The winners of the annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition have just been announced in London, and as usual, it is a spectacular collection of images from all over the world. The overall winner was Hungarian photographer Bence Mate, whose leaf-cutter ant image (above) was selected as the best of the year.
You can review the winners here: WPY
It is always exhilarating to review the winning pictures in each of the many categories. Whether or not you agree with every choice, there are plenty of terrific pictures here: inspiring and unpredictable. Inevitably, there are surprising angles and unfamiliar views of familiar subjects.
One thing you might notice is how few of the photographers are from the US. More than any past WPY that I can remember, this is the year of the European photographer. No less than twelve of the winners were produced during the massive "Wild Wonders of Europe" project, in which photographers from all over Europe were sent out to document the little-known corners of the continent. You may have seen some of the pictures in a recent story in National Geographic, but you can find out more about the project here: WILD WONDERS.
I have been a competition judge in the past, and won a few categories over the years, and look forward every year to see what other photographers are doing. Without exception, it inspires me to look for the unexpected, avoiding the all-too-common icons.
Have a look, and be inspired.