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British Gas Wildlife Photographer of the Year 1995

Watery Winners

by Brian Pitkin

Reproduced from in focus 56 (January 1996)

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year 1995 competition is organised by BBC Wildlife Magazine and The Natural History Museum. Now in its twelfth year, the competition attracted more than 19,000 entries from 57 countries making it the largest and most prestigious event of its kind in the world. This annual competition sponsored by British Gas offered more than £30,000 in prize money.

The competition comprises 14 categories including one specifically for underwater photographs, but there were underwater images amongst the winners in other categories.


The winner of The Underwater World category this year was Darryl Torkler (New Zealand) with a photograph of a sea dragon (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus) taken while diving off Kangaroo Island in Australia. It was the first sea dragon he had ever seen and he was fascinated by its unusual shape and colouring. Runner-up was Heinz Schimpke (Germany) with a photograph of slender sweepers (Parapriacanthus guentheri) taken in the mouth of a cave in the Ari Atoll, Maldives.

Highly commended were photographs of the secretive, very small blue-eyed triplefin by Burt Jones and Maurine Shimlock (USA); a whale shark with divers by Amos Nachourn (USA) taken off Western Australia; Atlantic spotted dolphin by Doug Perrine (USA) taken of Little Bahama Bank; a whale shark in "baitball" by Douglas David Seifert (USA) taken off Western Australia; Anthias with goby by Brant Hedges (Australia); Jewel anemones by Paul Kay (UK) taken on the south side of Skellig Michael in County Kerry, Ireland; yellow gobies in can by Kimio Naito (Japan) taken in Osezaki Bay, Japan; and a sea angel mollusc moving gracefully through the waters of the White Sea by Nikklai A Orlov (Russia).


In the Animal Behaviour: All other Animals (i.e. excluding mammals) category the winner photograph was of a sea star spawning by Doug Perrine (USA) taken near Baltra Island in the Galapagos. Highly commended were photographs of a coral trout with cleaner shrimp by Linda Pitkin (UK) taken in the Maldives; and a remora in spiracle chamber of a whale shark by Douglas David Seifert (USA) taken at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia.


In the In Praise of Plants category Kenneth J Howard (USA) was highly commended for his photograph of giant kelp taken off southern California, USA.


In the Composition and Form category Solvin Zanki (Germany) was highly commended for his photograph of a horseshoe worm and goby on brain coral, taken off Buck Island Reef in the US Virgin Islands.


The Eric Hosking Award is awarded for the best portfolio of six images taken by a photographer aged 26 or under. This year the award was presented to Brandon D Cole (USA), whose portfolio included underater photographs of a decorated warbonnet (Chirolophis decorulus) with a red sea anemone taken off Vancouver Island, Canada; a manatee taken in Crystal River, Florida; and a crab on a sea cucumber taken in Bunaken Marine Park, Sulawesi. Brandon is a free-lance photojournalist specialising in the marine environment.


The awards were presented at a star-studded ceremony held at The Natural History Museum on 19 October 1995, at which most of the winning and highly photographers were present. A splendid buffet style dinner was served in the impressive Main Hall at the museum that evening.


All winning and commended images are on show at The Natural History Museum, London from 20 October 1995 until 25 February 1996. (phone 0171938 9123 for admission times and charges, which are waived after 5.00 p.m.). Touring exhibitions of prints of the images will appear at venues throughout the UK until mid-1997 and in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, Australia and USA.


A beautifully presented book "Wildlife Photographer of the Year : Portfolio Five", published by Fountain Press, features all the winning and commended entries from this year's competition. It is available at a special price of f:19.95 inc p and p (UK only, overseas price on application) from WPY Portfolio 5, JEM House, Little Mead, Cranleigh, Surrey,

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

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