Friday, 30 July 2004
Wildlife Photographer Of The Year
CREDITS: [web site] © Natural History Museum/Natural History Museum
[pix L.-R.] © Joonas Lahti; © Rhé Slootmaekers; © Philipp Kois; & © Liisa Widstrand.
WHERE: UK based, but international. WHAT: wildlife photography competition.
Thumbnails  pop-up source pages.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition, a joint venture between the BBC Wildlife Magazine and the Natural History Museum, "aims to be the world's most respected forum for wildlife photographic art, showcasing the very best images of nature and inspiring new generations of photographers to produce visionary and expressive interpretations of nature."
The competition is big, with many prizewinners, so we visited the 2003 edition, and in particular the junior awards section, to find the four entries for our thumbnail strip. Each of the photographers is the age of ten years or younger [L. to R.]:
 winner, Capercaillie, Joonas Lahti, Finland;  runner-up, Fungus growing from pine cone, Rhé Slootmaekers, Belgium;  specially commended, Black-legged kittiwake colony, Philipp Kois, Germany; and  highly commended, Brown bear sniffing the air, Liisa Widstrand, Sweden.
The prizewinners exhibition tours the UK, and is available for hire worldwide. We were unable to find a comprehensive list of overseas destinations for the travelling exhibition, although it is said to have been to thirty five countries over the years: if you do a web search, the 'BG' tacked onto the front of the competition name was for the 1989-2002 sponsor, British Gas. A 4-page BBC online article from the magazine discusses the competition, and a range of merchandise is available, including a reasonably priced 48-page illustrated brochure, and books for several portfolios.
We have no intention of second guessing the judges, or taking anything away from the worthy winners, but on this occasion our choice would have been the exactly reverse order. Still, what do we know about judging wildlife photography competitions?
Abduction By The Mothership
CREDIT: © David Newton/Daves-Lakeland-Moutains.co.uk
WHERE: Northern Fells, English Lakeland. WHAT: unusual atmospheric conditions.
MAP: Cockermouth. Thumbnail pops-up larger image.
David Newton's hiking site for the English Lake District has featured here in the past. Recently he has visited a number of fell [hill] tops that are tear jerkingly familiar to us from our own exploits. This cloud picture was taken on a recent tramp David made across the Northern Fells, though how he resisted a visit to the summit of Great Calva is quite beyond our ken. David says that despite appearance the cloud is not the result of a nuclear explosion and Cockermouth, a town where we formerly lived, is still safe below the cloud. I think this is what writer John H. Farr calls a mothership cloud, so maybe we can hope it has abducted a few of the mothers that we knew when we lived in that area. Brocken Spectres have been recorded nearby, and we once experienced a whole mountain vanishing during a walk in the mist, so we imagine many things are possible
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Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)