A terrified marmot, a fox on the hunt, Yongqing Bao captured nature’s predator-prey interaction in its rawest form with his award-winning photograph—The Moment. The Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum, London. This year's contest attracted over 48,000 entries across 100 countries.
Here’s a look at some of the year’s winning photographs!
Early spring in the alpine meadowland of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is brims with activity as the marmots wake from their hibernation stupor. Yongqing Bao’s fast exposure captured the fox’s attack on the sleepy rodent, freezing it in time.
Shot on: Canon EOS-1D X + 800mm f5.6 lens; 1/2500 sec at f5.6 (+0.67 e/v); ISO 640; Manfrottocarbon-fibre tripod + 509HD head.
On a night dive in the Lembeh Strait off North Sulawesi, Indonesia, Cruz Erdmann stood over an unpromising sand flat, in about 10ft of water. The big fin reef squid he photographed was engaged in a luminescent ballad with a possible-mate just moments earlier.
Shot on: Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 100mm f2.8 lens; 1/125 sec at f29; ISO 200; Ikelite DS161 strobe.
Face of Deception
The tiny ant-mimicking crab spider Ripan Biswas photographed was spotted near a red weaver ant colony in the subtropical forest of India’s Buxa Tiger Reserve, in West Bengal. He was photographing so close that the creature could probably see its own reflection and raised its legs in defence.
Shot on: Nikon D500 + 18–55mm lens (reverse mounted); 1/160 sec; ISO 200;GodoxV860II flash.
Shangzhen Fan photographed this footprint trail on the snowy slopes of the Kumukuli Desert in China’s Altun Shan National Nature Reserve. These male chiru antelopes are found only on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, and survive at elevations up to 18,000ft above sea level.
Shot on: Nikon D5 + 600mm f4 lens; 1/1250 sec at f6.3 (+0.3 e/v); ISO 125;GitzoGT5532S 6X tripod.
This lone American bison stood weathering a snow storm in the Yellowstone National Park. Max Waugh photographed its snow-splashed silhouette on a hillside, and slightly over-exposed the shot to enhance the movement and white-out in the photograph.
Shot on: Canon EOS-1D X + 100–400mm f5.6 lens at 200mm; 1/15 sec at f22 (+1 e/v); ISO 100.
The Rat Pack
New York City is famous for a lot of things, and its neighbourhood rat populations certainly feature near the top of the list. Charlie Hamilton James captured this Lower Manhattan rat pack scurrying between their home and a pile of garbage bags.
Shot on: Sony α7R III + 16–35mm f4 lens at 24mm; 1/20 sec at f11; ISO 4000; Sony flash; Pocket Wizard trigger.
The Garden of Eels
This colony of eels, photographed by David Doubilet was at least as big as two-thirds of a football field. It stretched down a sandy slope off Dauin, in the Philippines. He hid behind the remnants of a shipwreck to be able to capture these shy eels swaying with the waves.
Shot on: Nikon D3 + 17–35mm f2.8 lens at 19mm; 1/40 sec at f14; ISO 400;Seacamhousing; aluminium plate +ballhead; remote trigger; Sea & Sea YS250 strobes (at half power).
The Equal Match
The puma versus the guanaco, who’s winning this fight for survival? Ingo Arndt catches this Darwinian showdown in the Torres del Paine region of Patagonia, Chile. It came at the end of a seven-month-long process tracking wild pumas on foot.
Shot on: Canon EOS-1D X Mark II + 600mm f4 lens; 1/3000 sec at f4; ISO 1000;Gitzotripod.
Two male Dall’s sheep in full winter-white coats stand immobile at the end of a fierce clash on a snowy slope in the Yukon. Jérémie Villet had dreamed of photographing the pure-white North American mountain sheep for years, even risking frostbite in the process.
Shot on: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV + 400mm f2.8 lens; 1/1600 sec at f2.8 (+1.3 e/v); ISO 500.
Another Barred Migrant
Alejandro Prieto photographed this image of a male jaguar projected on the US-Mexico border fence under the starry Arizona sky. A sharp decline in jaguar populations has led to there being only two males known to inhabit the New Mexico and Arizona borderlands.
Shot on: Nikon D850 + Sigma 14–24mm f2.8mm lens at 16mm; 30 sec at f2.8; ISO 1600; remote control; Gitzo tripod; Epson projector.