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Category Archives: Wildlife Photography

Best photography competitions to enter in 2015

What a useful site DCW can be, here is a list of some of the most prestigious competitions for you to enter this year

Landscape Photographer of the Year 2015

The brainchild of renowned landscape photographer Charlie Waite, Take a View Landscape Photographer of the Year celebrates British landscapes. Although only landscapes taken in the UK are accepted, photographers from any country are welcome to enter, and with the grand title winner taking home a total prize worth £20,000, you might find entering is worth your while!

A Beginning and an End, Glencoe, Scotland

Image: A Beginning and an End, Glencoe, Scotland, by Mark Littlejohn

Travel Photographer of the Year 2015

Founded in 2003, Travel Photographer of the Year has grown to become one of the most prestigious photography awards in the world, receiving entries from around 100 countries each year.


Image: By Philip Lee Harvey

International Garden Photographer of the Year

Run in association with the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, the IGPOTY’s Ninth annual competition will take place this year, with an award of £5000 for the grand title winner, and an award of £2000 for the Portfolio winner.


Image: My Prairie Garden by Rosanna Castrini

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2015

The long-running and well-respected Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, now in its 50th year, is co-owned by the prestigious Natural History Museum and BBC Worldwide. It now receives entries from around 100 countries across the globe. The top award for best single image is £10,000, along with a trophy and personalised certificate. There are other generous prizes for awards in other categories.


Image: The last great picture by Michael ‘Nick’ Nichols

Sony World Photography Awards 2016

Priding itself on being the largest photography competition around, the Sony World Photography Awards attracts a large number of submissions from entrants – of all ages and skill levels – across the world.


Image: by John Stanmeyer, winner of Contemporary Issues category



Wildlife Photographer of The Year 2014



That time of year again, here are the results of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 201460

Michael ‘Nick’ Nichols, USA

Nick is a photographic artist and journalist who uses his skills to tell stories about environmental issues and our relationship with wildlife. His career, much of it with National Geographic, spans more than 35 years, and his work has been published in numerous books and magazines. The mass of accolades he has received reflects the international recognition reputation he has earned.

Photograph Details

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014

Grand title winner

Winner 2014

Black and White

Michael ‘Nick’ Nichols, USA

The last great picture

Nick set out to create an archetypal image that captured the essence of lions in a time long gone, before they were under such threat. The Vumbi pride in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park are a ‘formidable and spectacularly co-operative team,’ Nick says. Here the five females lie at rest with their cubs on a kopje (a rocky outcrop). Shortly before he took the shot, they had attacked and driven off one of the pride’s two males. Now they were lying close together, calmly sleeping. They were used to Nick’s presence as he’d been following them for nearly six months, so he could position his vehicle close to the kopje. He framed the vista with the plains beyond and the dramatic late afternoon sky above. He photographed the lions in infrared, which he says ‘cuts through the dust and haze, transforms the light and turns the moment into something primal, biblical almost’. The chosen picture of lions in Africa is part flashback, part fantasy. Nick got to know and love the Vumbi pride. A few months later, he heard they had ventured outside the park and three females had been killed.

Technical specification

Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 24–70mm f2.8 lens at 32mm; 1/250 sec at f8; ISO 200.


Carlos Perez Naval

Carlos Perez Naval, Spain

Carlos has been taking photographs seriously for the past three years (since he was five) and has already won prizes in Spanish, Italian and French competitions. He loves nature, whatever and wherever it is, and spends as much time as possible out photographing the plants and animals around that live near his home in Spain.

Photograph Details

Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014

Grand title winner

Winner 2014

10 Years and under

Carlos Perez Naval, Spain

Stinger in the sun

This common yellow scorpion is flourishing its sting as a warning. Carlos had found it basking on a flat stone in a rocky area near his home in Torralba de los Sisones, northeast Spain – a place he often visits to look for reptiles. The late afternoon Sun was casting such a lovely glow over the scene that Carlos decided to experiment with a double exposure for the first time so he could include it. He started with the background, using a fast speed so as not to overexpose the Sun, and then shot the scorpion using a low flash. But he had to change lenses, using his zoom for the Sun, which is when the scorpion noticed the movement and raised its tail. Carlos then had to wait for it to settle before taking his close-up, with the last of the light illuminating its body.

