The Royal BC Museum in Victoria opens its new exhibition, Wildlife Photographer of the Year on Friday, Feb. 14. The photography competition, founded in 1965, is an annual international showcase of the best in nature photography produced by the Natural History Museum in London, England. The Royal BC Museum will be featuring a selection of the entries from the 2019 competition Feb. 14 to March 29. For more information on the show visit royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/visit/exhibitions/wildlife-photographer-year and nhm.ac.uk/visit/wpy.html.
Below are a few of the photographs that will be on view this year:
Yongqing Bao, China, Wildlife Photographer of the Year, “The Moment”: Overall Winner 2019 and joint winner of Behavior: Mammals category. Yongqing Bao is the director and chief ecological photographer of the Qilian Mountain Nature Conservation Association of China, a member of the Qinghai Photographers Association and deputy secretary-general of the Qinghai Wildlife Photographers Association. The Natural History Museum entry says: “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. As one of the highest-altitude-dwelling mammals, the Himalayan marmot relies on its thick fur for survival through the extreme cold. In the heart of winter it spends more than six months in an exceptionally deep burrow with the rest of its colony. Marmots usually do not resurface until spring, an opportunity not to be missed by hungry predators.”
Shangzhen Fan, China, “Snow-Plateau Nomads": Winner 2019 Animals in their Environment. Shangzhen Fan is director of the China Photographers Association and has been working and living on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau for more than 40 years. The Natural History Museum entry says: “A small herd of male chirus makes its way to the relative warmth of the Kumukuli Desert. These nimble antelopes are high-altitude specialists found only on the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau. For years, Shangzhen made the long, arduous journey to observe them there. Here he drew the contrasting elements of snow and sand together. Underneath their long hair, chirus have a light, warm underfur called shahtoosh. It grows tightly against their skin and can only be harvested by killing and skinning the chirus. Protection since the 1990s has seen their once-decimated numbers increase, but there is still demand – primarily from Westerners – for shahtoosh shawls.”
Max Waugh, USA, “Snow Exposure": Winner 2019, Black and White. Based in Seattle, USA, Max leads photography tours in locations with high levels of biodiversity. The Natural History Museum entry says: “In a winter whiteout (in Yellowstone National Park) a lone American bison briefly lifts its head from its endless foraging. Max purposefully slowed his shutter speed to blur the snow and ‘paint lines across the silhouette of the bison.’ Slightly overexposing the shot and converting it to black and white accentuated the simplicity of the wintry scene.”
Audun Rikardsen, Norwa, “Land of the Eagle”: Winner 2019, Behaviour: Birds. Rikardsen grew up in northern Norway and has always been fascinated by the Arctic coast. He works full-time as a professor of biology at the University of Tromsø. The Natural History Museum entry says: “Rikardsen 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.”
Jason Bantle, Sonningdale, Saskatchewan, Canada: “Lucky Break”: Highly Commended 2019, Urban Wildlife. Jason Bantle is founder of All in the Wild allinthewild.com. The Natural History Museum entry says: “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.”