Oxford School of Photography

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Category Archives: Exhibition

Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize

It is that time of year again when the various organisations hand out prizes for ‘best ofs’. I am rather conflicted by the whole process of photographic, or in fact any creative activity, held up to competition. I am never sure what wins is worthy nor that the winners are understood as the photographer intended. Many of these photography competitions stretch the idea of photography such that images grabbed from Google Streetview have been awarded prizes in the past. However, I can also accept that competition can push some photographers to achieve much better and that is to be lauded

The Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize is one that always provides much room for debate about the value of the winning entries. Once all you needed was a redheaded subject holding an animal, this year the portrait that one third prize is of an android.

This is the overall winner and many would argue that it is deserved.

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Amadou Sumaila photographed by César Dezfuli, 20 nautical miles off the Libyan coast – this year’s winning portrait. Photograph: César Dezfuli/NPG

Sean O’Hagan in The Guardian, always a reliable critic says:

handful of politicians, several refugees, various awkward adolescents, two skinheads, the inevitable young girl holding a furry animal and, breaking with tradition, an android – it’s the Taylor Wessing time of year again

This year’s photographic portrait prize, the first to allow digital submissions as well as prints, draws 59 images from 5,717 entries. As a show, it hangs together pretty well, not always the case in the past. The overall standard seems higher, there are fewer celebrities – always a good thing – and most of the portraits of refugees and asylum-seekers tend towards the intimate rather than the concerned.

The exhibition he mentions is at the NPG

16 November 2017 to 8 February 2018

The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize is the leading international photographic portrait competition, celebrating and promoting the very best in contemporary portrait photography. 

The Prize has established a reputation for creativity and excellence, with works submitted by a range of photographers, from leading professionals to talented amateurs and the most exciting emerging artists.

The selected images, many of which will be on display for the first time, explore both traditional and contemporary approaches to the photographic portrait whilst capturing a range of characters, moods and locations. The exhibition of fifty-nine works features all of the prestigious prize winners including the winner of the £15,000 first prize.

Second Prize Winner

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Intimately powerful … Fleeing Mosul from the series Women in War: Life After Isis by Abbie Trayler-Smith. Photograph: Abbie Trayler-Smith/NPG

Third Prize Winner

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Maija Tammi’s portrait of the android Erica. Photograph: Maija Tammi/NPG

All the major papers and photographic sources have reviews on this, take your pick

The Telegraph

The Guardian

Metro

The Arts Desk

BBC

Independent

 

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GREGORY CREWDSON: CATHEDRAL OF THE PINES

I find I can rely upon the culture section of The Guardian for many interesting articles about photography. If you have been on my courses you will have found that I talk about Gregory Crewdson, his images are cinematic in many aspects, both the nature of their creation and the sense they provoke. He has a new exhibition called Cathedral of The Pines and it is reviewed in the The Guardian

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‘They were more difficult because they were less spectacular’ … Father and Son, 2013. Photograph: © Gregory Crewdson / Courtesy Gagosian Gallery

In 2013, in retreat from “a difficult divorce”, Gregory Crewdson moved from Manhattan to a converted church in rural Massachusetts. “I had to relocate myself, physically and psychologically,” says the photographer. So he spent his time mountain trekking, long-distance swimming and, when the winter set in, cross-country skiing.

“I was out in the snow one day when I came upon a sign for a section of the Appalachian Trail called Cathedral of the Pines,” he adds. “It stopped me in my tracks, just the resonance of the name. I knew I had to use it.”

The resulting series is more sombre, foreboding and inward-looking than the meticulously staged cinematic photographs that made his name. It opens this week at the Photographers’ Gallery in London, the first time the institution has devoted all its gallery space to a single artist.

Cathedral of the Pines took two and a half years to shoot and, typically for Crewdson, required the kind of preparation that usually attends a Hollywood film: months of casting, location hunting and storyboarding, with an extensive crew to oversee lighting, props, wardrobe, makeup and even some special effects involving artificial smoke and mist.

The new exhibition can be seen from the 23rd at The Photographers Gallery

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Gregory Crewdson The Haircut, 2014 Digital pigment print Image size: 37 1/2 × 50 inches (95.3 × 127 cm) Edition of 3 + 2 APs © Gregory Crewdson

“By my standards, it was relatively restrained,” he says, laughing and citing his 2008 series Beneath the Roses, which cost as much as a mid-budget movie and entailed four city streets being closed down for shots that required rain and snow-making machines.

