Le médecin canadien Don Gutoski qui a capturé sur pellicules le combat fatal entre un renard roux et un renard arctique dans le nord du Manitoba a été nommé le Wildlife Photographer of the Year avec cette photo.
Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year - Ruffs on display by
Ondrej Pelánek, Czech Republic
On their traditional lek ground – an area of tundra on Norway’s Varanger Peninsula – territorial male ruffs in full breeding plumage show off their ruffs to each other, proclaiming ownership of their courtship areas. Ondrej took his winning shot as one male leapt up, warning off his neighbours. Ruffs are unusual in that breeding males behave according to their plumage colours. Those with dark plumage perform on territories. Ones with white
ruffs, known as satellite males (far left and far right), don’t hold territories but display on the outside of the lek or
form uneasy alliances with territory-holding males, helping them to entice females in the hope of grabbing a
sneaky mating if the opportunity arises. A third type of ‘sneaky male’ disguises itself as a female.
Nikon D800 + 300mm f2.8 VR II lens + TC-20E III; 1/500 sec at f7.1 (-1 e/v); ISO 4000
Young Wildlife Photographers: 15–17 years old 'Flight of the scarlet ibis' by Jonathan Jagot, France
Jonathan has been sailing round the world with his family for five years, and for the past three years he has been taking wildlife photographs. It was when they anchored off the island of Lençóis on the coast of northeast Brazil that he saw his first scarlet ibis – the most beautiful birds he had ever seen. He discovered that at high tide they roosted in the mangroves and that at low tide they flew to the mudflats to feed on the crustaceans and shellfish with their probing curved beaks. He learned their favourite feeding spots and when to expect them. But they were very nervous, and so he had to be careful not to get too close, and the pictures of them on the mudflats or in the mangroves were never quite right. Then he had an idea: he would photograph a flock framed against the beautiful dunes that the island is famous for. At low tide, he took his dinghy into an estuary at one end of the island, anchored where he had a view of the dunes and waited. As the tide rose, so did the ibis, creating a glorious pattern of scarlet wings against the canvas of sand and tropical blue sky.
Nikon D5100 + 55-300mm f4.5-5.6 lens at 300mm; 1/1000 sec at f6.3; ISO 360.
Under Water ' A whale of a mouthful' by Michael AW, Australia
A Bryde’s whale rips through a swirling ball of sardines, gulping a huge mouthful in a single pass. As it expels hundreds of litres of seawater from its mouth, the fish are retained by plates of baleen hanging down from its palate; they are then pushed into its stomach to be digested alive. This sardine baitball was itself a huge section of a much larger shoal below that common dolphins had corralled by blowing a bubble-net around the fish and forcing them up against the surface. Other predators had joined the feeding frenzy, attacking from all sides. These included copper, dusky and bull sharks and hundreds of Cape gannets, which were diving into the
baitball from above. The Bryde’s whale was one of five that were lunging in turn into the centre of the baitball. Michael was diving offshore of South Africa’s Transkei (Eastern Cape), specifically to photograph the spectacle of the ‘sardine run’ – the annual winter migration of billions of sardines along the southeastern coast of southern Africa. Photographically, the greatest difficulty was coping with the dramatic changes in light caused by the movements of the fish and the mass of attacking predators, while also staying out of the way of the large sharks and the 16‐metre (53‐foot), 50-ton Bryde’s whales, which would lunge out of the darkness and, as he knew from experience, were capable of knocking him clean out of the water.
Nikon D3S +14-24mm f2.8 lens at 14mm; 1/250sec at f9 (-1 e/v); ISO 800; Ikelite DS‐200 strobe; Seacam housing.
Impressions 'Life comes to art' by Juan Tapia, Spain
Every year, a pair of barn swallows nests in the rafters of an old storehouse on Juan’s farm in Almeria,
southern Spain, entering the building through a broken windowpane. Equipment and tools are kept in the building, but the swallows seem unperturbed by people coming in and out. Last spring, Juan decided to try to take a very different image of the swallows. He first had to find the right painting to use as a prop – in the end choosing one familiar from his childhood. Making a swallow-sized hole in the oil painting, he moved it over the window that the swallows entered through. When the pair first arrived, they flew straight in through the window, unperturbed by the canvas. But rather than risk disturbing the birds that spring, he waited until the following spring to set up the shot. Using two flashes, both to light the canvas and to freeze the movement, he linked a remote control to his camera, which he positioned to shoot the entrance hole against the sky. He then retreated to his truck with his binoculars ready. He had no trip beam, and so it took 300 shots and 8 solid hours before he finally got the moment one of the swallows swooped in with the sky behind, as though it had punched straight through into another world.
