The Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, an initiative of London’s Museum of Natural History and the BBC Worldwide, has for 50 years provided a global showcase of the best in nature photography, “moments of life, action, and survival in the animal kingdom in all corners of the world”. The winning images are presented in a major exhibition at the Natural History Museum that tours worldwide throughout the year, as well as being published online, in the BBC Wildlife Magazine and many other publications.
The Wildlife Photographer of the Year also fosters local competitions and this year, for the second time running, the Eretz Israel Museum Tel Aviv, in collaboration with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) and the Israeli Nature Photography Association, organized a competition among nature photographers in Israel called 2# A Photo of Nature – Local Nature Photography.
The overall winner of Picture of the Year is this photo by Alex Geifman of a family of red foxes in the Ben Shemen Forest.
Having followed the foxes during the course of the summer, Geifman said, “I noticed two cubs, four or five months old, climbing a tree right before nightfall. It was the first time I’d seen two cubs climbing together while playing. Previously, I’d been used to seeing them climbing individually. I hadn’t managed to snap the pair when one of them teetered on the branch and tried to save himself from falling… Afterwards, the cub did fall to the ground but was unharmed.”
Photographer Ezra Hadad took first place in the Birds category, with this photo of a Eurasian Scops Owl, hidden in the folds of a tamarisk tree trunk in the Judean foothills.
The Underwater World category was won by Noam Kortler, who captured a dramatic shot of a diver dwarfed by a massive school of big-scale sand smelt off the Eilat coral reefs.
A fawn, separated temporarily from his mother, decided a camel would make as good a foster parent as any, at least until his mother returned. This family drama was noticed by a Bedouin shepherd who notified the local NPIA inspector — who happened to be photographer Eran Hyams. The shot took second place in the Conflict Between Man and Nature category.
Eyal Cohen’s photo of a common brown hare lunching the dunes at the Palmachin Beach was the bronze medalist in the Animal Portraiture category.
And she may not have intended to be funny but Roy Avraham’s picture of an inelegantly side-stepping Grey Heron took the silver in the Animal Humor category.
This year, the “Natural Kingdom” category was dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.Other categories in the competition included Mammals, Reptiles and Amphibians, Invertebrates, Nocturnal Animals, Animals In Controlled Environments, Urban Nature, Wild Kingdom, Families, a youth photography category, ongoing projects and a presentation of wildlife videos.