Photography awards capture life at its wildest

The annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London is always a highlight for nature-lovers and photographers alike. Here are a selection of prize-winners from the dozens of images on display.

OVERALL WINNER: The Golden Couple by Marsel van Oosten. A male Qinlinggolden snub-nosed monkey with a female from his group, in the temperate forest of China’s Qinling Mountains, the only place where these endangered monkeys live. For Van Oosten, the only way to show both a male’s beautiful pelage and his striking blue face was to shoot at an angle from the back. It took many days observing the troop, but finally his perseverance paid off with this gift of a perfect situation, with a perfect forest backdrop and perfect light filtering through the canopy. A low flash brought out the glow of the male’s golden locks to complete the perfect portrait. (Wildlife Photographer of the Year is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum, London)

BEHAVIOUR: MAMMALS. Kuhirwa Mourns Her Baby, by Ricardo Núñez Montero. A young female of the Nkuringo mountain gorilla family in Uganda’s Bwindi forest, would not give up on her dead baby. She had given birth during bad weather and the baby probably died of cold. Forced by the low light to work with a wide aperture and a narrow depth of field, he chose to focus on the body rather than Kuhirwa’s face.

BEHAVIOUR: AMPHIBIANS AND REPTILES. Hellbent by David Herasimtschuk. A hellbender is America’s largest aquatic salamander, and here has a water snake in its jaws. The snake squeezed the amphibian’s head, forcing it to try to reposition its bite, allowing the reptile to eventually break free.

BLACK AND WHITE. The Vision by Jan van der Greef. An eastern mountaineer hummingbird siphons nectar from the florets of a red-hot-poker plant, in Peru. It took two half days to get the perfect shot, setting his camera to capture 14 frames a second, as the cross appeared for just a fraction of a second before its creator went on to the next flower on its route.

CREATIVE VISIONS. The Ice Pool by Cristobal Serrano. The picture was taken using a low-noise drone on the Errera Channel on the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. Warmer air had melted part of the iceberg’s surface to create a clear, heart-shaped pool, an ideal spot for the crabeater seals to lounge around following their summer moult.

Lounging leopard by Skye Meaker, South Africa

Pipe owls by Arshdeep Singh, India

Blood thirsty by Thomas P Peschak, Germany/South Africa

Mud-rolling mud-dauber by Georgina Steytler, Australia

Night flight by Michael Patrick O’Neill, USA

The sad clown by Joan de la Malla, Spain

Signature tree by Alejandro Prieto, Mexico

Dream duel by Michel d’Oultremont, Belgium

Mother defender by Javier Aznar González de Rueda, Spain

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