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This weekend will no doubt be a busy one for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition in our Waterhouse Gallery. The exhibition closes here at the Museum on Sunday 23 March. However, it's at the later time of 20.00 GMT as we've extended opening for the last day (last admissions are at 19.15 so you have time to view the exhibition).

 

On Saturday, the exhibition also stays open a little later until 19.15, so book your tickets now if you don't want to miss out. On both evenings, you can also dip into tapas at the bar in the Deli Cafe between 17.30 until 19.30. Check out the exhibition page for more details.

 

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Light path by Charlie Hamilton James, runner-up in the Behaviour: Birds award category, WPY 2013 competition. Select images to enlarge.

 

Making one last tour of the gallery this morning, I noticed the tiny details in this vivid shot of a kingfisher taken by Charlie Hamilton James in Gloucestershire. The focus may be the motion blur of the bird's dazzling feathers, but look closer and you'll spot a tiny fish in its beak and another attentive kingfisher far away in the distance (the other parent). That's the joy of seeing these unforgettable photographs close up and so beautifully lit in the gallery.

 

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The magical kokerbooms by Ugle Fuertas Sanz, commended in the Botanical Realms category, WPY 2013 competition.

 

Stars twinkling over kokerbooms on one enchanted night in Namibia is another one - the image comes alive when you stand in front of it. You're beamed into that dream sunsetting scene.

 

To come across a family of endangered Amur leopards in Russia's Kedrovaya Pad Nature Reserve is a rare and extraordinary sight. Valeriy Maleev's composition of the staring leopards caught in the act among the deer carnage, and blending into the pale jagged rocks, has incredible impact close up.

 

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Survivors by Valeriy Maleev, runner-up in the Gerald Durrell Award for Endangered Species, WPY 2013 competition.

 

The exhibition of these 100 award-winning images is already on its UK tour, so even though it closes in London this weekend, it will open in Edinburgh and Cardiff shortly with more venues to follow. The 50th competition winners will go on show in the Waterhouse Gallery later in the year in October.

 

If you've entered the 50th competition, check out the jury who have now started their selection process, with the final judging rounds due in April.

 

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There's something about these two very different beasts: The enigmatic elephant with its swaying trunk and flapping ears atop those giant lumbering legs. And the endangered gharial with its cracked skin, eyes popping as it floats in the murky waters with its brood. Both fitting subjects, captured beautifully in unique portraits by this year's two grand title winning Wildlife Photographers of the Year. These images will take pride of place in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013 exhibition opening here at the Museum this Friday, 18 October.

 

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Essence of elephants portraying a herd gathered at a waterhole in Botswana’s Northern Tuli Game Reserve, has made Greg du Toit the 2013 Wildlife Photographer of the Year. To depict these gentle giants in this ghostly way, Greg used a slow shutter speed and wide-angle lens tilted up.

 

The two coveted prizes for the 2013 competition were awarded to Greg du Toit and 14-year-old Udayan Rao Pawar earlier this evening, 15 October, at the glittering awards ceremony held here at the Natural History Museum. The two winning images swayed the judges and beat nearly 43,000 other entries from 96 countries.

 

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Mother's little headful snapped by 14-year-old Udayan Rao Pawar depicts a mother gharial crocodilian crowned by her babies in the waters of India's threatened Chambal River. Competition judge Tui De Roy described the image as wonderfully playful and thought-provoking and the deserving 2013 Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

 

Both winning photographers are pictured below. They were among several other photographers and competition judges who gathered last night in readiness for the awards ceremony where the winners were announced.

 

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On location: Greg du Toit and Udayan Rao Pawar - this year's grand title winners.

 

'It was amazing and almost emotional to see young Udayan meet his hero, acclaimed wildlife photographer and competition judge Steve Winter,' says Gemma Ward, competition manager.

 

'I'm staggered by the standard of photography from the youngsters and how seriously they take their interest and how much nature and the camera means to them.

 

'And I'm also really impressed by the winner of the Eric Hosking Portfolio Award this year. This award highlights a sequence of images from a budding photographer between the ages of 18 and 26 years. It's an exceptionally strong portfolio of pictures and subjects from Canada's Connor Stefanison, with each one a stand-out.'

 

Enjoy all 100 prize-winning photographs from the 18 award categories in the 2013 competition and find out more about the stories and people behind them in the 2013 gallery.

 

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Book tickets for the exhibition opening on 18 October

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On Sunday 11 March at around 5:50 GMT, the Waterhouse Gallery doors at the Museum will close on the current Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. This year's showcase of winning photos - the 48th one since we set up the competition - has been a huge hit, as ever with this popular show. It was nominated three times during its run as Time Out's Critic's Choice.

