Outdoor Photographer Of The Year 2017: Category Winners Revealed

The category winners have been announced in this year’s Outdoor Photographer of the Year competition. Now in its seventh year the competition offers a photographic insight into the landscapes, wildlife and nature of the planet, and the adventures to be found on it. The Overall Winner and Runner-Up – chosen from the category winners – will be announced live on stage at The Photography Show at the NEC, Birmingham on Saturday 17th March 2018


Wildlife Insight: Bence Máté (Hungary) – Red fox and white-tailed eagle, Kiskunság national park, Hungary. Over the last four winters I have spent more than 200 full days photographing from a hide, and in this time there have been only three occasions when I’ve seen a fox and an eagle together. In this instance, the fox didn’t approach the hide, but deliberately teased the birds resting on the ice. They occasionally flapped towards him, which emboldened the fox more and more – he continued to provoke the birds for about 10 minutes before vanishing into the reeds. (Photo by Bence Máté/The Outdoor Photographer of the Year/The Guardian)

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Live the Adventure: Mark Bridgwater (New Zealand) – Temple Basin, Arthur’s Pass, Canterbury, New Zealand. There are some moments in time when the photography stars align; clouds break in the perfect spot and the sun shines exactly where you are standing. This was one of those moments for Charlie Lyons and myself. While most people were oblivious to the perfection we had found on our mid-week excursion, we were having the time of our lives. (Photo by Mark Bridgwater/The Outdoor Photographer of the Year/The Guardian)


At the Water’s Edge: Jaak Sarv (Estonia) – Prandi Springs, Järva county, Estonia. This is the magic of an Estonian winter: although the temperature was –20°C, the water at this spring was flowing like it was summer. As the morning sun peeked out from behind the frost-covered trees, it was like being in a fairy tale, with the warm orange light starting to penetrate the desolate blue landscape. To make the most of the scene, I created a stitched panorama, reflecting the cinematic drama of the location. (Photo by Jaak Sarv/The Outdoor Photographer of the Year/The Guardian)


Light on the Land: Wojciech Kruczynski (Poland) – Kallur lighthouse, Faroe Islands. The picture consists of nine frames arranged in a three-by-three grid, which is quite difficult to put together and requires a lot of work, but with this beautiful place it was worth the effort. Weather conditions like this do not often occur in the Faroe Islands – I had to wait for three days in a tent in the rain for them. It was worth overcoming these difficulties, though, because Kallur lighthouse is located in one of the most beautiful places on the planet. (Photo by Wojciech Kruczynski/The Outdoor Photographer of the Year/The Guardian)


Under Exposed: Pekka Tuuri (Finland) – Great white shark, Isla Guadalupe, Mexico. Isla Guadalupe is the world capital when it comes to observing great white sharks, but cage diving seriously limits the possibilities to take ‘fresh’ pictures. When I took this, the water close to the surface was quite milky, making photography very challenging. From out of the ‘mist’, I saw this great white shark lurking behind a school of fusiliers. I quickly focused on the shark and set a wide aperture to get focus blur on the fish, along with a fast shutter to avoid excessive motion blur. (Photo by Pekka Tuuri/The Outdoor Photographer of the Year/The Guardian)


Spirit of Travel: Gunarto Gunawan (Indonesia) – Shwe Gu monastery, Bagan, Myanmar. I took this photograph when I visited Shwe Gu monastery, which cares for orphans and trains them to be Buddhist monks. The orphans were gathering and playing, and I showed them a funny video on my iPhone – I did not expect them to be so excited! In the end, they were all scrambling to watch the video. Seeing them laugh, I immediately took my camera and photographed this magical moment. (Photo by Gunarto Gunawan/The Outdoor Photographer of the Year/The Guardian)


Light on the Land: Simon Baxter (UK) – North Yorkshire, England. I originally captured a similar scene to this during a flurry of unexpected snow in April 2016. It’s typically the first spot I come to when exploring this private woodland, and I couldn’t help but capture it again when I was treated to these wonderful – but rare – conditions of mist with a hint of warm light as the morning sun tried to break through. (Photo by Simon Baxter/The Outdoor Photographer of the Year/The Guardian)


Live the Adventure: Mikolaj Nowacki (Poland) – The Baltic Sea (somewhere on the way from the Swedish island of Utklippan to the Danish island of Christiansø). It was my first cruise on a yacht on the open sea and there were only two of us – myself and captain Jacek Pasikowski. I was helping Jacek take his small yacht Fri (‘Free’ in Danish) from the coast of Sweden to Poland, across the Baltic Sea. It was a stormy day, but the captain – who has more than 40 years’ experience sailing in open seas – remained completely calm and relaxed, even though waves were breaking over him every few minutes. (Photo by Mikolaj Nowacki/The Outdoor Photographer of the Year/The Guardian)