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Gregory Crewdson The Motel, 2014 Digital pigment print Image size: 37 1/2 × 50 inches (95.3 × 127 cm) Edition of 3 + 2 APs © Gregory Crewdson

Cathedral of the Pines was challenging in a different way. “These pictures are smaller in scale and, to a degree, they were more difficult because they were less spectacular. You have to create meaning and atmosphere in a more intimate way, which makes lighting, for instance, a lot more challenging.”

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Foreboding … Mother and Daughter, 2014 Photograph: © Gregory Crewdson / Courtesy Gagosian Gallery

see more pictures and read the rest of the review in the Guardian here

find out about the exhibition at the Photographers Gallery here

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2016

It is that time of year when the various award and competitions in photography announce their winners. This is always a very popular award with many different sections. The images are universally remarkable and express the dedication and technical skill of the winners.

This image won the Natural History Museum's Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2016 award, and depicts an endangered young male orangutan climbing a 100-foot high tree in the Gunung Palung National Park, Indonesia

This image won the Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2016 award, and depicts an endangered young male orangutan climbing a 100-foot high tree in the Gunung Palung National Park, Indonesia

Indian photographer Ganesh H Shankar won the Birds category for capturing a rose-ringed parakeet kicking a Bengal monitor lizard out of its roosting hole, a campaign that lasted two days before the lizard squatter gave up

Indian photographer Ganesh H Shankar won the Birds category for capturing a rose-ringed parakeet kicking a Bengal monitor lizard out of its roosting hole, a campaign that lasted two days before the lizard squatter gave up

Images from both professional and amateur photographers are selected for their creativity, artistry and technical complexity.

Swedish photographer Mats Andersson triumphed in the black-and-white category with his touching photo of an owl mourning the death of its partner, taken in a forest near his home in Bashult, southern Sweden. 

Other winners included Luis Javier Sandoval, from Mexico, with his photo of a playful California sea lion pup for the Impressions category. And Ganesh H Shankar, from India, with his image of a rose-ringed parakeet harassing a monitor lizard.

Luis Javier Sandoval, from Mexico, won the Impressions category for his tricky underwater photo of a playful California sea lion pup grabbing a starfish near shore break at sunrise in Espiritu Santo Island near La Paz Baja California Sur, Mexico

Luis Javier Sandoval, from Mexico, won the Impressions category for his tricky underwater photo of a playful California sea lion pup grabbing a starfish near shore break at sunrise in Espiritu Santo Island near La Paz Baja California Sur, Mexico

Winner of the urban category was Nayan Khanolkar, who captured a solitary leopard slinking down an alleyway in a suburb of Mumbai bordering Sanjay Gandhi national park, where the Warli tribe has learned to co-exist with the nocturnal big cats

Winner of the urban category was Nayan Khanolkar, who captured a solitary leopard slinking down an alleyway in a suburb of Mumbai bordering Sanjay Gandhi national park, where the Warli tribe has learned to co-exist with the nocturnal big cats

see more here

The exhibition opens at the Natural History Museum on October 21, before touring across the UK

Gideon Knight, 16, from the UK, won the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year title for his poetic image of a moonlit crow on a sycamore tree , a sight he described as reminding him of 'something out of a fairy tale'

Gideon Knight, 16, from the UK, won the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year title for his poetic image of a moonlit crow on a sycamore tree , a sight he described as reminding him of ‘something out of a fairy tale’

You can book tickets for the exhibition

  • 21 October 2016 – 10 September 2017
  • South Kensington
  • Adult £10.50 – £13.50
    Child and concession £6.50 – £8
    Family £27 – £36.90

An Exhibition not to miss. Microsculpture by Levon Biss

I know I only just blogged about this but at the weekend I went to see the exhibition by Levon Biss at The Museum of Natural History in Oxford. Yes I know you realise it was madness, the place was full of kids and I could have gone any day of the week when the little ones were at school but there you are I had time, it was a nice day to ride my bike and I had an hour or two spare. I had seen Levon’s pictures on screen, zoomed into them a bit and was wowed but I was not prepared for the size of the images on display, the multi-coloured grasshopper thing is about 4m wide and the jewel bug thing the same high, these are huge and utterly fantastic. What is more they have the actual specimens that were photographed to make the photographic images on display they are literally this big XXX I am not one for exaggeration and any form of wild life photography leaves me cold but the techniques involved, the precision and quality of work is breath taking. When you go, and you must, then make sure you listen to the video explanation and do have a play with the touch screen thing.

