Nature lovers rejoice! This one is for you. The shortlist for the 52nd annual ‘Wildlife Photographer of the Year’ competition is finally out. Rated in three categories – originality, creativity, and technical excellence – this year’s list is an interesting mix of a large killer whale feeding on herring under a boat’s closing fishing net, a curious fox in an urban neighbourhood, a profile of a golden langur, mayflies swarming around under a starry night sky and more.
These spectacular images which were chosen from around 50,000 entries from both professional and amateur photographers from 95 countries are bound to enchant you. All images will be on display from October 21 at Natural History Museum, London. Take a look at the shortlist.
It was an 18-month mission for #WPY52 Finalist Audun Rikardsen to create this astonishing split-level shot of orcas feeding in Norwegian fjords. New on the @natural_history_museum website, Audun has revealed the story behind his image and the unique situation it depicts. Read the full article visit the Discover section of the Natural History Museum website. Audun's photograph will go on display in the WPY52 exhibition, opening at the Museum on 21 October. Image: Splitting the catch by Audun Rikardsen. Finalist 2016, Wildlife Photojournalist Award: Single Image #WPY #WildlifePhotographerOfTheYear #NaturePhotography #Whales #Orcas #WildlifePhotojournalism #Norway #NorwegianFjords #Exhibition #UnderwaterPhotography #Whale
Splitting The Catch by Audun Rikardsen, Norway
Sometimes it’s the fishing boats that look for killer whales and humpbacks, hoping to locate the shoals of herring that migrate to these Arctic Norwegian waters. But the whales have also recently started to follow these boats. This image by Auden Rikardsen shows a large male killer whale feeding on herring that have been squeezed out of the boat’s closing fishing net.
#WPY52 finalist Imre Potyó took this stunning image at the River Rába, Hungary. Imre was captivated by the chaotic swarming of mayflies on Hungary’s River Rába and dreamt of photographing the spectacle beneath a starlit sky. For a few days each year (at the end of July or beginning of August), vast numbers of the adult insects emerge from the Danube tributary, where they developed as larvae. On this occasion, the insects emerged just after sunset. At first, they stayed close to the water, but once they had mated, the females gained altitude. They filled the air with millions of silken wings, smothering Imre and his equipment in their race upstream to lay their eggs on the water’s surface. Then they died, exhausted, after just a few hours. This ‘compensatory flight’ – sometimes as far as several kilometres upstream – is crucial to make up for the subsequent downstream drift of the eggs and nymphs, and luckily for Imre, it was happening under a clear sky. To capture both the mayflies and the stars, he created an in-camera double exposure, adjusting the settings as the exposure happened. Image: Swarming under the stars by Imre Potyó, Hungary. Finalist 2016, Invertebrates #WPY #WildlifePhotographerOfTheYear #NaturePhotography #Mayflies #Hungary #RiverRaba #Insects #Stars #Denube #NaturalSpectacle
Swarming Under The Stars by Imre Potyo, Hungary
The chaotic swarming of mayflies on Hungary’s River Rába is the subject of Imre Potyó’s stunning image. For a few days each year – at the end of July or beginning of August – vast numbers of the adult insects emerge from the Danube tributary, where they developed as larvae. On this occasion, the mayflies emerged just after sunset. At first they stayed close to the water, but once they had mated, the females flew higher.
First look! We've released a sneak preview of the 52nd Wildlife Photographer of the Year results, including this intimate portrait of a curious fox cub taken by Bristol-based wildlife photographer Sam Hobson. Sam wanted to capture the inquisitive nature of the urban red fox in a way that would pique the curiosity of its human neighbours about the wildlife around them. For several hours every night, he sat in one fox family’s territory, gradually gaining their trust until they ignored his presence. One of the cubs was always investigating new things – his weeping left eye the result of a scratch from a cat he got too close to. Sam was rewarded when the youngster peeked over the wall and, apart from a flick of his ear, stayed motionless for long enough to capture this portrait. The #WPY52 collection will be on display for the very first time from 21 October at the @natural_history_museum, London. Advance tickets are now on sale. To see more images from Finalists and book tickets for the exhibition, visit the link in our profile. Image: Nosy neighbour by @samhobsonphoto. Finalist 2016, Urban #WPY #WildlifePhotographerOfTheYear #NaturePhotography #UrbanWildlife #Exclusive #Foxes #Bristol #BritishWildlife #FoxCub #BabyAnimals #Exhibition #AnimalPortrait #Museum #London
Nosy Neighbour by Sam Hobson, UK
Sam wanted to capture the inquisitive nature of the urban red fox in a way that would pique the curiosity of its human neighbours about the wildlife around them. For several hours every night, he sat in one fox family’s territory, gradually gaining their trust until they ignored his presence. One of the cubs was always investigating new things – his weeping left eye the result of a scratch from a cat he got too close to. Sam was rewarded when the youngster peeked over the wall and, apart from a flick of his ear, stayed motionless for long enough to capture this portrait.