Canon 7D + 70-200mm f2.8 lens at 150mm; 1/250 sec at f14; ISO 400; Canon 580EX II and Metz 58 flashes; x2 Metz photocells; Manfrotto tripod + Rótula RC2; Godox remote.
Birds 'The company of three' by Amir Ben-Dov, Israel
Red-footed falcons are social birds, migrating in large flocks from central and eastern Europe to southern and southwestern Africa. The closest relationships seem to be pairs or parents with first-year chicks, but otherwise, they maintain a degree of personal space. But these three red-footed falcons were different. Amir spent six days watching them on agricultural land near Beit Shemesh, Israel, where their flock was resting on autumn migration, refuelling on insects. What fascinated him was the fact that two subadult females and the full‐
grown, slate-grey male were spending most of their time together, the two females often in close physical contact, preening and touching each other. They would also hunt together from a post rather than using the more normal hovering technique. As so often happens in photography, it was on the last day in the last hour before he had to return home when the magic happened. The sun came out, the three birds perched together, and a subtle interaction took place: one female nudged the male with her talon as she flew up to make space on the branch for the other female. Exactly what the relationship was between the three birds remains a mystery.
Canon EOS-1D X + 500mm f4 lens; 1/1600 sec at f8 (+0.33 e/v); ISO 500.
From the Sky 'The art of algae' by Pere Soler, Spain
The Bahía de Cádiz Natural Park on the coast of Andalucia, Spain, is a mosaic of marshes, reedbeds, sand dunes and beaches, which attracts great numbers of birds, and in spring it is an important migration stopping-off point. Pere was there for the birds but also for a spring phenomenon, only fully visible from the air. As the temperature warms and the salinity changes, the intertidal wetlands are transformed by colour as bright green seaweed intermingles with multicoloured microalgal blooms. White salt deposits and brown and orange sediments coloured by sulphurous bacteria and iron oxide add to the riot of colour. The full display usually lasts only a few weeks in May or June, but it’s not possible to predict exactly when. Pere took his chances in June, hired a plane and, at midday, when the tide was out and the light was overhead, he was able to
photograph the rich tapestry of colour and texture. The spectacle was, said the pilot, the most beautiful he’d
seen in many years of flying over the delta.
Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 70-200mm f4 lens at 70mm; 1/1000 sec at f5.6; ISO 200.
Urban 'Shadow walker' by Richard Peters, UK
A snatched glimpse or a movement in the shadows is how most people see an urban fox, and few know when and where it goes on its nightly rounds. It was that sense of living in the shadows that Richard wanted to convey. He had been photographing nocturnal wildlife in his back garden in Surrey, England, for several months before he had the idea for the image, given to him by the fox when it walked through the beam of a torch he had set up, casting its profile on the side of his shed. But taking the shot proved to be surprisingly difficult. It required placing the tripod where he could capture both the cityscape night sky and the fox silhouette, a ground-level flash for a defined shadow, a long exposure for the stars, a moonless night to cut down on the ambient light and, of course, the fox to walk between the camera and the wall at the right distance to give the perfect shadow. On the evening of this shot, the neighbours switched on a light just before the vixen arrived, unaware of her presence but adding to the image.
Nikon D810 + 18-35mm lens at 32mm; 30 sec at f8; ISO 1250; Nikon SB-800 flash; Gitzo tripod + RRS BH-55 ballhead; Camtraptions PIR sensor.
Amphibians and Reptiles 'Still life' by Edwin Giesbers, The Netherlands
A great crested newt hangs motionless near the surface of the stream. Also motionless in the water, in Gelderland in the Netherlands, was Edwin in a wetsuit. He had very slowly moved his compact camera right under the newt, and though he knew the shot he wanted, he had to guess at the framing and literally point and shoot. The male had just taken a breath and was possibly warming up at the surface. It was a cold April morning, and the trees were not yet in leaf, but it was mating time for these large newts, and the males were already on the lookout for females. Edwin took this shot as part of a major story on the threat facing amphibians throughout the Netherlands and Belgium: an Asian skin fungus similar to the one that has annihilated frogs and toads worldwide and has all but wiped out fire salamanders in the Netherlands. Scientists are bracing themselves for a collapse of European amphibian populations, unless some way is found to stop the fungus from spreading.
Canon G15 + 28-140mm f1.8-2.8 lens at 28mm; 1/500 sec at f6.3; ISO 200; Canon housing.
