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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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It's two weeks to go until the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013 competition closes for entries on 25 February. Since we launched on 7 January, the images have been flooding in. And photographers have been very appreciative of the new registration and entry process, which we spent many months developing to improve image uploading and editing for entrants.

 

With these precious few days left to get those best shots submitted, I asked Gemma Ward from the Competition office for some thoughts on the kinds of images she always hopes to come across.

'Among the ones that I'd draw attention to from the 2012 competition winners is Dog days by South African photographer Kim Wolhuter. The wild dog is endangered and many photographers have chosen it as their subject in the past. But Kim went about it in a different way by telling more of a story. By including the African wild dog’s environment - the cracked earth – Kim created a graphic yet poignant backdrop that is so apt for this category, which highlights endangered species.'

 

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Kim Wolhuter has filmed Zimbabwe's endangered wild dogs for four years. Dog days won the Gerald Durrell award for Endangered Species in 2012. The mosaic mud landscape epitomises the increasingly fragmented world this puppy is growing up in.

'Another similar kind of mastery can be seen in Dipper dipping by the very young Danish photographer, Malte Parmo. Again, we see many images of dippers, but this one is actually 'dipping'! I love the way he really caught the essence of this bird in his picture and its full of 'caught-in-the-act' energy.'

 

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Young Malte Parmo was commended in the 10 Years and Under award for his image of these birds at a stream near his home in Copenhagen. He said of Dipper dipping, 'I think I managed to get the feeling of running water and an almost vibrating active dipper, its head under the water looking for food.’ Select all images to enlarge.

'Two other good examples of contrasted creativity,' says Gemma, 'are Sandra Bartocha's experimental Light show in the Creative Visions award category and Robert Zoehrer's geometric Hare in a Landscape which deservedly won the Nature in Black & White category.'

 

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Light show: As the snow started to melt and a thick fog wrapped itself around the forest near her home in Potsdam, Germany, Sandra Bartocha experimented with a mirrorless camera and tilt lens to get the layers of sharpness and blurriness in this magical image. Her picture was specially commended in the 2012 Creative Visions award category.

'We never know what images we receive year to year - waiting for the judging to start is always exciting - but I can’t wait to see fresh pictures; images that we haven’t seen before which wow the jury and raise the bar yet again and which play an important role in moving the competition forward.’ Gemma Ward, Competition office

 

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Hare in a landscape won the 2012 Nature in Black & White award. Robert Zoehrer's photo of a motionless brown hair sitting in a steep, yellow ploughed field lacked a focal point when it was in colour. ‘Once I saw the image in black and white,’ says Robert, ‘not only was the stark geometry highlighted but also the small hare became the centre of the composition rather than being lost among the colour.’

 

March will see the start of Round 1 in the judging process, when the immense challenge of sifting through all the 1000s of entries begins.

 

Find out about entering the 2013 competition

Visit the 2012 exhibition at the Natural History Museum in its final weeks

Interview with Roz Kidman Cox, wildlife and environmental writer

 

To give you some insight into the judging process and what kinds of things the judges consider in the selection process, we recently interviewed Roz Kidman Cox. Roz has been involved with the competition since 1981 and judged 32 of them. Here's what she has to say:

 

1. What’s more important – good equipment or a good eye?

Roz: Top equipment doesn’t make a top photographer – if it did, everyone would be taking marvellous pictures. With wild subjects, you do need certain lenses to get close enough for certain pictures. So equipment can be a limiting factor, for underwater photography in particular. But without a good eye and some heart and soul, you need a lot of luck to take a truly top shot.

 

2. Can you describe the moment you’ve found a winning photo? How does it make you feel? What makes a photo stand out?

Roz: It can be truly exciting to see a beautiful or outstanding picture make it to the top – that’s part of the joy of judging. (And there is often real sadness when a picture doesn’t quite make it.) Originality is often a crucial element. But it isn’t everything. A good picture has to last – and last – and move you every time you see it.

 

3. Can you tell the difference between an amateur of professional photo?

Roz: No, not when it comes to the finals. And that’s the beauty of judging anonymously. Of course, a technically bad picture is not likely to have been entered by a professional, and so in the early stages, it is possible to guess.

