2015년 2월 12일 목요일

2015년도 야생동물사진사: Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2015

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, founded in 1964, is an annual international showcase of the very best in nature photography. The competition, co-owned by the Natural History Museum and BBC Worldwide, opened for entries on January 5, and will stay open until February 26. This year, the contest includes 21 individual categories, ranging from birds and mammals to "In the Skies" and "TIMElapse Special Award." The owners and sponsors have been kind enough to share the following 10 finalists from last year's competition. Their website has images from all of last year's winners and more information about the current competition.
  • Snow shroud: Walking along the Dublin coast in February, Gavin came across a dead fox. "It seemed to have died naturally," he says, a rare sight in this built-up area, where it is more usual to see roadkill. "I took some shots and admired its beauty, before returning home." Later that night, it snowed. Hoping for a different kind of image, Gavin retraced his steps the next day. "The fox was newly shaped with a shroud of snow," he says. "I found it gorgeous—so peaceful—but also reflecting the coldness of death and the vulnerability of the wild." Gavin framed his shot with a 50mm lens, beloved of portrait photographers and ideal for low-light, and converted the picture to black and white, to concentrate on the bare essentials and mood of the scene. 
    © Gavin Leane/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014
  • Blown Away: Dana was intent on showing his clients the magnificent dunes of Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia—among the highest in the world. But on this day, it was so windy and the air in the dry riverbed so full of powdery sand that he nearly gave up. In this spot, though, there was relative calm, and the skeleton acacia tree, dwarfed by the massive dune, gave a sense of scale. What fascinated him most were the moving patterns of sand. "The shifting winds made the sand dance across the shaded side of the dune like the flames of a fire," he recalls. 
    © Dana Allen/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014
  • Snowbird: Cheese and sausage are what Siberian jays like—so Edwin discovered on a skiing holiday with his family in northern Sweden. Whenever they stopped for lunch, he would photograph the birds that gathered in hope of scraps. On this occasion, while his family ate their sandwiches, Edwin dug a pit in the snow deep enough to climb into. He scattered titbits of food around the edge and then waited. To his delight, the jays flew right over him, allowing him to photograph them from below and capture the full rusty colours of their undersides more clearly than he had dared hope. 
    © Edwin Sahlin/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014
  • Creative dining: The extraordinary mud-ring-hunting technique of bottlenose dolphins is known to occur in only two locations: Crystal River and Florida Bay, both in Florida, USA. Brian headed for the bay, hoping to photograph this rare behavior as part of a project on intelligence. The shallows over the mudflats are rich feeding grounds for the dolphins, which use sonar to locate their prey—mainly mullet—emitting a series of clicks and then listening for the echoes. When a shoal is detected, one dolphin zooms over and circles it, striking the mud with its tail to create a wall of muddy water around the prey. As the wall starts to collapse, the panicking fish leap out of the water towards the rest of the dolphin gang, who line up just outside the ring and athletically snatch the fish from the air. To frame the dolphins in the act—the hunt taking just seconds—was a challenging prospect. Working from a helicopter with a dolphin researcher, Brian captured the moment when the lead dolphin completed a perfectly to grab a meal. 
    © Brian Skerry/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014
  • Night stalker: Exploring the dunes of Oman’s Wahiba Sands one night in search of reptiles, Javier came across a xerxes huntsman spider, about 10 centimeters (4 inches) across, out hunting, probably for geckos or invertebrates. Huntsman spiders have relatively poor vision but an excellent sense of vibration. "This one was fast and didn’t hesitate to defend itself, jumping right onto my boot," says Javier, who couldn’t resist getting his camera out. "I wanted to show the habitat that it lives in"—not so easy in the dark, with a fast-moving subject and sand blowing all around. Highlighting the background with a flashlight, he quickly set up his camera and wide-angle lens. At first, the spider raised its legs defensively, but then it calmed down, allowing Javier to take a low-level shot of the hunter in its environment. 
    © Javier Aznar González de Rueda/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014
  • Golden birch: When Herfried woke one October morning and looked out of the window of his home in Wörschach, Austria, he was taken by surprise at the transformation. Everything was covered with a thin blanket of white. Heading straight out "to capture some of the magic" with his camera, he found a favorite silver birch glowing through a dusting of fresh snow. The green and gold diamond-shaped leaves were delicately edged with frost, and the pattern of leaves cascading down the slender, snow-covered twigs, was offset by the graphic nature of the trunk, its silvery-white bark fissured with age and encrusted with lichen and algae. Framing and reframing, he finally settled on a composition, the ethereal quality of the picture enhanced by the white backdrop of freezing fog. 
    © Herfried Marek/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014
  • Communal warmth: About an hour before sunset, Simone set up at the edge of a cliff, high in the Simien Mountains of Ethiopia, where he knew a group of geladas would return after a day’s foraging on nearby grasslands. Geladas are the last surviving species of a once widespread group of grass-grazing primates, now confined to certain spots in the Ethiopian highlands, threatened by the loss of their grasslands and competing with livestock for grazing. The troop arrived on cue, and as the sun set and the cold night loomed, the monkeys disappeared over the cliff to find a safe place to sleep where they could huddle together for warmth. Simone leant over, balancing against a rock to get as close as possible without falling. By now, it was almost completely dark, and so he increased his ISO setting to maximum, used a gentle pulse of flash and focused straight down the cliff, capturing just one graphic composition of these close-knit characters. 
    © Simone Sbaraglia Sbaraglia/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014
  • Fish-eye view: Eyes bulging, the heron stared down at Joshua, and for a second Joshua stared right back. Looking up, it was easy to imagine what it might be like to be a fish, with that deadly beak about to strike. It was one of those truly serendipitous moments. Joshua had wandered down to the Pen Ponds in Richmond Park, London, home to a handful of grey herons. A scuffle had broken out between two males, and Joshua had watched as one heron began to chase the other around the lake, driving it off the water and into the tree Joshua was standing under. In fact, the heron landed right above his head. Seizing the moment, Joshua lifted his camera and lens off the tripod and shot up through the branches, catching the moment the heron turned its attention to him. It was, he said, "amazing to see such a common bird in a completely new way." 
    © Joshua Burch/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014

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