A wildlife dinner party – come dine with the birds

A Montezuma Oropendola displays to attract a mate

October 29th is the RSPB’s national ‘Feed the Birds’ day. A very worthy cause indeed – it helps to ensure that, as the seasons change, we don’t forget about our vulnerable feathered friends in our own backyard. If you want to make a difference, visit the RSPB website to find out more.

In celebration of our feathered friends, I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you some of our favourite bird pictures from recent years (above and below).

Happy Feed the Birds day…..and, of course, don’t forget to feed them, though not just today – but all winter!

Grey Hawk, Costa Rica


Winning the Veolia Wildlife Photography of the Year Competition: The Judge’s Top Tips

A close up of a lioness

At the recent Wild Photos conference (London) we had the opportunity for an impromptu Q&A with Mark Carwardine, Chairman of the judges for the Veolia Wildlife Photographer of the year competition. This provided a great opportunity for us to find out more about the judging process and receive some tips on submitting potentially winning photos.

Here’s the top tips and best bits:

  • Use a picture that tells a story – the adage that a picture tells a thousand words is very true for this competition.
  • Don’t overlook common subjects – the judges are often bombarded with pictures of African wildlife and Japanese Macaques.
  • Look for new and unusual ways of portraying wildlife, for example unusual behaviour, alternative poses, new angles
  • Don’t copy winning styles from previous years – judges see this time after time and disregard ‘copied’ photos
  • It is permitted to resubmit photos year after year. In fact, some shots have been resubmitted three times and only won on their third submission. If you believe you have a truly winning shot it is worth repeat submissions.
  • The most popular categories are animal portraits and animals in their environment. Less popular – but becoming increasingly more so – is nature in black and white, urban wildlife and in praise of plants. Submitting into the less popular categories might increase your chances, but only because there is less competition.
  • Judges love spume 🙂
Other observations we have made both from the conference and the exhibition itself are:
  • Birds are very popular and are a trending submission, especially blurred and mass / flock shots
  • Shots that show wildlife half under the water / half out of the water (split level views) have been popular winning shots this year
  • The same photographer can submit similar shots of the same theme and subject and win year after year.
To see a selection of winning photos from the 2011 Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition visit the NHM website, or if you’re in London, make a visit to see the exhibition, it’s well worth a trip and is very inspirational!