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British Gas Wildlife Photographer of the Year 1991

by Brian Pitkin

Reproduced from in focus 43 (February 1992)

Organised by BBC Wildlife magazine and The Natural History Museum in association with The Fauna and Flora Preservation Society and sponsored by British Gas, this is an annual event, which is now the largest and most prestigious of its kind in the world.

Its aim is to gather together, the best wildlife images taken by photographers throughout the world, and to emphasise through such photographs the beauty, wonder and importance of the natural world.

The competition, which offers more than £10,000 in prize money, is announced in the spring in issues of BBC Wildlife, and has a closing date at the end of June.
The winning shots are published in a supplement to the December issue of the magazine and, together with at least 100 commended entries, are exhibited at the Natural History Museum in London. The exhibition also goes on tour.
For the first time the 1991 British Gas Award for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year was presented for a portfolio collection of images rather than a single photograph.

The competition comprises numerous categories including The Underwater World. Winner of this category was Jeffrey Rotman from USA with a photograph of an Anemone with a Symbiotic Shrimp taken with a Nikonos 11, 28 mm lens with 2: 1 extension tubes at f22 on Kodachrome 64. Runner-up was Allen Campbell, also from USA, with a photograph of a Goby on a Red Coral taken with a housed Nikon F3, 55 mm macro lens, two strobes at f16 on Fujichrome Velvia. Highly commended for two of her photographs was Linda Pitkin, a BSoUP member, with photographs of a Shoal of Silversides and a Transparent Shrimp and Anemone. Also highly commended were Andy Belcher from New Zealand with a photograph of a Red Sea Urchin and Richard Herrmann from USA with a photograph of a Shovelnose Guitarfish.

Other underwater photographs amongst the winners included Frans Lanting from the Netherlands and Wildlife Photographer of the Year, whose portfolio included a photograph of Lily Pads. Shot in the Okavango River from below, Frans took his winning shot in the In Praise of Plants category by holding his breath and plunging beneath the surface of the crocodile infested river with his housed Nikon and wide-angle lens.

BSoUP member Pam Kemp won The World in Our Hands category for her photograph of an shark with net marks. Sadly the short-nosed, black-tailed shark died soon after it had been released from Seychelles fishermen's nets by Pam and her late husband, Willy. The shot was taken.with a Nikonos V, 15 mm lens using flash on Fujichrome film.

Jeffrey Rotman was highly commended for his photographs of Parrotfish Skin and Eye of Wrasse in the Composition and Form category, which Richard Herrmann also from USA won with a photograph of Commensal Fish and Jellyfish.

An exhibition of prints of the winning photographs and 40 of the commended photographs (produced with the assistance of the Ilford Photo Company), together with an audio-visual display of another 65 commended slides are on display at The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London until 5 May 1992. The Museum is open to the public from Monday to Saturday from 10.00 a.m. until 6.00 p.m. and on Sunday from 1.00 p.m. to 6.00 p.m. Admission is free after 4.30 p.m. Monday to Saturday, so why not call in before the next BSoUP meeting?

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

1987 1990 1991 1994 1995 2001 2002

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