It is at The Museum of Natural History, Parks Road, Oxford. Here is a link to the previous post with all the exhibition details

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Levon Biss Microsculpture Exhibition at Museum of Natural History Oxford

I have seen a number of the images Levon has created and have to say I am blown away by the beauty and technical expertise.

Levon Biss Microsculpture

Levon Biss is a British photographer based in the UK who has been shooting campaigns for international brands for the last 18 years.  His work has graced the covers of publications such as TIME Magazine and he has produced a best selling book on the global game of soccer titled ‘One Love’.

Here Levon explains how he works on his Microsculpture project

“Each image from the Microsculpture project is created from around 8000 individual photographs.  The pinned insect is placed on an adapted microscope stage that enables me to have complete control over the positioning of the specimen in front of the lens.  I shoot with a 36-megapixel camera that has a 10x microscope objective attached to it via a 200mm prime lens.

I photograph the insect in approximately 30 different sections, depending on the size of the specimen.  Each section is lit differently with strobe lights to bring out the micro sculptural beauty of that particular section of the body.  For example, I will light and shoot just one antennae, then after I have completed this area I will move onto the eye and the lighting set up will change entirely to suit the texture and contours of that part of the body.  I continue this process until I have covered the whole surface area of the insect.

Due to the inherent shallow depth of field that microscope lenses provide, each individual photograph only contains a tiny slither of focus.  To enable me to capture all the information I need to create a fully focused image, the camera is mounted onto an electronic rail that I program to move forward 10 microns between each shot.  To give you an idea of how far that is, the average human hair is around 75 microns wide.  The camera will then slowly move forward from the front of the insect to the back creating a folder of images that each have a thin plane of focus.  Through various photo-stacking processes I flatten these images down to create a single picture that has complete focus throughout the full depth of the insect.

I repeat this process over the entire body of the insect and once I have 30 fully focused sections I bring them together in Photoshop to create the final image.  From start to finish, a final photograph will take around 3 weeks to shoot, process and retouch.”

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Levon Biss Microsculpture

Microsculpture The exhibition
Oxford University Museum of Natural History
27 May – 30 October 2016

Microsculpture presents the insect collection of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History like never before. The result of a collaboration between the Museum and photographer Levon Biss, this series of beautifully-lit, high magnification portraits captures the microscopic form of insects in striking large-format and high-resolution detail.

Levon Biss Microsculpture

Levon Biss Microsculpture

Levon is holding a workshop at the Museum:

Photography Workshop with Levon Biss
Levon Biss’ photography is a masterclass in lighting. Pick up some expert techniques using specimens at different scales from the Museum collections. Special workshop to coincide with the Microsculpture exhibition.

Details to follow after Microsculpture exhibition opens on 27 May.
Saturday 9th July

Levon Biss Microsculpture

Microsculpture

Formed at scales too tiny for us to perceive and with astonishing complexity, the true structure and beauty of insects remains mostly hidden. Their intricate shapes, colours and microsculpture are dizzying in their variety, but it takes the power of an optical microscope or camera lens to experience insects at their own scale.

At high magnification the surface of even the plainest looking beetle or fly is completely transformed as details of their microsculpture become visible: ridges, pits or engraved meshes all combine at different spatial scales in a breath-taking intricacy. It is thought that these microscopic structures alter the properties of the insect’s surface in different ways, reflecting sunlight, shedding water, or trapping air.

Alongside these elements are minute hairs adapted for many purposes. They can help insects grip smooth surfaces, carry pollen, or detect movements in the air, to name but a few. The shape of these hairs is sometimes modified into flattened scales – structures so small they appear like dust to the naked eye. In some insects, such as butterflies and beetles, these scales scatter and reflect light, creating some of the most vibrant and intense colours seen in nature.

The evolutionary process of natural selection should account for all this wonderful diversity of microstructures, but for many species their specific adaptive function is still unknown. By observing insects in the wild, studying museum collections, and developing new imaging techniques we will surely learn more about these fascinating creatures and close the gaps in our current understanding.

Dr James Hogan
Life Collections, Oxford University Museum of Natural History

 

Sony World Photography National Awards

There are many photography awards, the Sony version is not my favourite but with every award or competition there are some that stand out. Here are some from the current national awards

The winners and runners-up in the Sony World Photography National Awards have been revealed. An expert panel selected the best image taken by a photographer from each of the 60 participating countries.

Here is a selection of some of the winners as shown on the BBC website

 

Minh Thanh Ngo, Winner, Vietnam, National Award, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

Image copyright Minh Thanh NgoImage captionThe winner for Vietnam, Minh Thanh Ngo, focused on the traditional custom of lighting lanterns on the Perfume River in Hue City.