Under Exposed: Saeed Rashid (UK) – Sohal surgeonfish, Fury Shoals, Red Sea, Egypt. In the summer months, sohal surgeonfish tend to mate and lay eggs on the top of the reefs in the Red Sea. They fiercely defend their egg patch and rush upon anything that invades that area. They will often swipe their tail, which has a bony protrusion sticking from it that can be as sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, towards the intruder. Because of this you need to make sure you don’t get too close as a photographer’s hands make a very easy target and often get cut. (Photo by Saeed Rashid/The Outdoor Photographer of the Year/The Guardian)


At the Water’s Edge: Witold Ziomek (Poland) – Thórsmörk (the valley of Thor), Iceland. After a morning full of drama, during which we almost ‘drowned’ our car in a river – and then pulled out a young Frenchman who had lost his – we reached Thórsmörk, in the south of Iceland. We walked up to a viewpoint where we could see … exactly nothing, due to the fog. We waited, and eventually the fog started to lift, but I still needed to wait a lot longer for a car to appear in the perfect position to add a sense of scale to the mountain landscape. (Photo by Witold Ziomek/The Outdoor Photographer of the Year/The Guardian)


A View from Above: Tom Sweetman (UK) – Chiang Mai, Thailand. It was just before sunset in Chiang Mai and I decided to ride my scooter alongside the famous Ping river. As I was approaching a bridge I stopped to take a break and noticed that it was a motorbike bridge for locals, connecting two villages. I took this aerial photograph with my drone to document the incredible patterns in the river and the locals crossing the bridge on their scooters. Some days you just capture the moment. (Photo by Tom Sweetman/The Outdoor Photographer of the Year/The Guardian)


View from Above: Laura Daly (UK) – Duntulm, Isle of Skye, Scotland. On our last night on the Isle of Skye, we ventured just five minutes from our accommodation to Duntulm Castle at sunset. Sharing the hillside with the midges and the sheep, we launched the drone, knowing the ruins were best seen from above. I chose to include the bright blue water of the ocean as it perfectly complemented the lush green grass, especially with the soft sunset light catching the walls of the castle. The view from above captures the beauty and lure of Skye, both natural and manmade. (Photo by Laura Daly/The Outdoor Photographer of the Year/The Guardian)


Small World: William Mallett (UK) – Saffron Walden, Essex, England. The asparagus plant in my garden – which has become a bush and produced berries – is a haven for wildlife. I normally look for spiders in it to photograph, but on this particular evening, after a rain shower, it was covered in tiny snails. The light below is from a backlit asparagus berry; I always try to visit after a rain shower, as I find backlit droplets bring the images to life. (Photo by William Mallett/The Outdoor Photographer of the Year/The Guardian)


Spirit of Travel: Andy Holliman (UK) – Kangerlussuaq airport, Greenland. This is the largest airport in Greenland, so it’s not only a busy hub for domestic flights but also the main arrival point for international travellers. Air Greenland has a near monopoly on flights, so almost everything is in the company’s colours. It was the simple colour palette of this scene that appealed to me. My departure had been delayed by three days due to bad weather on the coast. (Photo by Andy Holliman/The Outdoor Photographer of the Year/The Guardian)


Wildlife Insight: Jose Fragozo (Portugal) – Nairobi National Park, Kenya. This image shows two giraffes and three impalas in the rain in the forest region of Nairobi national park, Kenya, which is also home to the Athi lion pride. I have observed these lions hunting many times in the rain, which possibly explains why different species of preyed animals stay together; it’s a defence mechanism, so they can collectively sense predators better. In this case, however, the lions were far away. The photo was taken from inside a 4×4 vehicle, and the major challenge was keeping the camera and lens dry. (Photo by Jose Fragozo/The Outdoor Photographer of the Year/The Guardian)


Young OPOTY: Alicia Hayden (UK) – Puffin, Isle of May, Scotland. The misty grey background and subtle yellow lichens were the perfect background for the beautiful colours of this puffin’s bright, breeding-season beak. I chose a close-up shot to show as much detail as possible, including the internal structure of the sand eels and the puffin’s bill. I waited behind a rock for the perfect moment to arise when this puffin returned to land. Due to the low light and misty conditions, I used a wide aperture to deliver a sharp yet atmospheric portrait. (Photo by Alicia Hayden/The Outdoor Photographer of the Year/The Guardian)

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