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The Royal Society of Biology has announced the winners of this year’s Photography Competition, with two amateur photographers named as Photographer and Young Photographer of the Year.

The theme of this year’s competition was ‘Capturing movement,’ and more than 2,500 photos were submitted by more than 900 entrants worldwide, with shortlisted images including migrating zebras, lions feeding and even a polar bear.

However, it is a snap of a beetle mid-leap, taken on the Isle of Wight by 66-year-old Nick Edwards, that has bagged this year’s top prize. Nick has been named Photographer of the Year for his photo titled ‘Demob Happy’, for which he also wins £1,000 in prize money.

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Nick's winning photo of a jumping beetle, taken on a coastal walk near his house

 

Nick, a retired engineer who previously worked at a British multi-national corporation, is an amateur wNick Edwardsildlife photographer, keen birder and natural history observer.

Nick lives in the yachting town of Cowes, on the Isle of Wight, where he is an active volunteer member of the local RNLI lifeboat station crew.

Nick said of winning the award: “I was very pleased to hear that I have won the 2019 Photography Competition, which was a lovely surprise.

“Thanks very much indeed to the RSB for this award: it feels very grand to be named as Photographer of the Year!”

Thorness Bay, an unspoilt coastal farming area where his photograph was taken, is walkable from his home and one of Nick’s favourite wildlife spots. He has been married for 44 years and has 3 grown up children.

This year’s Young Photographer of the Year is Carlos Perez Naval, 14, recognised for his photo of two white-headed ducks in combat, titled ‘Fighting’, winning £500. Carlos lives in Spain with his family, and enjoys photography alongside his studies.

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The winning photo taken by 2019 Young Photographer of the Year Carlos Perez Naval

 

Carlos said of winning the award: “It was a lovely surprise to be announced as Young Photographer winner, so I offer my thanks to the RSB for this award. I am very happy and rather proud of myself!”

Tim Harris from Nature Picture Library and a judge for the RSB Photography Competition, said of the winning entries: “All the judges were impressed by the quality of entries in this year’s competition.

“The diversity of subjects, locations and approaches to the subject made our task in selecting the winning photographs a tough, but rewarding one.

“At 14 and the winner of the under-18 categories, Carlos Perez Naval, who submitted a pin-sharp shot of white-headed ducks fighting, clearly has a great future in nature photography.

“The overall competition winner was Nick Edwards’ soldier beetle image, which captured movement in a direct and technically sophisticated way, flying the flag for invertebrates at a time when recognising their key role in biodiversity has never been more important.”

The shortlisted photos showcase stunning images captured across the globe, including Canada, India and Kenya, and feature a variety of species in motion, with fluttering birds, jumping insects and territorial showdowns.

The competition was judged by Tim Harris, Nature Library and Bluegreen Pictures; Tom Hartman, program chair of MSc in Biological Photography and Imaging at the University of Nottingham; Alex Hyde, natural history photographer and lecturer at the University of Nottingham; and Linda Pitkin, underwater photographer.

The RSB wishes to thank Eppendorf for its continued support of this competition.

Photographer of the Year:

 

Overall winner

Title: Demob happy

Photographer: Nick Edwards

Location: Thorness Bay, near Cowes, Isle of Wight, UK

 

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Have you ever seen a beetle smile? This Red soldier beetle looks elated as it seemingly strikes a pose for the camera. The common red soldier beetle is usually spotted from June to August, often in mating pairs, in grasslands and woodlands. There are about 40 different species of red soldier beetle in the UK, all with slightly different markings.

Runner-up

Title: Flying over sunshine

Photographer: Kristhian Castro

Location: Cali, Valle del Cauca, Colombia

 

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This photo captures the stunning greens, blues and oranges of this hummingbird Anthracothorax nigricollis as it flies during sunset. Members of this family of birds (Trochilidae) can flap their wings up to 75 times per second. At faster shutter speeds (1/200sec) the wings appear static, so Kristhian used the setting sun as a backdrop to capture its movement.

Highly commended

Title: Territorial fight

Photographer: Sundhir Gaikward

Location: Sundarban Tiger Reserve, India

 

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These mudskippers are highly territorial and usually chase away intruders. Mudskippers are amphibious fish, meaning they can leave the water for extended periods of time, and mudskippers in particular are able to survive in air for multiple days. They breathe through the moist lining of their mouth and throat, so they prefer high humidity, and are often found in muddy mangrove swamps.

Shortlisted

Title: Tropical acrobatics

Photographer: Adrià López Baucells

Location: Manaus, Brazil

 

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This stunning photograph is of an unidentified South American marsupial, although the characteristic black markings on its face indicates it might be a mouse opossum. These small creatures are nocturnal, and feed on bugs, fruit, and bird eggs.

Shortlisted

Title: Falling leaves are blue

Photographer: Kallol Mukherjee

Location: Northern part of Sikkim

 

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This photo captures the near symmetrical flight of a large flock of more than 200 Grandala birds. Capturing these birds on film can be quite the challenge, as they remain at very high altitude in Himalayan terrain for almost eight months of the year. The birds will descend to 8000ft only when the upper areas are completely covered in snow and food becomes scarce.

Shortlisted

Title: Male polar bear shaking off snow

Photographer: Ian Stone

Location: Hudson Bay, Canada

 

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This stunning photo is of a polar bear shaking off snow as it walks through the Hudson Bay, Canada. For two hours before the photo was taken, a blizzard had completely covered the surrounding area and the polar bear in snow. Ian waited until the weather calmed to capture the bear standing up and shaking the snow from its fur, ready to continue with its journey to the sea to hunt for seals.

Young Photographer of the Year shortlist:

 

Overall winner

Title: Fighting
Photographer: Carlos Perez Naval
Location: Navaseca, Ciudad Real, Spain

 

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This amazing photo, taken by Carlos Perez Naval in Spain, is of two white-headed ducks, fighting over something in the water (probably a fish!).

Runner-up

Title: The stampede
Photographer: Lillian Quinn
Location: Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

 

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Lillian Quinn has snapped a stampede of a large herd of zebras crossing the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya. The zebras, hoping to dodge crocodiles as they head to the other side of the river, make the journey once a year.

Highly commended 

Title: Hectic nature
Photographer: Will Lawson
Location: Hickling Broad, England

 

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Will Lawson has captured this swallowtail butterfly, as it sat still for a moment whilst feeding. Even when such a majestic insect is resting, plenty else is still rushing around in a frenzy, such the wasp in the right of the frame.

Shortlisted

Title: Playtime
Photographer: Amogh Gaikwad
Location: Tadoba Tiger Reserve, India

 

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This stunning photo of a tiger after a successful hunt was taken by Amogh Gaikwad. After capturing its dinner, this 15-month old tiger cub decides to play with its dead prey.

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