The Wildlife Photojournalist Award: single image 'Broken cats' by Britta Jaschinski, Germany, UK
Locked into obedience by their trainers’ gaze, big cats perform at the Seven Star Park in Guilin, China. They
have had their teeth and claws pulled out, and when not in the arena, they live in the tiny cages visible behind the stage. At least one (centre) is a captive-bred hybrid – part lion, part tiger. In 2010, the Chinese authorities issued a directive to zoos and animal parks to stop performances that involve wild animals. But this is not legally binding, and in many facilities across the country, it is still business as usual, with shows attracting audiences unaware of the scale of the abuse, neglect and cruelty involved. For the past 20 years, Britta has travelled extensively, documenting the world of animals in captivity and their unnecessary suffering in the name of education and entertainment. But never, she says, has she come across ‘such brutal and systematic
deprivation’ as in China. ‘The potential for change is huge,’ she maintains. ‘Despite government control of the internet, social-media messages do get through and can make a difference. Attitudes are changing.’
Nikon F4 + 24mm lens; 1/125 sec at f5.6; Kodak Tri-X-Pan 400 black-and-white film.
Jagged peace by Floris van Breugel USA - ‘It was a rare opportunity,’ says Floris, grateful to his companion, who was skilled at predicting weather patterns in this part of Patagonia. ‘There was enough snow to stick to the trees but not so much as to make travel dangerous, no wind, an unfrozen lake and a clear view of Fitz Roy.’ They had waited out a snowstorm before donning snowshoes and heading into the backcountry of Argentina’s Los Glaciares National Park. A designated World Heritage Site, the park boasts the largest ice mantle outside Antarctica, with
Francisco Mingorance SPAIN - White storks seem equally at home on artificial structures as they are in trees, often nesting on rooftops and telegraph poles. Francisco discovered three pairs high on this sculpture outside the Vostell-Malpartida Museum near Cáceres in Spain. The installation, by German artist Wolf Vostell, incorporates a Russian MiG-21 aircraft, two cars, pianos, computer monitors – and now, three huge nests, which the storks use each year, migrating from their overwintering grounds in southern Africa. Francisco wanted a picture of the storks sleeping under a starry sky, but there was too much light. ‘I got special permission for most lights to be shut down,’ he says, ‘but then the storks kept moving about and flying off.’ Using a long exposure, he got just one shot he liked, with the storks quietly asserting their place in the modern world that Vostell depicted.
Canon EOS-1D X + 70-200mm f2.8 lens; 7.8 sec at f2.8; ISO 1600; intervalometer; tripod.
Komodo judo by Andrey Gudkov RUSSIA - The fight was fast and unexpected. Andrey had been to Indonesia’s Komodo National Park many times before, hoping to witness a battle between male Komodo dragons – the largest lizards in the world, up to 2.5 metres (8 feet) long. And though he had visited in August, when males are most likely to battle over females, he had never been lucky. But on this December morning, on Rinca Island, he had found two large males hissing angrily at each other. To his surprise, the confrontation escalated. The lizards reared up on their hind legs, supported by their long, muscular tails, and suddenly everything came together: two formidable dragons ‘dancing the tango’ at the crest of a hill against a beautiful backdrop, without the usual tall grass obscuring the action. Andrey seized his chance, knowing that Komodo dragons can move fast and that their bites are venomous, secreting a mix of toxic substances from glands in their jaws into the wounds made by their teeth. The dragons fought two consecutive bouts of a few seconds each until one overpowered the other, knocking him over backwards, and the pair walked off in different directions. With quick reactions and a fast shutter speed, Andrey had nailed the shot he had dreamt of.
Canon EOS-1D X + 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 lens at 100mm; 1/2000 sec at f7.1; ISO 800.
Great egret awakening by Zsolt Kudich HUNGARY - When the River Danube flooded into Hungary’s Gemenc Forest, more than a thousand great egrets flocked to the lake to feed on the stranded amphibians, fish and invertebrates. Working on a project to document the last untouched regions of the Danube, including the floodplains, Zsolt was delighted to find a sixth of Hungary’s great egret population in the one place. By 1921, hunting had reduced their number to just 31 pairs. Today, habitat loss is the big threat. Using the soft dawn light, Zsolt wanted to convey the impression of a multitude of birds. So he pitched his camouflaged tent nearby, sleeping just a few hours a night for five nights. His chance came when a fishing white-tailed eagle sent some of the egrets into the air. With a slow shutter speed to blur the wings and a large depth of field to keep in focus those standing, Zsolt got his memorable image.
Nikon D300 + 70-200mm f2.8 lens at 125mm; 0.4 sec at f11; ISO 1000; Gitzo tripod.
