Plus de 43.000 clichés en provenance de 96 pays étaient en lice mais c'est le Sud-Africain Greg du Toit qui a été consacré mercredi 16 octobre meilleur photographe 2013 du concours "Wildlife Photographer of the Year".
Co-organisée par le Natural History Museum de Londres et la BBC, la compétition fait partie des plus prestigieuses dans le monde de la photographie de la vie sauvage.
Lors de l'annonce des gagnants 2013, Greg du Toit a révélé avoir passé près de 10 ans à chercher l'instant idéal pour capturer ce troupeau d'éléphants qui lui a valu les honneurs du jury:
"Mon but était de prendre des risques, a confié le sud africain. Je voulais abandonner les pratiques conventionnelles de photographie afin de réaliser un portrait unique d'éléphant. Ce cliché transmet l'énergie que je ressens lorsque je suis en leur compagnie".
Jim Brandenburg, membre du jury et photographe de renom, a de son côté expliqué que l'image l'avait immédiatement transporté dans les plaines africaines: "Le cliché sort du lot grâce à son aspect technique excellent et au moment unique qu'il capture. C'est la photo d'une vie".
Dans la catégorie jeune photographe, le prix est revenu à Udayan Rao Pawar, âgé de 14 ans, pour sa photo "Mother’s little headful" prise sur les rives de la Chambal en Inde (voir ci-dessous).
Pour obtenir cette image, le jeune homme a campé toute une nuit près de la rivière: "Quand l'aube s'est levée, j'ai vu cette scène. La mère est apparue à la surface lorsque ses petits l'ont appelée. Ils se sont ensuite précipités et ont grimpé sur sa tête."
Pour Tui De Roy, photographe reconnu de la vie sauvage, la composition et le timing de l'image sont parfaits: "Le regard de la mère semble dirigé vers nous, suppliant de la laisser vivre en paix. Ce cliché est à la fois beau et espiègle."
» Découvrez ci-dessous les autres clichés remarqués par le jury:
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credit: Charlie Hamilton James While making a film about giant otters in Cocha Salvador, Manu National Park, Peru, Charlie got to know this youngster well. 'He was full of personality,' says Charlie. 'These animals have a lot of attitude.' The portrait of the four-month-old cub was taken lying down in his boat, and the cub was as curious about Charlie as Charlie was about him, craning up its neck while treading water. Giant otters are very social and live in extended family groups, with up to eight or so members, giving safety in numbers where local predators, such as caiman, are concerned. They are officially listed as endangered. In the past the main threat was hunting, but now their habitat is being destroyed and degraded by logging, mining, pollution, overfishing and even dams, and their numbers are rapidly dropping.
credit: Klaus Tamm A scattering of gecko droppings on the sunny veranda of Klaus's holiday apartment near Etang-Sale-lesHauts, on the French island of Réunion, had attracted some unusual-looking insects. They were neriid long-legged flies. Klaus settled down with his camera to watch as they interacted. 'Every so often, a couple of males would take a break from feeding and engage in a kind of combat dance that involved spinning around each other,' he says. 'They would finish by stretching up to their full one and a half centimetres, then pushing with their mouthparts, shoulders and forelegs until one gained height, before flying away or mating with nearby females. I was so impressed by the harmony in the combat dance that I ended up photographing them for several hours.'
credit: Sergey Gorshkov In late May, about a quarter of a million snow geese arrive from North America to nest on Wrangel Island, in northeastern Russia. They form the world's largest breeding colony of snow geese. Sergey spent two months on the remote island photographing the unfolding dramas. Arctic foxes take advantage of the abundance of eggs, caching surplus eggs for leaner times. But a goose (here the gander) is easily a match for a fox, which must rely on speed and guile to steal eggs. 'The battles were fairly equal,' notes Sergey, 'and I only saw a fox succeed in grabbing an egg on a couple of occasions, despite many attempts.' Surprisingly, 'the geese lacked any sense of community spirit', he adds, 'and never reacted when a fox harassed a neighbouring pair nesting close by.'
credit: Ofer Levy The grey-headed flying fox is the largest bat in Australia - and one of the most vulnerable. Once abundant, there are now only around 300,000 left. The main threats include loss of habitat, extremetemperature events and human persecution (roosting in numbers, eating cultivated fruit and an undeserved reputation for bearing disease brings it into conflict with people). The bat is now protected throughout its range, but its future remains uncertain. Ofer spent several days in Parramatta Park in New South Wales photographing the bat's extraordinary drinking behaviour. 'At dusk, it swoops low over the water, skimming the surface with its belly and chest,' he says. 'Then, as it flies off, it licks the drops off its wet fur.' To photograph this in daylight, Ofer had to be in the right position on a very hot day, with the sun and the wind in the right direction, and hope a bat would be thirsty enough to risk drinking. 'This required standing in chest-deep water with the camera and lens on a tripod for three hours a day for about a week in temperatures of more than 40 degrees.'
