Spider Wins in New Lockdown Wildlife Photo Competition 2020

In what is no doubt a world first, the Isolation Wildlife Photography Awards was set up to showcase wildlife photos and video created during a global lockdown. The winners have now been announced, celebrating what photographers can achieve when faced with a rather unusual creative challenge.

The competition aimed to encourage keen photographers to engage with wildlife “on their doorstep,” such as in a back garden or even within the home.

Overall Winner – Wildlife in Your Home – Basement Predators – Luca Eberle

A prodigious climber and phlegmatic twilight hunter, the Zoropsis spinimana spends most of the day hidden under rocks, barks and sometimes even behind the furniture of our homes, and then starts the hunting activity at night. Unlike many other spiders, it does not weave the web but hunts in ambush, making lightning-fast sprints that leave no escape for the small invertebrates it feeds on. It is a generally shy and non-aggressive species, the bite (used only if surrounded or in the presence of offspring) has an effect similar to a bee sting.

​Camera: Canon EOS 7D mkII | Lens: Laowa 15mm Macro | Shutter Speed: 1/30s | Aperture: f/16 | ISO: 2500 | Yongnuo YN24EX twin flash

More: IWPA h/t: naturettl


Wildlife in Your Garden – Category Winner: Overlooked – Luke O’Brien

Due to the antics of the starlings who visit my garden, I haven’t suffered a dull moment during lockdown. Once they started to bring their chicks to the garden to take advantage of my all-inclusive feeders, I was determined to capture the tireless vibrancy of a doting parent responding to the shrill demands of its relatively dull looking young. With their family antics and common squabbles, it was hard not to view them anthropomorphically, and the close resemblance to the trials of family life in this image stood out; for me the main focus was the overlooked offspring, quite literally walked on for the benefit of its rival sibling. As I said, family drama.

Camera: Nikon D500 | Lens: Nikon 300mm | Shutter Speed: 1/2000s | Aperture: f/4 | ISO: 800 | Tripod

Runner up: Water Droplet Refraction – Daniel Howgego

The idea of the image is to create a refraction of the background into the water droplet placed on the dandelion clock seed. The refraction can be manipulated by the direction and/or around of light placed onto the background, which was in this case a flower. The water droplet was individually placed on the seed head using a syringe (it took many many takes to get it in the right place) and then the camera was moved to ensure the flower fit into the entire water droplet. This creates a peaceful image with the background nicely blurred out and the flower in the water droplet in focus and taking centre stage in the photo.

​Camera: Canon EOS 200D | Lens: Canon EFS 18-55mm | Aperture: f/4.5 | ISO: 100 | Neewer extension tubes

Highly Commended: Hedgehog – John Formstone

I managed to capture this image in a part of my garden where I say “No to the mow” This little hedgehog has been active all through the winter, having been seen regularly on my trail camera. I captured this shot on the second night of trying on my DSLR camera trap, using a small amount of pet food beneath the flowers as an attractant.

​Camera: Nikon D3300| Lens: Nikon 12-24mm at 24mm | Shutter Speed: 1/200s | Aperture: f/9 | ISO: 400 | Flash Settings: Key Flash at 1/16 power, Fill Flash at 1/32 power | Homemade waterproof housing, 2x off camera Nikon SB28 flashes, Camtraptions PIR sensor and triggers

Highly Commended: Nursery Web Spider – Josh Phangurha

Nursery Web Spiders (Pisaura mirabilis) are fascinating inhabitants of gardens. They can sometimes be seen basking in the sunshine on the surface of leaves and flowers, which is what this individual was doing on a bluebell. This species has a fascinating element in its courtship. The male (like the one pictured), will sometimes offer a gift in the form of a neatly wrapped insect to the female before attempting to mate. This may reduce the chance of him being eaten while mating with her, as she will be occupied with the food. However, not all males get away with this! I wonder how this guy will get on?

​Camera: Pentax K-S2 | Lens: Pentax 100mm WR Macro | Shutter Speed: 1/160s | Aperture: f/11 | ISO: 800 | Raynox DCR-250, Metz 58 AF 2 flashgun, DIY diffuser

​Black and White – Category Winner: Spiders Web – Michael Howard

I was in the garden feeding the birds when I noticed this orb-web spider’s web. It was a very misty morning and the dew was still hanging in the web, which was hanging underneath a log feeder. I like the simplicity that black & white brings to this image.

​Camera: Nikon D500 | Lens: Sigma 180mm APO Macro DG HSM | Shutter Speed: 1/320s | Aperture: f/6.3 | ISO: 800 | Handheld

Runner up: Weathering The Storm – Mark Simpson

The image of a Pigeon, sitting on the garden fence, hunkered down waiting for the storm to pass, resonated with me. We were all in a similar situation under lockdown, isolated, weathering the storm, each in our own way.

​Camera: Nikon D500 | Lens: Nikon 200-500mm | Shutter Speed: 1/200s | Aperture: f/6.3 | ISO: 1600 | Handheld

Wildlife in Your Home – Runner up: House Spider – Josh Phangurha

This large female house spider wandered into the bathroom one night during the first few weeks of lockdown. They make great macro subjects due to the fact that they remain very still if you do not spook them, as well as looking terrific at that sort of magnification! House spiders are probably one of the most feared creatures in the UK, but this fear is not necessary at all. They are shy creatures when discovered and do a great job of eating insects around the house.

​Camera: Pentax K-S2 | Lens: Pentax 100mm WR Macro | Shutter Speed: 1/160s | Aperture: f/16 | ISO: 100 | Raynox DCR-250, Metz 58 AF 2 flashgun, DIY diffuser

Under 12’s – Category Winner: Mouse – William Lambourne

I had noticed this juvenile mouse by an old beam we use as an edge in the garden. I decided to get comfortable, stay quiet and still and sit and wait to see if it would come out again. As you can see it did!

Camera: D7000| Lens: Nikon 70-300mm | Shutter Speed: 1/1000s| Aperture: f/5.6 | ISO: 2000| Bean bag

Runner up: Periwinkle Cupcake – Amelia Bradbury

A budding periwinkle flower on the cusp of opening. Periwinkles are my favourite flower and it looked unusual and pretty.

Camera: Nikon D80 | Lens: Sigma DG Macro 105mm| Shutter Speed: 1/125s | Aperture: f/4.8 | ISO: 400

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