 

4. What are your favourite images from the 2012 competition?

Roz: The winning image this year, Paul Nicklen's Bubble-jetting emperors, is a picture I will never get tired of. And Steve Winter's Last look in his winning Wildlife Photojournalist of the Year sequence, is the most beautiful portrait of one of the last wild Sumatran tigers anyone will see.

 

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Last look by Steve Winter, in the sequence that won him the 2012 Wildlife Photojournalist Award, is one of Roz's favourites from 2012's winners. Steve's challenge to photograph this shy and critically endangered Sumatran tiger was to be in exactly the right position to get the tiger lit up centre-stage in front of the dark forest habitat.

 

5. Which categories are least popular?

Roz: I’m not sure that ‘popular’ is the right word. If you mean numbers of entries, portraits always comes to the top, presumably because it is far easier to take a good portrait than, say, to take a beautiful shot that also shows behaviour. Among the three behaviour categories, birds always comes out on top, because there are more birds than mammals (and lots of birdwatchers who become bird photographers). But few people seem to specialise in macro-photograph, which is why the ‘other animal’ behaviour category has comparatively few entries. But in terms of popularity of choice, I would suggest urban wildlife is at the bottom, as few people seem to choose to photograph subjects in an urban setting, though it is open to all to do so, whatever your equipment or situation.

 

6. Why do some photos get moved into different categories?

Roz: If there is a particularly strong picture in a particularly strong category that would do better in another one, we may move it at the very last stages of judging.

 

7. How likely/unlikely are you to pick photos which raise current political issues?

Roz: If a photograph makes you think, it will stand out in the judging. And if the subject is something which is both important and current, that will add to the power of the picture. So, yes, the judges will select shots that communicate powerful messages that are relevant.

 

8. How important is the message behind the photo rather than the beauty or technical excellence of the photo itself?

Roz: The aesthetics are what are judged first in all cases. Pictures entered for the World in our Hands or the photojournalism awards need to have a message or a story, but they must also be technically and aesthetically strong. So a picture of a very rare animal or bit of behaviour may not get through to the end if it isn’t also aesthetically strong.

 

9. How much of the picture information is read out to the judges – how anonymous is it really?

Roz: We judge the pictures blind, and we don’t see any of the information supplied by photographers. So if a picture needs to tell a story, that story has to be apparent. We may, however, ask the manager for details of the shot itself, e.g., where and how it was taken, if we are worried about anything, or even ask for the photographer to be contacted with questions, if there is a particular concern.

 

10. How subjective or objective are you / can you ever be as a judge?

Roz: Judging can never be totally objective unless there is a black-and-white/yes-no system of scoring. But there are enough judges to make sure that there is a consensus when it comes to selecting the final one hundred, and a good-enough mix of nationalities and backgrounds. And, yes, everyone’s cultural background affects their likes and dislikes, and everyone brings with them a memory storehouse of imagery.

 

11. Have you ever seen photos go through to the final selection that you haven’t agreed with?

Roz: Yes, of course – and ones drop out that I would have liked to be included. But that is part of the judging process. The great thing about the display of the final selection is that winning and commended pictures are displayed at the same size – only the overall winner is shown larger. This was a decision taken in the early days, to recognise that commended pictures can be as good as the winning ones.

 

12. What happens if there is stalemate / tie?

Roz: There can’t ever be a stalemate as there is always an uneven number of judging in a session. Also, the chair does have the power to intervene.

 

13. Will it count against someone if their image has been widely seen?

Roz: If your image has been widely seen, it will lose in freshness and impact. That said, if it is strong enough, it should last, however many times it is seen. Few, though, are strong enough. What certainly won’t get through are imitations of past winners or of well-known compositions.

 

14. What would you hope to see from our young competitors?

Roz: Originality and an eye for a good composition are what stand out. The subject certainly doesn’t have to be exotic or rare.

 

15. What tips do you have for young competitors entering this year?

Roz: A young person who knows their subject well will sooner or later find the opportunity to take something different or original. They will know when and where and will have time to work out how, which sometimes requires fieldcraft as much as technical knowledge.

