More than 50 commended and specially commended images from this year's Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition are revealed today.
These remarkable images, including the commended Leaping lemur above, both shock and delight and reveal the beauty and brutality of nature on our planet.
Co-owned by the Natural History Museum and BBC Worldwide, this fiercely contested competition has attracted over 48,000 entries from 98 countries.
The images will debut in the acclaimed London exhibition on 19 October, before embarking on a UK and international tour.
Heinrich van den Berg, from South Africa, took his Leaping lemur commended image in Madagascar - Verreaux’s sifakas are only found in southern and southwestern Madagascar.
They are not as endangered as many of the island’s lemurs, but their numbers are falling, mainly because of deforestation.
They are most often photographed crossing open areas of ground, jumping upright, as if on springs. But when Heinrich found a group feeding in trees in the Nahampoana Reserve, what impressed him was the extraordinary way they use the technique to leap from one tree to another.
‘They spring off their back legs, then twist in the air to land perfectly on the next trunk,’ says Heinrich.
The photographic conditions were ideal – the sifakas in shadow and a bright background behind – enabling him to use a slow shutter speed for the background effect of movement and a flash to freeze the leap.
Jim Brandenburg, acclaimed photographer and chair of the judging panel, says, 'It amazes me to discover new and startling moments that have never been seen before.
'Secret moments in nature combined with a talented eye have given us rare photographs that we will truly be enjoyed forever and I am honoured to play a role in such an important competition.’
The 100 photos in the exhibition are selected for their creativity, artistry and technical complexity. They reveal the astonishing diversity of life on our planet while highlighting the fragility of nature.
The Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition is open to all photographers and is judged by a panel of industry-recognised professionals.