquiries: +44 (0)20 7942 5000
Nearest tube: South Kensington
Museum website: www.nhm.ac.uk
Competition website: www.nhm.ac.uk/wildphoto
For photographs, to arrange interviews or for further information, please contact:
Mairi Allan, Sarah Hoyle or Becky Chetley
The Natural History Museum Press Office
Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7942 5156 / 5654
Fax: + 44 (0) 20 7942 5354
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (Not for publication)
Issued October 2004