 

16. What kind of photos would you like to see more of?

Roz: Personally, I think it is a shame we don’t seem more pictures of plants, pictures that convey their beauty or extraordinary nature. I also think there are so many missed opportunities that to take memorable pictures of nature in urban situations.

 

17. Do you have a sense of responsibility, as a judge?

Roz: Most certainly. The evenings during a judging week are spent worrying about whether you have made the right decision.

 

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The jury gathered at the Natural History Museum for the final round of the 2012 competition judging.

 

18. What is the experience of judging really like?

Roz: Judging can be quite stressful and is certainly demanding. You have to keep questioning yourself and your own decisions, you have to be capable of expressing just why you do or don’t want a picture to go through and you have to be able to resign yourself to a majority decisions. It’s a feast of imagery, but that also means you have to have breaks in between to let the pictures rest in your mind. Often when you return to see the same pictures again, the impact of those first impressions will have faded enough for you to be able to let go of some shots. And the fact remains, that you have to look for reasons to exclude pictures if thousands are to be reduced to hundreds. But what is remarkable is how the best pictures retain the strength of those first impressions.

 

19. What is the atmosphere like in the judging room?

Roz: There’s always a good atmosphere. It’s an exciting and challenging thing to do, but we don’t come to blows (and only once in more than 30 years do I remember an unproductive argument). We do, however, argue strongly if there is a division of opinion, with the chair acting as mediator. Such discussions are often thought-provoking and stimulating, especially with such a variety of judges from different cultures and countries. It does get tiring, though, seeing so many pictures. So a plentiful supply of coffee and tea is essential, as are breaks.

 

20. What makes the contest so unique?

Roz: It is the world’s biggest showcase of photographs of nature, and it is still the most prestigious, which is why even the top photographers enter. To win or be commended in this competition really does mean something, and many careers have been made through the coverage that winning has brought.

 

21.  Where do you think the competition is going / where would you like it to go? How has it changed?

Roz: In the years before the internet, the publication and exhibition of the winning and commended pictures was often the only way that wildlife photographers in different countries got to see and learn from each other’s work. So it became an important showcase and visual education for many aspiring photographers. The quality as well as the quantity has continued to rise as more people have access to cameras and as evolving digital equipment has allowed photography of subjects and situations that wouldn’t have been possible just five years ago, let alone in the days of film. I would hope the annual collection of imagery continues to inspire and that all the different audiences who view it worldwide are continually reminded just how amazing and beautiful the natural world is. The competition also has a role to play in showing how important photographs can be in storytelling. Finally, I still hope that, one day, the art world acknowledges that pictures of wild places and wild creatures can be regarded as art.

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The ruffled raven in John Mariott's Fluff-up and Steven Kovacs' freaky-faced jawfish, aptly entitled Father’s little mouthful, are two of the photographic stars that will appear in the 2012 Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition which opens to the public here at the Museum on 19 October.

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Today we announced tickets going on sale and now wait eagerly for September when all the commended images will be unveiled on our website. As the weeks go by, you'll see more of Mariott's portrait (left) which has been selected to be the publicity image for the exhibition.

 

Since the 2012 competition closed in February this year, the judges have spent many days and nights whittling over 48,000 international entries down to 100 winning pictures. There were photographs from 98 countries and new entries this year from Mozambique, Kazakstan, Svalbad and French Guayana.

 

As usual, the winners and runners-up from the competition are strictly embargoed until the award-winning ceremony in October, but I'm told that - unlike some previous years - all 18 categories have winners this year.

 

Father's little mouthful (below) is the only official preview image revealed now in all its gorgeous glory.

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Steven Kovacs' Father's little mouthful, one of 100 images entered into the 2012 Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition which will light up the new exhbition. It shows the strange phenomenon of the male jawfish protecting its offspring in its mouth until they are ready to hatch. Select the image to enlarge it.

