A “poignant” image of willows reflected in a frozen Italian lake has won the Wildlife Photographer of the Year people’s choice award – with photographs of male lions in the rain and kangaroos emerging from wildfire among those that made the shortlist.
The wintry shot of Santa Croce Lake in northern Italy came top in an online vote by more than 31,800 nature and photography enthusiasts from a shortlist of 25 images.
The image was captured by Italian photographer Cristiano Vendramin
The shortlist for the people’s choice award was chosen by the Natural History Museum.
A total of 50,000 images from 95 countries were submitted for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.
Image: This image of willows reflected in an Italian lake won the people’s choice award. Cristiano Vendramin/Wildlife Photographer of the Year
Among the 25 pictures on the shortlist, an image of two male lions in the rain and a portrait of a kangaroo and her joey emerging from the aftermath of Australian wildfires were also popular with voters.
A shot of a surprising encounter between an eagle and a bear cub up a tree and an image of two male golden pheasants were the other pictures that proved most popular with the online voters.
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The winning photograph and the four runners-up will be displayed in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London.
Image: A surprising encounter between an eagle and a bear made the shortlist. Jeroen Hoekendijk/Wildlife Photographer of the Year
Mr Vendramin took his winning picture while visiting the lake, noticing the water was unusually high and the willows were partially submerged, creating the reflections on the water.
He was reminded of a close friend who had loved the place and who is no longer here, he said, adding: “I want to think he made me feel this feeling that I’ll never forget. For this reason, this photograph is dedicated to him.”
Image: An image of a kangaroo emerging from wildfire with her joey was popular among voters. Jo-Anne McArthur/Wildlife Photographer
And he said: “I hope that my photography will encourage people to understand that the beauty of nature can be found everywhere around us, and we can be pleasantly surprised by the many landscapes so close to home.
“I believe having a daily relationship with nature is increasingly more necessary to have a serene and healthy life.
“Nature photography is therefore important to remind us of this bond, which we must preserve, and in whose memory, we can take refuge.”
Image: ‘Dancing in the Snow’, showing two male golden pheasants, was popular with voters. Qiang Guo/Wildlife Photographer of the Year
Dr Douglas Gurr, director of the National History Museum, said: “Cristiano’s poignant image symbolises the positive impact nature can have on our wellbeing and lives.
“It can provide solace and a space to reflect on the past and even spark hope for the future.
“These past two years have redefined what truly matters in life, the people and the environments that play a crucial role in our own personal ecosystems.
“I hope those who look at this landscape frozen in time, are reminded of the importance of connecting to the natural world and the steps we must all take to protect it.”
Source : Sky News