Photography

Thrilling natural wonders in the 54th Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards

Thrilling natural wonders in t...
The Golden Couple by Marsel van Oosten, The Netherlands, Grand Title Winner 2018. A male Qinling golden snub-nosed monkey rests briefly on a stone seat. He has been joined by a female from his small group. It’s spring in the temperate forest of China’s Qinling Mountains, the only place where these endangered monkeys live
The Golden Couple by Marsel van Oosten, The Netherlands, Grand Title Winner 2018. A male Qinling golden snub-nosed monkey rests briefly on a stone seat. He has been joined by a female from his small group. It’s spring in the temperate forest of China’s Qinling Mountains, the only place where these endangered monkeys live
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The Golden Couple by Marsel van Oosten, The Netherlands, Grand Title Winner 2018. A male Qinling golden snub-nosed monkey rests briefly on a stone seat. He has been joined by a female from his small group. It’s spring in the temperate forest of China’s Qinling Mountains, the only place where these endangered monkeys live
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The Golden Couple by Marsel van Oosten, The Netherlands, Grand Title Winner 2018. A male Qinling golden snub-nosed monkey rests briefly on a stone seat. He has been joined by a female from his small group. It’s spring in the temperate forest of China’s Qinling Mountains, the only place where these endangered monkeys live
Lounging Leopard by Skye Meaker, South Africa. Grand Title Winner 2018, 15-17 Years Old. Mathoja was dozing when they finally found her, lying along a low branch of a nyala tree. And she continued to doze all the time they were there, unfazed by the vehicle. "She would sleep for a couple of minutes. Then look around briefly. Then fall back to sleep," says Skye
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Lounging Leopard by Skye Meaker, South Africa. Grand Title Winner 2018, 15-17 Years Old. Mathoja was dozing when they finally found her, lying along a low branch of a nyala tree. And she continued to doze all the time they were there, unfazed by the vehicle. "She would sleep for a couple of minutes. Then look around briefly. Then fall back to sleep," says Skye
Bed of Seals by Cristobal Serrano, Spain. Winner 2018, Category: Animals in their environment. A small ice floe in the Errera Channel at the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula provides barely enough room for a group of crabeater seals to rest, and the cracks are starting to show.
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Bed of Seals by Cristobal Serrano, Spain. Winner 2018, Category: Animals in their environment. A small ice floe in the Errera Channel at the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula provides barely enough room for a group of crabeater seals to rest, and the cracks are starting to show.
Mud-rolling Mud-dauber by Georgina Steytler, Australia. Winner 2018, Category: Behaviour, Invertebrates. It was a hot summer day, and the waterhole at Walyormouring Nature Reserve, Western Australia, was buzzing. The insects were females, busy digging in the soft mud at the water’s edge, and then rolling the mud into balls to create egg chambers to add to their nearby nests
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Mud-rolling Mud-dauber by Georgina Steytler, Australia. Winner 2018, Category: Behaviour, Invertebrates. It was a hot summer day, and the waterhole at Walyormouring Nature Reserve, Western Australia, was buzzing. The insects were females, busy digging in the soft mud at the water’s edge, and then rolling the mud into balls to create egg chambers to add to their nearby nests
Dream Duel by Michel d’Oultremont, Belgium. Winner 2018, Category: Rising Star Portfolio Award. As storm clouds gathered over the Ardennes forest in Belgium, Michel hid behind a tree under a camouflage net. At last, the stags appeared on the ridge, antlers locked, silhouetted. Michel had time to capture the clash – through branches of the tree to create the atmosphere
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Dream Duel by Michel d’Oultremont, Belgium. Winner 2018, Category: Rising Star Portfolio Award. As storm clouds gathered over the Ardennes forest in Belgium, Michel hid behind a tree under a camouflage net. At last, the stags appeared on the ridge, antlers locked, silhouetted. Michel had time to capture the clash – through branches of the tree to create the atmosphere
Kuhirwa mourns her baby by Ricardo Núñez Montero, Spain. Winner 2018, Category: Behaviour, Mammals. Kuhirwa’s initial reactions to her bereavement echo responses to death seen in other species. From elephants stroking the bones of dead family members to dolphins who try to keep dead companions afloat, there is an abundance of credible evidence that many animals – ranging from primates and cetaceans to cats, dogs, rabbits, horses and some birds – behave in ways that visibly express grief, though individual reactions vary
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Kuhirwa mourns her baby by Ricardo Núñez Montero, Spain. Winner 2018, Category: Behaviour, Mammals. Kuhirwa’s initial reactions to her bereavement echo responses to death seen in other species. From elephants stroking the bones of dead family members to dolphins who try to keep dead companions afloat, there is an abundance of credible evidence that many animals – ranging from primates and cetaceans to cats, dogs, rabbits, horses and some birds – behave in ways that visibly express grief, though individual reactions vary
Hellbent by David Herasimtschuk, USA. Winner 2018, Category: Behaviour, Amphibians and Reptiles. North America’s largest aquatic salamander – up to 75 centimetres (29 inches) long – the hellbender has declined significantly because of habitat loss and degradation of the habitat that remains. "It looked as though the hellbender had a firm grip and the snake was tiring," says David, "but then the snake squeezed its powerful body against the hellbender’s head." When the attacker tried to reposition its bite, wrinkly folds of skin rippling, the snake pushed free from its jaws and escaped