Another exclusive look at an image from the #WPY52 collection! Iago Leonardo is Finalist with this beautiful image, showcasing the impressive camouflage of the lookdown fish, framed against a shoal of grey grunt. The lookdown fish – a name it probably gets from the steep profile of its head, with mouth set low and large eyes high – is a master of camouflage. Recent research suggests that it uses special platelets in its skin cells to reflect polarized light (light moving in a single plane), making itself almost invisible to predators and potential prey. The platelets scatter polarized light, depending on the angle of the sun relative to the fish, and so do a more effective job than simply reflecting it like a mirror. Image: The disappearing fish by Iago Leonardo, Spain. Finalist 2016, Reptiles, Amphibians and Fish. The WPY52 exhibition opens on 21 October at the @natural_history_museum, London. For tickets, visit the link in our profile. #WPY #WildlifePhotographerOfTheYear #LookdownFish #Camouflage #GreyGrunt #Fish #UnderwaterPhotography #Wildlife #Exhibition #Photography #MarineLife
The Disappearing Fish by Iago Leonardo, Spain
In the open ocean, there’s nowhere to hide, but the lookdown fish – a name it probably gets from the steep profile of its head, with mouth set low and large eyes high – is a master of camouflage. Recent research suggests that it uses special platelets in its skin cells to reflect polarized light (light moving in a single plane), making itself almost invisible to predators and potential prey. The platelets scatter polarized light, depending on the angle of the sun relative to the fish, and so do a more effective job than simply reflecting it like a mirror. The lookdowns’ disappearing act impressed Iago, who was free-diving with special permission around Contoy Island, near Cancun, Mexico. Using only natural light, he framed them against a shoal of grey grunt to highlight the contrast between them.
Lance had tracked the pride for several hours before they stopped to rest by a waterhole, but their attention was not on drinking. The lions (in South Africa’s Tswalu Kalahari Private Game Reserve) had discovered a Temminck’s ground pangolin. This nocturnal, ant-eating mammal is armour-plated with scales made of fused hair, and it curls up into an almost impregnable ball when threatened. Pangolins usually escape unscathed from big cats (though not from humans, whose exploitation of them for the traditional medicine trade is causing their severe decline). But these lions just wouldn’t give up. ‘They rolled it around like a soccer ball,’ says Lance. ‘Every time they lost interest, the pangolin uncurled and tried to retreat, attracting their attention again.’ Lance focused in on a lion’s claws and the pangolin’s scratched scales, choosing black and white to help simplify the composition. It was 14 hours before the pride finally moved off to hunt. The pangolin did not appear to be injured, but it died shortly after, probably not just from the stress of capture but also from being out in the heat all day. Image: Playing pangolin by @lancevandevyver, New Zealand/South Africa. Finalist 2016, Black and white. Lance's image will be displayed at the @natural_history_museum on Friday 21 October. Find out more and buy tickets at www.nhm.ac.uk/wpy #WPY #WildlifePhotographerOfTheYear #Exhibition #Wildlife #Photography #Lion #Pangolin #BlackAndWhite #SouthAfrica #TswaluKalahari #Animals #NaturePhotography
Playing Pangolin by Lance Van De Vyver, New Zealand/South Africa
Lance had tracked the pride for several hours before they stopped to rest by a waterhole, but their attention was not on drinking. The lions in South Africa’s Tswalu Kalahari Private Game reserve had discovered a Temminck’s ground pangolin. This nocturnal, ant-eating mammal is armour-plated with scales made of fused hair, and it curls up into an almost impregnable ball when threatened.
