Humans have always been fascinated by flight and bird photography has never been so popular with photographers enjoying greater access to longer lenses as prices become more reasonable.
So, if wildlife photography is your thing, the winning images from the 2018 Bird Photographer of the Year contest will provide plenty of inspiration. This year’s winning image came from Peru-based photographer Pedro Jarque Krebs and the shot, entitled ‘Black Friday’ showcased American Flamingos and their stunning colours. The photo, was also the winning image in the Creative Imagery category of the competition, a category that encourages the digital manipulation of photographs, netted Pedro the top prize of £5,000.
The competition drew entries from 60 different countries and was judged by a panel including the popular UK TV presenter and photographer, Chris Packham. Among the other commended participants was Czech photographer Petr Bambousek, who was announced the winner of the Best Portfolio award, picking up a cash prize of £2,000.
The winner of the Young Bird Photographer of the Year competition was announced as Johan Carlberg from Sweden for his stunning image, entitled ‘Crested Grebe Morning’.
Another great thing about the Bird Photographer of the Year contest is that helps to raise funds for conservation. In fact previous years’ donations have been used by the British Trust for Ornithology to support their Bird Camp programme run in association with the Cameron Bespolka Trust, aimed at encouraging the next generation of conservationists. A competition book featuring winning images is available to purchase from the competition website, but we’ve got more of the commended images to provide plenty more inspiration for aspiring wildlife photographers.
This image from Fahad Alenezi is entitled Pink Crescent and captures flamingo, which are present year-round in Kuwait. Fahad used a DJI Phantom 4 Pro drone to achieve the aerial angle.
UK photographer Martin Grace, explained how the original image for his entry ‘Planet Adelie One’ was taken on a photographic trip to the Antarctic Peninsula. “While transferring from the cruise ship to Paulet Island, I photographed six Adelie Penguins standing on a small iceberg. It did not take me long to realise that ‘planetising’ the image would produce a much stronger environmental statement, illustrating perfectly the likely ultimate effect of climate change on polar species.”
Gold award for the People’s Choice category went to Richard Shucksmith for a dramatic image entitled ‘Northern Gannet Morus bassanus’. Richard commented; “This day I was out using a large, specially made dome port for half-in, half-out shots at sea. But there was still quite a bit of swell, which was proving a challenge. Northern Gannets hunt pelagic fish like Mackerel and Herring by diving into the sea from a height of up to 30m, achieving speeds up to 100kph on impact. These days, they often feed on fishery discards, and with a discard ban introduced two years ago across Europe they may be affected.”
David Easton from Singapore used a Nikon D500 paired with a 200-500mm lens to capture this image entitled; An Eye For Detail’. “This was taken at Singapore’s Jurong Bird Park, in the open enclosure that Western Crowned-pigeons share with a variety of tropical canopy birds. I wanted to capture the bright sun illuminating the crown of feathers, but had to wait a while until the pigeon turned its head in such a way that they really stood out.”
Thomas Chadwick from the USA, captured this epic image entitled ‘Black Skimmer and Chick’ with his Canon 5DS and commented; “I have been photographing a little-known Black Skimmer colony for years and this is my favourite photo taken in all that time. Every year I select a nest when the parents are sitting on eggs, and then follow that same nest until the young fledge.”