From cosy geladas to luminous squid, here are some of our highlights from the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014 winners and shortlisted works…
Now in it’s 50th year, the competition – co-owned by the Natural History Museum and BBC Worldwide – invites professional and amateur photographers from around the world to submit work into categories including Mammals, Birds, Amphibians and Reptiles, Invertebrates, Plants and Fungi, Underwater Species, Earth’s Environments, Black and White, Natural Design, Timelapse, and World in Our Hands.
There are also special awards for Best Single Image, Wildlife Photojournalist of the Year, Rising Star, various age group categories for under-18s, and more. Winners were announced last night at London’s Natural History Museum, where the exhibtion will take place from Friday until 30 August 2015 before touring the UK and internationally.
Pictured above: Little squid by Fabien Michenet (France), Underwater Species finalist. Whilst night diving off the coast of Tahiti, Michenet became fascinated by this young sharpear enope squid, measuring just 3cm long, floating motionless 20m deep.
The last great picture by Michael Nichols (USA), Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014 winner. Taken in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, Nichols snapped the five females of the Vumbi pride lying with their cubs calmly sleeping, who were used to his presence after he had been following them for nearly six months.
Photographing them in infrared, “cuts through the dust and haze, transforms the light and turns the moment into something primal, biblical almost,” he says.
Transparent care, by Ingo Arndt (Germany), Amphibians and Reptiles finalist. Arndt captured a beam of sunlight shining down thorough a leaf and through the skin of a tiny glass frog guardian a clutch of eggs, in the Piedras Blancas National Park in Costa Rica.
Touché by Jan van der Greef (The Netherlands), Birds Finalist. This image was shot in Ecuador using multiple flashes to freeze the sword-billed hummingbird’s wing-beat (more than 60p/s). With its 11cm bill designed to reach nectar at the base of tube shaped flowers it is the only bird with a bill longer than it’s body, excluding tail.
Spider in the frame by Juan Jesus Gonzalez Ahumada (Spain), Black and White Finalist. To isolate this prickly pear leaf skeleton from the surrounding vegetation Ahumada placed a piece of white card behind it, being careful not to disturb the tiny spider hiding in a gap in the framework.
The price to pay by Bruno D’Amicis (Italy), World in Our Hands winner. As part of a long-term project investigating the issues facing endangered species in the Sahara, D’Amicis shot this image of a teenager from a village in southern Tunisia offering (illegally) to sell a three-month-old fennec fox, one of a litter he dug out of their den in the desert.
Communal warmth by Simon Sbaraglia (Italy), Mammals finalist. Just before sunset in the Simien Mountains of Ethiopia, Sbaraglia waited at the edge of a cliff for a group of geladas to return after a day’s foraging. As they returned it was almost completely dark, but setting his ISO to maximum and using a gentle pulse of flash he caught this great image of the huddled troop.
Apocalypse by Francisco Negroni (Chile), Earth’s Environments winner. After the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcanic complex began to erupt, Negroni travelled to Puyehue National Park in southern Chile to shoot this volcanic lighting also known as a ‘dirty thunderstorm’. “It was the most incredible thing I have seen in my life,” he said.
Feral spirits by Sam Hobson (UK), Birds finalist. Ring-necked parakeets, an Afro-Asian species are now wild in Britain, as a result of escapes and deliberate release of captive birds. Hobson took this picture in London, where the birds thrive, in a cemetery where there were several thousands of birds flying past in constant streams of 20-30. He used a burst of flash at the end of a long exposure to create the shadowy tails.
Delta design by Hans Strand (Sweden), Earth’s Environments finalist. Shooting from the air over Iceland, battling motion sickness and the strong winds, Strand captured the delta (landform created at the mouth of a river) of the Fúlakvisl, with the murky river appearing as tangled silvery threads over the black volcanic soil.