 

Over the last few weeks, the exhibition shop has been busier than ever ringing up sales of the 2011 exhibition Portfolio book, calendars, retro cameras, fridge magnets and, of course, the beautiful prints to remind us of this year's winning photographs. It's no surprise that the print that most people wanted to own was of this little cutie, who lives high up in China's Qinling Mountains (where many of us may never travel to in our lifetimes). The Tiny warm-up photo was the runner-up in the 2011 Gerald Durrell Award for Endangered Species.

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Tiny warm-up by Cyril Ruoso captured the vulnerability of China's endangered golden snub-monkeys. The youngster was one of a band of about 70 monkeys living high up in China's Qinling Mountains, surviving on lichen, leaves, bark and buds. This particular subspecies probably numbers no more than about 4,000. The image was the favourite from this year's exhibition print range.

One of the vital things about this exhibition is that in the latest and best photographs of life, and sometimes death, on our planet, we get closer to creatures and corners of our natural world we wouldn't otherwise know about. And in the stories behind the photos and of the individuals who took them, we learn about important things affecting our environment. The overall 2011 Veolia Enivronnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year winner, Daniel Beltra, is testament to that with his unforgettable Still life in oil image of rescued pelicans from Louisiana's catastrophic oil slick.

 

Whizzing through the gallery one last time - I always wish I could linger more - I realise again how brilliant it is to see these pictures close up and how the back-lit installations bring out all the details, colours and contours so intensely. Working on the exhibition's website as I do, these are things that I sometimes miss.

 

I've got lots of favourites from this year. Here are a couple that will haunt me after my last exhibition visit.

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Fading beauty by David Maitland (above) is incredibly deceptive. It looks like a painting, but the stylishly-shot mass of poppies was photographed on David's local car-park embankment in Wiltshire last summer. Sadly, three days after David captured them in full bloom (before most had seeded) someone weed-killered the lot! So there will be no poppies to brighten up his car park this year.

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Wings of a gull by Jan van der Greef is startling close up with its ethereal iridescent quality. The herring gull's wonderful wing motion and the shimmering stream of water from its legs were taken by Jan on a boat trip in northern Norway. He went to photograph white-tailed eagles, but instead was mesmerised by the gulls. The 2011 exhibition will be remembered for its abundance of breathtaking bird imagery.

The 2011 exhibition has already started its UK and international tour so there are plenty of chances to catch it outside of London.

 

Behind the scenes, the judges of this year's 2012 competition are now shoulders-deep in the first round of the selection process for the shortlist of winners. They have the highest amount of entries ever to contend with - so good luck to them.

 

We'll keep you posted on the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year website of news on the judging and tour updates.

 

And we're now putting the finishing touches to Wild Planet, a free outdoor exhibition of classic shots from Wildlife Photographer of the Year, opening on the Museum's east lawn on 23 March. Check our website for details of this coming soon.

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The entries have been pouring in for the 2012 Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition but I can't believe there's just under one week to go before the competition closes.

 

The entry period has flown by this year, even though there's been almost an extra month due to the early opening in December for the first time. If you want to be in with a chance of winning, you will need to submit the very best of your wildlife photographs and catch the deadline of 23.59 GMT on Thursday 23 February.

 

The competition is open to everyone, from budding amateurs to professionals to young photographers across the world, but you'll need images that stand out from the crowd to get the judges' notice during the thorough selection process. So, for last-minute entrants, here are a few suggestions:

 

From those of you just starting out to those of you already firmly established in your chosen field, there are categories for everyone. Whatever your favourite subject is, be it plants, insects, reptiles, underwater shots, landscapes, urban wildlife, mammals and birds, or more find the category that is best-suited to your skills and interests before you enter. And if you can tell a riveting story through a series of themed photographs, then the photojournalism category could be the one for you.

 

Whatever your age or your experience, get the judges to stop in their tracks with a new angle or an evocative and innovative use of technique or framing and you'll be part-way there.

 

From common subjects to once-in-a-lifetime events, enter photographs that turn them into moments of magic, like this year's Boy meets nature by Alexander Badyaev, Pelican perspective by Bence Máté, Swoop of the sea scavenger by Roy Mangersnes or the techinical simplicity of Great tit poised from one of our youngest entrants in 2011, Corentin Graillot Denaix.