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Hellbent by David Herasimtschuk, USA. Winner 2018, Category: Behaviour, Amphibians and Reptiles. North America’s largest aquatic salamander – up to 75 centimetres (29 inches) long – the hellbender has declined significantly because of habitat loss and degradation of the habitat that remains. "It looked as though the hellbender had a firm grip and the snake was tiring," says David, "but then the snake squeezed its powerful body against the hellbender’s head." When the attacker tried to reposition its bite, wrinkly folds of skin rippling, the snake pushed free from its jaws and escaped
Signature Tree by Alejandro Prieto, Mexico. Winner 2018, Category: Wildlife Photojournalist Award, Story. A male jaguar sharpens his claws and scratches his signature into a tree on the edge of his mountain territory in the Sierra de Vallejo in Mexico’s western state of Nayarit
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Signature Tree by Alejandro Prieto, Mexico. Winner 2018, Category: Wildlife Photojournalist Award, Story. A male jaguar sharpens his claws and scratches his signature into a tree on the edge of his mountain territory in the Sierra de Vallejo in Mexico’s western state of Nayarit
Pipe Owls by Arshdeep Singh, India. Winner 2018, Category: 10 Years and Under. Huddled together at the opening of an old waste-pipe, two spotted owlets look straight into young photographer Arshdeep’s lens
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Pipe Owls by Arshdeep Singh, India. Winner 2018, Category: 10 Years and Under. Huddled together at the opening of an old waste-pipe, two spotted owlets look straight into young photographer Arshdeep’s lens
The Ice Pool by Cristobal Serrano, Spain. Winner 2018, Category: Creative Visions. The drone’s fresh perspective revealed an ice carving, whittled by biting winds and polar seas. Warmer air had melted part of the surface to create a clear, heart-shaped pool, within the sweeping curves of ice
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The Ice Pool by Cristobal Serrano, Spain. Winner 2018, Category: Creative Visions. The drone’s fresh perspective revealed an ice carving, whittled by biting winds and polar seas. Warmer air had melted part of the surface to create a clear, heart-shaped pool, within the sweeping curves of ice
The Sad Clown by Joan de la Malla, Spain. Winner 2018, Category: Wildlife Photojournalism. Timbul, a young long-tailed macaque, instinctively puts his hand to his face to try to relieve the discomfort of the mask he has to wear. His owner is training him to stand upright so that he can add more stunts to his street‑show repertoire (the word Badut on the hat means clown). When he’s not training or performing, Timbul lives chained up in his owner’s yard next to a railway track in Surabaya, on the Indonesian island of Java 
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The Sad Clown by Joan de la Malla, Spain. Winner 2018, Category: Wildlife Photojournalism. Timbul, a young long-tailed macaque, instinctively puts his hand to his face to try to relieve the discomfort of the mask he has to wear. His owner is training him to stand upright so that he can add more stunts to his street‑show repertoire (the word Badut on the hat means clown). When he’s not training or performing, Timbul lives chained up in his owner’s yard next to a railway track in Surabaya, on the Indonesian island of Java 
Crossing Paths by Marco Colombo, Italy. Winner 2018, Category: Urban Wildlife. A village in the Abruzzo, Lazio. Most Marsican brown bears – an isolated, unaggressive and critically endangered subspecies – stay well away from humans. A few individuals, though, venture into villages to raid vegetable gardens and orchards, especially in the run-up to winter hibernation, when they need to lay down fat
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Crossing Paths by Marco Colombo, Italy. Winner 2018, Category: Urban Wildlife. A village in the Abruzzo, Lazio. Most Marsican brown bears – an isolated, unaggressive and critically endangered subspecies – stay well away from humans. A few individuals, though, venture into villages to raid vegetable gardens and orchards, especially in the run-up to winter hibernation, when they need to lay down fat
Night Flight by Michael Patrick O’Neill, USA. Winner 2018, Category: Under Water. Spreading their long, pointed pectoral fins like wings, flying fish can glide for several hundred meters (more than 650 feet). At night, they are more approachable, moving slowly as they feed on planktonic animals close to the surface
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Night Flight by Michael Patrick O’Neill, USA. Winner 2018, Category: Under Water. Spreading their long, pointed pectoral fins like wings, flying fish can glide for several hundred meters (more than 650 feet). At night, they are more approachable, moving slowly as they feed on planktonic animals close to the surface
Windsweep by Orlando Fernandez Miranda, Spain. Winner 2018, Category: Earth’s Environments. Standing at the top of a high dune on Namibia’s desert coastline, where mounds of wind-sculpted sand merge with crashing Atlantic waves, Orlando faced a trio of weather elements: a fierce northeasterly wind, warm rays of afternoon sunshine and a dense ocean fog obscuring his view along the remote and desolate Skeleton Coast
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Windsweep by Orlando Fernandez Miranda, Spain. Winner 2018, Category: Earth’s Environments. Standing at the top of a high dune on Namibia’s desert coastline, where mounds of wind-sculpted sand merge with crashing Atlantic waves, Orlando faced a trio of weather elements: a fierce northeasterly wind, warm rays of afternoon sunshine and a dense ocean fog obscuring his view along the remote and desolate Skeleton Coast
View gallery - 14 images

