Outdoor Photographer of the Year competition has announced the winners of its eight categories. Now in its sixth year, the prestigious competition attracts the most compelling imagery across landscape, wildlife, nature, travel and adventure from around the planet.
Live the Adventure Winner, Kirsten Quist (Canada): Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. "On one of the coldest days last winter, I was inspired to capture the luminous structure of this frozen fire pit. I loved the contrast of fire and ice, as well as the way both the blue light and ash-covered icicles framed my subject Halley Coxson. A big challenge was the near -30oC temperature, which caused my camera to malfunction and halted shooting until I was able to warm things up with some body heat."
Young Outdoor Photographer of the Year Winner, David Rosenzweig (USA): Timbavati Game Reserve, Mpumalanga, South Africa. "The eternal bond between a mother and child is one that transcends the animal kingdom. One early morning in the Timbavati Game Reserve, we came across this female leopard. She was clearly searching for something and continued calling until she reached an open road. Just as she arrived, her cub came running out of the bushes. The ensuing interaction between the mother and cub proved the love that the two share for each other."
Spirit of Travel Winner, Christopher Roche (UK): Sinakara, Peru. "Around 80,000 pilgrims descend upon the Sinakara Valley in the Peruvian Andes to celebrate the festival of Qoyllur Rit’i – a mixture of Inca and Catholic traditions. During the final night, bands of Ukukus head up to the holy glaciers at an altitude of 5,600m to perform initiation rituals. At dawn they descend back into the valley, carrying large crosses on their backs."
Light on the Land Winner, Stian Nesoy (Norway)" Hardangervidda National Park, Norway. "After days of frigid snowstorms, a break in the weather revealed an otherworldly landscape near these hunters’ cabins. The little footprints were left behind by a lone arctic fox during its relentless search for food in this barren wilderness. After scouting this frozen scene before sunrise, I discovered a spot with a snowdrift leading into the light. The placement of the hill to the left and the tracks made for a balanced image. The image is captured in a wide panoramic format to convey the vastness of the surroundings. I captured the image just before the sun broke the horizon, making for a softly lit scene that helps the textures come alive."
At the Water’s Edge Winner, Pete Hyde (UK): Gavlfjorden, Holm, Langøya, Norway. "Having driven several miles up a minor road, we came to the small harbour at Holm. After a short walk, we were presented with this wonderful view up a small side-branch of Gavlfjorden. The soft, misty light and the calmness of the water were perfect for conveying the peace and tranquillity we were privileged to enjoy."
Small World Winner, Justin Garner (UK): Manchester, England. "We grow flowers on our balcony at home, which offer many photographic opportunities. I noticed the rich textures in the blue anemone’s petals, and I waited for the flower’s textures to be at their best. Choosing to shoot on an overcast day prevented harsh shadows from the sun affecting the image. I used a plant clip to steady the flower, enabling me to take 15 shots that I then photo stacked in post-processing."
Under Exposed Winner, Johan Sundelin (Sweden): Santa Fe Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. "While snorkelling with a colony of California sea lions I quickly noticed two particular photography challenges. The first was how to avoid the attention of the large, aggressive and protective alpha male. The second was the enormous speed of the animals in the water. Lying very still in the water and using high ISO solved the issues. That allowed me to freeze this moment of tenderness using only natural light."
Wildlife Insight Winner, Alice van Kempen (Netherlands): Lower Sabie, Kruger National Park, South Africa. "In Africa, poachers slaughter an elephant every 15 minutes to supply the demand for ivory – that’s 96 beautiful creatures a day. In 2016, as of the middle of September, there had been 36 elephants killed by poachers in the Kruger National Park alone – the highest number since 1982. With this in mind, I wanted to create a photograph to reflect the situation the elephants are in. I chose to capture the sad look of one of the elephants; a dark image that lets you focus on the tusks."
Alice van Kempen
The overall winner – chosen from the category winners – will be announced live on stage at The Photography Show at the NEC, Birmingham on 18 March 2017. The recipient will be heading off on a photography assignment to cover the Fjällräven Polar dogsled expedition, a 300km journey across the Scandinavian Arctic at the beginning of April 2017, courtesy of outdoor gear manufacturer Fjällräven.