Technical specification

Nikon D300 + 105mm f2.8 lens (28–300mm lens for the background); 1/320 sec at f10; ISO 320; flash.


Photograph Details

Winner 2014


Alex Badyaev, Russia/USA

The mouse, the moon and the mosquito

Alexander was taking his daily hike along a trail in the Blackfoot Valley, western Montana, USA, when he noticed a giant puffball mushroom starting to inflate. Squirrels, chipmunks and mice began exploring and scent-marking the surface of the oversized fungus leaving it covered with tiny prints. Alex returned to the spot during a full Moon, when the puffball had reached its maximum size. He lay on the ground, watching and waiting, entertained by the dozens of small animals exploring the puffball. The most frequent visitors were deer mice, which scampered around, sometimes pausing to check on their surroundings. To avoid disturbing the animals, and to preserve the sense of place, Alex used the Moon as his backlighting. He relied on a long exposure and a gentle pulse of flash to show the curve of the fungus and to capture the frantic activity. When one deer mouse paused for a moment to investigate a persistent mosquito, the perfect midnight puffball scene was created.

Technical specification

Canon EOS-1D Mark IV + 105mm lens; 2.5 sec at f14; ISO 250; Canon 430EX II flash.


Winner 2014


Bence Máté, Hungary

Herons in time and space

Bence had set up his hide to overlook Lake Csaj in Kiskunság National Park, Hungary. He had a specific image in mind and had planned to use both artificial and natural light. His subject was the shy grey heron. To overcome the various technological challenges of a night-time shot, he had built two timing devices for his camera to execute the single exposure. One device moved the focus, while the other adjusted the aperture within a single frame, so both the herons and the stars were in focus. It took 74 nights in the hide before the conditions were right and it all came together. The surface of the lake was still, reflecting the stars, and the sky was clear and motionless. Just after midnight, the seven stars of the Plough (part of the Ursa Major constellation) slid into position above the glow of a distant town. Bence took the shot, with both the stars and herons sharp, but with traces of the birds’ movement leaving ghostly impressions against the sky. Blending technology and passion in a masterful manner, Bence had finally created a picture that he had planned for many years – of herons imprinting their images in time and space.

Technical specification

Nikon D800 + Sigma 15mm f2.8 lens; 32 sec (1 sec at f10, then 31 sec at f2.8) + two custom-made gadgets; ISO 2000; four flashes; tripod; hide.

See all the winners here


50 Years of Wildlife Photographer of the Year – in pictures

Seen in the Guardian Natural History Museum’s new book released on Wednesday marks five decades of the WPY competition, celebrating the art of wildlife photography. Started in the 1960s, the 160 prize-winning and commended images represent 50 years of different times, styles and specialisms – showcasing some of the iconic images of wildlife on planet Earth, part of an exhibition in London from 24 October



World Elephant Day 12th August 2014

Why World Elephant Day? Because the world’s elephants are in trouble and need your help.
Elephant numbers have dropped by 62% over the last decade, and they could be mostly extinct by the end of the next decade. An estimated 100 African elephants are killed each day by poachers seeking ivory, meat and body parts, leaving only 400,000 remaining. An insatiable lust for ivory products in the Asian market makes the illegal ivory trade extremely profitable, and has led to the slaughter of tens of thousands of African elephants. Between 2010 and 2014, the price of ivory in China has tripled, driving illicit poaching through the roof. If the elephants are to survive, the demand for ivory must be drastically reduced. As of 2011, the world is losing more elephants than the population can reproduce, threatening the future of African elephants across the continent. Bull elephants with big tusks are the main targets and their numbers have been diminished to less than half of the females. Female African elephants have tusks and are also killed, which has a terrible effect on the stability of elephant societies, leaving an increasing number of orphaned baby elephants.

On the third annual World Elephant Day, Tuesday, August 12, 2014, people around the world plan actions and activities to help save increasingly threatened African and Asian elephants

(Earth, August 5, 2014) Tuesday, August 12, 2014, is the third annual World Elephant Day, a day when people come together to honor elephants, to spread awareness about the critical threats they are facing, and to support positive solutions that will help ensure their survival. Within our lifetimes, elephants may face global extinction in the wild. World Elephant Day was launched on August 12, 2012, by the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation and Canadian documentary filmmaker Patricia Sims.

