Thursday, October 3, 2013

review: wildlife photographer of the year exhibit

I went to see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit at the Australian Museum.  I try to go most years and I always really like it.  I was particularly impressed this year that they kindly let me in for the concession rate seeing as I came so close to closing time (it closes at 5 pm -- and I think Oct. 7 is the last day this year).

Anyway, the photos were, of course, amazing.  There's certainly an array and, as usual, I tended to agree with one or two of the judges' winners and disagree with others.  There were a few I clearly missed what was so technically amazing (it was blurry ...), and a few that were great, crisp clear photos, but rather stock standard as far as these competitions go (hawk in flight.  again.).  Still, they were good photos.  I'm never a fan of the cold-blooded animal category, but I love the ones of animals in their habitat.  Particular stand-outs were the winner in that category (a polar bear on a vanishing ice cap ... which, yes, is a bit stock standard, but the difference was that, first of all, it was an awesome angle and the ice was breaking perfectly everywhere and it was top of the line for polar bear on ice photos, but as the clincher there was a trail of very clear polar bear paw prints leading out to it.  It was pretty awesome.) and the runner-up (a young male lion asleep on the ... savannah? ... with a dramatic maroon-y stormy sky in the background and the next commended (a white "black bear" (recessive genes, go figure) eating vividly salmon salmon in a lush, mossy green forest.  In another category (habitats?) there was a great photo also of another mossy forest but looking up from the level of two adorable toadstools in the foreground.  Then I liked one in Girona, Spain (I've been there! -- though didn't recognize the place in the photo at all) which was a dramatic moon and its light over some cliffs and mini cliff island in the sea.  And one of the Northern Lights.  Also, there was a very artistic shot of a fox in mid-jump in the snow -- the photo was entirely white except in the very top right corner you could see the snout, face, 4 paws and tail of the fox just jumping into the frame.  I think my favorite, though, was a black and white shot of two cheetahs -- that photographer was robbed!  He definitely should have won the black and white category -- it was a spectacular sky and a highly textured landscape and two cheetahs sitting with their backs to the camera but their heads turned in in a mirror image of each other.  The three different textures (sky, landscape and cheetahs) were so different and each so incredible -- and the combination was a bit busy, but amazing.  The winning shot for birds was also one I agreed with -- two penguins quite close up and one in mid jump, surrounded by beautiful icy water scenery and vivid colors.  The photojournalism pieces aren't my favorite (they're generally tragic) but important to include I think.

Anyway, it was a great display and well worth seeing if you've got the time before it closes!

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