WildArt Photographer of the Year is a new wildlife photography competition with a difference. ABSTRACTS is the sixth of the ten WildArt categories and accepted entries during June.
ABSTRACTS attracted some amazing images from all around the world. The top 100 shortlist was full of outstanding photographs, demonstrating a multitude of artistic techniques. The standard of these images was incredible and gave Victoria and her judging team a tricky choice to select the winners displayed here.
Special congratulations go to Rachel Piper from the United Kingdom who picks up the Gold Award for the category with her beautiful image of a spider’s web. Rachel joins the other category winners in the grand final, from which the WildArt Photographer of the Year will be chosen and awarded the title and the £3,000 top prize. Previous category winners have come from Poland, The United States of America, The United Kingdom, Israel, and Austria underlining the competitions international reach and appeal.
The competition is supporting 10 conservation causes – one for each of the monthly categories. Victoria Hillman chose to support Froglife, a UK wildlife charity committed to the conservation of amphibians and reptiles – frogs, toads, newts, snakes and lizards – and saving the habitats they depend on. Through direct donations from entry fees, plus a private donation, WildArt has raised a total of £257.00 for this organisation, making the total raised so far for conservation through the competition, to £1,820.
There is still time to get involved if you’d like to take part in the competition. September’s theme MOTION. We finish off in October with COLOUR. Visit the WildArt POTY website for more information and to enter the competition.
You can find more info about WildArt Photographer of the Year:
#1 ABSTRACTS GOLD AWARD WINNER – Rachel Piper, United Kingdom. Prize: £500.
Image Title: Hidden Beauty
Subject: Spider’s Web
I took this photograph in an empty field one September morning, when the sun was still low in the sky; I was surrounded by spiders’ webs, which had been weaved on plants, and I became mesmerised by the beauty of the light falling on them. In order to capture the colourful spectrums, I selected the shallowest depth of field and chose my angle with care.
#2 ABSTRACTS SILVER AWARD WINNER – Steve Palmer, United Kingdom. Prize: £200.
Image Title: Organic Manic.
Subject: Various Plants
This was shot at Kew Gardens Waterlily House, standing outside and shooting through the glass.
The combination of the plants, condensation, and marks all over the glass made for some very
interesting abstract patterns and textures. This image was one of a series that I shot on one of the
hottest days of the year and the reason I stayed outside the very hot Waterlily House!
#3 ABSTRACTS BRONZE AWARD WINNER – Trai Andersen, United Kingdom. Prize: £100.
Image Title: Dreaming of Cheetah
Subject: Cheetah Acinonyx jubatus
I’ve always been interested in less literal representations of wildlife and became fascinated with how closely intentional camera motion can produce dreamlike results that mirror the way my mind recalls each day’s wildlife encounters as I fall sleep. Sometimes I have to use quite a complex fusion of extended shutter speeds, intentional camera motion, lens manipulation and stacked images to gain the results I want, but this image was relatively simple to achieve. I needed a slower shutter speed than usual and a steady panning technique to keep pace with the cheetah. It does take a bit of experience and practice to get these shots as I want them, but it’s always fun giving it a go. Of course it can be hit and miss, but sometimes the final images are entirely unexpected and more beautiful for it! The trick with shots like this is simplicity: to retain the essence of the cheetah while stripping away unnecessary and distracting detail. The pared down colour palette helps the process too. She is simply reduced to a collection of dark spots bounding her way through a haze of light stripes…but also so much more!
#4 ABSTRACTS – WILD PLANET PHOTO MAGAZINE – EDITOR’S CHOICE – Jiří Hřebíček, Czech Republic. Prize: A year’s free subscription to Wild Planet Photo Magazine.
Image Title: The Dance
Subject: Red-crowned Crane Grus japonensis
It was getting dark on feeding ground for Red-crowned Cranes in Hokkaido, Japan, and the sun was already below the horizon. There was less and less light, and the sky displayed amazing pastel dark blue and pink colours. I decided to experiment with longer shutter speeds in order to capture the dynamic motion of the birds’ typical dance and to create a painting-like photo. It always fascinates me that the camera can capture something that remains hidden to a human eye.
#5 ABSTRACTS – HIGHLY COMMENDED – TOPAZ LABS AWARD WINNER – WILDART PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR FOUNDER’S CHOICE – Barbara White, United States of America.
Image Title: Satisfied Salsify
Subject: Salsify Tragopogon porrifolius
It was just a simple shot – I’m almost embarrassed to talk about it. My husband and I were on a “social distancing” road trip in Northern California. We would get sandwiches in the morning and find a deserted road on which to park and eat our lunch. I brought along a little camp stool and while sitting there eating, I was also staring around at the plants that were nearby and photographing them with my macro lens, just to entertain myself. On one of the lunches, there was this nice salsify.
