I am extremely honoured and excited to share the news that I have been included in the Natural History Museum Wildlife Photographer of the Year for 2020. My image "Peeking Possum" has been awarded highly commended in the urban wildlife category. Now in its 56th year, NHM WPY is the most prestigious and well respected nature photography competition on the planet.
To give you an idea of how big this competition is, this year they received just under 50,000 entries. Out of all of those images, only 100 images are accepted into the exhibition and only 50 will be awarded highly commended. Each category will have one winner and there is also the Lumix Peoples Choice Award where only 25 images are selected. The peoples choice award images are then voted on by the public with the top three voted images becoming highly commended.
Also, there are approximately 10 images that have been awarded highly commended that will be previewed early to promote the competition and exhibition. I am very proud to say that my possum image is one of these images! I have known about this exciting news since March and have been bursting to tell everyone since then. My media embargo was set until mid-October to coincide with the awards night, although because my image has been chosen to preview the competition my embargo date has been brought forward six weeks. How cool is that!
Right about now, I should be getting ready to fly to London for the awards ceremony which is held at the Natural History Museum. Unfortunately, we are in the middle of a one in a hundred-year pandemic, to say that I'm disappointed about not being able to travel to London is a bit of an understatement. The opportunity to interact and network with some of the worlds best nature photographers at such a prestigious event would be a wonderful opportunity. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. I take this slight disappointment as an extra incentive to make it back to London for another WPY awards ceremony in the future.
I have followed this competition/exhibition for quite a few years. I often visit the WPY website and head to the gallery to look through the many wonderful images. I find it very interesting when images are selected each year to be commended, highly commended, category winners or overall winners and what is it about those images that possibly made them stand out amongst nearly 50,000 others. I find myself firstly looking at the aesthetics of the images, then the lighting, and lastly, if the colours in the image are complimentary. The reason I always look to see if the colours in an image work together is, I believe nature photography is very similar to landscape painting and landscape painters often use complementary colours to bring a scene to life.
Natural History Museums Nature Photographer of the Year is more than just a competition, it is a wonderfully curated exhibition that tours to over 60 venues across 6 continents reaching millions globally. If you happen to make it into the exhibition, it's a really big deal and the exposure that awarded photographers receive is fantastic. If your image or images that are selected help raise awareness for a certain cause, it can make a huge difference to the amount of publicity that it would receive.
I need to say a huge thank you to my wife and children, they have put up with a lot from me over the years in my pursuit of wildlife/nature images. To everyone else that has supported me and my photography work up to this point, I thank you very much and I ask that you stick with me into the future as I believe it is going to be a wonderful photographic journey.
I have another surprise up my sleeve that I cannot tell you about just yet, you will have to wait 6 weeks...