Shell Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Pissed off PelicanYesterday Xenia and myself visited the National History Museum in South Kensington to see the “Shell Wildlife Photographer of the year” exhibition. After spending most of the last few Sundays watching a blockbuster dvd, or shopping amongst the chaos of the Christmas sales it was quite a nice change of scenery.

The competition aims to find the best wildlife pictures taken by photographers worldwide of all ages. The categories were divided into the junior awards, which included the ten years and under, the 11-14 years olds, and the 15-17 years olds, and the adult awards.

Ten years and under you might be thinking! Yes, ten years and under.

This rather irritated Pelican was photographed by a little German boy who is developing some crazy photographic skills at a very young age!

Below the jump are some more amazing photographs, and of course my favourite one 🙂

Caracaras in for the Kill

Poor little bugger stands no chance 🙁

Fatal lion kill

While watching zebras in Kenya’s Masai Mara Game Reserve, Joe noticed a lone female standing just 100 metres or so from three lionesses. She had a wound on her flank that looked to be from a lion attack. She stayed immobile for three hours and then, with an apparent death wish, walked closer to the lionesses. They did nothing. But when the zebra began to rub its wound against a tree, one lioness charged. The zebra galloped off, then did an unexpected 180-degree turn straight towards Joe. ‘I got this shot just before my camera memory became full,’ he says. Seconds later the zebra was down.

Bear in the window

While working early one morning in his cabin on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East, Igor heard a noise in his porch. ‘Thinking it was my colleague who lived next door,’ says Igor, ‘I invited her in, saying the door was open’. Receiving no response, he got up and pushed the door open with his foot. When the door bumped against something, he stuck his head through to apologise. It wasn’t a person but a bear, which had prised open the outside door and was having a good nose around. ‘It looked up at me in a seemingly friendly manner,’ says Igor, ‘but nevertheless, I quickly closed the door’. The bear turned around to leave, knocking things over as it left. As Igor went back inside to get his camera, there was the bear, peeping at him through the window by standing on the snowdrift. ‘This was the only photo I had time to take before the bear left. I had put out the lemons on the window sill to ripen, never imagining they would add the final touch to such a surreal still life.’

My favourite

Hyaenas vs wild dogs

Absolutely awesome.

Christophe discovered four spotted hyenas eating an elephant’s foot by a lagoon in Botswana. So did a pack of 20 or so African wild dogs. Without hesitating, the dogs charged the hyenas. All fled – except one. ‘All hell broke loose,’ says Christophe, ‘but the action was in the grass, and I found myself wishing they would all move to a more open dusty patch’. As though following director’s orders they did, the swirling dust and backlighting improving the drama no end. The hyena avoided the snapping jaws by facing the dogs full on. But finally, after more than 15 minutes, she fled, her persecutors quickly giving up the chase.

Make sure you go and see the rest of the photos on the National History Museum website. There are so many breath taking shots that have to be admired.

Feeling particularly inspired to go out there and see the world in a new light, constantly on the look out for the perfect photo opportunities, I had my first opportunity sooner than I expected. On the train, on the way home from Waterloo station. Could it be…a wild chimpanzee in an unfamiliar surrounding. I quickly whipped out my little camera phone, adjusted the settings to silent mode as to not disturb this wild animal, and got as close to my subject matter as I could without being spotted. Click.

Chimpanzee on the train

Alas, it was no chimpanzee, it was a very drunk, unshaven, dribbling Londoner!

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