 

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Urban wildlife is full of surprises as captured perfectly in Alexander Badyaev's 2011 winning image, Boy meets nature. From bats in cabins in the Montana wilderness, to coyotes on railway tracks in Canada's Burnaby to Moorish geckoes on the Italian Riviera, last year's winners in this award really captured the moment. (Click images to see them full size)

 

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We must have all seen pictures of pelicans before, but none quite like this. Bence Máté's award-winning photograph doesn't just provide a different perspective, it frames the pelican's most recognisable feature in a fantastically unique way and was just one of a captivating series that won Bence the Eric Hosking Portfolio Award in 2011.

 

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With its striking silhouette and the tight-framing of its subject, Roy's highly commended photograph successfully reflects the sheer size of the white-tailed eagle shortly after it's successful swoop to scavenge a fish.

 

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Keeping the adult entrants on their toes...  one of the youngest 2011 award-winners was Great tit poised by Corentin Graillot Denaix in the Under 10 years category. His simple but carefully framed shot was taken in his garden where he observed the birds who visited the hide constructed by his dad.

 

It's photos like these above that make us catch our breath at the unimaginable wonders of our world. So, whatever your passion, pay heed to some wise words from the youthful Mateusz Piesiak of Poland, the 2011 Veolia Environnement Wildlife Young Photographer of the Year who won with his Pester Power oystercatchers. Mateusz says:

 

"I started with a compact camera and then in 2007 had a major breakthrough in my development when my parents bought me a digital SLR. I also met several nature photographers who showed me how to approach birds and build special photographic hides. As the months and years passed I learnt the secrets of photography and became infected with the rather incurable disease that is bird photography!

 

"I think that what counts above all in photography is creativity and the ability to look at a commonly captured subject and make something new out of it, something that nobody has ever seen before."

 

All the information you need to enter the competition is online, so good luck!

 

Haven't seen the 2011 exhibition yet? You've got until 11 March to catch it here at the Museum in London (attend in the morning if you can to enjoy more space at the exhibition).

 

Can't make it to the Museum? See where where it's touring next, throughout the UK and worldwide.

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Tonight, at a star studded awards ceremony at the Natural History Museum, London, the overall winners of the prestigious Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2011 competition were revealed. The awards ceremony hosts were wildlife expert and Chair of the Judges, Mark Carwardine, and eco lifestyle campaigner and advocate for organic living, Jo Wood.

 

 

The coveted title of Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year was presented to Daniel Beltrá from Spain for Still life in oil, a haunting image of 8 brown pelicans rescued from an oil spill, from his 6-image story for the Wildlife Photojournalist of the Year Award.
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Still life in oil by Daniel Beltra, 2011 Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year. Daniel took his winning image at a temporary bird-rescue facility in Fort Jackson, Louisiana. It’s the final frame in his incredible story of 6 photographs entered in the Wildlife Photojournalist category. Select all images to enlarge them.

 

Describing his winning image, Daniel says:

 

‘Crude oil trickles off the feathers of the rescued brown pelicans, turning the white lining sheets into a sticky, stinking mess. The pelicans are going through the first stage of cleaning. They’ve already been sprayed with a light oil to break up the heavy crude trapped in their feathers.'

 

The sheer simplicity of this powerful image makes it really beautiful and shocking at the same time, ’ said the Chair of the judging panel, Mark Carwardine. He and the international jury of photography experts pored over tens of 1000s of entries earlier in the year to make their winning selection.

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The price of oil by Daniel Beltra. The 6-frame winner of the Wildlife Photojournalist of the Year Award 2011. Flying over BP's Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010 made Daniel grasp the immensity of the problem. Photographing from a plane, Daniel 'was blown away by the insane colours' of oil gushing to the surface. He captured flashes of fluorescent orange as the boat propellers churned up the dispersant and left paths of clean water through the patches of black oil. Oiled brown pelicans awaiting a second bout of cleaning were for Daniel, 'an icon of the disaster'.

 

The Wildlife Photojournalist of the Year Award category was introduced in the 2010 competition and is given to a group of 6 photographs that tell a memorable story, whether about animal behaviour or environmental issues (both positive or negative).

 

 

Daniel Beltra reflects on his photographic work and interest: ‘It is in nature’s beauty and complexity that I find my inspiration. While in college in Madrid, I studied biology and forestry and developed a passion for the environment. Over the past two decades, I have honed my focus to concentrate on the need for conservation through photography.

 

 

Photographing from the air has allowed me to showcase the stark reality of the state of our environment. This perspective reveals a broader context to the beauty and destruction I witness, as well as a delicate sense of scale.’

