The results of the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year have been announced. In the Underwater World category, Paul Solder took first place with his image of walruses entitled “The grace of giants”. In an interview, he describes capturing the image thus:
“‘Even before I slid off the iceberg into the sea, my heart was racing and my lips were turning blue,’ says Paul. ‘I had no idea what to expect, other than that, under water, these huge masses of flesh and tusk would swim with grace and power. And that’s what I wanted to show.’ Paul had gone to Svalbard in Arctic Norway hoping to photograph walruses under water. He knew they could be dangerous, but he planned to appear as unthreatening as possible and hoped that the walruses would just be curious about him. The first sight of one approaching out of the gloom was the gleam of white tusk. Paul instinctively used the glass dome of his camera housing as a shield. The walrus investigated him, pressing up against the dome, while its giant herd-mates slowly circled Paul. ‘Their curiosity satisfied,’ says Paul, ‘they moved off in search of something more entertaining than a hyperventilating photographer.”
He also took the Runner Up award in the category with an image of a swimming bear swiping at a passing salmon, with Specially Commended going to Clark Miller and Highly Commended awards to Alex Tattersall, Louis-Marie Préau, Thomas P. Peschak and Nuno Sá. The images will be displayed at the Natural History Museum, London until 11 March 2012. As always, many congratulations to all the finalists.