© Pedro Diaz Molins, Winner, Spain, National Award, 2016 Sony World Photography AwardsImage copyrightPedro Diaz MolinsImage captionPedro Diaz Molins took first place for Spain with this image of an old couple on a beach.

© Khairel Anuar Che Ani, Winner, Malaysia, National Award, 2016 Sony World Photography AwardsImage copyrightKhairel Anuar Che AniImage captionWinner for Malaysia was Khairel Anuar Che Ani who captured a tired moment while Rejang dancers wait their turn the during Melasti Festival in Bali, Indonesia.

© Abhuit Banerjee, Winner, India, National Award,2016 Sony World Photography AwardsImage caption Abhijit Banerjee was awarded first place in India with this photograph titled Gangasagar Fair, taken at India’s second-largest fair, which takes place in West Bengal’s Sagar Island.

© Luis Portelles, 3rd place, Canada, National Awards, 2016 Sony World Photography AwardsImage copyrightLuis PortellesImage captionA colourful graphic shot by Luis Portelles was awarded third place for Canada.

Here is the Sony website

The winning images will be shown at Somerset House, London, from 24 April – 10 May.

International garden photographer of the year – in pictures

From the Guardian

The international garden photographer of the year in association with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, have announced the winners of their annual photography competition

The overall winning entry was of Tekapo lupins taken by Richard Bloom Photograph: Richard Bloom/IGPOTY

The overall winning entry was of Tekapo lupins taken by Richard Bloom
Photograph: Richard Bloom/IGPOTY

Patrizia Piga’s masterly still life of harvested plants and vegetables Photograph: Patrizia Piga/IGPOTY

Patrizia Piga’s masterly still life of harvested plants and vegetables
Photograph: Patrizia Piga/IGPOTY

Christine Blanchin dos Santos snapped this collection of seed pods Photograph: Christine Blanchin dos Santos/IGPOTY

Christine Blanchin dos Santos snapped this collection of seed pods
Photograph: Christine Blanchin dos Santos/IGPOTY

A close-up of a giant poppy by Stuart Hall Photograph: Stuart Hall/IGPOTY

A close-up of a giant poppy by Stuart Hall
Photograph: Stuart Hall/IGPOTY

See more from the Guardian Gallery here

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International Garden Photographer of the Year is the world’s premier competition and exhibition specialising in garden, plant, flower and botanical photography.

International Garden Photographer of the Year is wholly owned and organised by Garden World Images Ltd.

It is run in association with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, United Kingdom. The main exhibition is held annually at Kew, with a rolling programme of touring exhibitions in the UK and all over the world. Exhibitions are linked to events such as workshops and lectures on garden photography.

Exhibition dates

February 13th – April 29th 2016 NT Hanbury Hall, Droitwich, Worcestershire, ENGLAND 8 Indoor Competition 8
February 6th – 13th March 2016 Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London, ENGLAND 9 Competition 9 Winners Revealed To Public ~ Winners and finalists from Competition 9
March 4th – 28th 2016 RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Rettendon, Chelmsford, ENGLAND. 8 Indoor selection from Competition 8
April 12th – September 19th 2016 de Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS 9 Outdoor selection from Competition 9
April 23rd – June 26th 2016 Sunderland Museum, ENGLAND. 9 Indoor selection from Exhibition 9
April 23rd – 28th August 2016 Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter, ENGLAND 9 Winners from Competition 9
May 29th – September 3rd 2016 Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London, ENGLAND 9 Outdoor exhibition, winners from ‘Captured at Kew’ category
May 28th – 7th August 2016 Garden Society of Gothenburg, SWEDEN 9 Competition 9
28th June – 6th September 2016 NT Sheringham Park, Norfolk, ENGLAND 9 Outdoor exhibition, competition 9
October (tbc)- December (tbc) 2016
Stockwood Discovery Centre, Luton, ENGLAND
9 Indoor exhibition, competition 9
September TBC 2016 – January TBC 2017 Falkirk Community Trust, SCOTLAND 2,3,4,5,7,8 Mixed indoor selection from comps; 2,3,4,5,7,8

 

 

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2015

This time of year sees many of the major competitions coming to a close and awards being made. Now it is the turn of Wildlife Photographer of the Year  Here is a quick look at this years winners, we will return with a more expansive post later

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“A Tale of Two Foxes”: Don Gutoski’s picture captures a symmetry in life and death,

To the victor the spoils. An image of warring foxes has won the 2015 Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

Taken by amateur Don Gutoski, the picture captures the moment a red fox hauls away the carcass of its Arctic cousin following a deadly attack in Canada’s Wapusk National Park. “It’s the best picture I’ve ever taken in my life,” Don told BBC News. “It’s the symmetry of the heads, the bodies and the tails – even the expression on the faces.”

