The Mammal Society’s Mammal photographer of the Year 2018 competition winners have been announced this week.
Led by Mammal Society council member and editor of Mammal News, Hilary Conlan, the panel of three judges selected the winners from a huge number of entries from some of the UK’s most talented amateur wildlife photographers.
This year the top spot of winner in the Mammals of the UK category was claimed by James West from Chandler’s Ford in Hampshire with his striking photo of a dolphin (top). James said “This photograph was taken near the Cairns of Coll, Scotland. The sea was very calm and like a mirror. As I examined the shots afterwards, I could see not only a sharp photograph of the dolphin but also its reflection in the water, revealing a beautiful creature in motion with tremendous power and grace. The reflection adds a different dimension to the shot, bringing out details that a shot from above couldn’t have done by itself.”
Chief Judge Hilary Conlan said “It is hard to photograph dolphins completely out of the water as well as capturing not only the reflection but also a sense of speed and purpose. It conveys the elusive and fleeting nature of this encounter beautifully.” James won a conservation holiday in Dorset with Wild Days Conservation.
Runner up in the Mammals of the UK category went to Alastair Marsh from Ripon, North Yorkshire for this photo of a Deer Stag. Alastair explained “Just after Christmas 2017, and with an amber weather warning for snow, I couldn’t pass off the opportunity to photograph Red Deer local to me. My luck with the weather was in and the blizzard conditions were perfect first thing in the morning. The Deer were grouped together so trying to get a photo of one on their own was a challenge, not to mention getting the camera to focus through the blizzard, but they obliged eventually!”
Judge Derek Crawley said “This photograph really shows the majestic beast in all its glory, wonderfully framed by the trees and the snow. Alastair has been very successful in taking a great picture with challenging light conditions.” Alastair won a two-day mid-week stay with Knepp Wildlife Safaris.
Winner of the Young Photographer of the Year aged 16 to 18 section was Gideon Knight from Hove in Sussex.
Gideon won a day of mammal photography at the Westcountry Wildlife Photography Centre. He explains how the shot came about “Over the summer, I started taking long evening runs along the beach near my home. On a couple of these runs I would come across a few foxes in one area of the beach. I decided to come back with my camera one evening. By placing a small amount of food on some rocks and waiting a distance away, I was able to photograph this fox silhouetted by a beautiful south-coast sunset.”
Judge Derek Crawley said “It is really great to see a young photographer exploring light and capturing the fox’s evening prowl. This demonstrates a great deal of patience on Gideon’s part.”
Winner in the Young photographer of the Year aged 15 and under section was from Katy Read from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne with this stunning photo entitled “Rabbit Against the Wind”. Katy said “I visited the Farne Islands off the Northumberland coast to see the seabirds, on a very windy day. When I spotted this rabbit, I crouched down to eye level and zoomed in as much as I could, using manual focus and a very wide aperture to keep the eye nice and sharp and the background blurred.”
Chief Judge Hilary Conlan said “As editor of the Mammal News I actually find it quite difficult to get hold of good photos of the more common species, so I was really delighted to see this rabbit! The photo clearly shows its bedraggled fur and brings out the different colours of the fur with a back ground of verdant vegetation.” Katy won a £50 book voucher from NHBS.
The winner of the Best Mammal Society member photo was Graeme Hull from Caithness with a picture of a grey seal waving. Graeme won a year’s subscription to British Wildlife Magazine donated by NHBS. Judge Derek Crawley said “This photo captures a rare view of being right down at the seal’s level. The wave gives the impression of two friends just about to meet up.”
Our final winner of the award for Mammal Comedian of the Year was Helen Mathias from London with this an expressive photo of a fox in the snow. Head Judge Hilary Conlan commented “this delightful fox looked just like a guilty-looking offspring returning late home from the pub!”. Helen won a pair of Binoculars from CJ Wildlife.
Fiona Mathews, Chair of the Mammal Society and part of the judging team, said “We are always enormously excited about the prospect of viewing the entries for the Mammal Photographer of the Year competition. The standard has consistently been very high and this year was no exception. There are some remarkable photographs here and it is a great opportunity for us all to see the diversity and beauty of British mammals. This event is one of the most important in our calendar as it helps us to show the country’s mammals at their finest and enables us to continue with our efforts to conserve Britain’s mammals through research and knowledge-sharing.”
All winning and shortlisted images, displaying a range of species from wood mouse to stag, will be available to view at the Mammal Society’s Flickr page. A free exhibition of winning and shortlisted photos will be held at the Mammal Society Spring Conference at the University of Exeter on Friday 20 April from 7.30pm onwards, followed by the prize giving and a free talk from Professor Robbie McDonald entitled “Big Changes for Small Carnivores – a brief 20,000 year History of Mustelids in the British Isles”.
- The winner of the Mammals of the UK category won a wildlife holiday from Wild Days Conservation. https://wilddaysconservation.org/
- The runner up of the Mammals of the UK category received a 2 day mid week stay at Knepp Wildlife Safaris https://www.kneppsafaris.co.uk/
- The winner of the Young photographer of the Year aged 16 to 18 received a day of mammal photography at the Westcountry Wildlife Photography Centre http://www.wcwpc.co.uk
- The winner of the Young photographer aged 15 and under category received £50 Gift Voucher from NHBS https://www.nhbs.com/
- The winner of Mammal Comedian of the Year received a pair of binoculars from CJ Wildlife https://www.birdfood.co.uk/
- The winner of best Mammal Society member won a year’s subscription to British Wildlife donated by NHBS https://www.nhbs.com/
Notes to editors
- All further images for use with the press release are available from firstname.lastname@example.org All images are copyrighted to the photographers and The Mammal Society.
- The Mammal Society works at the interface of science, policy making and practice. As the only society with an interest in all British mammals, its mission is to provide the scientific evidence-base for effective conservation and management.
- The Mammal Society has conducted the first review of the Population and Conservation Status of British Mammals for more than 20 years. It will be published by Natural England in June 2018, together with the Red List of Threatened Mammals for Great Britain.
- The Mammal Society, 18 St John’s Church Road, London E9 6EJ. Registered Company Number 1455136 Charity Number 278918.