Life? in all its beautiful forms: International contest judges reveal their pick of photographs showing the natural world at its best
The competition was run by The Society of Nature and Wildlife Photographers
The winning shot was a beautifully colourful shot of a ladybird crawling over a yellow flowe
It was taken by David Bladon from Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland
Runner-up was Debashis Mukherjee, 50, a photography graduate from Kolkata in India for his baby turtle picture
From baby turtles scuttling across the beach to the northern lights glowing in the Icelandic sky, these are just some of the hundreds of entries to the Living Planet photo competition.
Both professional and amateur photographers were asked to submit images that captured life on the planet in its broadest form.
The winner of the competition, run by The Society of Nature and Wildlife Photographers, was a beautifully colourful shot of a ladybird crawling over a yellow flower.
First place: David Bladon’s ladybird crawling over a yellow flower won the prestigious photography competition which captured the world in all its glory It was taken by David Bladon from Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland.
Mr Bladon, 40, who has just started his own photography business, said: ‘Basically, the weather kept going from sun to showers and I was a bit bored.
‘Every time the sun broke through I?d search for insects and creatures that would make a decent macro shot. When I saw the ladybird and the colours, I snapped away.’
Runner-up was Debashis Mukherjee, 50, a photography graduate from Kolkata in India for his baby turtle picture.
He said: ‘I took this photograph at Rishikulya Sea Beach in Ganjam district, Odisha, India.
‘When I was touring in that area I heard that hatching of Olive Ridley sea turtles was happening and I rushed to that spot at 3.30am. After sunrise I got this shot.
Second place: Runner-up was Debashis Mukherjee, 50, a photography graduate from Kolkata in India who took this shot of baby turtles ‘The east facing coast of this peninsular of India has the honour of hosting the yearly ritual of ?arribada? meaning mass arrival in Spanish of the Olive Ridley Sea Turtles for their nesting, usually found in the Indo-Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
‘Due to trawling and offshore drilling for oil and gas in those oceans these turtles have now been listed under the Endangered Species Act by the US.
‘The footprints left behind by these new born little species reflect an emotional track for them to come back for nesting when they again are mothers.’ And in third place was Violetta Nowak from Lubuskie, Poland, with her shot of a hedgehog nestling in the autumn leaves.
Several Brits were highly commended, including Bill Doherty for a shot of a grebe eating a fish and Robin Lowry for two separate shots of owls.
Third place: Violetta Nowak from Lubuskie, Poland, was awarded for her shot of a hedgehog nestling in the autumn Mr Doherty, 57, from Ashington in Northumberland works with people with learning disabilities.
He said: ‘The image is of a juvenile great crested grebe taken in Northumberland. The parent bird had caught this fish and given it to the youngster, with no thought of a knife and fork to cut it up into smaller, more manageable pieces. The chick however did manage to consume the fish, after a bit of a struggle.’
Robin Lowry, 48, from Billericay in Essex took pictures of a tawny owl and a barn owl which were both highly commended.
He said: ‘I call the first shot Autumn Gold. I wanted to create a warm intimate portrait of this owl, and this was one of those times when everything fell into place.
Nature: Several photographers from Britain were commended including Bill Doherty, with his shot of a grebe eating a fish In Essex where this picture was taken, with the warm Autumn tones of the leaves still on the trees, the milky early morning sun diffused by light patchy cloud, and the owl posing so nicely, I knew this was going to be a good image.’
Of the barn owl, the CGI Creative Director added: ‘For this image I used a captive Barn owl. I wanted to get that moment where the owl was getting ready to land but it still took a few goes to get this one where I wanted it to be, with the face and wings in the right position.’
Philip Bird, from East Grinstead in West Sussex was highly commended for his amazing shot of a snowstorm coming in. Also in colder climes, a shot of the northern lights in Iceland by local photographer Rafn Sigurbjvrnsson made it onto the highly commended list.