Gorilla care by Marcus Westberg SWEDEN - Ndeze, a nine-year-old orphan mountain gorilla, watches with concern as veterinarians check the health of her female companion, twelve-year-old Maisha, in the Senkwekwe Centre at the headquarters of the Virunga National Park, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The resident ‘gorilla doctor’ Eddy Kambale (here with the former regional director Jan Ramer, left, assisted by two visiting vets) runs thorough health checks every year on the four orphan mountain gorillas, all of whom have been rescued from poachers and traffickers and have suffered traumatic experiences. The centre – named after Ndeze’s father, who was murdered along with Ndeze’s mother and several other members of her family in 2007 – is just part of the park’s efforts to protect the surviving mountain gorillas. ‘The deep bonds that exist between these orphans, their carers and Eddy is one of the most touching things I have ever had the privilege of witnessing,’ says Marcus.
Canon 5D Mark III + 16-35mm f2.8 lens at 16mm; 1/80 sec at f4.5; ISO 1600.
Snow hare by Rosamund Macfarlane UK - One of Rosamund’s photographic ambitions was to photograph Scottish mountain hares in the snow, camouflaged in their winter coats. Native to Britain, mountain hares moult from brown to white or partially white in winter, depending on temperature. With a local expert, Rosamund climbed a valley in the Scottish Cairngorms, ‘at times through knee-deep snow’, until they came across a couple of hares that allowed them to approach within photographic range. Their mottled, snow-dusted coats echoed the colours of the snow-covered hillside. For several hours, Rosamund lay on the ground in freezing temperatures, observing the hares snuggled into their forms (shallow depressions) as fine snow blew over them and rime coated their pelts. In the late afternoon, the hares finally became active and started to feed, scraping the snow from the heather and then nibbling the shoots. Positioning herself so that she was looking up a gentle incline directly at one hare, Rosamund captured its determined scrabbling in a head-on portrait.
Canon EOS-1D X + 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 lens + 1.4x extender at 560mm; 1/320 sec
at f8; ISO 800.
To drink or not by Carlos Perez Naval SPAIN - Carlos was down on the beach at Morro Bay in California, on holiday with his family, when he witnessed a fascinating interaction between two different species. A colony of California ground squirrels lives among the rocks at one side of the bay, fed by locals, who also put out dishes of water for them. What Carlos noticed was that western gulls were monopolizing the water. Whenever a ground squirrel dared to get too close, a gull would chase it away, aiming its powerful beak at the squirrel’s head. Carlos was fascinated by the way the ground squirrels would try to sneak in for a sip when the gulls weren’t looking. Here, the two competitors’ eyes lock over the coveted fresh water. Carlos took the shot just before the gull lunged forwards and the squirrel fled.
Nikon D7100 + 200-400mm f4 lens at 400mm; 1/2500 sec at f5; ISO 500.
It came from the deep by Fabien Michenet FRANCE - Fabien spends many hours diving at night in deep water off the coast of Tahiti, French Polynesia, where he lives. He is fascinated by the diversity of tiny creatures that migrate up from the depths under cover of darkness. These zooplankton feed on the phytoplankton found near the surface (which need sunlight to photosynthesize) and are themselves hunted by small predators that follow their ascent. One night, about 20 metres (66 feet) below the surface, in water 1,000 metres (3,300 feet) deep, some juvenile octopuses – just 2 centimetres (an inch) across, swam into view. ‘One of them stopped in front me,’ says Fabien, ‘waving its tentacles gracefully, perhaps taking advantage of my lights to hunt the little crustaceans that were swimming around.’ Its body was transparent – camouflage for the open ocean – revealing its internal organs. Chromatophores (colour‑changing cells) were visible on its tentacles, possibly for use in the light, when a different kind of camouflage would be needed. By keeping as close as possible and drifting at exactly the same speed as the diminutive octopus, and taking care not to upset its natural behaviour with strong lighting, Fabien was able to capture his eye-to-eye portrait.
Nikon D800 + 60mm f2.8 lens; 1/320 sec at f18; ISO 200; Nauticam housing; x2 Inon Z-240 strobes.
Natural frame by Morkel Erasmus SOUTH AFRICA - Morkel could hear every rumble. He could even smell the elephants. But his view was limited to the viewing slit of a cramped bunker sunk into the ground beside a remote waterhole in Namibia’s Etosha National Park. Giraffes, zebras and kudu wandered in and out of view, but the elephants were right in front, sometimes so close that his view was blocked. Morkel used black and white to place the emphasis on the composition. His moment came when a mother framed his shot with her legs just as her calf walked into view framing a giraffe. Having caught his ‘dream moment’, Morkel put down his camera and just sat and enjoyed the ‘bliss’ of watching wild animals taking their turn to drink from this life-giving waterhole.
Nikon D800 + 70-200mm f2.8 lens at 200mm; 1/640 sec at f8; ISO 360.