Back in 1965 the first ‘Wildlife Photographer of the Year’ competition was announced with about 500 entries. Since, it has run every year and now garners about 50,000 entries from 95 countries around the world, and submitted by professionals and amateurs alike. The images are rated in three categories: originality, creativity, and technical excellence. This year marks the 52nd running of the competition, and the folks in charge have released a preview of the finalists this time around. I don’t think I’ve seen more astonishing shots of nature in action in a long time – some of these look almost surreal.
This image was near the northern entrance to the 14th borehole water hole, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa. We saw group of Southern Yellow Hornbill birds foraging on the ground as we drive pass the entrance to the waterhole. They were feeding on termites and it was interesting to see how the termite was thrown into the air and then the bird catches it again in order to swallow it. One of the birds came close my vehicle and it was catching termite after termite. Eventually this one bird ended up about 6 meters from my vehicle and I did some macro photography with my 600mm lens as the bird was tossing the termites in the air in order to swallow it. No baiting was used.
Eruption at Kilauea, Hawaii.
Some fishermen may use the whales to localize the herring shoals. Likewise, many whales have during the years learned the sounds from specific fishing boat when they retrieve their fishing gear, and thereby seek to the boats with the hope to get a “free meal”. This is seemingly a win-win-situations for both parties, but some whales also actively tries to steal the fish form the fishing gear, which can in some cases destroy both the fishing gear and the herring caches. This has led to a debate about the fishing quotas and the interactions between whales and fishing boats. These interactions have also lead to an increasing number of accident where the whales have been entangled in the fishing gear. I developed my own underwater housing to be able to take split pictures like this under very low light conditions. Ordinary underwater housings for split pictures will not work due to several optical challenges during low light conditions. (some dust/ flare due to salt crustal on the underwater housing glass is removed in the digital post-processing). Gee’s Golden Langur. India’s old primates are now in endangered category and increasing human population becoming really concern losing their habitats. Few of them are survived on peacock Island near Guwahati in North East area of India.
We can see these fish in many aquariums around the world, but rarely do we see the incredible ability they have in the wild. This species of fish (Selene bomer) takes it’s name from the Greek goddess of the moon – Selene – uses the refraction from sunlight to appear and disappear, misleading their predators. The photo was taken in Islay Contoy, Mexico.
After a few decades, the Danube mayfly (Ephoron virgo) have returned to the river Danube, probably due to the increasing water quality. The fantastic mass swarming of these mayflies is one of the most exciting phenomenon for me. My image was taken in a dark, near-natural bank of Rába river (a tributary of the Danube) with long exposure, flash and flashlight. Unfortunately, the lamp-lit bridges have negative influence to them, because they are attracted to the lamps, become exhausted, lay their eggs to the asphalt roads of the bridge and perish immediately. The team of the Danube Research Institute in cooperation with the Environmental Optics Laboratory plan to solve this biooptical and environmental problem. This image is very precious to me as I can draw the attention to these spectacular water insects and their complex ecological light trap, which endanger their survival.