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Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2009

I visited to the Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2009 Exhibition at the Natural History Museum the other day, which runs only until 11th of April 2010. What a great experience; although the exhibition was small, the size and quality of the images on display more than made up for this, the photos were simply stunning. They were displayed in large format prints and there was a video wall with a slideshow and accompanying music for the top images.

I was very impressed, with the junior awards, they could put a lot of adults to shame I can tell you, I’ve already given my daughter (4 years old) an old compact digital camera so that when we are out she can join in with dad! Who knows maybe 2011’s junior winner!

There were so many great images but Tom Schandy’s “The look of a jaguar” was stunning, the expression on the face of the jaguar was amazing; so emotive. It has to be one of my favourites and rightly the winner of the ‘Gerald Durrell Award for Endangered Wildlife

The 2 bird images that stuck in my mind were Paul Sansone’s “Terns in a dive queue” (Highly Commended) and Rob Palmer’s stunning picture “Opportunist snatch” which was the winner of the ‘Animal Behaviour: Birds’ category.

Lee Slabber’s “Eyes in the oasis” leopard shot is also up there with my favourites the eyes just grab and hold you  – I wish I could have taken it!

I could go on.

One sad note though was the disqualification of the winning image by Jose Luis Rodriguez “Storybook wolf”. It stated by the organizers that Mr Rodriguez had not followed the rules of the competition and used a trained animal. Agree or disagree from whatever your point of view is about the rules, the decision or the truth of what actually happened; for me no matter what happened it’s a shame whatever way you look at it. The photograph has been removed from the exhibition, however is still in the book as this was published prior to the disqualification.

Not sure how long this will last but this links to the online gallery of the exhibition well worth a look if you can’t make the real thing (however justice is not done to them online!)

As I said the exhibition wasn’t that big, but I felt still worth it. To be honest wildlife has not really been my thing, however after seeing the quality and the lengths that photographers will got to get the shot; it’s inspiring!

I enjoyed looking at the images for impact and emotion but I also looked at composition, balance and was able to identify many techniques; for example use of depth of field, speed of shutter, panning and so on to create a specific effect for the image (to aid this each image is displayed with camera settings and equipment used). In summary and worth while experience and it has really encouraged me to get out to more exhibitions and make more effort to research other photographers work.

Added to that the Natural history Museum is free (exhibition has a fee though) and you can take photo’s in most areas, very refreshing and I will definitely be going back.

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