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Old 16-12-2008, 20:11   #1 (permalink)
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Wildlife Photographer of the Year - review

On Saturday I had a few hours to kill in London so booked tickets to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition of all the winners and runners up plus some highly commended. This is at the Natural History museum in London. The museum is free but this exhibition is 6.90 each.

So was it worth it?

It was absolutely superb, truly inspirational photography and contentious enough to keep us all arguing for months on here about which shots should have won etc Entries were from over 80 different countries and more than 130,000 photos. Mighty tough judging to pic out the best from that lot!

Obviously I cannot put pictures from it on here as that would breach copyright rules but you can see some of the shots by going to the NHM website here:

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

I think some of the shots were absolutely stunning but I didn't agree with all of the ones chosen as winners. I also absolutely did not agree with the one who was chosen as the overall winner of the title. The main shot that won him the title was a snow leopard taken at night completely by chance! He had set the equipment up with a remote IR trigger and then gone to bed. When he came back in the morning he found that a leopard had chanced to walk in front of the camera and look over just at the right moment.... and that wins him the title! Now of course I realise you have to know where and when to set your gear up etc but at the end of the day, the shot itself owed little to his own photography skills in my humble opinion.

In the mono section there was an outstanding side shot of a hellyfish lit by the sun beyond. Every bit of detail could be clearly seen, fantastic.

A very interesting shot, and highly contentious one, won one section which was a rim lighting only of a polar bear. The rest of the shot is entirely dark but the golden rim light works extremely well. I loved it and felt it was genuinely something entirely different.

The young people categories were excellent and frankly I'd have been more than happy to have taken the shots that were in the Under 10s group! Lovely one of two great finches among those.

Our Ken would love the UW section as there were some mind-blowing shots in there. The colours and detail were spot on and made for very high-impact shots.

If you are in London or visiting, I would highly recommend you go along and see it. BUT go EARLY (opens 10am and you want to be first through the day) as it gets very busy and you're constantly jostling for position. You can book a time slot on-line which makes things easier.

Cheers,
Rob
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Old 16-12-2008, 22:42   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Wildlife Photographer of the Year - review

Have seen the previous two years, and basically agree with what you've said in theory about not agreeing with the winners etc. Also, last year's was more disappointing, and I'm sure there were some re-entered shots although I didn't think that was allowed.
Tried to go to this year's whilst staying in Oxford for my interview, but couldn't find the damned place , and entry was free!
Damned, oh well, I'll probably still go to the London one. At least I know exactly where that is


EDIT: Oh and you didn't tell me you were in London ya meanie, I got back on Saturday!
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Old 17-12-2008, 06:09   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Wildlife Photographer of the Year - review

Hey I was there Saturday as well! I didn't have time to kill as such just a 2 and 4 year old! I was there with my God children and went to the exhibition for a moments respite whilst they went to the "Family Restaurant" with their parents and my other half. It was a tough call that sounded Oh so tempting but somehow the near silence of the exhibition won through I couldn't agree more about the quality and as I said last year I am not sure that remote auto trigger cameras should win "Wildlife PHOTOGRAPHER of the year. Something that a certain Mr Rouse seems to agree with. He showed a gret photograph of 2 tigers fighting at full height and said "Now if that doesn't win wildlife photographer of the year then nothing will" Then after a few seconds of (Feigned) reflection he said "... of course it won't as I was awake when it was taken"
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Old 17-12-2008, 08:12   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Wildlife Photographer of the Year - review

I have seen the previous years entries when they were shown here in Munich and while all the shots were great I too also found that some of the winning shots were much less worthy than others.

I also noticed that the youngsters categories were all shot using professional equipment, cameras such a top of the range Nikon and Canon offerings along with top quality (usually very long prime) lenses. I have to wonder just how these youngsters could afford to buy and use this kit, or as I suspect it probably belongs to their professional photography parents...

I'll keep my eyes open for this exhibition making its way over here again and will make sure to check out this years entries.
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Old 17-12-2008, 13:07   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Wildlife Photographer of the Year - review

Sounds very good Rob, love to go to something like that here but its never came about yet
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Old 17-12-2008, 15:02   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Wildlife Photographer of the Year - review

I suppose, yes it was a remote capture, but the photographer had been out there for 10 months watching for them and setting up, that's a fair amount of dedication. He would have had to set the camera for the conditions/light etc before leaving it, so yes, chance that the leopard looked, but not chance that the shot came out.
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Old 17-12-2008, 17:54   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Wildlife Photographer of the Year - review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve View Post

I also noticed that the youngsters categories were all shot using professional equipment, cameras such a top of the range Nikon and Canon offerings along with top quality (usually very long prime) lenses. I have to wonder just how these youngsters could afford to buy and use this kit, or as I suspect it probably belongs to their professional photography parents...
I noticed that as well. I mean, I'm hardly one to talk, but at the same time I don't have the absolute best cameras, and certainly not the lenses to go with it.
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