From displays of extraordinary animal behaviour to unexpected views of nature, the hunt is on for the planet’s best wildlife images for the 50th Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition.
The competition remains the most prestigious wildlife photography contest in the world, championing the ethical discovery and enjoyment of the natural world through the power of photography. To be in with a chance of seizing one of the coveted awards and grand titles, entries must display creativity, innovation, authenticity and technical excellence.
The competition opens on 9 December 2013 and closes 27 February 2014. Amateur and professional photographers alike are invited to submit images to 18 categories, with four categories open exclusively to those aged 17 and under. Full details can be found, and entries submitted at www.wildlifephotographeroftheyear.com
Judges are looking for images that capture the beauty, mystery, fragility and diversity of life on our planet. They should interpret the familiar in new ways and give a voice to subjects, places and issues that may otherwise go unnoticed.
New for the 50th competition is the introduction of a revised category structure, new awards, including the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Portfolio Award; the debut of new technologies such as time lapse photography; and a new category, WILD-I, for mobile device led content.
Photographers compete for one of two coveted grand titles, plus a share of a prize pot worth £50,000, and the opportunity to be featured in an exhibition that debuts at the Natural History Museum in London before touring six continents.
Last year’s competition received around 43,000 entries from photographers in 96 countries. The overall adult title was claimed by South African Greg du Toit, for his image Essence of elephants, while the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year accolade was awarded to 14-year-old Udayan Rao Pawar from India, for a photograph of gharial crocodiles titledMother’s little headful.
Udayan said of his triumph, “Winning the competition has opened so many doors for me. My work has now been recognised on a global level and I have had the good fortune to be featured in international newspapers and on worldwide television stations. This exposure really means a lot to me at this early stage of my career and I feel very lucky to have been given this opportunity.”
This year’s entries will be reviewed by an internationally renowned jury, bringing together the very best names from the photography and creative industries who, together with the competition chair and moderators, oversee the selection of 100 award winning images from the many thousands that are submitted
Creativity is the key attribute in any successful entry, as depicted in images such as Jasper Doest’s Snow moment, which uses polarisation and fill flash to capture the surreal effect of cold winds on a hot spring. Pål Hermansen’s Life after rust uses a wide-angle composition to tell the story of nature’s reclamation of a classically urban environment.
The Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition also strives to award news-worthy and thought provoking photo documentary, highlighting some of the world’s most important natural stories. Brent Stirton was the winner of last year’s Wildlife Photojournalist of the Year Award for his photo story God’s Ivory.
A cornerstone of the competition is that location and opportunity should be no barrier to success. Solvin Zankl’s image of toads demonstrates that even the common-place can produce beautiful images.
“You really don’t need to go far,” says Solvin. “Start looking around at the places near where you live. Find a local habitat − a tree, a meadow, a pond, a hedge − it doesn’t really matter; just get to know that place better than anyone else. The more you understand what’s happening, the more you see − and the more opportunities there are for taking wonderful wildlife photographs.”
To enter the 2014 Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition please visit www.wildlifephotographeroftheyear.com
(from a press release)