It’s the world’s most prestigious wildlife photography competition – and you get to call the shots! Yes, The Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition is inviting fans from around the world to vote online in its People’s Choice Award. You can place your vote right here – but hang on! Let us tell you a bit about the shortlist first!
The People’s Choice Award is made up of 25 brilliant images, featuring all sorts of creatures and styles. They were shortlisted by the Natural History Museum from over 50,000 entries into this year’s competition in total, sent in from 95 different countries around the world. It’s a truly global contest and one that helps to shine a light on the beauty and diversity of the natural world – as well as calling for its protection. Voting in the People’s Choice Award is open now and you’ll have until 1400 GMT on Tuesday 2 February 2022 to enter your choice.
Some of our favourite shots on the People’s Choice Award Shortlist are shown here and include ‘Dancing in the Snow’ by Qiang Guo, China, which was shot in the Lishan Nature Reserve in Shanxi Province, China. These birds are native to China, where they inhabit dense forests in mountainous regions. Qiang used a Nikon D5 and 400mm f/2.8 lens, shooting at 1/2500sec, f/2.8 and ISO 320.
‘The Jump’ by Karl Samitsch from Austria was taken in the Cairngorms, Scotland. He placed hazelnuts on opposite branches of two trees and shot from a tripod between them, activating the camera by remote and shooting in burst mode. Karl used a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II and 200-400mm f/4 lens with 1.4x teleconverter, shooting at 1/1600sec, f/5.6 and ISO 3200.
‘Peek a Boo’ by Michiel Van Noppen of The Netherlands shows Dantita, as she is fondly known, at the foothills of Braulio Carrillo National Park, close to San José in central Costa Rica. Dantita is a Baird’s Tapir, a species threatened by deforestation and hunting, and of whom there are estimated to be only 6,000 left in the wild. Michiel used a Canon EOS 1D X with 16-35mm f/2.8 lens, via a remote shutter release. He shot at 1/40sec, f/7.1 and ISO 5000.
‘Barracudas’ was shot by Yung Sen Wu of Taiwan after swimming with them for four days. On the fifth day the fish seemed to accept him into their group and he was surrounded, getting this exhilarating ‘fish eye’ view. Yung used a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II and EF 11–24mm f/4L USM lens in a Seacam housing and with a Seacam Seaflash 150D. He shot at 1/250sec, f/14 and ISO 400.
‘Hope in a Burned Plantation’ by Jo-Anne McArthur of Canada documents the stories of animals affected by the devastating bushfires that swept through the states of New South Wales and Victoria, Australia. Jo-Anne was given access to burn sites, rescues and veterinary missions, and pictured this eastern grey kangaroo and her joey pictured near Mallacoota, Victoria. She used a Nikon D4S with Sigma 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6 lens, shooting at 1/500sec, f/5.6 and ISO 2500.
‘Lake of Ice’ was shot by Cristiano Vendramin from Italy, at Santa Croce, a natural lake located in the province of Belluno. In winter 2019 he noticed the water was unusually high and the willow plants were partially submerged, creating a play of light and reflections in the icy stillness. Cristiano used a Canon EOS 6D and 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 IS USM II lens and shot at 1/8sec, f/8 and ISO 200.
‘Breath of an Arctic Fox’ was shot by Italian, Marco Gaiotti. He was watching this little Arctic Fox as it called to another nearby and noticed its breath freezing in the air. Taken in late winter in Spitsbergen, Svalbard, in temperatures of -35°C, Marco used a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and 70-200mm f/2.8 II lens. His exposure was 1/1600sec, f/5 and ISO 400.
‘Building an Egg Case’ is the work of Javier Aznar González de Rueda of Spain. While out on a night walk in the Amazon rainforest near Tena, Ecuador, Javier spotted this little female Thorned Heart Orb Weaver spider delicately constructing her egg case. He used a Sony Alpha 7R III and 90mm f/2.8 macro OSS lens, shooting at 1/160sec, f/18 and ISO 320, and using two Neewer speedlights.
‘Life in Black and White’ is by Lucas Bustamante of Ecuador and features dozens of Plains Zebra at Okaukuejo waterhole in Etosha National Park, Namibia. His aim was to capture only one with its head up and, just before the herd left, he got the image he thinks best showcases these iconic black-and-white striped animals. Lucas used a Canon EOS 7D Mark II and Sigma 150-600mm C lens with an exposure of 1/6400sec, f/10 and ISO 2000.
‘Living Together’ by Dhritiman Mukherjee, India was taken in Bhutan and shows a Satyr Tragopan, a rare species of Asian pheasant. Before he captured this image, Dhritiman had been trying to photograph the species in India since 2008, but the birds would always run away. Here, in the communities of Bhutan they coexist in a harmonious and calm way, letting him get the shot he prized. Dhritiman used a Nikon D610 and 14-24mm f/2.8 lens, shooting at 1/80sec, f/14 and ISO 4000.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum, London.