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Saturday, July 1, 2006

Digital Images Dominate Competition

The latest Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest brought home how much nature photography is going digital

Digital Images Dominate CompetitionThis spring I had an amazing experience as part of the judging for the Shell Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest at the Natural History Museum in London. This prestigious contest attracts some of the finest nature photography in the world. Co-owned by the Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine, the competition is currently sponsored by Shell and Microsoft, and the winners are published by the BBC Wildlife Magazine in a special BBC book; additionally, a large-scale exhibition will be held at the Natural History Museum in October and an exhibition will tour globally.

The competition very much fits the digital world that this column covers. It showed how much nature photographers have gone to digital and how digital is affecting photography. I also have some ideas to share for readers who want to enter this contest in the future.

I was part of a group of judges who narrowed down the entries to a core group of very fine images for the final judging. The winners would be determined later. More than 18,000 photographs were entered into the competition. Here's the first digital reflection about the competition: In 2005, film made up about 65% of the entries and digital comprised about 35%; in 2006, this flipped—digital made up 65% and film 35%. That's a huge change for a single year and reflects what's going on in the industry.



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