The 58th edition of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition and exhibition 2022 will be hosted at the Natural History Museum in London, UK on October 14 – following the the awards ceremony and Wildlife Photographer of the Year 58 winner announcement on October 11.
A first look at images from the world-leading wildlife photography competition has revealed some absolutely astounding captures that include interesting animal behaviors, powerful photojournalism and fine-art aesthetic fish.
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Ahead of the anticipation on discovering which photographer will be crowned the latest winner of Wildlife Photographer of the Year, the Natural History Museum has rounded up the most highly Commended images from this year's entries, that will eventually make up the 100-image exhibition, for us to take a look at.
The image above of a school of European perch fish was captured by photographer Tiina Törmänen, from Finland, and is extremely reminiscent of fine-art paintings that show statues perching (get it) in the clouds. In this case however, the clouds are in fact algal blooms. A discoloration and rapid increase in algae population that is common result of water and sea pollution.
The below portrait of a spectacularly framed Polar Bear was captured by Dmitry Kokh, from Russia, and shows the inquisitive bear on the island of Kolyuchin, in the Russian High Arctic, exploring an abandoned settlement left empty since 1992. Using binoculars, Dmitry says he spotted over 20 polar bears in total exploring the ghost town! He claims to have used a low-noise drone to capture the surreal experience.
Director of the Natural History Museum, Dr Doug Gurr, has stated that: "Captured by some of the best photography talent from around the world, the 100 photographs encourage curiosity, connection and wonder. These inspiring images convey human impact on the natural world in a way that words cannot –from the urgency of declining biodiversity to the inspiring bounce back of a protected species."
Chair of the judging panel, Roz Kidman Cox, shares, "What’s stayed with me is not just the extraordinary mix of subjects in this year’s collection –a vast panorama of the natural world –but the emotional strength of so many of the pictures."
An image of a Coconut Octopus emerging from a clam shell was captured by Samuel Sloss in Indonesia, while muck diving. He is said to have lowered the power of his strobe lamp when approaching the Octopus so not to distress it. The octopus shut the lid of the shell when Samuel approached, but then slowly reopened it, revealing an amazing glow of colors and coils.
The below image of a stag in the snow was captured by young Joshua Cox when he was only six years old! Now eight, Joshua claims to have captured this image using a compact camera when with his dad, in London's Richmond Park, during a time of heavy snowfall. "He almost looked like he was having a snow shower," Joshua said.
Possibly the most controversial and thought-provoking image from the Highly Commended choices is the image by photographer Christian Ziegler, from Germany, that depicts a Bonobo ape gently holding a mongoose pup deep in the rainforest, while posing poisedly and staring at something above.
This shot is mesmerising for a number of reasons, but many have expressed concern at the intentions of the chimp and what became of the small mongoose following the capture of the image. Rest assured, the mongoose pup was eventually released unharmed by the ape, after holding and stroking the little creature for more than an hour, shares Ziegler.
Though, there may have potentially been a darker beginning to the image, as Bonobo's are said to be hunter's when fruit gets a bit too repetitive, and the little mongoose may have been taken following the death of its mother.
Other images selected for the exhibition can be found below, all displaying exemplary talent in the areas of wildlife and nature photography, capturing the intense moments of fight or flight, climate change impacts, and the more beautiful scenes of nature that we often don't get to experience or witness for ourselves.
Be sure to check out the Natural History Museum website to see the full selection and first look at the Highly commended images from the 58th edition of the competition.
The 59th edition of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition will open for entries on October 17 2022, and the closing deadline for entries will be 11:30am GMT December 08 2022. Note that an entry fee of £30 (about $35 / AU$51) applies when entering the adult competition, expected to increase by the final week.
You may also want to take a look at our recommendations for the best portable hides and camouflage gear for wildlife photography, or the best spotting scopes and the best cellular trail cameras for capturing great wildlife shots.