The survival odds for the world’s elephants are increasingly grim. During the past four years, poaching for ivory has surged to unprecedented levels. It is estimated that 100 African elephants are slaughtered daily for the illegal wildlife trade. According to a June 2014 report by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), 20 percent of Africa’s elephants may be killed in the next ten years if poaching continues at current levels. Others believe that all African elephants may be extinct in the wild by 2025. It is estimated that fewer than 400,000 African elephants remain. There are less than 40,000 Asian elephants left in the world, making their official status “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List. Asian elephants face extensive loss of habitat, and are also killed for their ivory, meat, and body parts, while young elephants are removed from their natural environment for use in the tourism industry.


Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013 Grand title winner Winner 2013 Animal Portraits Greg du Toit, South Africa

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013

Grand title winner

Winner 2013

Animal Portraits

Greg du Toit, South Africa

Essence of elephants

Since first picking up a camera, Greg has photographed African elephants. ‘I’ve always wanted to capture their special energy and their state of consciousness,’ he says.

The shot was taken at a waterhole in Botswana’s Northern Tuli Game Reserve from a sunken hide. Greg used a slow shutter speed to create the atmosphere and ‘to depict these gentle giants in an almost ghostly way.’ He used a tilted wide-angle lens to catch the size of any elephant entering the foreground, and a narrow aperture to create depth of field so that elephants in the background would also be in focus.

To emphasise their mystery, he attached a polarising filter and set his white balance to a cool temperature. The lucky final touch was the baby elephant, which raced by so close. The slow shutter speed conveyed the motion, and a burst of flash at the end of the exposure froze the fleeting detail.

Russian photographer Maria Ionova-Gribina

From Bored Panda

Russian photographer Maria Ionova-Gribina’s unique but morbid Natura Morta project lets us look into the saddest part of nature’s cycle – death. In these beautiful photographs, the animals look like they’re sleeping peacefully, with birds dreaming of flight and rabbits of running. The photographer reveals how this idea of honoring dead animals came to her:

“When me and my brother found a dead mole, bird or bug we buried them on the border of a forest. And we decorated the grave with flowers and stones.” She decided to continue the tradition while also taking beautiful photographs of animals that died naturally or after accidents with cars. The flowers used in these photos were gathered near the animals and in the photographer’s  garden.





fascinating stuff, see the whole collection here or here for a bit more

Monkey Self-Portrait Continues To Raise Issues Of Copyright Control

You will no doubt remember this image, it was all over the web and elsewhere. A self portrait taken by a macaque monkey. The photographer had his camera used by the monkey and this memorable image emerged. Lots of fun. Now there is a question over copyright. This article sums up some of the issues.

Monkey takes photos on camera

Usually, the issue of who owns a photograph is fairly straightforward. Barring contracts or agreements, the person who pressed the shutter gets it. But what happens if it’s not a person who presses the shutter? That’s a question that’s still proving incredibly difficult for photographer David Slater, ever since a monkey took his camera and grabbed a self-portrait back in 2011.

In the US copyright is defined by something created by a human, not a machine or an animal, so  fees should be paid to David.

Now I think David Slater should own the copyright, if for no other reason than he didn’t panic and scream when the macaque grabbed his camera. What he does with the money is up to him but I am of the opinion it should go to the World Wildlife Fund. If anyone is going to benefit clearly it should be David, I mean how are you going to identify the particular macaque, I am aware we have his picture but is that enough. And in these days of internet banking where should the proceeds of the macaque’s copyright be sent. Maybe he wants to be paid in bitcoins or more likely anything from soil and ferns to crabs and shellfish, I guess it depends what is on sale at the time.

Another thought, photographers are often referred to as ‘monkeys’ especially of the genus press or paparazzi, and looking at images on the monitor on the back of the camera as ‘chimping’. Does this complicate the copyright laws?

There is an update on this copyright issue as explained in Intellectual Property Watch is is not a long article and is informative however if you can’t be bothered to read it here is the conclusion


So, going back to our talented amateur monkey photographer, it is reasonably clear she can’t create a copyrighted work, and also unlikely that Slater would be considered the copyright owner in any event. But what about rights of publicity or image rights? Or database rights attaching to the suite of photos? Or data protection and privacy rights? Could these legal theories prove more fruitful for Slater and his “assistant”?

