Wildlife Spectacular

Above: Last Wild Picture by Steve Winter (USA). Two Bengal tiger cubs who had turned man-eater were re-housed in a facility for problem tigers. They will never be released but at least they were not killed. Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012.

One exhibition that we at GDP make sure that we see every year is the stunning Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year held at London’s Natural History Museum. The show is staged in semi dark with large back-lit images that capture the imagination and get the creative juices flowing. This really is an event not to be missed if you are at all interested in photography or concerned about wildlife. It will make you appreciate what we have around us on this planet and will leave you awe-inspired by the spectacle of the natural world.

Above: Snow Pounce by Richard Peters (UK). Taken in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, USA, this fox is leaping up to pounce on rodents under the snow. Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012.

Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year is owned by the Natural History Museum and BBC Worldwide. The photography competition has been going in one form or another since the 1960s and just gets better each year!

The diversity of wildlife and landscape that is on display is certainly spectacular, ranging from the very rare and far-flung, to the urban wildlife abounding in our cities. See the image of the derelict car below and spot the creature! Sadly there are the images of the harm that people do to animals and the environment, with a case study of the rhino horn trade, and these documentary images are sometimes harsh to view but prevent us from believing that the situation of our wildlife is safe and secure. The image of happy customers is a sad reflection on the lack of movement to end the trade.

Above: Evening Rays by Claudio Gazzoroli (Switzerland). Friendly rays gather at North Sound, off the Island of Grand Cayman, to wait for the cast off bits of fish rejected by local fishermen. Gazzoroli says, “There were about 75 of them undulating through the shallows.” Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012.

Narratives of how the photographers captured the shots accompany the works and it seems that over the years wildlife photographers have risked life and limb leaning over cliffs or freezing in the snow to get “that” shot. Not only is the topic of interest in this exhibition, but the photography is more than “merely” a record, with many beautiful and artistic devices used to enhance the images. Every year the show presents a range of works that are more abstract than literal, with fish or birds, or animals against snow creating patterns that help remind us of the pulse of nature.

Above: Woodland Magic by Andres Miguel (Spain). By lying in the leaf litter of the wet woodland of Los Alcornocales Natural Park in Andalucia, Miguel managed to capture this haunting image of fly agaric fungi. Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012.

Techniques, such as moving the camera to create blur and flow are used as well as dramtic compostions and emphatic use of colour or monotone to underline the drama or tranquility of the scenes. So I recommend the show not only to wildlife buffs and photographers, but to anyone who has an interest in art and design because there is much to learn and be inspired by here in an aesthetic sense. I always take my university students to see the show and they are always moved and inspired.

Above: A Movement of Trees by Cezariusz Andrejczuk (Poland). The photographer used to be a film camerman and from this he developed a fascination for what he calls “movances”, or the movement of the camera to show the dynamics of nature. This image was taken from a moving train. Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012.

One of the best parts of the show is the sections that present work from young photographers. There are categories for under 10, 11-14 and over 15-17. The image of the Dippers Dipping, below, is by Malte Palmo in the udner 10 category and the image of the bird of prey and plane, Flight Paths, is from the 11-14 category. How heart-warming it is to see young people who are not only so super-talented at photography but have the dedication to undetake the challenges of wildlife photography!

Above: Bumper Life by Pal Hermansen (Norway) shows an abandoned scrapyard in Sweden that for the last 60n years has been home to the wildlife that has claimed the wreckage. Nuts were used to tempt this squirrel to pause for the photo opportunity amidst his daily exploration of the yard. Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012.

The exhibition runs until March 2013 and if you are keen enough to enter the competion – come on all you young photographers; give it a go – entries for the 2013 competition open on 10 December 2012.

Above: Dipper Dipping by Malte Palmer (Denmark). “If you are calm with your movements,” says Malte, “the brids come very close.” Veolia Wildlife Environnement Photographer of the Year 2012.

Above: Flight Paths by Owen Hearn (UK). Harvest time draws the birds of prey to Owen’s grandparents’ Bedfordshire farm and he could not miss this opportunity to photograph a red kite. An airport had been planned here buit over-ruled in the 1960s so Owen feels that this image is symbolic of the triumph of the birds and nature. Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012.

Above: Elemental Fulmar by Sam Cairns (UK). The lone bird helps the photographer convey the elemental nature of the crashing water under the cliff at Skogafoss in Iceland. Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012.

All images are from the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012 and have been provided courtesy of the Natural History Museum press office.

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