The wait is over. Everyone who was enjoying 2017, 2016 and 51 earlier ‘Wildlife Photographer of the Year’ (WPY) competitions has just received this year’s biggest treat. London’s Natural History Museum announced the winners of the 2018 contest, and the images reveal the abundance, beauty, resilience and vulnerability of life on Earth.
The winning photos were chosen from more than 45,000 entries from 95 countries for their artistic composition, technical innovation and truthful interpretation of the natural world. The international jury awarded the grand title to Dutch photographer Marsel van Oosten for his shot, titled “The Golden Couple.” The breathtaking picture features a pair of endangered golden snub-nosed monkeys in central China’s Qin Ling Mountains. “It is a symbolic reminder of the beauty of nature and how impoverished we are becoming as nature is diminished,” Roz Kidman Coz, the chair of the judging panel, said in a press release. “It is an artwork worthy of hanging in any gallery in the world.” Golden snub-nosed monkeys only live in this particular part of China, and their numbers are steadily decreasing, mainly because of habitat loss from commercial logging and firewood collection.
“As we were going through the entries, we just kept coming back to this one,” Roz Kidman Coz added. “It’s almost like a stage set. I think what makes it are the colours and the lighting. These monkeys normally feed in the trees, but somehow Marsel’s managed to catch them on the ground, and he’s carefully thrown a very gentle flash on to the scene to illuminate that amazing fur.”
The photographer told BBC News he was “shocked and honoured” to receive the award. “I am happy that it is with this particular image because it is an endangered species and one that very few people even know exists and it is important that we realise that there are a lot of species on this planet that are under threat.”
Scroll down to check out the winning images from both the adult competition (16 categories) and the young awards (10 years and under, 11–14 years old and 15–17 years old).
More info: nhm.ac.uk
#1 “The Midnight Passage” By Vegard Lødøen, Norway, Highly Commended 2018 Animals In Their Environment
‘A dream came true when I took this picture,’ says Vegard. After years of searching, he had finally found a riverside location visited by the deer of Valldal. After partly submerging his camera in a waterproof box, he set up a flash above and below the water, along with motion sensors. Near midnight, a male crossed the river – the camera capturing its proud pose. After moose, red deer are the… Read More
#2 Elephants At Twilight By Frans Lanting, The Netherlands, Winner 2018 Wildlife Photographer Of The Year Lifetime Achievement Award
One evening during Botswana’s dry season, I waded into a water hole to capture a shimmering reflection of a gathering of elephants at twilight, with a full moon suspended in a luminous pink sky. The image is my homage to the primeval qualities of southern Africa’s wilderness, the grandeur of elephants, and the precious nature of water in a land of thirst.
Tom saw the rook as he glanced out of his living room window. Wings spread, the bird was using the neighbour’s chimney pot to smoke bathe. Realising the opportunity – and knowing the heat and smoke would only allow the rook to remain for a few minutes – he quickly took his photograph before leaving it to enjoy its smoky bath. Rooks are incredibly intelligent creatures and smoke bathing is likely… Read More
‘I love creating photos with impact,’ says Isak, who is often on the lookout for Zambia’s most iconic animals. He was photographing a pride of lions when this lioness wandered off. Anticipating it was going for a drink, he positioned himself by the nearest waterhole. It then appeared through the long grass, framed by a wall of lush green. Lions kill more than 95 per cent of their prey at… Read More
While driving with his father through the city, Arshdeep saw a bird disappearing into an old waste-pipe. He asked to stop the car, then primed his father’s camera and telephoto lens, kneeling up on the seat and resting it on the half-open window at eye-level. It wasn’t long before a spotted owlet emerged, followed by a second. Both stared right at him. Spotted owlets traditionally nest in tree hollows, where the… Read More
After tracking this pack of African wild dogs on foot for more than three kilometres, Nicholas looked on as this pair of pups played a macabre game with the remains of their baboon breakfast. ‘Half of me felt disturbed by the disrespect this deceased fellow primate was receiving,’ he says. ‘The other half was caught up in the infectious joy of the puppies.’ The endangered African wild dog, also known… Read More
The rusty metal rod at the opening of a sewerage outlet pipe was a favourite perch for kingfishers, giving them a view of the fish below. Felix visited the spot many times to study them. Seeing the photographic potential of the colourful scene, he used a gentle flash to highlight this particular bird against the dark opening. Excellent hunters, kingfishers are also good indicators of high water quality. With better water… Read More
Surveying the scene, Darío was captivated by ‘the fragility of the chick’ as it used its oversized legs to scurry after its parents. After an uncomfortable crawl through a salt field in the rain and mud, Darío trained his lens on the speckled fluff of the chick, framing it against the dramatic background of salt and sky. Two-banded plover chicks will leave their nests almost immediately after they hatch, relying on… Read More
Kuhirwa, a young female mountain gorilla, would not give up on her dead baby. Initially she cuddled and groomed the tiny corpse, carrying it piggyback like the other mothers. Weeks later, she started to eat what was left of it. Forced by the low light to work with a wide aperture and a narrow depth of field, Ricardo focused on the body rather than Kuhirwa’s face. From elephants stroking the… Read More