#6 ABSTRACTS – COTTON CARRIER AWARD WINNER – Lynn Fergusson, Canada. Prize: Cotton Carrier camera harness.
Image Title: Standing alone
Subject: Tree (species unknown)
The picture was taken in Eastern Passage Nova Scotia, Canada last October. The trail skirted the ocean, at the beginning of the trail was a sandy beach and at the other end a rocky shoreline. Towards the end of the trail, I noticed this tree standing tall and alone in the rocks on the ocean side of the trail. It grabbed my attention as I was amazed that it could still be growing in the sea of rocks that it was surrounded by and the salty winds blowing off the ocean. This tree was defying all odds and surviving in harsh conditions. I decided to try the Intentional camera movement technique to capture a more whimsical portrait of the tree. In this shot the tree seems to have a life of its own with the trunk of the tree resembling a face and several people commented that it seemed to symbolize the strength and resilience as well as the struggles that many have faced in the various waves of the Covid-19 virus that the world has been wrestling with.
#7 ABSTRACTS – HIGHLY COMMENDED – Csaba Daróczi.
Image Title: Bacteria Cocktail.
On a warm summer’s day, I was in the field after rain. Water accumulated in a recess, and under the influence of the heat, interesting chemical and biological processes began in it. Fantastic colours and shapes were formed. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the right lens, but I decided to go back the next day, but unfortunately, during the night, all the formations disappeared.
#8 ABSTRACTS – HIGHLY COMMENDED – Csaba Daróczi.
Image Title: White Forest.
Subject: Birch Trees
The picture has no special story. I was driving home along the road and I saw this forest. It looked good from the car, so I stopped by for a few minutes next to it. I took a few photos of it, but it was at its best when the clouds briefly obscured the sun.
#9 ABSTRACTS – HIGHLY COMMENDED – Brian Hammond, United Kingdom.
Image Title: Midge Trails
I wanted to capture the evening swarming midges along the RSPB Leighton Moss causeway and experimented with a range of methods to do so. This image was taken by pre-setting and locking the focus plane while trying to maintain this distance with a section of the swarm. A slow shutter speed was used to capture their flight path, and a telephoto lens with extension tubes helped to limit the depth of focus, producing a suitable midge size and allowing the selection of an area with a high concentration of individuals.
#10 ABSTRACTS – HIGHLY COMMENDED – Jiří Hřebíček, Czech Republic.
Image Title: Snow Geese
Subject: Snow Goose Anser caerulescens
I was observing a huge flock of snow geese in Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico, and I hoped to witness the impressive blast off of the entire flock. Unfortunately, geese decided to leave the pond in smaller flocks one by one. But this at least helped me to visualize flying birds against the mountains in the background with birds still sitting on the water’s surface which looks a bit like sea waves.
#11 ABSTRACTS – HIGHLY COMMENDED – Andrew McLachlan, Canada.
Image Title: Green Darner
Subject: Common Green Darner Anax junius
In the early summer of 2019, I came upon a Common Green Darner Dragonfly emerging from the larval stage. This allowed an opportunity to photograph multiple compositions as well as various abstract imagery. By keeping the camera parallel to the subject, I was able to maintain sharpness throughout the details.
#12 ABSTRACTS – HIGHLY COMMENDED – Alain Poirot, France.
Image Title: Springtime Cherry
Subject: Cherry Prunus sp.
A Cherry Tree in spring blossom taken using the intentional camera movement technique (ICM) in order to create the effect of a painting. I like the impressionistic feel of the image. Taken in Provence, France.
#13 ABSTRACTS – HIGHLY COMMENDED – István Tamás Vida, Hungary.
Image Title: Frogs
Subject: Common Toad Bufo bufo
There is a very nice pond in the cemetery of Debrecen, Hungary. It is a breeding pond for Common Toads. During the breeding season, thousands of eggs are laid in gelatinous strings which hatch into tadpoles. The scene was spectacular in the shallow water. I chose a 180 mm macro lens and I took the picture early in the morning to avoid any reflection on the surface of the water.
#14 ABSTRACTS – WILDART YOUNG CATEGORY WINNER – D’Artagnan Sprengel, New Zealand. Prize: £50.
Image Title: Backlit Lines.
Subject: New Zealand Flax Phormium tenax.
I stepped outside into the garden as I noticed the late afternoon sun was nicely backlighting the leaves of the flax. I chose to take the photo in portrait orientation as I knew it would work better with the long, tall leaves. I decided on a shallow enough depth of field to create a sort of soft, dreamy background but still showing the outline of the other leaves.
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