To get his technically challenging shot of the diligent dad jawfish, which was taken off the coast of Florida, Canadian photographer Steven Kovacs used three strobes and home-made snoots - tubes that control the direction and radius of light. He recalls:

 

'What struck me about this particular jawfish when I first encountered it was how docile and unafraid it was of my presence. Most jawfish will retreat into their burrows when approached closely, but this particular fish did not seem concerned and did not move at all even when I came very close.

 

'I had been recently experimenting with snoots placed over my strobes to create different lighting effects on my subjects so when I realized how cooperative this subject was I immediately knew it had potential...This jawfish allowed for ample time to work with different strobe positions at very close quarters.

 

'It always provides a great sense of satisfaction when all the elements come together in a technically difficult photograph. To create something different and beautiful is why I photograph. It has been a dream of mine for years to win a place in this competition.'


As judge Soichi Hayashi says of Kovacs' portrait: 'This image has a strong sense of mystery. Epecially impressive is the delicate and elaborate lighting, which gives it a ghastly power.'

 

We look forward to many more weird and wonderful wildlife apparitions when the exhibition opens on 19 October.

 

Visit the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition website

 

Book tickets for the 2012 exhibition

 

Join the wildlife photography community online

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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 search is now on for the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012 as the new competition opens today.

 

As ever, this popular and prestigious competition looks for outstanding wildlife photography from both talented amateurs and established professionals, young and old. Images must faithfully represent the natural world while showing technical and artistic creativity over the 18 categories.

 

This year we've got a few category award changes - so look out for these before you enter the competition. We also have a more diverse range of competition judge, 13 and counting as I write this.

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Pelican perspective, winner of 2011's Eric Hosking special award embodies the technical genius and artistic integrity this category is all about. From his kitchen table, photographer Bence Mate planned how he would achieve this image of Dalmation pelicans at water-level. He constructed his own catamaran-style floating photo system and used a fish-eye lens to achieve the remarkable shot taken on Greece's Lake Kerkini. Now 27 years old, Bence steps out of the Eric Hosking Portfolio award age group leaving the frame clear for others.

The Eric Hosking award becomes The Eric Hosking Portfolio Award this year and this special award looks set to be more hotly contested than ever before. This category is open to photographers between 18 to 26 years old, who must submit a portfolio of images that they think represents their best work. Bence Mate's 6 images won this special award in 2011 - he was of course 2010's overall winner too - but now at the grand old age of 27, Bence moves out of this category to make room for new contenders.

 

The Eric Hosking Portfolio award, named after this great photographer whose distinguished career spanned over 60 years, is particularly special because it bridges the gap between the young and the adult photographers in the competition. It's an award that celebrates a body of work which heralds a longevity in a developing photographic career, as well as seeking images that fuse technical innovation with artistic integrity. Bence's Pelican perspective (above) is probably the single image in his winning Eric Hosking portfolio that truly embodies the latter.

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Sandra Bartocha tells how she captured her beautiful snowdrops at sunset: 'I could hear great crested grebes calling. I took an in-camera double exposure image, with one sharp exposure and then one much softer one, so the scene would appear as dreamy as it felt.'

Another award worth a mention is In Praise of Plants and Fungi which for the 2012 competition becomes the more atmospheric-sounding Botanical Realms, exemplified in the 2011 winning image, Harbinger of spring by Sandra Bartocha (above).

 

Female photographers are still somewhat under-represented in the wildlife photographer of the year competition, so it's good to see Sandra's work at the forefront of this category award. And girl power is creeping in too among the young ones. For some reason I imagined this ferocious bug was photographed by a boy. But no, it's the work of a 10-year old Malaysian girl, Hui Yu Kim who's into macro-photography. She liked the look of this Alien looking tropical rainforest beetle (below).

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Hui Yu's Alien won the 10 Years and Under 2011 award. Hui is keen on macro-photography and chose the most colourful animal to take a portrait of. 'It had a strange look, like an alien, but it wasn't angry. It sat still on the branch all the time,' she says. 'I  want people to know that all creatures, even small ones, count. So don't destroy the forest,' she adds.

And if your work is more focused on documenting the relationship between people and the environment, whether constructive or destructive, then consider submitting your images in the new special award category The World in Our Hands.