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Mateusz Piesiak from Poland was named 2011 Veolia Environnement Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year for his image Pester power above, in the 11–14 Years category. The 14-year-old Mateusz spent so long watching this pester power at work as he crawled along the wet sand off Long Island, New York, he didn’t notice the tide coming in until a big wave washed over him. ‘I managed to hold my camera up high,’ he says. ‘I was cold and wet, but I had my shot.’

 

Judge Mark Carwardine described the 2011 Young Wildlife Photographer's winning image, Pester power, as ‘Pin sharp, gorgeous subdued light, interesting behaviour, oodles of atmosphere, and beautiful composition. This would make any professional proud – and is doubly impressive for someone so young.’


Read more about the wildilife photography winners and the competition in the latest news story

 

See the true beauty and power of these images and the other commended and award-winning photographs at the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2011 exhibition when it opens on Friday 21 October.
Book exhibition tickets online now.

 

In the meantime feast your eyes on all the 2011 exhibtion photographs on the website's online gallery.

 

 

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Congratulations to 8-year-old Beth Sparkes pictured here, who is the overall winner in the Wild Planet Art Competition organised by Oldfield Park Junior School, following their visit to the Wild Planet exhibition currently on show in the centre of Bath.

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Young Beth with her winning Leopard Cub painting in front of Peter Chadwick's Leopard Cub image at Wild Planet in Bath. Photo courtesy Bath Chronicle

Beth’s picture of a leopard cub was selected from more than 50 pieces of artwork created by the Year 3 pupils. As part of their study of habitats they were encouraged to choose one of the Wild Planet photographs.

 

All of the completed artworks will be on display during the summer holidays in the shop next to the Wild Planet store on Stall Street (opposite the Roman Bath's shop).

 

Oldfield Park Junior School teacher Penny Jenner said, ‘The Year 3 children have shown great enthusiasm for this project. They enjoyed visiting the Wild Planet exhibition and have shown talent and ingenuity in their artwork. We were proud of the results which will be shown in this special exhibition throughout the summer.’

 

Our Wild Planet outdoor photographic exhibition is displayed in Bath’s Abbey Churchyard and along Union Street until 23 September and features images from the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

 

A visit to the Wild Planet exhibition has something for all ages. From cheeky meerkats and baby gorillas, to strolling tigers and snorkelling elephants, children can get close to nature with the large-scale, dramatic images that aim to inspire and educate a new generation of nature enthusiasts.

 

There's also the chance to become a nature explorer by collecting a special quiz from the Wild Planet Store on Stall Street opposite the Roman Bath’s shop, and have fun hunting down the answers. Children who return their completed questionnaires are invited to choose a free Wild Planet postcard from the shop as a memento of their wild day out.

 

Other mementoes of this magical exhibition include affordable gifts for children like their own fluffy meerkat to take home, sticker books and animal fridge magnets. The Wild Planet Store also has Animal Detective; Travel the Globe animal spotting game, crystal growing boxes, pocket microscopes, paint and play African animals, and rock hopper penguin and green turtle jigsaw puzzles for rainy day entertainment.

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As Bath and nearby Glastonbury rev up for the festival season, the odds are on that our Wild Planet beech tree tee shirt is set to become a festival fashion hit. Glastonbury Festival owner, Michael Eavis, seemed very chuffed with his.

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Glastonbury festival owner, Michael Eavis, shows off his 'eco-chic' style with a Wild Planet exhibition tee-shirt in Bath. Photo by Lloyd Ellington of the Bath Chronicle

Wild Planet's stunning outdoor installation of wildlife images has been attracting lots of attention in Bath's busy central pedestrianised shopping area near the Abbey Churchyard, since opening in April. And the striking beech tree design, shown above, adorns several of the high-quality exhibition gifts. The design is inspired by 'Beech in the mist', one of the 80 photographs featured from past Wildlife Photographer of the Year competitions.

 

The full range of gifts is on sale in the Wild Planet Store next to the exhibition and in the Museum's online shop.

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Wild Planet exhibition in Bath brings wild animals and places to the busy city centre and Abbey Churchyard. Select image to enlarge them

Another amazing photograph featured in Wild Planet is 'Rival kings', (pictured below left) by local photographer Andy Rouse (below right on location). Andy has won seven awards so far in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competitions and will give a Wild Planet lecture in Bath Abbey on Thursday 23 June at 18.00.

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From courting penguins to charging bull elephants, Andy will talk about some of his most extraordinary encounters with wildlife and the top locations he's visited to photograph the lives of animals and birds in the wild. He is known as a charismatic presenter, so all budding wildlife and photography enthusiasts if you're in or near Bath on Thursday, make his lecture a date for your diary.

