Patterns in nature - Emma J Shipley's WPY favourites

15 February 2016 posted by: Zoe - WPY Comms Officer

No. of comments: 1

Emma J Shipley is a graphic artist and fashion designer, known for her unique pieces inspired by patterns in the natural world. Like each photographer who enters the WPY competition, Emma has an appreciation and passion for nature in its many colours, textures and forms.


We asked Emma to choose her favourite images from the competition's history, from entries spanning over fifty years. Her choices were Mike Mockler's Leopard at Dawn and Michel Loup's River of Dreams.

Leopard at Dawn

'The bold, almost completely flat colour allows the viewer to pick out the unmistakable silhouette of the leopard,' says Emma.

'The graphic nature of the image strips away all other details and allows the viewer's imagination to enter the scene, transporting us to a magical African dawn.'

From Dawn to Dusk by Mike Mockler, United Kingdom for WPY 2000.


Behind the image

Photographer Mike Mockler was leading a safari group in northern Tanzania when he found a leopard with a small cub. Sensing that her den might be near, he took the group back there at first light the following morning. To his delight, the leopards were there again, in a tree. The female seems to have watched dawn from the branch.

River of Dreams

'The unusual perspective of this image really adds to its intrigue, not to mention the tree trunks creating a natural stripe and the stunning dappled leaves reflecting in water,' says Emma.

'The effect of hazy light and dreamy colour makes me feel like I'm entering an enchanted forest where everything is not as it seems.'

Innovation by Michel Loup, France for WPY 2005


Behind the image

Wandering alongside the Hérisson river on a warm June day, through the beautiful eastern French countryside, close to the lakes of Jura, Michel came across this stretch of river and was drawn to the scene's absolute tranquillity. The water was as still as glass, and rays of the noonday sun overhead were filtering down through the dense beech foliage, bathing the riverbed in golden light. With a careful choice of angle, exposure, frame and focus, he set out to contrast darkness and light and merge actuality with reflection, to create a multidimensional sense of space that would conjure up the magic of the moment.

Enter the 2016 competition

WPY champions innovation and creativity, celebrating images that reveal Earth's rich patterns, textures, structure and forms from an abstract or illustrative viewpoint. Our Details and Impressions categories award images that depict nature from unique perspectives, inspire fresh ways of seeing and challenge familiar views. Find out more about Details, Impressions and our other categories here.

The 52nd Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition is open for entries until 25 February 2016. Enter now.



Emma is a graphic artist specialising in fine drawing and luxury scarves; taking inspiration from patterns in nature, their innate irregularity and the mathematical structures behind them. Travel is also a huge inspiration, and recent collections have been inspired by trips to the Amazon jungle, a South African safari and a Scottish Highlands hike. Emma painstakingly draws each design by hand in pencil, fusing highly skilled draftsmanship with a subversive imagination; capturing nature's unpredictable beauty.




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