Ayellow-billed hornbill tosses a termite into its mouth; a parakeet dangles in mid-air biting the tail of a monitor lizard in what looks like a forced eviction from its nest; an inquisitive crow inspects the contents of a bottle, a brazen fox comes into focus over a wall at a neighbourhood near you; a woodpecker appears to play peek-a-boo with the photographer behind a tree; a baby sea lion with half its face covered in sand stares at the lens without a care in the world. Welcome to the 52nd instalment of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year at the Natural History Museum.
Pulsating, mysterious, awe-inspiring, and enough excitement to banish the winter blues for anyone who visits the cavernous setting. And it seems all the nature and drama you can squeeze into an urban setting is all here under one roof from displays of rarely seen animal behaviour in their natural habitats to far-flung exotic landscapes. The photographers behind the selected 100 images on show seemed to have enjoyed the adventure of capturing their different subjects recalling various tales of daring and suspense as they lay in wait to press their shutter buttons.
American photographer Tim Laman who won this year’s competition said it had been a “dream come true”. Beating almost 50,000 entries from 95 countries, he spent three days rope-climbing a 30-metre tall tree to set up several GoPro cameras with which he captured the winning shot of an orangutan making its way up the tree in a wide-angle perspective of the forest below. It is vertigo-inducing but alone, worth the trip to see the exhibition.
Sir Michael Dixon, Director of the Natural History Museum, which organises the annual competition says: “Wildlife Photographer of the Year highlights some of the big questions for society and the environment: How can we protect biodiversity? Can we learn to live in harmony with nature? The winning images touch our hearts, and challenge us to think differently about the natural world.”
One of such images was the twigs of a sycamore tree silhouetted against the blue dusk sky and a glowing full moon. Captured by 16-year-old Gideon Knight from the UK, the Alfred Hitchcock-like scene won him the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year prize for The moon and the crow.
- Buy the Wildlife Photographer of the Year portfolio from the WLT online shop and save 20% off the marked price when you register for our newsletter. Enter the coupon: WLTREADER at the checkout to claim your discount.
The Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2016 is on from 21 October 2016 to 10 September 2017. Admissions: 10.00 – 17.50; www.nhm.ac.uk/wpy