International Photo Contest Winners Are Mindblowingly Wild

Share on Tumblr

More than 48,000 photos from 98 countries were submitted to the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition held by the Natural History Museum in London, and the winning entries from amateurs and professionals are incredible, and in some cases downright mesmerizing.

“It amazes me to discover new and startling moments that have never been seen before,” said Jim Brandenburg, chair of the judges panel. “Secret moments in nature combined with a talented eye have given us rare photographs that we will truly be enjoyed forever.”

The 100 winners, judged on creativity, artistry, and technical complexity, were announced last week in the U.K. Here’s our top 10, courtesy of the Natural History Museum. Be amazed.

TOP
Warning Night Light, Larry Lynch (USA) / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012

Where photo was taken: Myakka River State Park, Sarasota, Florida

What is happening: A well-fed alligator lies in a receded riverbed and isn’t “going anywhere in a hurry,” Lynch said.

How the photographer got the shot: Lynch set up his tripod and camera about 23 feet away and focused on the alligator’s eyes. His flash was set at the lowest setting “to give just a tiny bit of light, enough to catch the eye shine in the alligator’s eyes.” The color of eye shine differs from species to species.


The Tourist Tiger Trail

Melisa Lee (Malaysia) / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012

Where photo was taken: Tiger Temple, a Buddhist monastery at Kanchanaburi in Thailand.

What is happening: Why is a tiger walking with the masses? Apparently, Hernfa walks daily with the Abbot and humans at the monastery. This was a rare day when two young cubs (see Phayu chewing on dad’s tail?) came along. They walk alongside humans as if they’re just part of the crowd. Tourists wait their turn to be photographed petting the big, tame tiger.

How the photographer got the shot: Lee had three minutes to keep pace with the tigers, keeping a low angle while walking backwards.


Into the Mouth of the Caiman

Luciano Candisani (Brazil) / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012

Where photo was taken: Brazil’s Pantanal, the biggest wetland in the world.

What is happening: The yahcare caiman remains motionless while waiting for fish to swim within snapping reach.

How the photographer got the shot: Candisani came face-to-face with a caiman while snorkeling and learned caimans are neither aggressive nor fearful, and that he could approach them, especially when “they are concentrating on a shoal of fish.” Candisani had imagined this photo since his father first showed him a caiman 25 years ago.


Practice Run

Gregoire Bouguereau (France) / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012

Where photo was taken: Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.

What is happening: A Thomson’s gazelle calf, which had been caught by a female cheetah but not killed, is scampering away, giving four cubs a lesson in hunting. A moment later, the predator instincts kicked in and the four cubs gave chase. The lesson repeated itself several times; the gazelle was ignored while on the ground but chased when it tried to escape.

How the photographer got the shot: Bouguereau has studied cheetahs for nearly 10 years and understands their behavior. When a female cheetah caught but didn’t kill the gazelle calf, he knew what would happen next and prepared accordingly.


Blast-Off

Paul Nicklen (Canada) / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012

Where photo was taken: Antarctica.

What is happening: An emperor penguin exits the sea after fishing and does so as quickly as possible to avoid becoming a target for a leopard seal. Research shows the emperor penguins accelerate to their exit by releasing millions of micro-bubbles from their feathers, reducing the friction of their plumage against the water to gain maximum speed. This rare photo shows this phenomenon perfectly.

How the photographer got the shot: Nicklen had been diving under the ice near the exit hole for a while when the penguins suddenly appeared.


The Duel

Sergey Gorshkov (Russia) / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012

Where photo was taken: Wrangel Island, northeastern Russia.

What is happening: An Arctic fox attempts to steal the eggs from a snow geese, which takes exception.

How the photographer got the shot: Gorshkov spent two months on Wrangler Island and observed foxes trying to steal goose eggs on numerous occasions.Very rarely did the foxes succeed.


Lion in the Spotlight

Joel Sartore (USA) / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012

Where photo was taken: Queen Elizabeth National Park,Uganda.

What is happening: At dusk, a male lion awakes from its nap.

How the photographer got the shot: The male lifted its head for five seconds as it listened to a female calling in the distance, allowing Sartore to get the photo as Dr. Ludwig Siefert, a chief biologist studying lions in the park, held a spotlight on the lion.


 

Seized Opportunity

Gregoire Bouguereau (France) / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012

Where photo was taken: Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park.

What is happening: An adult wildebeest lies on the ground covered in mud, trying unsuccessfully to get to its feet. A female cheetah with its two cubs took advantage.

How the photographer got the shot: As the female cheetah assessed the situation, Bouguereau positioned his camera and set it on remote control and, as the cheetah did, seized the opportunity.


Perilous Pickings

Jenny E.Ross (USA) / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012

Where photo was taken: Ostrova Oranskie region of the Novaya Zemlya archipelago in the Russian Arctic National Park.

What is happening: A polar bear risks its life to climb down a rock face to scavenge eggs from nesting Brunnich’s guillemots.

How the photographer got the shot: At first, the bear was a white speck that appeared to be a patch of snow on the cliff face. As Ross’ Zodiac got closer, however, she recognized it was a bear and knew its motive instantly.


Relaxation

Jasper Doest (The Netherlands) / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012

Where photo was taken: Jigokudani Valley of central Japan.

What is happening: A group of about 30 Japanese macaques soak in hot-spring pools to stay warm and socialize. Most of them were asleep.

How the photographer got the shot: The macaques felt safe and comfortable with Doest in their presence, so much so that this one fell asleep right in front of him.

Note: The 2013 competition opens Dec. 17 and closes Feb. 22, 2013, in case you have any wildlife photos that could compete with these.

Share on Tumblr

{ One comment…read it below or write one }

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>