Monday, 4 January 2010

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

On Saturday my friend H and I got the year off to a good start by visiting the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the City Museum in Bristol. It was strange to think this room had been one of the main ones used for the Banksy exhibition last summer as it was now back to a normal looking gallery rather than being full of fun and mayhem. However, evidence of Banksy was still to be found in certain other corners of the museum ;)

As expected, the photographs were of an extremely high standard. My overall favourite was a black and white shot of millions of starlings, blurred slightly to give the feel of them whirling around in the air trying to avoid the predator in their midst. This photograph particularly resonated with me because I've attempted to count similar sized flocks in Mallorca, where they were often seen dive bombing marsh harriers. Also one of my clearest winter memories from my early days of working in Bristol were of tens of thousands of starlings coming home to roost at Temple Meads Station in the evening. Sadly they're no longer to be seen over the city in such numbers: I believe they moved on when the roof of the station was restored in the 1990s to alternative roosts at Chew Valley lake and in the Somerset levels.

The exhibition is in Bristol until 10th January, or you can view it online here. It was an excellent start to my own personal celebration of the UN's International Year of Biodiversity.

Update 20/1: I've just heard on the radio news that the winning entry's been disqualified because it's of a captive animal being used as a model. Here's a report from December's The Guardian speculating that it might be so, with a picture of the photo concerned. This is the statement shown on the competition's website, confirming disqualification. The photographer denies that an animal model has been used.

12 comments:

  1. A nice gentle start to the year - the photos in the exhibition look great...I had a nice wander round the online tour! Thanks:)

    Happy New Year!

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  2. I hope you had a lovely Christmas and I wish you a happy New Year. I haven't been reading any posts over the holiday but will work my way through all your posts over the next couple of weeks - along with all the other blogs I read!

    Best wishes Sylvia

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  3. Thanks for sharing the exhibition. The wolf photo was fabulous.

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  4. Oh oh,*steps from one foot to the other*, how exciting!!! I'd love to see that in person but I can't stay - off to look at it online. Thanks for the link, hugs....
    Starlings, yep, love 'em...

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  5. thanks for the link! we have small flocks of starlings in my part of connecticut. they are such beautiful little birds (even if they are considered pests by many)!

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  6. Do you remember the birds at Newcastle Central VP ? Like an Alfred Hitchcock scene :) Will pop back and visit the exhibition later.

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  7. There are 3 million starlings roosting just near my house in Wales - an incredible sight. See my latest blog for pictures

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  8. What a nice start to the year. I think you can see the large groups of starlinga somewhere near Gloucester

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  9. My self & MrB take ourselves off to that exhibition every year when it is on at the Natural History Museum. Always very enjoyable. The winning wolf pic has caused much controversy in our house: does it count if all the equipment is set up & it is all triggered by infra-red beams & the photographer isn't there? (MrB has even heard that the wolf was not truly wild!). I leave you to ponder.

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  10. Hi everyone - glad you found the photos inspirational. It's become a regular start to mine and H's New Year :)

    Mark - another blogging coincidence! Despite their numbers over at yours, they're on the RSPB's Red list would you believe? I'll be over shortly...

    Anna - yes I do and I've also remembered how I used to call them greeeedy birds when I was a little girl because they scoffed all the Swoop I put out for the birds!

    PG - yes you can and Glosterwomble filmed them and posted on his blog a couple of years ago.

    Ms B - food for thought. H and I had a conversation along similar lines on Saturday. I really don't like most photos which use flash and I felt the same about this one. However, it would have been nigh on impossible to do any other way...

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  11. Wow,wish you a lot men,your photos give me an inspiration thanks a lot men,more bless tocome

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  12. Wildman - welcome. They're not my photos, but from lots of people who entered a most prestigious competition.

    It's their photos which are inspirational, I just went along to the exhibition.

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