With over 20,000 entries from 60 countries it’s no surprise that the international 2003 Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition uncovered some stunning images of the world of nature.


With over 20,000 entries from 60 countries it’s no surprise that the international 2003 Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition uncovered some stunning images of the world of nature.

From failry modest beginnings in 1964, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition is the largest and most prestigious wildlife photography competition in the world today.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year aims to find the best wildlife pictures taken by amateur and professional photographers of all ages from around the world, that show the beauty, splendour and drama of life on Earth. It is unusual in presenting the works of professionals and amateurs side by side, but casts the net as wide as possible as a result.

The competition categories include ‘The Underwater World’, ‘The World in Our Hands’, ‘ Animal Portraits’ and ‘Composition and Form’. There are three special awards, ‘The Gerald Durrell Award for Endangered Wildlife’, the ‘Innovation Award’, and the ‘Eric Hosking Award’ for the best portfolio of six images taken by a photographer aged 18-26.

In the junior section there are three age categories, plus the ‘Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award’.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year is organised by BBC WildlifeMagazine and the Natural History Museum, London.

The 2004 competiton is now open. Entry forms are available by filling out an online form at the competition’s website:www.nhm.ac.uk/wildphoto/ – which also features more great wildlife pictures.



Gerhard Schulz



Wildlife Photographer of the Year – Winner


Gorilla and boy

“From the other side of the gorilla house at Miami Metrozoo in Florida, I could watch the visitors’ reactions as they encountered their relatives at close quarters. Many people came by, pointed at the lowland gorillas and continued on their way, but this boy stopped and stared in awe. It was their expressions that made such an impression on me. There was such a depth of feeling in the gorilla’s eyes, and the boy leaned against the glass as if he wanted to reach through and make contact. It was a poignant juxtaposition.”

Canon EOS 1V, with 600mm f4 lens; 1/250 sec at f8; Fujichrome Sensia 100; Sachtler tripod.



Olivier Grunewald


Animals in their Environment – Runner-up


Tenebrionid beetle drinking dew

“I was in the northern, sandy part of the Namib Desert, Namibia, studying the adaption of the wildlife to this arid land. One early morning in October, after a foggy, cold night, I watched this tenebrionid beetle climb onto the edge of a high dune and do ‘headstands’. It turned its body so that it faced into the wind, straightened out its rear legs and lowered its head. In this way, its back served as a condensation surfacefor the fog. Then the beetle could drink the water, which hung in droplets from its mouthparts.”

Nikon F801, with 17-35mm f2.8 zoom lens; 1/8 sec at f16; Fujichrome Velvia rated at 40; tripod, grey gradual filter.


Pete Atkinson

United Kingdom

The Underwater World – Runner-up

Crown jellyfish

“Beautiful hard corals encircle the South Pacific island of Niue. I intended to photograph the reef, but as soon as I entered the water from my dinghy, I saw this 30cm Crown float by. I drifted alongside it in the current and was carried out into the blue. To get a more dramatic sunburst, I underexposed the background and used flash to add colour. I was so mesmerised by the pulsating image in my viewfinder that I lost all sense of how far I had gone. Once the film was exhausted, I surfaced, scanned the horizon for my dinghy and realised it was going to be a long swim back.”

Subeye Reflex with 13mm R-UW AF Fisheye Nikkor lens; 1/125 sec at f11/16; Fujichrome Velvia; Ikelite substrobe 200.


Helmut Moik


Animal Portraits – Winner

Dalmatian pelican

“Each spring, Dalmatian pelicans arrive from North-east Africa and South Asia to breed in the Danube Delta, Romania. Armed with a permit to enter the reserve and a guide with a small motorboat, I arrived at the delta before sunrise. My guide left me at a small island where a large colony of pelicans was sleeping. At first light, this pelican opened its eyes and gave me a penetrating stare. A few seconds later, it waddled into the water to wash and begin its day.”

Nikon F5 with AFS 300mm f2.8 and x2 teleconverter OE; 1/30 sec at f5.6; Fujichrome Sensia 100; tripod.


Thomas D. Mangelsen


Animal Behaviour: Mammals – Highly Commended SS

Cheetah closing in on a Grant’s gazelle

“This female in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, had four 10-week-old cubs to care for. I watched her stalking a Grant’s gazelle buck for about an hour in the grass plains, waiting for it to graze closer to her. At a distance of about 250 metres, I was too far away to photograph her, but I didn’t want to move any closer for fear that I might disturb the hunt. When the gazelle eventually fed within striking distance, thecheetah charged. As she moved in for the kill, she tried to trip the gazelle with her right paw but missed.”

Nikon F5, with 600mm lens with 2x extender; Fujichrome Velvia; beanbag.