The public were given 24 images to choose from out of almost 50,000 submissions from 92 countries in London’s Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition. Voting has now closed but the winners will be showcased at the Museum until 28 May 2018.
The top five People’s Choice Award images are also on display online at wildlifephotographeroftheyear.com joining the 100 strong winning portfolio selected by the judges.
Here’s the four underwater photos that made the shortlist, and two others to demonstrate the strength of the competition.
Warning wings – Mike Harterink, The Netherlands
Diving off Blue Bead Hole, St Eustatius, Caribbean, Mike used a slow shutter speed to capture the motion of this ‘flying’ gurnard. The fish’s large pectoral fins are divided into a shorter forward fin with spines, which it uses to ‘walk’ around and to poke the ocean floor for food, and a larger wing-like part. When threatened the fish expands its wings to scare away predators.
The brothers – Marco Urso, Italy
Millions of salmon spawn each year at Kuril Lake in the southern part of the Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia, attracting large numbers of brown bears. Rain falling onto the lake added extra atmosphere.
Elegant mother and calf – Ray Chin, Taiwan
Every year from July to late October southern humpback whales migrate north from their Antarctic feeding grounds to give birth in the warm sheltered waters off Tonga. Ray encountered this humpback mother and calf peacefully floating in the plankton – filled water around the island group of Vava‘u, Tonga. After Ray gently approached them, the giants swam a bit closer to have a look at him. While they made this elegant turn, Ray took the shot.
Cleaning session – Jordi Chias Pujol, Spain
The protected waters around Carall Bernat, Medes Islands, Spain, and Jordi knows of an area there where sunfish visit in the spring to be cleaned by Mediterranean wrasses. The Sunfish adopt an upright position, signalling they are ready. Jordi was able to take a shot while the wrasses went to work picking off the skin parasites which the sunfish are commonly afflicted with.