credit: Jasper Doest In winter, Japanese macaques in the Jigokudani Valley of central Japan congregate in the hot-spring pools, to stay warm and to socialise. The colder it gets in the mountains, the more of them head for the pools, as do humans. Jasper found about 30 macaques enjoying a steamy soak, their heads covered in fresh snow. 'The warm water has a very relaxing effect on the monkeys, and most of them were asleep.' He watched with delight as this youngster became increasingly drowsy and eventually closed its eyes. 'It's such an honour when an animal trusts you enough to fall asleep in front of you,' says Jasper. 'I used a close-up shot to capture the moment of tranquillity and to emphasise the human likeness in both face and pleasure.'
credit: Jordi Chias Pujol Armeñime, a small cove off the south coast of Tenerife, is a hotspot for green sea turtles. They forage there on the plentiful seagrass and are used to divers. Jordi cruised with this one in the shallow, ginclear water over black volcanic sand. 'The dazzling colours, symmetry and textured patterns were mesmerising,' says Jordi, 'and I was able to compose a picture to show just how beautiful this marine treasure is.' Like the other seven species of sea turtles, the green sea turtle is endangered, with populations declining worldwide. The many threats include habitat degradation, building development on their breeding beaches, ingestion of rubbish such as plastics and entanglement in fishing gear.
credit: Melisa Lee Tiger Temple is the colloquial name for Wat Pa Luang Ta Bua Yannasampanno, a Buddhist monastery at Kanchanaburi in Thailand. Its relationship with tigers started in 1999, when the Abbot took in a number of injured and orphaned cubs. The monastery then started to breed its tigers. Now it receives hundreds of paying visitors a day wanting to stroke and be photographed with them. Over the years, there has been both positive press for Tiger Temple, including tourism awards and a film, and negative reports that animals are mistreated behind the scenes. In 2008, a report by Care for the Wild International, based on an undercover investigation, claimed major welfare problems, unlicensed breeding of the tigers and trading with a tiger farm in Laos. And in an open letter to the Thai authorities, the International Tiger Coalition criticised the temple's claim that it is involved in tiger conservation. Melisa's picture shows a male tiger leading tourists back from the tiger-petting arena to the monastery, followed by his two-month-old cubs (an unusual sight, since cubs would normally stay with their mother until at least a year old).
credit: Jami Tarris Two of the young Sulawesi black-crested macaques entered into a boisterous game with an older, stronger male, involving much ear-piercing shrieking and chasing. Though they were in high spirits, Jami had spent weeks with them and could tell that their play was becoming increasingly heated. When the playmates huddled briefly together, she snatched a close-up shot. But as she did, the older male threw her an intense and challenging look. 'I didn't take this lightly,' Jami says, and she quickly withdrew to a safe distance. Moments later, the older macaque turned rough, and the younger ones scattered, screeching. The real drama is that these characterful primates are at high risk of extinction, both from poaching and forest loss on their Indonesian island home.
credit: Claudio Gazzaroli North Sound, off the island of Grand Cayman, is a hotspot for 'friendly' southern stingrays - individuals accustomed to interacting with humans. Fishermen historically discarded their unwanted fish parts once they reached the calm waters of the sandbar at the Sound. The stingrays gathered for an easy meal and learnt to associate the boat-engine noise with food. Today, snorkellers gather in the waist-deep water to meet these charismatic fish. Inspired by David Doubilet's original split-level portrait of a Cayman stingray, Claudio set out to capture an image of the stingrays with a different perspective. 'There were about 75 of them undulating through the shallows,' he says. Balancing the light was a problem 'because of the extremes in contrast between the dramatic evening sky and sandy sea bottom', but keeping people out of the picture proved to be more of a challenge than executing the composition.
credit: Gregoire Bouguereau A single cheetah would never normally dream of taking on prey the size of an adult wildebeest. But there was obviously something wrong with this wildebeest, which was lying on the ground, covered in mud. It kept trying, laboriously, to get to its feet. Each time it did manage to stand, it would collapse again. Its behaviour caught the attention of a female cheetah with two cubs, which Grégoire had been watching for several days in Tanzania's Serengeti National Park. 'She had just caught a newborn Thomson's gazelle, but that wasn't enough food for her family. So, after observing the struggling wildebeest for a while, she decided to make the most of the opportunity.' While the female was assessing the situation, Grégoire positioned his camera and set it on remote control so that he, too, could seize the opportunity.
