The latest example is the 2007 Nature’s Best Photography International Awards and the National Wildlife Photography Awards competitions now showing at the National Museum of Natural History.
The top 60 award-winning photos are on display and represent 15 categories, such as wildlife, landscapes, birds, oceans, art in nature and the always a fun category — animal antics. Most are presented in a very large format, with exceptional detail.
The winning photos are the result of the annual competition with over 17,000 entries. And it made me wonder how many photos each photographer had to take of the same subject before they got the one they submitted.
Were these photos the result of being in “the right place at the right time”? Or, for example, did the photographer James Hager, who took the photo at the left, have to sit for hours or perhaps days staring into his camera to get that image?
Like last year, I’m not in agreement with the judges on their Overall Winner, a herd of running zebras photographed from a helicopter. I guess that’s what makes photo competitions interesting – seeing how others view and feel about the same photos.
The landscape winner, taken of the Fly Ranch geyser in Black Rock Dessert, Nevada, was eerily and almost looked like a surrealistic painting.
The winner in the Art in Nature category, Mandarin Duck, was also the most explosively colorful photo in the collection.
My personal overall favorite photo was the winner from the Oceans category, Dwarf Minke Whale taken in the Great Barrier Reef. The photo is simplistic, capturing just the whale’s seemingly smiling face and watchful eye taken from just a few feet away. The whale’s gray and white body contrasted with the rich blue water in the background. I found it warm and relaxing.
Some of the Highly Honored photos were my favorites, scoring in my judgement over many of the category winners; but again, it’s all in the eye of the beholder.
Additional photos from the Conservation Photographer of the Year, Howard Ruby, who takes stunning images of polar bears, glaciers and landscapes in the Arctic are also on display.
The iguana’s eyes photo (above) was also a favorite of mine, yet some people seemed hesitant to get too close to it as it had an eerie feel to it.
And for a different perspective on the exhibit, check out Mary Jo’s review on Fly Away Cafe.
Admission – free, admission to all Smithsonian museums are free.
Hours - Daily, 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. through April 27, 2008.
Images – All images are copyrighted by the respective photographer.