© Cristiano Vendramin, Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2021

Read later


During Beta testing articles may only be saved for seven days.

Lake of ice: Frozen in time, a photograph of an icy lake dedicated to a lost friend wins Wildlife Photographer of the Year People’s Choice Award

An enchanting image of willow branches mirrored by the surface of a frozen Italian lake, submitted in dedication to a lost friend, has won Wildlife Photographer of the Year People’s Choice Award 2021.

Italian photographer Cristiano Vendramin’s photograph touched the hearts of over 31,800 wildlife and nature enthusiasts who voted online for his breath-taking landscape to win from a shortlist of 25 images. The shortlist was chosen by the Natural History Museum, London, from a record breaking 50,000 images from 95 countries submitted to the fifty-seventh annual competition.

Whilst visiting Santa Croce Lake in northern Italy in 2019, Cristiano noticed the water was unusually high and the willow plants were partially submerged, creating a play of light and reflections on the surface of the water. Cristiano was reminded of a dear friend, who had loved this special place and is no longer here.

© Cristiano Vendramin, Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2021

‘Lake of ice’ © Cristiano Vendramin, Italy

Cristiano Vendramin says: 

‘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. 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.’

Director of the Natural History Museum, Dr Douglas Gurr, 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.' 

Cristiano’s winning photograph and the top four ‘Highly Commended’ finalists will be displayed in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London. 

The four ‘Highly Commended’ finalists that captured the fascination of nature enthusiasts across the globe include ‘Shelter from the rain’ by Ashleigh McCord, a tender moment between two male lions in the rain and Jo-Anne McArthur’s striking portrait of a kangaroo and her joey emerging from the aftermath of the Australian bushfires, ‘Hope in a burned plantation’. ‘The eagle and the bear’ by Jeroen Hoekendijk, is a dynamic photograph showing a surprising encounter between two unlikely subjects, and a truly magical depiction of two male golden pheasants is the subject of Qiang Guo’s ‘Dancing in the snow’.

© Ashleigh McCord, Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2021

© Ashleigh McCord, Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2021

Wildlife Photographer of the Year is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum and offers a truly global platform for amateur and professional photographers alike. Using photography's unique emotive power to engage and inspire audiences, the exhibition shines a light on stories and species around the world and supports the Museum in its mission of creating advocates for the planet. The fifty-eighth competition is currently being judged by an esteemed panel of experts, and the winners will be revealed in October 2022. 

The Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition in London is sponsored by renewable energy company Ørsted and non-alcoholic beverage company Seedlip.

Press pack including images and captions can be found here. 


Exhibition at Natural History Museum, London

Opens Friday 15 October 2021 and closes Sunday 5 June 2022.

The exhibition is open Monday – Sunday, 10.00-17.50 (last admission at 16.30), and weekends sell out quickly.

Adult tickets £17.25*, concession tickets £13.75*, and child £10.25* (*Prices including optional Gift Aid donation to the Museum.)

Book your tickets: www.nhm.ac.uk/visit/exhibitions/wildlife-photographer-of-the-year 


Fifty-eighth Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition

Opens for entries on Monday 18 October 2021.

Closing for entries at 11.30am GMT on Thursday 9 December 2021.

Entrants to the adult competition may enter up to 25 images for a £30 fee, which increases to £35 in the final week of the entry period from 11.30am GMT 2 December to 11.30am GMT 9 December.

An entry fee waiver has been introduced for photographers entering the adult competition who live in these 50 countries.

Entrants aged 17 and under may enter up to 10 images for free. • Find out how to enter: www.nhm.ac.uk/wpy/competition

South Kensington exhibition sponsors

About Ørsted

Orsted Logo

The Ørsted vision is a world that runs entirely on green energy. Ørsted develops, constructs, and operates offshore and onshore wind farms, solar farms, energy storage facilities, renewable hydrogen and green fuels facilities, and bioenergy plants. Moreover, Ørsted provides energy products to its customers. Ørsted is the only energy company in the world with a science-based net-zero emissions target as validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). Ørsted ranks as the world’s most sustainable energy company in Corporate Knights' 2022 index of the Global 100 most sustainable corporations in the world and is recognised on the CDP Climate Change a List as a global leader on climate action. Headquartered in Denmark, Ørsted employs 6,836 people. Ørsted's shares are listed on Nasdaq Copenhagen (Orsted). In 2021, the group's revenue was DKK 77.7 billion (EUR 10.4 billion) www.orsted.co.uk/en/About-us

About Seedlip

Leica Logo

Seedlip connects people to the wonders of nature, through non-alcoholic spirits with distilled botanicals. Solving the dilemma of ‘What to drink when you’re not drinking ®’ Seedlip offers a sophisticated alternative for non-alcoholic options. Available in three expressions, Seedlip Garden 108 captures the essence of the English countryside with sophisticated top notes of peas and hay blended with herbs (Rosemary, Thyme & Spearmint). Seedlip Spice 94 isaromatic with strong spice (All Spice Berries & Cardamom) & citrus (Lemon & Grapefruit peel) top notes and a long bitter finish from the highest quality barks (Oak & Cascarilla). The latest addition to the range is Seedlip Grove 42, a celebration of the Orange; an adult, citrus blend of distillates including three varieties of Orange and uplifting spices (Lemongrass & Ginger). Seedlip’s key serve is mixed with tonic or as the base for non-alcoholic cocktails.

For more information, please visit www.seedlipdrinks.com, Facebook at www.facebook.com/seedlipdrinks/, or Instagram at @SeedlipDrinks

Media contact

For access to high-resolution images or to arrange interviews with photographers, jury members, or Museum spokespeople, please contact Josephine Higgins at the Natural History Museum Press Office.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7942 5106

Mobile: +44 (0) 7799 690151

Email: wildpress@nhm.ac.uk

About Wildlife Photographer of the Year:

Wildlife Photographer of the Year was founded in 1965 by BBC Wildlife Magazine, then called Animals. The Natural History Museum joined forces in 1984 to create the competition as it is known today. The competition is now run and owned by the Natural History Museum, London.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year Portfolio 31, edited by Rosamund Kidman-Cox and witha foreword by Chris Packham, is published by the Natural History Museum and will be on sale as of 14 October 2021, priced £25.

About the Natural History Museum:

The Natural History Museum is both a world-leading science research centre and the most-visited natural history museum in Europe. With a vision of a future in which both people and the planet thrive, it is uniquely positioned to be a powerful champion for balancing humanity’s needs with those of the natural world.

It is custodian of one of the world’s most important scientific collections comprising over 80 million specimens. The scale of this collection enables researchers from all over the world to document how species have and continue to respond to environmental changes -which is vital in helping predict what might happen in the future and informing future policies and plans to help the planet.

The Museum’s 300 scientists continue to represent one of the largest groups in the world studying and enabling research into every aspect of the natural world. Their science is contributing critical data to help the global fight to save the future of the planet from the major threats of climate change and biodiversity loss through to finding solutions such as the sustainable extraction of natural resources.The Museum uses its enormous global reach and influence to meet its mission to create advocates for the planet -to inform, inspire and empower everyone to make a difference for nature. We welcome over five million visitors each year; our digital output reaches hundreds of thousands of people in over 200 countries each month and our touring exhibitions have been seen by around 30 million people in the last 10 years.