Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2008

Natural History Museum Cromwell Road entrance (source Wikipedia)

Natural History Museum Cromwell Road entrance (source Wikipedia)

The idea of organising the same exhibition every year would probably be rejected as outright crazy by many museum directors in London. Yet, for the “Wildlife Photographer of the Year” exhibition, it is the annual photography competition that supplies it with fresh and original images of wildlife. The competition, running for the 45th year and jointly organised by the Natural History Museum in London and the BBC Wildlife Magazine draws thousands of entries by professional artists and amateur enthusiasts.

Sun Jelly, Nature in Black and White - Winner (© Carlos Virgili)

Sun Jelly, Nature in Black and White - Winner (© Carlos Virgili)

It consists of different thematic areas that include animal behaviour, life in the underworld, animal portraits and animals in their environment, plants, nature in black and white, and creative visions of nature. The exhibition, however, is mostly famed for its special awards: the Gerard Durrell Award for Endangered Wildlife, the One Earth Award, that showcases the interaction of human and the natural world and the Young and Adult categories of the wildlife photographer of the year.

Deadlock, Animal Behaviour: All Other Animals - Winner (© David Maitland)

Deadlock, Animal Behaviour: All Other Animals - Winner (© David Maitland)

This year, the exhibition entries were again a mixture of images that were carefully planned and executed, represented technically challenging shots and conditions but also images of the unexpected, the funny and the remarkable variety of wildlife. Among the photos we noted was a picture of a jellyfish in exquisite detail in the “Nature in Black and White” category and a striking image of a snake and a frog entangled in a “Deadlock” that according to the photographer lasted for several hours. Other interesting shots included an underwater image of two arrow crabs and sea urchins in “Daddy long legs” and an amusing photo of a black macaque in “Bleak outlook” that has made it to the banners of this year’s competition advertisements. However, the most artistic and skillfully taken photographs were –without doubt – the ones featured in the awards. For example, a few silver lines in a black background were enough to betray a silhouette of a polar bear in sunlight in the “Creative Visions of Nature” category. Equally, a theatrical display of a lion chasing a giraffe in afternoon sunlight in Africa and the image of an endangered snow leopard were awarded the Young and Adult Wildlife Photographer awards respectively.

Daddy Long Legs, The Underwater World - Specially Commended (© Jordi Chias)

Daddy Long Legs, The Underwater World - Specially Commended (© Jordi Chias)

After visiting the exhibition, you feel the sudden urge to get your camera and start experimenting, hoping that you can make it into the next years’ exhibition. But even if you can’t wait that long, you can buy many of the featured images in posters. And if you do not have time to see the exhibition, go to the museum’s internet gallery instead, where you can browse all of the winning categories in the comfort of your home.

Lambda.

P.S.: Read about the exhibition in Greece at my other post.

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