Image: Colette English
There's nothing like getting back to nature with your camera. Whether you're shooting action shots of animals on the go through a telephoto lens, or wide-angle scenes of creatures in their thousands, there's nothing more satisfying than nailing that shot.
But what makes a great wildlife and nature photograph? Here are five pictures from the Wildlife and Nature category of Digital Camera magazine's 2019 Young Photographer of the Year (opens in new tab) and Photographer of the Year (opens in new tab) competitions so far. Make sure you enter your shots now to be in with a chance of winning some amazing prizes!
1. Urban creatures
You don't need to go far to get that amazing shot. Take, for example, Kyle Moore's photo of this city fox. Kyle used flashguns to create the feel of a nightclub with neon lights. He also shot using a remote control so that he wouldn't disturb the fox from his mission. By learning the creature's habits and placing yourself out the way, you can get some great results.
2. Go wide and high
Close-up scenes are great for some setups, but there are times when the wider angle gets the more spectacular result. This image taken from a drone by photographer Andrew shows the sheep being herded from one paddock to another. The funnel shape of the herd creates this great shape from above and the sheep look more like grains of rice than animals.
3. Beautiful bokeh
Often a simple approach can get the best results. Flowers make a great subject to shoot using a shallow depth of field to create bokeh shapes in the background. For best results open your aperture as wide as it will go and isolate your subject from any background clutter. It helps for the background to be subtly lit to make those bokeh shapes twinkle!
4. Have a different take
Our relationship with animals can be just as interesting subject to explore as the animals itself. Take for example this image shot by Sam Prime. The silhouettes of the figures in the foreground watching the creature create a great frame for the ray to sit between. As well as being a great wildlife shot, this image also takes on a documentary angle by blurring the lines between the genres.
5. Go mono
There are times when the black-and-white medium lends itself to this genre. This image taken by photographer Philip Field in Serengeti National Park, Tanzani, has been processed to have a high-contrast finish. Philip says, "Due to the low light and composition of the image, I knew when shooting this image is would work better in black and white and so converted the exposure in Lightroom and increased the contrast to create a more dramatic and eye-catching image."
About the prizes
Digital Camera Photographer of the Year is back for 2019, with an amazing prize fund worth £30,000 up for grabs! This year the awards are free to enter, thanks to the generous support of our sponsors, mpb.com (opens in new tab) and Affinity Photo (opens in new tab).
The expert judge's chosen winner of the Urban Landscape contest will receive a Rohan jacket worth £249. The winner of the crowd vote will receive a year-long subscription to Digital Camera magazine (opens in new tab).
The winners will be featured in Digital Camera magazine and on Digital Camera World, as well as sister magazines including N-Photo (opens in new tab) and PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab), and they will receive additional exposure through Digital Camera’s social media. There will be an exhibition at The Photography Show (opens in new tab) in March 2019, and winners will be invited to attend a special gala reception.
The overall winner of Digital Camera Photographer of the Year 2019 will win an MPB voucher worth £2,500 GBP, a £2,000 Rohan shopping experience, a Sony A7 III + 28-70mm lens, a Rotolight NEO 2 kit and a CEWE print.
The expert judge's chosen winner of the Urban Landscape - 25 & Under contest will win £100 cash and Affinity Photo + Affinity Photo Workbook. The winner of the crowd vote will receive Affinity Photo and a year-long subscription to Digital Camera magazine. The top ten of the crowd vote will each receive Affinity Photo.
The overall winner of Young Digital Camera Photographer of the Year 2019 will win £3,000 cash, Affinity Photo, an iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, a Sony RX10 IV, a Rotolight NEO 2 kit and a CEWE print.