I was delighted to be invited again, this year, to judge the Mammal Society Photography Competition, along with Sophie Stafford and Nick Baker. Charismatic and yet elusive, wild mammals present the ultimate challenge for photographers. The Mammal Society’s 2016 Mammal Photographer of the Year competition showcases the very best talent from across the country. Open to amateur photographers, the competition aims to promote the mammals that grace Great Britain and we had some cracking entries this year!
“Seeing the quality of some of these images, even my best ‘fantasy’ shot wouldn’t have held a candle to this year’s entries. There were some truly staggering images and it was nice to see many of these coming from young photographers as well. It’s been a pleasure to have been able to be part of the judging team for what is rapidly becoming a leading wildlife photography competition”. Nick Baker As always, it was difficult for us to choose the winners in each category, but we are delighted to announce the following:
Mammals on our Doorstep
WINNER: Polecat by Richard Bowler
“The polecat is a will-o-the-wisp, rarely seen and even more rarely photographed. Even as its range spreads across England, this elusive creature lives largely invisibly right under our noses. This photographer has not only seen it, but created a beautifully lit and exquisitely balanced portrait, in which the polecat’s eyes twinkle mischievously, even in its reflection.” – Sophie Stafford
Richard wins a day of wildlife photography with the Westcountry Wildlife Photography Centre www.wcwpc.co.uk/index.htm
RUNNER-UP: Surfing the Weir by Paul Dibben
Mammals in our Landscape
WINNER: Red Dawn by Mark Eastment
“This misty shot perfectly captures a special moment when these red deer stags meet and antlers lock. The portrait nature of the shot, with the sun rising and the deer silhouetted at the bottom of the shot make for a powerful image.” Kate MacRae
Mark wins a 2 night 2016 mid-week stay in one of Knepp Wildland Safari’s luxury shepherds huts. www.kneppsafaris.co.uk
RUNNER-UP: Cemetery Fox by Richard Bowler
Richard wins a Ltl Acorn 6310MC trail cam donated by NatureSpy www.naturespy.org
WINNER: Catch of the Day by Paul Dibben
“For an otter to catch a fish this big is impressive. For a photographer to be there and capture such a shot is remarkable! This gargantuan chub must have made a formidable opponent, highlighting the otter’s tenacity and skill. The photographer too has demonstrated great skill in capturing the perfect moment, when the poses of the subjects are symmetrical and eyes of hunter and hunted are strikingly aligned.” Sophie Stafford
Paul wins a choice of 3 wildlife conservation holidays in Suffolk with Wild Days Conservation www.wilddaysconservation.org/holidays/location/suffolk/
RUNNER-UP: Bank Vole by Sarah Darnell
Sarah wins a wildlife photographer’s hide from CJ Wildlife, along with a Conqueror bird feeder and 20 kg of feed. www.birdfood.co.uk/
Young Mammal Photographer
WINNER 15-18 yrs : Fox by Kyle Moore
“Storytelling is an important skill for photographers to master, and this image of a fox, caught in mid-step within a greenhouse setting, speaks volumes about how these wild animals interact with our built environment. Excellent lighting and composition suggest much time, thought and determination has gone into creating this image. A worthy winner of this age category.” Kate MacRae
Kyle wins a A 119740, top of the range Bushnell NatureView Live View trail cam
WINNER Under 15s: Sitting Hare by Alex White
“Perfectly sharp and at eye-level with the subject, this young photographer has managed to capture a wonderful shot of a brown hare, poised in its arable environment. Crisp and clear, you can almost see its whiskers twitching! A wonderful portrait that most adult photographers, including me, would be proud of!” Kate MacRae
Alex wins a pair of Opticron Trailfinder 10 x 42 binoculars donated by WildCare Nationwide Ecology Supplies http://www.wildcareshop.com/
A free exhibition of the winning photographs will be held at The Mammal Society Spring Conference on the 8th April at Yarnfield Park Training and Conference Centre, Stafford from 7pm and I will be awarding the prizes to the lucky winner!
Afterwards, the public are invited to attend the annual Cranbrook lecture, entitled “Sticking to the evidence: poo traps, politics and the mammal researcher” given by Jonathan Reynolds of the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust.
Congratulations to all the winners and I look forward to meeting you on the 8th April.