The winners of the world's largest and most prestigious wildlife photography competition have been announced.
Göran Ehlmé of Sweden is named Shell Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2006 for his image Beast of the sediment . Rick Stanley, 17, of the USA is awarded the title Shell Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2006 for his image The dilemma.
The winning image, of a walrus whipping up the sediment at the bottom of the sea as it gorges on bivalve shells, was among over 18,000 entries from 55 countries.
'It's got everything, the feel of the picture is interesting, your attention goes straight to the eye,' said judge chairman, Mark Carwardine. Judge, Andy Mclane added, 'You get a real sense that you're seeing something you've never seen before. Epic. You could spend years trying to get this shot.'
The walrus is a bottom-feeder, so Göran's 24 years of diving experience came in handy. Göran spent hours swimming with the huge beast off northeast Greenland and took more than 400 photographs with his new digital camera. He managed to capture the moment the walrus made eye contact.
The dilemma by 17-year-old Rick Stanley shows a Hispaniolan treefrog, which had been caught in the jaws of a green vine snake.
The judges agreed unanimously that Rick's image was a winner. Tim Flach commented, 'This works on several different levels. On a cursory glance the frog appears to be jumping, but then you notice the snake has grabbed it… then you look at the frog and it seems to be smiling! It's a complete contradiction.'
Shell Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition displays all 92 winning, specially and highly commended images from the 2006 competition. The exhibition opens to visitors at the Natural History Museum on Saturday 21 October 2006 and runs until 29 April 2007. It will then tour across the country and five continents after its London debut.