The results from our 2017 Wildlife Portraits photo contest.

  • Winner: Wolfgang Schmitzberger
    Backlit Penguin

    One evening during a photographic expedition to South Georgia Islands, we spent some time in the small bay of Godthul. Some of us took the opportunity to hike up to the gentoo rookery and got some really nice sunset colours up there. I had a specific scenery in mind and my goal was to focus on backlit pictures of the penguins up on the hill. I used my Canon 1Dx camera with my favourite 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM telephoto lens. The gentoo penguins up at the rockery were very busy building their nests, but some took the opportunity to stretch in the sun. This was really a magical moment up on the hill with the penguins in the sunset. The last boat returned to the ship long after sunset.

  • Runner-Up: Ingrid Vekemans
    The Thinker

    Observing and photographing chimpanzees in Uganda's Kibale Forest was a challenge. From before sunrise we were out tracking a group of chimpanzees. All of a sudden the sounds of the group waking up were unmistakable and a good indication to get us on the right track. Once we found the group, they were high up in the trees or moving fast across the forest floor. It was early morning so they couldn't wait to get to the ripe fruit in the trees before other chimpanzees or other monkeys would beat them to it. Following them on foot, it was a matter of shooting fast when they sat down for a moment. Most of the time, however, we couldn't see or photograph them properly, so we sat down and waited as long as it took for them to start moving again. Taking this pose of reflective thinking, this particular chimpanzee displayed behaviour that reminded me of its close relative, the human being. In fact, the entire experience with them was a mirror of human behaviour and it was very touching to be so close to them physically but also to feel close to them emotionally.

  • Runner-Up: Anton Sorokin
    Tire Swamp and Snake

    It is disconcerting to see wildlife making its home among discarded human waste, however it is becoming more and more common. Which is why when I found this water snake in this swamp brimming with thrown away tires I attempted to accentuate its habitat rather than shy away from showing it.

Congratulations to the featured photographers and a big thank you to all who entered! Thank you also to the generous support of our contest sponsors: