A striking photo of a dolphin reflected in the sea has won an annual photo competition to celebrate British mammals.
The photo, taken by James West, from Hampshire, was among 350 amazing wildlife pictures snapped in the British Isles for the annual Mammal Photographer of the Year competition.
Mr West, who took the picture near the Cairns of Coll in Scotland, said the reflection added a different dimension to the picture.
He said: ‘The sea was very calm and like a mirror. As I examined the shots afterwards, I could see not only a sharp photograph of the dolphin but also its reflection in the water, revealing a beautiful creature in motion with tremendous power and grace.’
The contest aims to encourage appreciation for the many British species which are often overlooked but essential to the health of our habitats.
It is run by the Mammal Society, a charity established in 1954 to advocate for the conservation of mammals and raise awareness about their ecological needs.
Last year’s winner was Alastair Marsh’s photo of a pine marten dangling from a moss-covered tree taken on the west coast of Scotland.
A free exhibition of winning and shortlisted photos will be held at the Mammal Society Spring Conference at the University of Exeter on Friday April 20.
This incredible photo of a leaping dolphin being reflected in the water near the Cairns of Coll in Scotland has won the photographer, James West, the top prize in the annual Mammal Photographer of the Year competition. Mr West said: ‘The reflection adds a different dimension to the shot, bringing out details that a shot from above couldn’t have done by itself.’ Chief Judge Hilary Conlan, editor of Mammal News, said the picture conveyed the ‘elusive and fleeting nature of this encounter beautifully.’ She said: ‘It is hard to photograph dolphins completely out of the water as well as capturing not only the reflection but also a sense of speed and purpose’
This year’s runner up, chosen from 350 entries, shows a majestic deer stag in a blizzard in Ripon, North Yorkshire. Alastair Marsh, who won last year’s competition, took the photo just after Christmas 2017 while there was an amber weather warning for snow in the county. Mr Marsh said: ‘My luck with the weather was in and the blizzard conditions were perfect first thing in the morning. The Deer were grouped together so trying to get a photo of one on their own was a challenge, not to mention getting the camera to focus through the blizzard, but they obliged eventually!’ Judge Derek Crawley said the photo showed ‘the majestic beast in all its glory wonderfully framed by the trees and the snow’
Gideon Knight, from Hove in Sussex, won the Young Photographer of the Year in the aged 16 to 18 section with this silhouette of a fox at sunset. He said: ‘Over the summer, I started taking long evening runs along the beach near my home. On a couple of these runs I would come across a few foxes in one area of the beach. I decided to come back with my camera one evening. By placing a small amount of food on some rocks and waiting a distance away, I was able to photograph this fox silhouetted by a beautiful south-coast sunset.’ Judge Derek Crawley said: ‘It is really great to see a young photographer exploring light and capturing the fox’s evening prowl. This demonstrates a great deal of patience on Gideon’s part’
This photo of a beaver, entitled ‘Letting It All Hang Out’, was taken by Paul Dibben, an amateur photographer based in Dorset. This photo, taken in Devon in July 2017, was highly commended during the competition
An adorable fox cub was captured in this photo by Helen Mathias, a freelance graphic designer and photographer based in London. She runs EyeContact Photography and specialises in equestrian photography
This other photo from Ms Mathias shows an expressive-looking fox sat in a snow-covered garden. The photo won the Mammal Comedian of the Year section in the competition for Ms Mathias. Judge Hilary Conlan said: ‘This delightful fox looked just like a guilty-looking offspring returning late home from the pub!’
The winner of the Best Mammal Society member photo was Graeme Hull, from Caithness in Scotland, with this stunning picture of a grey seal waving. Graeme said: ‘This photo captures a rare view of being right down at the seal’s level. The wave gives the impression of two friends just about to meet up’
This highly commended photo is entitled’ Hares Kiss me Quick’ and was taken by Sarah Darnell in Norfolk. It shows a male and a female brown hare leaning close together on a muddy path as if they are about to kiss
This photo shows the silhouette of a roe deer at sunset and was taken by Alex White. It was highly commended in the 15 years and under section at the competition which aims to encourage appreciation for the many British species which are often overlooked but essential to the health of our habitats
This highly commended photograph shows two wild boar lit up in the headlights of an approaching Audi. It was taken by Nick Gates
A red squirrel perched in a tree was caught on camera by Joe Woodman. Although the creatures are native to Britain, there are only 140,000 left in the wild – compared with more than 2.5million grey squirrels. The photo was highly commended in the 16 to 18 years section
Lauren Smewing took this of a squirrel stood on a branch surrounded by autumn leaves, and was highly commended in the 16 to 18 years section
A photo of a small rabbit sheltering from the wind helped Katy Read, from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, scoop the winning prize in the Young Photographer of the Year aged 15 and under section. Katy, whose picture is called Rabbit Against the Wind, said: ‘I visited the Farne Islands off the Northumberland coast to see the seabirds, on a very windy day. When I spotted this rabbit, I crouched down to eye level and zoomed in as much as I could, using manual focus and a very wide aperture to keep the eye nice and sharp and the background blurred.’ Judge Hilary Conlan said: ‘As editor of the Mammal News I actually find it quite difficult to get hold of good photos of the more common species, so I was really delighted to see this rabbit! The photo clearly shows its bedraggled fur and brings out the different colours of the fur with a back ground of verdant vegetation’
This other photo from Katy Read, which is a close-up of a squirrel taken from behind, was also highly commended in the competition
This close-up of a wood mouse sniffing a woodlouse was taken by Alex White, and was highly commended in the 15 years and under section
This mountain hare photo was taken by Shane Stanbridge who works as a refuse collector in Hastings. The striking contrast of the white fur standing out against the brown surroundings was highly commended
This highly commended photo shows a mountain hare among some rocks and was taken by photographer Robin Backhouse
Alick Simmons managed to capture a hedgehog running across the grass among the daisies. It was highly commended in the competition
This striking photo, showing a red deer in the snowy Caledonian forest, was taken by Daphne Wong. It was highly commended
This highly commended photo showing a grey seal bursting out from a wave was taken by Melissa Nolan from Brighton