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These scarlet ibis were photographed by Jonathan Jagot (France), off the island of Lençóis on the coast of northeast Brazil. Jonathan is the category winner in the “15-17 years” of age group

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14-year-old Ondrej Pelánek from the Czech Republic for his image, Fighting Ruffs.

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The “Under Water” winner is Michael Aw (Australia). This is a Bryde’s whale ripping through a sardine “bait ball” offshore of South Africa’s Transkei coast

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Edwin Giesbers (Netherlands) pictures a newt from underneath as it moves across the surface of a stream. The picture wins the “Amphibians and Reptiles” category

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Juan Tapia (Spain) wins the “Impressions” category. It is a staged scene in which a broken canvas has been placed over a broken windowpane that barn swallows have been using to enter an old storehouse in Almeria, southern Spain

The BBC has a long article on the prize

The Natural History Museum as sponsor has much more

There is an exhibition at NHM, details are here

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2015-16 exhibition

The Natural History Museum
16 October 2015 – 10 April 2016
10.00-17.50 (last admission 17.15)

ZSL animal photography prize 2015

ZSL ANIMAL PHOTOGRAPHY PRIZE – WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION AT ZSL LONDON ZOO

Friday, September 18 to 28 February 2016 

The tigers, snakes and penguins won’t be the only thing entrancing visitors this autumn at ZSL London Zoo, as the winning images from the 2015 ZSL Animal Photography Prize have been unveiled to the public.

Until 28 February 2016 visitors to ZSL London Zoo will be able to admire the stunning shots entered into the Zoological Society of London’s fourth annual photography competition, displayed in a striking exhibition.

Combining mesmerising imagery with the enthralling sights, and sounds of the creatures at the Zoo, the exhibition is on show within squawking distance of the flamboyant flamingos and picturesque pelicans.

The exhibition’s top wildlife photographs were chosen by a panel of judges including ZSL Honorary Conservation Fellow and television presenter Kate Humble, and renowned ornithologist Bill Oddie.

The ZSL Animal Photography Prize Exhibition is free with every standard admission ticket to ZSL London Zoo. With more than 17,000 incredible animals to see and a packed schedule of brilliant talks and demonstrations, ZSL London Zoo makes the perfect autumn day out.

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The Strongest Bond by Tom Way The Perfect Moment category  Adult runner up

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Timeless by Andy Skillen Judges’ Choice Size Matters category  Adult winner

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Sleeping Beauty by Tianha Williams Last Chance to See category  Runner up

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Bright Eyes by Carolyn Collins Weird and Wonderful category  Adult winner

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You can see more images on The Guardian website

Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015

Found on the BBC website a plethora of images of the heavens, heavenly images I guess. This time of year as it gets harder to see the stars in the UK the winners of the Astronomy Photographer of the Year are announced and what a surprising set of images they are.

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Huge Prominence Lift-off – by Paolo Porcellana (Our Sun, Winner)

Paul Kerley writes

Shimmering phenomena in the night sky – and starry sights billions of light years away – take a look at some of the finalists in the 2015 Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition. “Utterly enthralling with moments of brilliance” is how the comedian, impersonator and amateur astronomer Jon Culshaw describes the shortlisted entries in the competition to become the Astronomy Photographer of the Year. With his personal interest in the cosmos, Culshaw was one of the judges this year. He says he was aged about seven or eight when he got the space bug. He looked for UFOs, was fascinated by lunar eclipses and always watched the Sky at Night.

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Interaction – Hemnesberget, Nordland, Norway – by Tommy Eliassen (People and Space, Highly Commended)

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Silk Skies – Abisko National Park, Lapland, Sweden – by Jamen Percy (Aurorae, Winner)

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Eclipse Totality over Sassendalen – by Luc Jamet (Skyscapes, Winner and Overall Winner)

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Sumo Waggle Adventure – Lomaas River, Skanland, Norway – by Arild Heitmann (Aurorae, Highly Commended)

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Sunset Peak Star Trail – Lantau Island, Hong Kong – by Chap Him Wong (People and Space, Winner)

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Royal Observatory Greenwich in London until 26 June 2016.

See the full article and many more fascinating images on the BBC here