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A chilly scene of willow trees rising above a frozen lake in Italy by Cristiano Vendramin has won this year's Wildlife Photographer of the Year People's Choice Award.
The image 'Lake of Ice', showing trees in the depth of winter, has won this year's People's Choice Awards after coming top from an online vote of 31,800.
The image was taken by Cristiano when he visited Santa Croce Lake in northern Italy, and noticed that the unusually high water was submerging some of the willow trees that fringed the edge of the lake. Inspired by the play of light and reflection on the lake's icy surface, the scene reminded Cristiano of a dear late friend who had loved this special place.
'I hope that my photography will encourage people to understand that the beauty of nature can be found everywhere around us, and we can be pleasantly surprised by the many landscapes so close to home,' says Cristiano. 'I believe having a daily relationship with nature is increasingly more necessary to have a serene and healthy life.
'Nature photography is therefore important to remind us of this bond, which we must preserve, and in whose memory, we can take refuge.'
The image won the public vote amongst a shortlist of 25 images, which had been selected by the Museum from a record breaking 50,000 images submitted to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 2021.
Dr Douglas Gurr, the Director of the Museum, says, 'Cristiano's poignant image symbolises the positive impact nature can have on our wellbeing and lives. It can provide solace and a space to reflect on the past and even spark hope for the future.
'These past two years have redefined what truly matters in life, the people and the environments that play a crucial role in our own personal ecosystems. I hope those who look at this landscape frozen in time, are reminded of the importance of connecting to the natural world and the steps we must all take to protect it.'
The winning image, along with four highly commended photos, will be on display at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition currently running at the Museum. The exhibition is open until 5 June 2022.
Wrap up warm and read more about the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People's Choice winner Cristiano Vendramin.