In its 54th year, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition is the world's longest running nature photography competition. This year's winning image, an extraordinary picture of two golden snub-nosed monkeys in central China, affirms this competition's place as one of the most spectacular annual celebrations of nature.

The competition was originally started by BBC Wildlife Magazine in 1965, and in 1984 the Natural History Museum came on board to help make it the massively impressive event that it is today. The competition is divided between Adult and Youth sections, with 16 Adult categories ranging from Animal Portraits to Urban Wildlife.

Lounging Leopard by Skye Meaker, South Africa. Grand Title Winner 2018, 15-17 Years Old. Mathoja was dozing when they finally found her, lying along a low branch of a nyala tree. And she continued to doze all the time they were there, unfazed by the vehicle. "She would sleep for a couple of minutes. Then look around briefly. Then fall back to sleep," says Skye
Lounging Leopard by Skye Meaker, South Africa. Grand Title Winner 2018, 15-17 Years Old. Mathoja was dozing when they finally found her, lying along a low branch of a nyala tree. And she continued to doze all the time they were there, unfazed by the vehicle. "She would sleep for a couple of minutes. Then look around briefly. Then fall back to sleep," says Skye

The big award is the Photographer of the Year, with a £10,000 (US$13,000) prize. This year's top award went to Dutch photographer Marsel van Oosten, with an image titled The Golden Couple. Captured in China's Qinling Mountains, the gorgeous photograph immortalizes a pair of endangered golden snub-nosed monkeys, of which a population of only around 22,000 remain.

'This image is in one sense traditional – a portrait," says Chair of the judging panel, Roz Kidman Cox. "But what a striking one, and what magical animals. It is a symbolic reminder of the beauty of nature and how impoverished we are becoming as nature is diminished. It is an artwork worthy of hanging in any gallery in the world."

The overall Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year winning image (seen above) is just as sublime. From 16 year old South African photographer, Skye Meaker, it is a captivating shot of a leopard waking from a nap in Botswana. Judge Alexander Badyaev, comments on Meaker's winning image, "With precisely executed timing and composition, we get a coveted glimpse into the inner world of one of the most frequently photographed, yet rarely truly seen, animals."

Bed of Seals by Cristobal Serrano, Spain. Winner 2018, Category: Animals in their environment. A small ice floe in the Errera Channel at the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula provides barely enough room for a group of crabeater seals to rest, and the cracks are starting to show.
Bed of Seals by Cristobal Serrano, Spain. Winner 2018, Category: Animals in their environment. A small ice floe in the Errera Channel at the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula provides barely enough room for a group of crabeater seals to rest, and the cracks are starting to show.

Other incredible winning shots, selected from more than 45,000 entries, include a spectacular overhead shot of crabeater seals resting on an ice floe (above), a heart-wrenching image of a female mountain gorilla mourning her deceased baby, and a remarkable look at the mud-handling skills of mud-dauber wasps.

London-based readers can check out all 99 of the top photographs in this year's competition right now at the Natural History Museum. Entries for next year's competition open on October 22.

Take a look through our gallery at some more incredible highlights from this remarkable competition.

Source: Wildlife Photographer of the Year

View gallery - 14 images
1 comment
Nelson Hyde Chick
We should enjoy nature now because once humanity has grown by billions more there will be no nature.