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Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2011 @ Natural History Museum

BY Boon Koh
Published 7 December 2011

Having visited the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition for the past two years, I had high expectations for this year’s feature of the top wildlife photographs of the year – and it did not disappoint!

Taking place at the Natural History Museum in South Kensington until 11th March 2012, the wildlife photography exhibition is sponsored by Veolia Environment (don’t they do rubbish collection services?). There’s different categories, such as Urban Wildlife, Nature in Black and White, and children’s categories for those under 18, 15, and 10.

This year’s winning photograph was Still Life In Oil by Daniel Beltrá, who captured a very emotive and political photograph of a group of pelicans covered in oil from the BP oil spill disaster last year. Its a very good shot – sharply focused to see all the detail, but somehow I felt it wasn’t as good as some of the other photographs this year.

One of my favourites is Fading Beauty by David Maitland, who is based in the UK. Anyone who’s lived here for a while will instantly recognise the distinctive red poppies in the picture. Its extremely striking, with the red flowers really standing out against the bright white background, with poppy stalks filling the rest of the scene. Very clean, but very artistic like.

Territorial Strut by Ross Hoddinott was another photograph that I liked, as you can really feel the action in the photo through how tense the robin is and the slight blur of the snow as it moves through the air.

A funny and humorous photo was The Paper-Clip Suiter by Tim Laman, who just happened to capture a male bowerbird popping his head through the hole of “stash” which to impress a female mate. The funny bit is that he has this bright pink paper-clip in his beak, and the way he’s peeping through the hole of the nest (?) gives it a playful character.

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year is, in my opinion, one of the best yearly exhibitions in London, and not to be missed. Its rather affordable too, at only £9 for adults, and £4.50 for concessions (students or the elderly), and all the money goes to running the Natural History Museum. Don’t forget to gift-aid your ticket purchase too – so that the NHM can claim back some tax (if you are a taxpayer) to help fund their free entry policy. And if you want to further support the wildlife photography exhibition, Natural History Museum, and the photographers, you can buy prints of any of the photographs – as well as lots of souvenirs with the winning photographs.

Entry to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition is by a timed slot, in 15 minute intervals, but fear not – there’s always plenty of tickets available on the day, although if you want to purchase in advance online, you’ll have to do it at least 24 hours ahead. No need to queue up overnight like for the Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition at the National Gallery!