The results of the prestigious Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition were announced during the week. First prize went to Canadian photographer Paul Nicklen who braved the frigid waters of Antarctica and hunting leopard seals to capture this sensational shot of Emperor Penguins returning to the ice to feed their chicks.
“Bubble Jetting Emperors” won the Wildlife Photographer of the Year title for Paul Nicklen from Canada
(© Paul Nicklen / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012)
“The emperors are returning from the open ocean,” explained Nicklen in an interview with BBC News.
“They’ve been at sea for three weeks, their bellies are full of food, and they’re bringing it back for their chicks. They’re about to rocket out on to the ice. I was just snorkelling with my legs locked under the ice, and they would be all over me – on my hand, on my back. Amazing.” [Photographer's name] / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012Winner of the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year title was Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year was Owen Hearn from Bedfordshire in the UK with this shot of a red kite clutching a field mouse in its talons with a passenger jet in the background.
Flight Paths by Owen Hearn won the 11-14 years category, and the overall title of Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year
(© Owen Hearn / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012)
“We mainly see the kites in the summer, when the tractors are out,” explained 14-year-old Owen. “I think it’s the noise that gets them to come. They’re attracted to the commotion. All the mice run out of the grass and the kites swoop down.”
Another extraordinary image is this one, which earned 9-year-old Finnish photographer Liina Heikkinen the runner up prize in the under 10s category. It shows two jays squabbling in the frozen winter landscape of Kouvola, Finland, and is an extraordinary achievement for a 9-year-old photographer.
Squabbling Jays by Finnish 9-year-old Liina Heikkinen, runner up in the Under 10s category
(© Liina Heikkinen / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012)
The Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition is one of the most prestigious nature photography awards in the world. Now in it’s 48th year the competition is co-owned by the UKs Natural History Museum and BBC Worldwide.
An exhibition featuring all of the winning and commended entries is now open in London’s Natural History Museum and is open daily between 10am and 5:50pm until the 03 March 2013. You can view all of the winning and commended entries in the online Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012 gallery on the competition’s website.