The competition received over 17,000 images entered by professional and amateur photographers from over 50 countries. In March 2017, Ammonite Press will publish
a book collecting over 160 of the best photos submitted to the competition. IBTimes UK presents some of the shortlisted images from this year's contest.
Andy Skillen (UK): Baffin Island, Canada. "In temperatures approaching minus 50°C, and after days of tracking on snowmobiles, we found a mother polar bear. She had left the den a few days earlier and had just killed a seal at the base of an iceberg. In this image she is lowering herself from the top of the iceberg in order to return to the seal carcass, while her newborn cubs hide out of sight."
William Eades (Australia): Port Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia. "The size of this storm was immense, stretching 500km inland and producing winds of up to 80mph. It caused havoc in Melbourne first with 20,000 power outages, and then commenced its 18-hour mission up the coast of east Australia. After causing the evacuation of beaches across Sydney, the front reached our small town by nightfall, where a friend and I were waiting to intercept it."
Riccardo Marchegiani (Italy): Lake Clark National Park, Alaska, USA. "It was a rainy day in the park and bears were all around us. Some were sleeping while others were busy fishing. The one in this photograph was running because other bears that wanted a salmon he had just caught were chasing him."
Rachael Talibart (UK): Seven Sisters, East Sussex, England. "I visit East Sussex almost every week and have photographed the cliffs in all moods, from savage to serene. On this very still spring afternoon I used a long exposure to simplify the textures and emphasise the peaceful atmosphere. The temptation was to shoot wide to include the entire first cliff, but choosing a long focal length allowed me to make the far cliff and lighthouse more significant, and thus, paradoxically, created more depth."
Pier A Mane (South Africa and Italy): Protea Banks, South Africa. "While open-water diving at Protea Banks searching for hammerhead schools, my eyes fell upon a sizeable and animated figure. Unable to identify it from afar, I slowly approached it and saw it was the largest crown jellyfish I have ever seen. With no background objects or diver present to provide perspective, and wishing to exalt this jellyfish in all its stunning colours, majestic size, and dancing elegance, I opted for a cropped head shot to magnify its presence."
Pier A Mane
Joshua Holko (Australia): Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, Iceland. "This arctic fox is patrolling the very edge of its territory during a heavy winter blizzard. Despite the conditions, the arctic fox appeared as calm as if it were a summer’s day. I took the image while lying in the snow."
John White (UK): Brighton, England. "A cultural melting pot, the city of Brighton hosts visitors from around the globe and is a photographer’s paradise. I often head out of an evening to watch the sun set behind the old pier and am regularly surprised to find some unusual activities taking place. On this balmy evening a small group of people had settled on a bandstand and were dancing together. They were so involved in the moment that I don’t think they noticed me."
Jay Kolsch (USA): Vatnajökull glacier, Iceland. "What makes a glacier unique is its ability to move and change. As the glacier flows, the topical features change and distort. I wanted to capture an image of this wonderful ice bridge before it was gone. To our surprise the bridge had function as well as form, as it served as the fastest and safest way up."
Isabella Maffei (Italy): Pescador Island, Moalboal, Cebu, Philippines. "It was an early morning dive, and what looked like a big black animal was moving under the boat. Underwater among the sardines it was like being in a typhoon of swirling motion. The problem was how to make the right exposure; the fish move so fast and sunlight was constantly flicking in and out of the scene. The movements of the school were quite predictable as there were no predators around, so I decided to stay and wait for the right scene and the right exposure to come together. I decided to use a slow shutter speed to emphasise the movement of the school; standing on the seabed to stabilise my body was crucial in allowing me to focus on the right point."
Fergus Brown (UK): Rannerdale Knotts, near Buttermere, Cumbria, England. "I climbed Fleetwith Pike with my family and took my camera to photograph the sunset over Buttermere. The light started to turn a golden colour over the mountains, and it was one of the best sunsets I have seen."
In March 2017, Ammonite Press will publish
Outdoor Photographer of the Year: Portfolio II collecting over 160 of the best photos submitted to the competition Ammonite Press
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