 

Find out about the competition on the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year website Closing date for the compeition is 23 February 2012.

 

See the 2011 competition winners in the exhibition at the Natural History Museum here - book tickets in advance online.

 

Select images to enlarge them

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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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Today lots of eager nature photographers and wildlife lovers will be excited to get a glimpse of the 67 commended wildlife images that have been selected by the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2011 competition judges.

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Paul Goldstein's Taking flight was photographed in the mists of Lake Nakuru, Kenya. It's one of the highly commended images in the Behaviour of Birds category among the 2011 entries.

Competition in the category awards is always fierce and not every image can be a winner or runner-up. But the judges like to acknowledge those that have been contenders with either a specially or highly commended recognition. And each year in the run-up to the winners announcement and the exhibition opening, we get the chance to preview these commended choices early. This year's commended selection includes these images from three British photographers.

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Territorial strut by Ross Hoddinott records a robin in the unusually cold spell last December in southern Britain. A highly commended image in the Animal Portraits category you'll be able to alight on at the exhibition.

Along with the as-yet-to-be-revealed winners, we think these images are among the best photos on the planet, and they've been handpicked from about 41,000 entries from 95 countries.

 

There are lots of bird images among the entries this year, I'm told. Maybe that's because birds are something that most people can photograph and get close to at home. Also I suspect because they are creatures that will never cease to beguile us with their mastery of flight and multitudinous feathery finery.

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Extreme foraging by Ron McCombe, another highly commended selection in the Behaviour of Birds category. It was taken on the snowy Scottish borders as a red grouse grappled with bitter East winds, recalled Ron.

Come and enjoy these photographs close up among the 108 images to feature in the exhibition when it opens from Friday 21 October in the Natural History Museum's Waterhouse gallery.

 

Read more about the commended images and this year's wildlife competition in the news story


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Yesterday, as we announced tickets going on sale for the forthcoming Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2011 exhibition, we revealed three new images that will star in the exhbition that opens on 21 October here at the Museum. I'm already bewitched by this one.

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Coyote on the tracks, by Martin Cooper (Canada). Many of us Londoners will be enjoying this breathtaking image close-up before stepping inside the 2011 Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibiton. It will feature in the exhibition's publicity posters.

These early-released images join the other 105 commended and winning 2011 photographs appearing in the new exhibition in the Museum's Waterhouse gallery. In the gallery, you'll be able to see them close-up, displayed as beautiful backlit installations, with descriptions and camera details.

 

The winning and commended images were hand-picked from about 41,000 entries, that poured in to the 2011 Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. The competition office received images from 95 countries and welcomed Cambodia, Moldova, French-Polynesia, Brunei and Kyrgyzstan for the first time. The jury of photography industry experts spent three months coming to a final decision on the best photos.

 

I'm also told that the overall winner this year has now been chosen, but this information is of course shrouded in secrecy until October.

 

Martin Cooper, who snapped his coyote (above) one October dawn, recalled how the shot was taken at his favourite spot for photographing local widlife on a stretch of railway track in Burnaby, British Columbia. He was actually there waiting for a beaver, but grabbed the moment when he saw the coyote appearing from the undergrowth sniffing for the sign of rodents.

 

It's the spontaneity and the light in Martin's coyote photo that really grabs your attention, as much as the skilful photography and composition itself. And this is true of 13-year-old Ilkka Räsänen's Tern style, one of the other images revealed today (below).

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Tern style, by 13-year-old Ilkka Räsänen from Finland really impressed judges with its use of light. It's one of the highly commended images in the 11-14 year-old category of the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year young competition, revealed today.

Making an impression, by the UK's awardwinning photographer Andy Rouse, is the other image we have a sneak peek at from the forthcoming exhibition. Andy's exuberant photo (below) captures Akarevuro, a young male mountain gorilla, who charged at Andy and his companions in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda.

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Making an impression, by Andy Rouse is highly commended in the 2011 Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition’s Behaviour: Mammals category. Look out for it in the exhibition.

 

Read the news story to find out more about the about the best wildlife photos sneak preview

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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