Good Saturday morn, and welcome to the …I have two fun things planned for today. First, this may come as a big surprise to you, but Filosofa is a big lover of critters! Shocked, aren’t you?
Wildlife Photographer of the Year is the largest wildlife photography competition in the world. It is an annual international wildlife photography competition owned by the Natural History Museum. The first competition was held in 1964, with three categories and around 600 entries. By 2008, the competition had grown to over 32,000 entries from 3100 photographers in 82 countries!
There are far too many for me to post here, so I have picked only a few of my favourites this year, but your can see more of the winners at Bored Panda, if you’re interested.
This first one is the #1 winner, titled “The Moment”, and taken by Yongqing Bao of China.
This Himalayan marmot was not long out of hibernation when it was surprised by a mother Tibetan fox with three hungry cubs to feed. With lightning-fast reactions, Yongqing captured the attack – the power of the predator baring her teeth, the terror of her prey, the intensity of life and death written on their faces.
“Bee Line” by Frank Deschandol of France
Bees buzzed in the long grass around the lake as evening fell. To Frank’s delight, they were settling down in little rows along the stems. These were solitary bees, probably males, gathering for the night in suitable resting places, while the females occupied nests they had built nearby.
“Land Of The Eagle” By Audun Rikardsen of Norway
Audun carefully positioned this tree branch, hoping it would make a perfect lookout for a golden eagle. He set up a camera trap and occasionally left road-kill carrion nearby. Very gradually, over the next three years, this eagle started to use the branch to survey its coastal realm. Audun captured its power as it came in to land, talons outstretched.
“Lucky Break” By Jason Bantle of Canada
A raccoon poked her head out of an abandoned car and paused to assess her surroundings, allowing Jason just enough time to use a long exposure in the twilight. The back seat was an ideal den for the raccoon and her five cubs as the only entrance – through a blunt-edged hole in the glass – was large enough for her but too small for predators such as coyotes.
“Portrait Of A Mother” By Ingo Arndt, of Germany
When you are eye to eye with a wild puma,’ says Ingo, ‘excitement is guaranteed.’ Tracking these elusive cats on foot meant lugging heavy gear long distances, often in freezing temperatures and unrelenting winds. Mutual respect gradually earned him the trust of a female and her cubs, allowing him to capture this intimate family portrait.
“Cool Drink” By Diana Rebman of the U.S.
Despite the bitterly cold temperature of minus 20 degrees Celsius, Diana spent hours mesmerised by what she described as the ‘well-choreographed dance’ of a group of long-tailed tits taking turns to peck at an icicle. With the fast movement of the birds and her fingers feeling like blocks of ice, capturing their behaviour was no easy task.
“If Penguins Could Fly” By Eduardo Del Álamo of Spain
A gentoo penguin flees for its life as a leopard seal bursts out of the water. Eduardo was expecting it. He had noticed the penguin resting on a fragment of broken ice and watched the seal swim back and forth. ‘Moments later, the seal flew out of the water, mouth open,’ he says.
“The Huddle” By Stefan Christmann of Germany
More than 5,000 male emperor penguins huddle on the sea ice, backs to the wind, heads down, sharing body heat. ‘It was a calm day,’ says Stefan, ‘but when I took off my gloves to focus the lens, the cold felt like needles piercing my fingertips.’ Antarctic winters are fierce, with temperatures below minus 40 degrees Celsius.
“Big Cat And Dog Spat” By Peter Haygarth of the United Kingdom
In a rare encounter, a lone male cheetah is set upon by a pack of African wild dogs. At first the dogs were wary, but as the rest of their 12-strong pack arrived their confidence grew. They began to encircle and probe the big cat, chirping with excitement. It was all over a few minutes later, when the cheetah fled.
“Night Glow” By Cruz Erdmann of New Zealand (in the age 11-14 category)
Cruz was on a night dive with his dad when he saw a pair of bigfin reef squid in the shallow water. One swam off but Cruz quickly adjusted his camera and strobe settings, knowing that the opportunity was too good to miss. He shot four frames of the remaining squid before it too disappeared into the inky blackness.
“Face Of Deception” By Ripan Biswas of India
Ripan was photographing a red weaver ant colony when he spotted this slightly strange individual. It may have the face of an ant but its eight legs give it away – on closer inspection Ripan discovered that it was an ant-mimicking crab spider. By reverse mounting his lens, Ripan converted it to a macro capable of taking extreme close-ups.
Some pretty awesome shots there, don’t you think?
And my second surprise … you all remember Steve Irwin, aka the Crocodile Hunter? He hosted a television series that aired on Animal Planet, becoming the network’s highest-rated series at the time (1997-2004).
Steve tragically died in Batt Reef, Australia, in 2006 when a stingray’s barb pierced his heart. But, his children, Bindi and Robert, are both lovers of wildlife and conservationists. Bindi is an Australian television personality and conservationist. When she was 9, she hosted Bindi the Jungle Girl, a children’s wildlife documentary TV series. Son Robert is an Australian television personality and wildlife photographer. He hosts Robert’s Real Life Adventures, a program on his family’s zoo’s internal TV network. He co-hosted the Discovery Kids Channel TV series Wild But True and co-created the book series Robert Irwin: Dinosaur Hunter, and currently stars on the Animal Planet series Crikey! It’s the Irwins with his mother, Terri, and sister, Bindi.
In February 2017, young Robert, then age 13, made his late-night television debut when he appeared on NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. This clip will warm your heart, make you say “Awwwwww”, and make you laugh, all at once. Who could ask for anything more? And my youngest reader, Benjamin, will enjoy this, for one of his Hallowe’en costumes was the Crocodile Hunter!
And that’s all I’ve got for this morning, my friends! Go forth and have a wonderful weekend! Enjoy every minute … remember, Monday is lurking right ‘round the corner!