Owned by the Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine, the annual competition is the most prestigious of its kind and is currently sponsored by Veolia Environnement, the parent company of Veolia Environmental Services, who are contracted to manage the treatment and disposal of household waste throughout Hampshire.
Veolia Environmental Services Projects Director, Richard Johnson, said: “We are extremely proud to be title sponsors of the 2011/2012 Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition and Exhibition and, for the first time this year, we are also sponsoring the UK tour of this stunning exhibition. We believe this competition embodies our corporate values, such as our commitment to sustainable development, the preservation of natural resources, the promotion of biodiversity and the very real need to inspire people of all ages.”
The coveted title of Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year was presented to Daniel Beltrá from Spain for Still Life in Oil, a striking image of eight brown pelicans rescued from an oil spill, from his six-image portfolio for the Wildlife Photojournalist of the Year Award.
Daniel took the image at a temporary bird-rescue facility in Fort Jackson, Louisiana. He describes how ‘crude oil trickles off the feathers of the rescued brown pelicans, turning the white lining sheets into a sticky, stinking mess. The pelicans are going through the first stage of cleaning. They’ve already been sprayed with a light oil to break up the heavy crude trapped in their feathers’, making them look discoloured. Chair of the judging panel, Mark Carwardine, described the image as ‘a strong environmental statement, technical perfection and a work of art all rolled into one. The sheer simplicity of this powerful image makes it really beautiful and shocking at the same time.’
Mateusz Piesiak from Poland was hailed as Veolia Environnement Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year for his image Pester Power, in the 11–14 Years category. To take the photograph, Mateusz wrapped his camera in a waterproof sack, dropped onto his belly and crawled along the wet sand off Long Island, New York. The birds were so absorbed in their foraging that they ignored him, sometimes scuttling almost to within arm’s length in their search for shellfish. One young oystercatcher kept trying to find its own food. ‘As soon as it saw an adult with a morsel,’ said Mateusz, ‘it would run over with loud, begging queep queep cries and try to snatch it from them. Sometimes the adult would give in.’
Mateusz spent so long watching this pester power at work that he didn’t notice the tide coming in until a big wave washed over him. ‘I managed to hold my camera up high,’ he says. ‘I was cold and wet, but I had my shot.’ Judge Mark Carwardine described the image. ‘Pin sharp, gorgeous subdued light, interesting behaviour, oodles of atmosphere, and beautiful composition. This would make any professional proud – and is doubly impressive for someone so young.’
Photographers can enter next year’s competition until 23 February 2012. For further details about the competition and its various categories, or to enter online, please visit www.nhm.ac.uk/wildphoto
07 January 2012 to 03 March 2012
Market Place, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 7QD 0845 603 5635
For more information please contact:
Veolia Environmental Services:
0203 567 2918 or 07887 942 754