A snow-covered stag in London and tree frogs enjoying a “pool party” are among the stars of this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.
A collection of 14 highly commended pictures have been unveiled by the Natural History Museum (NHM) as part of its annual competition, now in its 58th year.
The photographs include a majestic snow-covered red deer stag, snapped in Richmond Park, southwest London, by seven-year-old Joshua Cox.
The schoolboy captured the image after he and his father followed a group of deer at a safe distance, before one stopped as the snowfall intensified.
“He (the deer) almost looked as if he was having a snow shower,” Joshua said.
Other entries include an other-worldly image of European perch swimming through a sheet of algae snapped by Tiina Tormanen and a giraffe “disappearing” in Nairobi, Kenya, captured by Jose Fragozo.
They are joined by a shot of a polar bear leaning out of a window at an abandoned settlement, an eye-to-eye view of a southern right whale and an inquisitive dog sniffing a sloth.
An exhibition of the top 100 images submitted to the competition opens at the NHM in South Kensington, southwest London, on 14 October before going on a UK and international tour.
This year’s showcase includes entries from photographers of all ages from 93 different countries.
Each entry was judged anonymously based on its creativity, originality and technical excellence by an international panel of industry experts.
NHM director Dr Doug Gurr said the entries reflect some of the world’s best photography talent and encourage “curiosity, connection and wonder”.
“These inspiring images convey human impact on the natural world in a way that words cannot – from the urgency of declining biodiversity to the inspiring bounce-back of a protective species,” he said.
Chair of the judging panel, Roz Kidman Cox, added: “What’s stayed with me is not just the extraordinary mix of subjects in this year’s collection – a vast panorama of the natural world – but the emotional strength of so many of the pictures.”
The winning images will be announced on 11 October at an awards ceremony hosted by wildlife presenter and conservationist Chris Packham.
The image by French underwater photographer and biologist, Laurent Ballesta, had an “otherworldly beauty” and revealed a “fleeting moment of fascinating animal behaviour” witnessed by very few people.
Ten-year-old Vidyun R Hebbar was awarded the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year prize in 2021 for “Dome Home”, depicting a tent spider in the city of Bengaluru, India.