 

You can book your free advance Andy Rouse lecture tickets at the Wild Planet store, located in Stall Street, Bath, near the exhibition. Or email: wildplanettickets@gmail.com

 

Find out about Wild Planet in Bath

 

Browse Wild Planet gifts online


Buy Wild Planet prints including Beech in the mist

 

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Left: 'Rival kings' by Andy Rouse. Highly commended in the Behaviour: Birds category for Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition 2006.

The photograph was set in the icy and eerily beautiful Falkland Islands landscape and provides an insight into the courtship between two king penguins. 'Kings are such  cool penguins... I love photographing them' says Andy.

See 'Rival kings' on display in Bath's Wild Planet outdoor exhibition.

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Right: Explore the exhibition images further in the Wild Planet book, available at the Wild Planet Store and online
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We have just announced the call for entries for our prestigious wildlife photography competition.

 

It’s the 47th competition and the third time Veolia Environnement are sponsoring it. The competition is open to professional and amateur photographers and searches for the most inspirational and evocative images of nature.

 

This time round we have a new set of digital guidelines for entrants (to help with the technicalities of producing and submitting images.) It’s essential anyone entering has a good look at these as well as the all-important competition rules.

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Golden moment: this shot of a bearded tit was captured by a young Dane, Malte Parmo, one of 2010's highly commended 10 years and under award winners

There are more specific rules for the young photographers' competition this year. As Mark Carwardine, the chair of the judging panel, says in his foreword: ‘one of the most rewarding aspects of the competition is the number of youngsters proving themselves to be every bit as capable as their older peers.'

 

Over the last two years, my favourite winning images have been by the young photographers. I love the spontaneity and joyful character that often shines through their pictures. It always amazes me how difficult it is to tell the age of the photographer who took an image. Our young competition entrants are certainly giving the pros a run for their money.

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It's just an animal by Mark Leong, the 2010 Wildlife Photojournalist of the Year. His extraordinary sequence of 6 images follows episodes in the illegal trade of animal parts

 

Although there are no new categories to highlight for 2011, it is only the second year the Wildlife Photojournalist of the Year award has run, so the competition team are encouraging more photographers to consider entering a broad range of portfolios for this award.

 

In 2010 there was no winner in the Urban Wildlife category, and that is something for people to aim for in this year’s round.

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For the special awards, the competition team are keen to attract more positive imagery in the One Earth Award, such as the story connected to this year’s winner, Turtle in trouble by Jordi Chias (above), which saw him release the animal from the net he found it trapped in. They are also hoping for a greater variety of the eligible species on the IUCN Red List in the Gerald Durrell Award for Endangered Wildlife.

 

New judges are joining the 2011 competition panel. Keep up to date with the Judges on the website as we’ll be adding their biographies shortly.

 

Find out how to enter the competition. You've got 2 months to get those images submitted, the closing date is 18 March 2011.

 

See last year's competition winners in the Veolia Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2010 exhibition which is open until 11 March

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It’s one week to go until the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2010 exhibition opens its doors to the public on Friday 22 October.

 

Today, as I write this post, the images are being installed in their new panel placements in the Museum’s iconic Waterhouse gallery.

 

This year the exhibition space has a more airy theme. Its 100 and more prize-winning images from the 2010 competition’s 18 categories are displayed in light panels. It’ll be interesting to see how this compares to last year’s dark, atmospheric ‘pavillion of shadows’ design.

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Peschak's giant female Aldabra tortoise that features in the exhibition's publicity

 

At the entrance to the exhibition gallery, you’ll meet Thomas Peschak’s giant Aldabra tortoise that appears in the main poster for the exhibition. It looks magnificent in the huge banner, towering from on high to greet visitors.

 

Here's how Thomas describes his mighty tortoise shot:

 

"Aldabra giant tortoises normally graze on 'tortoise turf', a blend of herbs and grasses that grows close to the ground in response to being cropped. Often, though, the tortoises will wander onto the beaches to eat washed-up seedpods. This female, who is probably at least 100 years old, regularly forages along the beach in front of a research station on Aldabra in the Seychelles. Tortoises are known to have made sea crossings between islands," says Tom, "and so I was pleased to be able to use the ocean as a backdrop. I lay in her path on the sand, using an extreme wide-angle lens. The moment I took the shot, I had to roll out of her way to avoid her clambering right over me."

 

Watch this space for the overall winners’ announcement which should be after midnight on Wednesday 21 October.

 

It's also worth mentioning that you can enjoy the exhibition After Hours every last Friday of the month starting on 29 October, excluding December.