Or perhaps the fact that our simian pals are not able to be copyright authors should be viewed as a blessing, rather than a curse. After all, if a monkey can’t create a copyright, presumably a monkey can’t infringe one either . . .



Wildlife Photographer of The Year Exhibition In Oxford

The Natural History Museum in Oxford is hosting the Wildlife Photographer of The Year.

16 July – 22 September Free Admission Details here


Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013 Grand title winner Winner 2013

Animal Portraits Greg du Toit, South Africa


Joint runner-up 2013 Animal Portraits

Hannes Lochner, South Africa


Commended 2013 Animal Portraits

Douglas Seifert, USA

Opening hours Open daily from 10am-5pm. Admission is free.

Summer Swifts Photo Competition

Wildlife Photographer of the Year comes to the

Museum of Natural History this summer, on display 16 July – 22 September.

To mark the occasion we’re launching a photo competition of our own…

Send us your best photograph of this summer’s swifts on the wing, either around the Museum’s tower or near you. Full details here

Here is an event at the NHM that we are involved with, you might be interested

Sat 20 Imaging Techniques in Modern Natural History – a Hands- On Guide

Day school, Adults 16+, 10am-5pm

A practical course in digital imaging using electron microscopy, 3D laser scanning, multiplane microscopy and macrophotography. This course coincides with the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Museum. Fee: £60.

For more information email


9 creative photo ideas to try in June

From The Digital Camera World site we find these encouragements. As part of our ongoing series to help you get more creative with your digital camera, each month we publish some fun, seasonal, creative photo ideas to help inspire your imagination. Along with some amazing images, we’ve also provided some quick photography tips by both amateur and professional photographers who are experts in these fields.

We’re kicking off June with a slew of fun projects like black and white animal portraits, butterflies, abstract water and using a few clever tricks from the portrait photographer’s handbook to photograph your food, among many more


Landscape photography is a lot nicer at this time of year: it’s warmer, and you can always have a go at shooting during the longer dusks if you can’t face getting up at stupid o’clock in the morning.

That said, it’s well worth making the effort to get up if you can. There is something really magical, even spiritual, about dawn light – and hardly anyone else is around. Make 2014 the year that you really think about light.

A good start would be to download an app that tells you the position of the sun – a good one to try is the Photographer’s Ephemeris.

That done, try to think about light in more creative ways. Shooting into the light can generate interesting images, but try to put the sun behind an object (such as a big tree or rock) to reduce flare.

You want to avoid blown-out highlights in the sky as much as possible. A good way of using strong sunlight is to turn a strong graphic element into a silhouette. Reduce exposure compensation by -1 for a stronger effect.

Shooting landscapes is a good way to practise manual-focus skills, as landscapes are usually pretty static! If you’re not sure whether you’ve focussed properly, turn on Live View on your rear screen and pick an area to focus on, say about one third into the scene.

Live View should enable you to magnify this area without needing to change the lens’ focal length; once the area looks sharp in Live View, you’re good to go.

SEE MORE: Live View mode – how to use it on any camera

Using a narrower aperture and placing your camera on a tripod will help to ensure front-to-back sharp shots.

If you are experimenting with slower shutter speeds, maybe to create milky water or interesting effects in moving grass, make sure you aren’t on Auto ISO – you want to stick to a low ISO to keep shutter speed down.

See all 9 suggestions here


Tutorials to help improve your photography for the weekend

From the Digital photography school we have a selection of tips and advice to help you take and make better pictures, have a look

Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 10.16.29

John Wilhelm is a photoholic

John is clearly a man with a vision, a vision that likes to mess with your head.





There is one thing of importance in my life (of course after my family, friends and regular job): Everything connected to photography and photoshopping. I’m not a professional but I’ve got a professional attitude and I think I’m able to deliver professional work with professional reliability. John Wilhelm…..



I found out about John from Lightstalking, that ever interesting site from down under.

Often in photography, people concern themselves with realism and accurate portrayals of scenes and there is obviously a big place for that. But sometimes, it’s nice to be taken into pure fantasy by a photographer with a huge imagination and no inhibitions.

John Wilhelm is a photographer with a very playful mind and a great grasp of using Photoshop to share his fantastic ideas. Check out some of these fantastic manipulations….more



see more of John’s work here