These are the Best ‘Wildlife Photographs of the Year 2019’
For wild animals, life is about having the guard up at all times and looking for every single opportunity that comes their way. After all, it’s about the survival of the fittest. This tug of war in nature’s most extreme climate and geographical regions puts forth a spectacle that’s grand and brutal at the same time. Capturing these never before seen instances is wildlife photography’s essence, virtually freezing time in a frame which one savors for a lifetime.
Every year London’s Natural History Museum conducts the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award which showcases the grandeur of nature. The competition receives thousands of entries and in the end, it all boils down to being at the right place at the right time to capture the perfect moment. The 55th edition of the competition saw a total of 48,000 thousand entries received from photographers across 100 countries in 19 wildlife photography categories including behavior, portraiture and photojournalism.
This year the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award is bagged by Chinese photographer Yongqing Bao. He managed to capture a chilling moment when a marmot realizes that a mother Tibetan fox is about to seal his fate and feed her three hungry cubs. The moment captures the harsh truth of nature and the instinct for survival which governs life on planet earth.
Listed as vulnerable by International Union for the Conservation of Nature, this rare fox species is native to the high regions of Tibet and Ladakh plateaus extending into Bhutan, China and India.
Roz Kidman Cox, the chair of the judging panel shared his views saying;
The expressive intensity of the postures holds you transfixed, and the thread of energy between the raised paws seems to hold the protagonists in perfect balance. This compelling picture captures nature’s ultimate challenge – its battle for survival.
Another highlighting award of the competition is Young Wildlife Photographer which is claimed by fourteen-year-old Cruz Erdmann from New Zealand who clicked a dramatic underwater photograph of a bigfin reef squid. Cruz managed to capture the moment on his night dive in the Lembeh Strait, off Indonesia.
All these winning photographs will go on display at the Natural History Museum from 18 October after making rounds worldwide.
So, let’s have a look at the winning photographs and some other entries that managed to impress the judging panel.
# Intricate ballet of life and death exquisitely captured by Yongqing Bao on the Qinghai Tibetan Plateau in Qilian Mountains Nature Reserve.
# Cruz Erdmann captures a glowing bigfin reef squid in a spell-bounding pose on his underwater dive on Lembeh Strait, off Indonesia.
# Shangzhen Fan, Director of Qinghai Wildlife Protection Association who has been living on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau for over four decades captures this spell-bounding photograph of a small herd of male chirus on their journey towards Kumukuli Desert.
# Audun Rikardsen from Norway who is a professor of biology at the University of Tromsø clicks this impossible photograph as he positions a tree branch for a golden eagle with his camera in place. Over a time perios of three years, the eagle used this branch as an ideal vantage point for hunting and Audun gets his reward with this jaw-dropping shot.
# Daniel Kronauer, born in Germany and currently heading the Laboratory of Social Evolution and Behavior at the Rockefeller University in New York managed to capture this grandeur of nature. This humungous nest created by an army of ants looks ominous and Daniel had to be cautious of the venomous predators while clicking this shot.
# Globe-trotting German Photographer Ingo Arndt captured this photograph of a Guanco and Puma in action. As the prey munches down its last mouthful of grass the predator emerges out from one side and after a four- second struggle, the Guanco manages to escape free to live another day. Ingo had to put a lot of time and had tons of patience to finally capture this shot.
# Jérémie Villet from France had dreamt of photographing pure-white Dall sheep against the snow-clad alpine backdrop and his wish came true in the form of this shot. The photograph shows two male Dall sheep locking horns in a clash. Jérémie lay in thick snow as strong winds battered him in subzero temperature determined to capture what he had in mind.
# Manuel Plaickner from Italy shares a deep love with nature and it shows in this photograph clicked by immersing in a large pond with hundreds of frogs. He captured what he had in mind – perfect soft lighting, dreamy strobes and frogs distributed everywhere like a preplanned movie set.
# Two years in the making, this photograph by Alejandro Prieto perfectly conveys the brunt wildlife has to take owing to human activities. Captured under a star-studded Arizona sky with the US-Mexico border fence in the foreground, the majestic jaguar is ready to cross borders.
# Max Waugh from Seattle, USA managed to be at the right place at the right time. He photographed a humbled American Bison in Yellowstone National Park during the winter season in thick snowfall. What transpired was a perfect monochrome photograph having a silhouette of the bison as blurred snow painted lines across.
# David Doubilet, contributing photographer and author at National Geographic Magazine, was hiding behind a shipwreck when he saw the eels feeding on planktons, as they drifted in the ocean current. The eels seemed unphased by a wrasse and cornerfish swimming nearby.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum, London.