Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012

Posted on September 3, 2012 by Admin under Reviews

I must point out straightaway that neither of  the featured photos is mine.  I just wish they were.  Both are from the Wildlife Photographer of The Year 2011 exhibition which can be seen at the Matlock Bath Grand Pavilion until Sept 2.



wildlife photographer of the year


I went along on this opening day and would urge you to see these stunning, dramatic, beautiful and occasionally eye-boggling images.  Look at my Derbyshire Life article in the August issue – out in the last week of July – which is about the exhibition but also the regeneration of the venue: the Grand Pavilion opened in 1910 as a ‘Pleasure Palace’ (which is not as exotic as it sounds) and many dedicated volunteers are trying to restore it to its former glory.

As for the images, here is a paragraph from my Derbyshire Life review which refers to the picture on the left, looking suspiciously like a studio shot but one that was in fact captured in Lombardy:

All of the pictures at this exhibition – be they of bird, beast, fish, flower or insect – are the result of reams of research, knowledge and technique, allied to pure passion, perseverance and patience; plus a certain amount of good luck, though as it’s pointed out in the book’s Preface: ‘luck has to be planned for’. Just look at Marco Colombo’s image of a grass snake by a waterfall: it looks like an impeccable studio set-up – the snake is perfectly positioned on that polished rock – but Colombo would see that shot as payback for 10 restless, relentless years of seeking out snakes.  Yes, he had some good fortune but Colombo richly deserved it for all that effort, resolve and untold hours ‘in the field.’

I have included the image on the right – the Charge by Eric Pierre – because it was taken in the path of a charging herd of hoof-thundering muskoxen.  I view this image with considerable embarrassment as the last time I came as close to an animal with my camera was a cow in a field… which I was running away from.  It was coming at me, honest!  I was on a public footpath, taking photos for my local village calendar, when cows gathered, appearing curious… as they do.  One cow, though, decided it was a bull, and started to rear up as if it was about to charge.  I turned and fled, and fell over.  I genuinely thought my life was coming to an end, and it wasn’t my past life that shot through me but the awful feeling that my death would be regarded with amusement.  ’Killed by a cow?  Ha!’  I lay on the floor, hands covering my head, and realised I was still alive.  The cow had stopped short of goring me (can cows gore?) so I picked up my camera bag and ran again towards the stile.  In my frantic bid to leap over the stile, my Sigma 24-70 lens dropped out of my bag.  Repair cost: £200.  Should I sue the farmer?

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition in Matlock has now finished.