From wide-mouthed frogs and a hungry gecko to majestic elephants and grizzly bears, here are just some of the stunning photos that have topped the international wildlife competition.
The fantastic images, taken by both professional and amateur photographers, have been winners and runners-up of The Society of International Nature and Wildlife Photographers’ competition.
Taken from around the world, from Sussex to South Africa, the photos capture the stunning forms of wildlife, with close-up shots offering incredible insight into their lives.
Despite its tropical appearance, the winning photo of two frogs hiding under a leaf was actually taken in Bognor Regis.
Photographer Kutub Uddin, 28, who often captures people on camera, said he couldn’t resist capturing his two pet frogs as they grabbed a leaf and used it as shelter.
Other spectacular photos submitted to the competition include two bear cubs keeping watch in Finland, a fox with a pyramidal ear in west London, and a wasp spider stalking its prey.
The winning photograph, of two pet red-eyed tree frogs sheltering under a leaf, was taken by 28-year-old photographer Kutub Uddin from Bognor Regis, West Sussex. He said: ‘I was cleaning out their tank and watched as they climbed up a plant. I just couldn’t resist getting my camera and taking a few quick snaps of them. It was really funny to see them with the leaf, it looked as if they were using it as an umbrella’
Wildlife photographer Ian Cook, bagged three highly commended images in the international competition. The 57-year-old, from Northumberland, said all of the images were taken at a 1:1 Macro Masterclass at Southpark Farm, Knowsley Safari Park in Merseyside earlier this year. He said: ‘The exact names of the creatures are a Painted Hopper, a New Caledonian Crested Gecko (above) and a Dead Leaf Mantis’
Mr. Cook’s photograph of a Painted Hopper (above) was highly commended in the competition, which was run by The Society of International Nature and Wildlife Photographers. He had three images commended, out of hundreds by both professional and amateur photographers
The photo of a fox with a lop-sided ear was taken by Vladimir Spirov in Brompton Cemetery, west London. The wedding photographer, 56, spent five months getting to know the fox before he could get close enough for the shot. He said: ‘After a while, the fox started to recognize my “special” whistle and my voice. Finally, it started to take food from my hands, so I was able to shoot it up close. This is one of those photos’
Italian photographer Luigi Calabrese, 41, saw his photograph of two young bears, which was taken near a lake in Finland, highly commended.
Carys Jones, 50, from Surrey, had her photograph of a rare Chalkhill Blue butterfly (left) commended. She said: ‘The image is of the relatively unusual Chalkhill Blue butterfly, taken on my first ever visit to Ranmore Common, near Dorking in Surrey this summer.
It was a slightly windy day which made it trickier to grab sharp shots. Luckily this little butterfly helped me out by staying on this particular flower for some time. Right: Photographer Chris Algar’s image of a spider clamping down on its prey nestled in its web was highly commended by the judging panel
The competition to determine the top wildlife photographer saw applicants from all around the world. Pictured: Rob Clayton’s submission
Anne Algar, from Middlesex, was highly commended for her picture of a heron carrying sticks for a nest at Regent’s Park in central London
Winner Kutub Uddin, 28, also had three other shots of his highly commended, including this incredibly cute photograph of a smiling frog.
Ian Cook’s image of a Dead Leaf Mantis, which he took at Knowsley Safari Park in Merseyside, was highly commended in the competition.
Amateur photographer Joanna Kembryte, 21, originally from Lithuania, traveled to Japan to get her highly commended image. The Manchester University student said: ‘The picture was taken during a trip to Japan in Yatomi-shi, Aichi. It is a city that has a long history of goldfish breeding due to its rich waters. They take great pride in their fishery industry and believe that koi fish can bring luck to one house’.
Chris Algar, from Middlesex, had this photograph of a migrant hawker dragonfly, which he took at London Wetland Centre, highly commended.
The photograph which came second in the Focus on Nature international competition was Chris Algar’s shot of cormorants taken at the London Wetland Centre in Richmond.
Mr. Algar, from Middlesex, said: ‘I rested the lens on the window frame of the hide rather than steady the camera on a tripod. Cormorants regularly land on the small island – it’s just a matter of waiting for them to do something interesting.
South African photographer Joey Nel was highly commended for her adorable picture of a baby elephant sheltering underneath an adult.
Housewife Icy Ho, 28, from Newark had pictures of a wasp (above) and a froghopper highly commended. She said: ‘Both photos were taken in my own garden and I waited patiently to capture them.’ The images were two of hundreds submitted to judges as part of the competition.
Winner Mr. Uddin had this fascinating image of a close-up of a wasp, which he took at his macro studio, also highly commended by judges.
The winner and highly commended photos were chosen out of hundreds submitted to the judges of the Focus on Nature competition. This image of two froghoppers was taken by housewife and amateur photographer Icy Ho, in her back garden. It was highly commended by judges.
Darren Miles, 49 captured his highly commended image of a spider eating a fly in his parent’s back garden in Stotfold, Bedfordshire. The professional photographer, whose image centered on an orange background, said: ‘The spider image was taken in natural daylight conditions’.
Italian photographer Luigi Calabrese, 41, came third in the competition with his shot of a stork. The literature teacher said: ‘The photograph was taken in northern Italy, after a cold morning spent in the hide, without having seen any animals.
Then came the stork and, at the same time, it started to snow. This has created an almost fairytale scene.’ He also had another photo of two young grizzly bears highly commended.
Photographer and artist Yacine M’Seffar from Montreal, Canada, was highly commended for a dragonfly mounted on a black background.
South African Hendrik Kotze’s fox drinking at a waterhole was highly commended. The 45-year-old IT consultant said: ‘The image was taken in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in South Africa.
We were waiting at a water hole when the fox came around for a drink. They are very shy and on edge and constantly on the lookout for enemies, so getting him standing still drinking is really the timing and shooting a rapid number of images’.
Winner Kutub Uddin also had a photograph of a butterfly on a flower, caught at sunrise in a park near his home in West Sussex, commended.
Robyn Whaley’s highly commended image of a spider was captured at Thrislington National Nature reserve. The student, 21, from County Durham said: ‘I got the photo by visiting the reserve during the magic hour to find wonderful light, which is a rarity for the North East. I noticed the spider sunbathing and tried different shots before I settled on this. Thankfully the exposure turned out well. Then I let him finish his lunch’