A photo of a kangaroo channeling its inner Jimi Hendrix has been crowned the winner of the Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards 2023. Taken by Australian photographer Jason Moore, Air Guitar Roo was up against over 5,000 entries from 85 countries but the perfectly timed capture was unanimously voted as the judge's top pick.
Landing him not only the overall prize but the Creatures of the Land category too, Jason’s kangaroo shoot was completely unplanned. His winning image was taken after a disappointing morning trying to shoot waterfowl at a nearby lake. On his way home Jason pulled over at a spot he knew was popular among a mob of Eastern Grey kangaroos so crouched down in the tick-infested grasslands to capture the roos and joey's.
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Sometimes it’s the unexpected shots that turn out the best and looking back on that day Jason remarks, “The shoot turned out to be a great session and I am quite fond of several images that I captured. Not many people know that kangaroos are normally fairly docile and even a bit boring most of the time if I’m honest. However, when I saw this roo striking the air guitar pose it immediately brought a smile to my face and I knew that I had captured something really special.”
In total six category winners were recognized for their wildlife capture including Vittorio Ricci who claimed the Creatures of the Air award for her image Unexpected Plunge showing a striated heron falling out of the sky and into water. A photo of a charming Ballerina Otter taken by Otter Kwen in Singapore won the Under Water category while Timea Ambrus won the portfolio award for his series of four images taken of a ground squirrel launching into the air.
The video category was awarded to Lily Bernau for her brilliant film ‘Too Cold’ which documented a penguin refusing to jump in the sea while the young photographer award went to Jacie Stankiewicz for his photo of two green finches engaged in an “argument”. Titled Dispute, the photo also won the public vote in the Affinity Photo People’s Choice award marking the first time it’s been won by a young photographer.
Tom Sullam, co-founder of the competition describes seeing the immense talent combined with humor as one of the greatest pleasures that he and co-founder Paul Johnson Hicks get to experience. “This year’s People's Choice Award winner is like the cherry on the cake. To have a junior entrant win this major prize is extremely rewarding for us. We want more juniors to enter, we want to take our conservation message and our love of photography to the younger generation and this result proves that tongue photographers have as much of a chance of winning as anyone else.”
Alongside the winning mages, 10 entries were also highlighted and commended including a shot of a very fed-up owl, a monkey showing you the way and my personal favorite, a happy turtle with a dragonfly resting on its mouth.
Jason Moore, this year’s Comedy Wildlife Photographer of the Year wins a one in a one-in-a-lifetime safari to the Masai Mara, Kenya with Alex Walker’s Serian plus a unique handmade trophy from the Wonder Workshop plus two stylish Retrospective camera bags from Think Tank. To view the full gallery of winning and highly commended images head to the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards website.
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