The life wild

Is it ironic that to truly capture ‘wildlife’ one must be still, patient and calm? Probably not. But thanks to Father Christmas I am now in possession of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year book – it’s the cream of over 43,000 entries and the winning photos have been hanging on the walls of the Natural History Museum for a couple of months. And now I’ve had time to peruse them in my living room.

And I’m glad that I did. The image above – by Thomas Haney – is one amongst many that stop you as you turn the page. The range of subjects and the way they are treated is quite awe-inspiring ranging from Danny Green‘s black and white section winning shot “Starling Wave” which using a longish exposure presents the aforementioned almost as a charcoal sketch above the dark trees beneath to Tom Schandy‘s eye-contact portrait of a jaguar (sadly a winner in the endangered species section). The winners in the young people’s sections are obviously annoyingly good as well.

Wildlife isn’t an area I’m particularly comfortable with doing myself – I lack the empathy and patience despite the occasional squirrel and chimpanzee – so I’m not looking at these thinking how could I do this myself. In spite of that it’s good that the technical data has been included in the book for any that are. And it’s nice to see a smattering of film shots and that one of the junior winners took his shot with a Sony Cybershot. And even though there’s obviously been post-processing we’re still locked in reality – unlike the fantastical creations that take the prizes at Take a View.

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