Winners of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2018 competition have been announced, with Dutch photographer Marsel van Oosten taking home the top prize.
Van Oosten won for his image ‘The golden couple’, which topped the Animal Portraits category and depicts a pair of golden snub-nosed monkeys in the temperate forest of China’s Qinling Mountains. Van Oosten describes how he captured the image:
A male Qinling golden snub-nosed monkey rests briefly on a stone seat. He has been joined by a female from his small group. Both are watching intently as an altercation takes place down the valley between the lead males of two other groups in the 50-strong troop. It’s spring in the temperate forest of China’s Qinling Mountains, the only place where these endangered monkeys live.
They spend most of the day foraging in the trees, eating a mix of leaves, buds, seeds, bark and lichen, depending on the season. Though they are accustomed to researchers observing them, they are also constantly on the move, and as Marsel couldn’t swing through the trees, the steep slopes and mountain gorges proved challenging. Whenever he did catch up and if the monkeys were on the ground, the light was seldom right.
Also, the only way to show both a male’s beautiful pelage and his striking blue face was to shoot at an angle from the back.
It took many days to understand the group’s dynamics and predict what might happen next, but finally his perseverance paid off with this gift of a perfect situation, with a perfect forest backdrop and perfect light filtering through the canopy. A low flash brought out the glow of the male’s golden locks to complete the perfect portrait.
Van Oosten shot his image, top, with the Nikon D810 + Tamron 24–70mm f2.8 lens at 24mm; 1/320 sec at f8; ISO 1600; Nikon SB-910 flash.
Sixteen-year-old Skye Meaker won the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2018 with his charming of a leopard waking from sleep in Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana.
The Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2018 competition had more than 45,000 entries from 95 countries. An exhibition of all the winners will open at London’s Natural History Museum on 19 October.
Below you can see a gallery of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2018 winners…