Bold move pays off for winning fox photographer
The winners of the Mammal Society’s annual photographic competition have been announced today and the first prize has been claimed by amateur photographer Roger Cox from East London.
Roger says of his stunning image “Foxhall Zafira” “This animal often foraged for the wild cherries that fell from the trees and landed in the wells between the bonnets and windscreens of parked cars. It was also used to getting food from people who threw food out of their car windows at night during the early hours. I took this picture…when it jumped up on my car to investigate if there was anything of interest for it, as I’d seen it do several times before.”
“Shooting photographs through the windscreen of the car is tricky given the angle of the glass but with a fox so close it helps keep the viewer focused on this encounter.” said this year’s Head Judge, ecologist and professional photographer Brett Lewis ”Sometimes photographs like these get overlooked when we return home and look through them on the big screen and many never make it as far as competition entries but Roger made a bold choice and the rewards are deserved.”
Roger’s photograph impressed the judges so much that it also won the Mammal Society Member’s Award, open to photographers who have joined the Society. Roger wins a bat photography masterclass together with a £100 photographic printing voucher courtesy of CEWE.
The runner up prize is awarded to Kate MacRae for her stunning photograph of a mountain hare rolling. Broadcaster and Mammal Society patron, Zeb Soanes, was on the judging panel. Zeb said of Kate’s photograph “Kate’s Rolling Mountain Hare has everything: photographic skill, terrific composition and a sense of drama and character in its subject. It’s a superb picture.”
Kate, who captured the image in Scotland, said “[The hare] ran across the deep snow in front of me, paused and, as I took a shot, it rolled! They often use the snow in this way, to clean the coat and help keep it in tip-top condition; essential in these harsh conditions!”
Kate wins a day of mammal photography at British Wildlife Centre.
This year’s competition saw the introduction of a new category, Elusive Mammal. The category was created to highlight photographs depicting mammals which aren’t often spotted or which may not have been photographed very successfully in the past.
Winner of the Elusive Mammal category is Dan Lettice with his photograph of a Breaching Common Dolphin.
Dan, who took the photograph off the coast of West Cork, Ireland said “I’ve seen common dolphins in pods of anywhere from a handful up to 100’s of animals. The joy of a leaping Common Dolphin is something to behold. They always find time to interact with the boat.”
Competition judge the ecologist and Mammal Society Council member, Roo Campbell, said “Obtaining clear photos of dolphins above water isn’t easy. Dan Lettice’s Breaching Common Dolphin, poised mid-air almost as if it had been swimming above the waves all along, is a fantastic shot allowing a rare view of this handsome species.”
Dan wins a Browning Recon Force Advantage Camera Trap courtesy of NatureSpy.
Winner of the Young Mammal Photographer of the Year, aged 14 and under, is Dylan Jenkins aged 10 with his photograph “Grey Squirrel Peeking”. Dylan took the photograph in Singleton Park in Swansea using his mum’s camera and tripod. Competition judge Zeb Soanes said “Dylan’s image sharply captures its subject and its character, at once curious and anxious and that tension between both states makes it a captivating picture.”
Alex White from Oxfordshire won the Young Mammal Photographer of the Year aged 15-18, with his photo Summer Meadow Deer. Alex, aged 16, caught the image towards the end of the period when roe buck shed the velvet from their antlers.
Head judge, Brett Lewis, said “The buck is aware and its focus of attention is diverted towards the presence of the photographer. Alex took that moment to capture an engaging shot and one that pulls the viewers focus straight back to the deer, whilst appreciating the plethora of flowers that adorn the meadow. Often scenes like these are fleeting and it takes a certain amount of professionalism to capture the image so well.”
Alex wins a day of mammal photography courtesy of Westcountry Wildlife Photography Centre.
A public vote was held to determine the winner of the Mammal Comedian Award. Voters were invited to choose their favourite photograph from the four images shortlisted. Nearly 900 votes were received via social media, with 57% of people choosing Philip Ryan’s image of a grey seal, posing for the camera at Donna Nook in Lincolnshire, as the funniest shot. Philip wins a pair of binoculars and a squirrel feeder courtesy of CJ Wildlife.
Head judge Brett Lewis was extremely impressed with the quality of the 300 entries submitted for this year’s competition “The standard of the competition entries seems to increase with each passing year and the variety of species captured by the UK’s photographers is very pleasing to see. Many of the images represent the animals in their environment with some facing very harsh conditions, which the photographers have also endured to capture some great photos. Entries were varied and include small mammals in the captive environment to larger mammals found in our seas and oceans, as well as species that were encountered during vital research projects together with those trying to eke out a living alongside our busy lives. It has been another enjoyable year of judging for the Mammal Photographer of the Year photographic competition and I offer my congratulations to the winning entries and highly commended photographers.”
All winning and highly commended photographs can be viewed at the MPOY2020 exhibition, sponsored by CEWE, which is this year taking place at Robinson College, University of Cambridge, at the start of the Mammal Society’s annual Spring Conference. Entry to the exhibition and the Cranbrook Lecture on Friday 27 March is free to the public. The 2020 Mammal Society Spring Conference is sponsored by Natural England. For more details go to https://www.mammal.org.uk/events/66th-spring-conference/.
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