"The subject's name is Busaba, a well cared for Indochinese Tigress whose home is at Khao Kheow Open Zoo, Thailand. I had taken many portraits of Busaba previously and it was becoming more and more difficult to come up with an image that appeared any different to the others. Which is why I took to observing her more carefully during my visits in the hope of capturing something of a behavioral shot. The opportunity finally presented itself while watching Busaba enjoying her private pool then shaking herself dry. In all humility I have to say that Mother Nature smiled favorably on me that day!" <a href="http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/photo-contest/">2012 National Geographic Photography Contest</a>
"The Matterhorn 4478 m at full moon." <a href="http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/photo-contest/">2012 National Geographic Photography Contest</a>
"At the end of the day women are allowed to pick through the dumpsite." <a href="http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/photo-contest/">2012 National Geographic Photography Contest</a>
"Chipping ice off an iceberg is a common way for the Inuit community to retrieve fresh drinking water while on the land. During a weekend long hunting trip, we came upon this majestic iceberg frozen in place. It was a perfect opportunity to grab enough ice and drinking water for the remainder of the trip." <a href="http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/photo-contest/">2012 National Geographic Photography Contest</a>
"A race that follows in the path of the famous explorer Roald Amundsen brings the contestants to the Hardangervidda Mountainplateu, Norway. 100km across the plateau, the exact same route Amundsen used to prepare for his South Pole expedition in 1911 is still used by explorers today. Amundsen did not manage to cross the plateau and had to turn back because of bad weather. He allegedly said that the attempt to cross Hardangervidda was just as dangerous and hard as the conquering of the South Pole. The group in the picture used the race as preparations for an attempt to cross Greenland." <a href="http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/photo-contest/">2012 National Geographic Photography Contest</a>
"Everyday in mara starts with something new and different and day ends with memorable experiences with spectacular photographs. I was very lucky of sighting and photographing Malaika the name of female Cheetah and her cub. She is well known for its habit to jump on vehicles. She learned that from her mother Kike, and Kike from her mother Amber. Like her mother she is teaching lessons to her cub. Teaching lessons means addition of another moment for tourist. This is one of the tender moment between Malaika and her cub. I was very lucky to capture that moment." <a href="http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/photo-contest/">2012 National Geographic Photography Contest</a>
"With his exceptional hearing a red fox has targeted a mouse hidden under 2 feet of crusted snow. Springing high in the air he breaks through the crusted spring snow with his nose and his body is completely vertical as he grabs the mouse under the snow." <a href="http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/photo-contest/">2012 National Geographic Photography Contest</a>
"Dragon boating is a chinese traditional entertainment. As an aquatic sport to memorise qu yuan, a patriotic poet in ancient china, it is usually held in festivals, which can be traced back to two thousand years ago." <a href="http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/photo-contest/">2012 National Geographic Photography Contest</a>
"Glacial ice washes ashore after calving off the Brei amerkurjˆkull glacier on Iceland's eastern coast. During the waning light of summer this image was created over the course of a four-minute exposure while the photographer backlit the grounded glacial ice with a headlamp for two of those four minutes." <a href="http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/photo-contest/">2012 National Geographic Photography Contest</a>
"Yayasan Galuh Rehabilitation Center is and impoverished mental health facility based in Bekasi, Indonesia that hosts over 250 patients. Most come from poor families no longer interested in managing their condition, or are unable. Some patients are homeless, deposited after being taken off streets by police The only medical treatment received is for skin conditions. No assessments, psychotherapy or psychiatric medications is available. Over one-third of the patients are shackled in chains. These measures are implemented to those thought to be violent, uncontrolable and dangerous." <a href="http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/photo-contest/">2012 National Geographic Photography Contest</a>
"The winter gloomy day worked to my advantage to create this eerie feeling of the famous landmark Eiffel tower." <a href="http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/photo-contest/">2012 National Geographic Photography Contest</a>
"I was surrounded by thousands of fish that moved in synchrony because of the predation that was happening. It was an incredible experience." <a href="http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/photo-contest/">2012 National Geographic Photography Contest</a>
"This photo of a wild, Alaskan, brown bear digging on a game trail was taken with a homemade motion-controlled triggering device hooked up to my DSLR." <a href="http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/photo-contest/">2012 National Geographic Photography Contest</a>
"Stilt fishing is a typical fishing technique only seen in Sri Lanka. The fishermen sit on a cross bar called a petta tied to a vertical pole planted into the coral reef. This long exposure shot shows how unstable their position is." <a href="http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/photo-contest/">2012 National Geographic Photography Contest</a>