Congratulations to Willem Kruger, a #WPY52 finalist with this perfectly timed shot of a foraging hornbill. Beside a track in South Africa’s semi-arid Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, the southern yellow-billed hornbill was so deeply absorbed in termite snacking that it gradually worked its way to within 6 metres (19 feet) of where Willem sat watching from his vehicle. Though widespread, this southern African hornbill can be shy, and as it feeds on the ground it can be difficult for a photographer to get a clear shot among the scrub. The bird feeds this way because its tongue isn’t long enough to pick up insects as, say, a woodpecker might, and though its huge bill restricts its field of vision, it can still see the bill’s tip and so can pick up insects with precision. What Willem was after, though, was the hornbill’s precision toss, which he caught, after a 40-minute, 40°C (104°F) wait. Image: Termite tossing by Willem Kruger, South Africa. Finalist 2016, Birds. See Willem's image in the WPY52 exhibition at the @natural_history_museum London, opening 21 October. #WPY #WildlifePhotographerOfTheYear #Exhibition #NaturePhotography #Wildlife #SouthAfrica #Hornbill #BirdPhotography #BirdsOfInstagram #Photography #Art #Nature #museum
Termite Tossing by Willem Kruger, South Africa
Using the tip of its massive beak-like forceps to pick up termites, a hornbill flicks insects into the air in the above photograph by Willem Kruger. Foraging beside a track in South Africa’s semi-arid Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, the southern yellow-billed hornbill was so deeply absorbed in snacking on termites that it gradually worked its way to within six metres of where Willem watched from his vehicle.
A few other entries:
The parakeets were not impressed. They had returned to their nest to find a Bengal monitor lizard had settled in. The birds immediately set about trying to evict the squatter: biting and hanging off its tail. This went on for two days, giving Ganesh several chances to capture the fast-moving action. To find out more about how Indian photographer and #WPY52 Birds category winner Ganesh H Shankar took this astonishing shot, visit nhm.ac.uk/discover. Rose-ringed parakeets are intelligent birds that usually nest in small holes for better protection from predators. Monitor lizards are good climbers, particularly young ones, which seek safety in the trees. They scavenge for anything, from small invertebrates to frogs, birds and small mammals – as well as eggs. Image: Eviction attempt by Ganesh H. Shankar, India. Winner 2016, Birds. #WPY #WildlifePhotographerOfTheYear #Birds #NaturePhotography #BirdsOfInstagram #Wildlife #Lizard #Parakeet #GaneshHShankar #RoseRingedParakeets #India #BirdPhotography
Alexandre Hec is a #WPY52 finalist in our Land category with this dramatic image of glowing lava being tossed some 30 metres (98 feet) into the air against the night sky. When the lava flow from Kilauea on Hawaii’s Big Island periodically enters the ocean, the sight is spectacular, but on this occasion Alexandre was in for a special treat. Kilauea (meaning ‘spewing’ or ‘much spreading’) is one of the world’s most active volcanoes, in constant eruption since 1983. As red-hot lava at more than 1,000˚C (1,832˚F) flows into the sea, vast plumes of steam hiss up, condensing to produce salty, acidic mist or rain. Alexandre witnessed the action and returned in an inflatable the following evening to find that a new crater had formed close to the shore. Capturing the furious action in a rough sea was no easy task. From 100 metres (328 feet) away, he was blasted with heat and noise – ‘like a jet taking off’. In a moment of visibility, his perseverance paid off. Image: Blast furnace by Alexandre Hec, France. Finalist 2016, Land. See Alexandre's image in the WPY52 exhibition at the @natural_history_museum, London, opening 21 October. #WPY #WildlifePhotographerOfTheYear #NaturePhotography #Exhibition #Museum #London #Lava #Hawaii #Volcano #Kilauea #Nature #Photography #Art
Young Indian photographer Dhyey Shah is a #WPY52 finalist in the 10 years and under category with this stunning portrait of a golden langur. See it in the exhibition, opening at the @natural_history_museum on 21 Oct. With fewer than 2,500 mature adults left in the wild, in fragmented pockets of forest in northeastern India (Assam) and Bhutan, Gee’s golden langurs are endangered. Living high in the trees, they are also difficult to observe. But, on the tiny man-made island of Umananda, in Assam’s Brahmaputra River, you are guaranteed to see one. Site of a temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, the island is equally famous for its introduced golden langurs. Within moments of stepping off the boat, Dhyey spotted the golden coat of a langur high up in a tree. The monkey briefly made eye contact and then slipped away. Today, there are just six left on the island, and, with much of the vegetation having been cleared, the leaf-eating monkeys are forced to depend mainly on junk food from visitors. Image: Golden relic by Dhyey Shah, India. Finalist, 10 years and under. #WPY #WildlifePhotographerOfTheYear #Langur #EndangeredSpecies #India #GoldenLangur #Monkey #NaturePhotography #Animals #Exhibition #Wildlife #NaturalHistoryMuseum
Beautiful, isn’t it?