Stunning: Robin Lowry, 48, from Billericay in Essex took pictures of a tawny owl and a barn owl which were both highly commended
In full flight: Robin Lowry’s Barn Owl captured the judges attention and he was commended in the photography contest
Philip Bird, from East Grinstead in West Sussex was highly commended for his amazing shot of a snowstorm coming in
Wonder: Rafn Sigurbjvrnsson took this dramatic photo of the northern lights in Iceland
At one with nature: Marek Szkolnicki from London was also highly commended for his picture of a deer besieged by birds Mr Bird, 64, a retired bank manager, said: ‘I was taking some landscape shots at the base of the Grand Teton mountain range in Wyoming when asnowstorm came over the crest of the mountains and poured down to the plain where I was standing. A few minutes later I couldn?t see a thing.’
Marcos Sobral was commended for his mountain in snow and a beach shot by Barton Harper also made it on the list
Rafn, 58, from Vogar in Iceland, is a freelance photographer who also works as a tour guide and runs his own travel agency.
He said of his shot: ‘On a cold winter night I went to a deserted farmhouse near my home called Sslheimar. It was a beautiful night and the lights weredancing in the sky.’
Builder Marek Szkolnicki, 47, from London was also highly commended for his picture of a deer besieged by birds, and Marcos Sobral with his mountain in snow and a beach shot by Barton Harper also made it on the list.
Sicillian cellist and photographer Domenico Guddo, 47, was highly commended for his picture called Survival, of a cow enduring a hot day on Domenico?s native island.
He said: ‘It was taken in Sicily during a hot day. I was in the arid countryside of Gibellina and I saw this skinny cow in this strange place, almost with theaim of drinking from her udders.’
As well as the winning shot, insects featured heavily in the highly commended images.
There was Joe Lenton?s Common Darter Dragonfly taken by the 35-year-old while out on a walk at Hickling Broad, Norfolk and Paul Dooley?s leaf beetle snapped by the 53 year old retail manager at Old Moore Nature Reserve at Retford in Nottinghamshire.
Hatchery manager Allan Black, 50, snapped a highly commended blue dragonfly whilst walking his dog at Roydon near Diss in Norfolk and Peter Preece, retired, from Studley in Warwickshire, captured a blue Damoisel in Spain.
From further afield, Varun Jain, 23, from Chennai in India, got these damsel flies making a heart shape.
He said: ‘I took it around 6.30 am in the morning. I often go out in the morning to capture the dew drops, flowers and insects when everything is undisturbed.
‘That day, in middle of long grasses, I observed these damselflies mating and appearing like formation of a heart which caught my eyes.’
And a French professional photographer who calls himself Loriental was also highly commended for his arty seagull picture.
He said: ‘The picture was taken at Cancale, Brittany. I have been anticipating the flight of this seagull, prepared my manual settings, and took the shootat the moment the bird was flying above my head.’
Phil Jones, The Societies CEO said: ‘This is another bumper crop of stunning images, and we are delighted with the winner with David?s bright, colourful and eye catching image which portrays the sprit of the competition.’
Hatchery manager Allan Black, 50, snapped a highly commended blue dragonfly while walking his dog at Roydon near Diss in Norfolk
Sicillian cellist and photographer Domenico Guddo was highly commended for his picture called Survival of a cow enduring a hot day on Domenico’s native island
A French professional photographer who calls himself Loriental was also highly commended for his arty seagull picture
Peter Preece, retired, from Studley in Warwickshire, captured a blue Damoisel in Spain
Wild: A beach shot by Barton Harper also made it on to the commended list in the photography competition
Beautiful: Varun Jain, 23, from Chennai in India, captured these damsel flies making a heart shape which was highly commended in the contest
Paul Dooley’s leaf beetle snapped by the 53-year-old retail manager at Old Moore Nature Reserve at Retford in Nottinghamshire
Detail: Joe Lenton’s Common Darter Dragonfly taken by the 35-year-old while out on a walk at Hickling Broad, Norfolk