We all like to think of ourselves as capable photographers. Thanks to the humble cell phone, we are all able to snap great quality pictures at any time, in any place. It isn’t until you see perfectly curated photographs, taken by real professionals, that you realize your skills are amateur at best.
So, to inspire you, we present the stunning shortlisted photographs for this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. They will not only mesmerize you, but they’ll also leave you feeling a little inadequate about that quick snap you took of the squirrel in your garden the other day… Justin Hofman’s ‘Sewage Surfer’ is a finalist for the Photojournalist Award. The simple snap captures a tiny sea horse carrying a used Q-tips through the deep blue sea, near Sumbawa Island in Indonesia. The waters in Indonesia are infested with plastic debris, sadly meaning that scenes such as this are not all that uncommon to see. It’s a somewhat beautiful reminder of man polluting the oceans, as nature is thrown together something so pedestrian as an Q-tips! ‘Saved But Caged’ was entered by Steve Winter. The American photographer couldn’t resist shooting this picture, which shows a six-month-old Sumatran tiger cub, shortly after one of its legs was amputated. The leg was so badly mangled by a snare, that removing it was the only option. The tiny cub had been trapped for four days before being rescued. While it is now safe from further injury, the cub will live the rest of its life in a zoo. David Lloyd captured this stunning photograph in Kenya, as a herd of elephants made their evening pilgrimage to the watering hole. Lloyd, from New Zealand, was enticed by the elephants deep wrinkles that helped give his photograph, ‘The Power of the Matriarch’ texture and life. The awe-inspiring images could have been plucked straight from the dreams of Sir David Attenborough. Their rich colors help to display the true wonder of nature… After fishing for clams, this mother and her tiny cub began to trek back home. As they did so, the brown bear cub became playful and clutched on tightly to his mothers head, which is the precise moment that young photographer Ashleigh Scully took her shot. “I fell in love with brown bears, and their personalities,” Ashleigh says fondly of her shortlisted photograph. Qing Lin snapped this electric image, titled ‘Under Water’, in Indonesia. The bright image gives an out-of-this-world feeling to the Anemonefish as they nestle in their homes. Could this be what Finding Nemo will look like in the future? ‘Resplendent Delivery’ by Tyohar Kastiel was certainly a labor of love. The Israeli photographer waited for several days in the Costa Rican forest in order to capture the perfect shot. His hard work paid off, as the photo is simply stunning and now part a finalist in the competition. Andrey Narchuk, rather aptly, titled this photograph, ‘Romance Among The Angels’ for it features two Sea Angels. The creatures are molluscs, related to snails and slugs, but unlike their relatives, they look stunning when caught on camera! Russian photographer, Sergey Gorshkov, snapped ‘Arctic Treasure’ in June, in the Russian Far East. The rare photograph shows Arctic fox making a dash for it with its loot, a snow goose egg. Evidently pleased with its haul, the fox is off to find a suitable burial spot for the egg, to then eat it at a later date. Klaus Nigge from Germany entered his photograph, ‘Bold Eagle’ into the competition. The snap depicts a sodden eagle, looking intently into the camera lens. Nigge worked hard to capture the moment, lying on his belly whilst surrounded by eagles, he got to “know individuals, and they got to trust me.” Mats Andersson from Sweden, captured this adorable moment of peace for a red squirrel, as it worked tirelessly to source food during the bleak winter. Most animals hibernate to escape the cold and bitter weather, but red squirrels stay alert instead, choosing to work though the dark, damp days. But, clearly, it’s hard work as this little fellow proves by having a quiet few moments alone – or, so he thought! Young photographer, Laura Vilas from Spain, was behind the lens when snapping ‘Glimpse of a Lynx’. The photograph is exciting for it captures the illusive and endangered Iberian lynx. Laura was surprised by how brazen the big cat was as it “simply ignored” her. Laurent Ballesta from France took ‘Swim Gym’ in Antartica in early spring. The adorable image shows two Weddell seals as they cavorted through the freezing water, totally undisturbed by Ballesta who was on hand with a camera. The stunning collection of images are set to be exhibited at the Natural History Museum in October, with the winners being announced shortly afterward. We don’t envy the judges for having to choose a winner, for they are all incredible in their own way!
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