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Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2010 - Part Two

We couldn't resist adding some more glimpses of five more Highly Commended images in this years Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2010 for you. To view our earlier post of five additional highly commended images, go here. Take a look at these...

Now in its 46th year, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition is an international showcase for the very best nature photography. The competition is owned by two UK institutions that pride themselves on revealing and championing the diversity of life on Earth - the Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine.

Being accepted into this competition is something that wildlife photographers, worldwide, aspire to. Professionals win many of the prizes, but amateurs succeed, too. And that's because achieving the perfect picture is down to a mixture of skill, vision, originality, knowledge of nature and luck.

Each year thousands of entries are received and judged by a specially selected expert panel. The winners are announced at an awards ceremony that takes place each October at the Natural History Museum, London

A miracle of monarchs by Axel Gomille

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Behavior: All Other Animals - Highly Commended

Millions of monarch butterflies migrate from North America to spend the winter in the El Rosario forest, high in the mountains of central Mexico. "The sheer density is unbelievable," says Axel Gomille. "I had never seen anything like this before. It was breathtaking. They landed on my fingers, my cap, my camera - everywhere." In March, as the temperature increases, the monarchs start to become more active and the migration northward begins. After warming up in the first rays of the early morning sun, the roosting monarchs fly down to drink: they need water to make use of their tiny fat reserves. Gomille's aim was to capture the butterflies movement and their rich colors lit up against the dark forest backdrop. To do this he lay almost in the puddle, so that the sun lit the butterflies from the side, highlighting the ones in the air. When they take off, it sounds like wind

The hidden plague by Joel Sartore

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One Earth Award - Highly Commended

This is a crime scene in a remote corner of California, high in the Sixty Lakes basin area of the Sierra Nevada: mountain yellow-legged frog corpses lie belly-up. The culprit is a chytrid fungus, which causes the infectious disease chytridiomycosis, implicated in the decline or rapid extinction of at least 200 species of frogs and other amphibians worldwide. The disease was first seen in frogs in the Sierra Nevada in 2004, since then it has reduced the population of mountain yellow-legged frogs from tens of thousands to just a few hundred. The death of the frogs is emblematic of a global amphibian decline.
It is believed that the fungus is being spread in part by the international trade in amphibians for display, food and laboratory use, its effects enhanced by global warming.
Its impact on frogs has resulted in the biggest loss of vertebrate life due to disease ever recorded

Lookout by Ken Dyball

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Nature in Black and White - Highly Commended

Ken Dybal got to know this caracal well. Living in Kenya's Masai Mara, the young male's mother appeared to be trying to encourage him to become independent. She would leave him alone for long periods of time, says Dyball, presumably hoping he would learn to fend for himself. He slept in a den in the ground during the day, emerging in the evening to wait for her. Early one morning, as Dyball explored the spot where he had last seen the caracal, he heard the thunder of hooves. As a herd of wildebeest galloped past, pursued by hyenas, the terrified young caracal shot out of the grass and up the nearest tree. He did the right thing. They stampeded straight over his den, says Dyball

The drop by Andrew Parkinson

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Animals in their Environment - Highly Commended

With his legs dangling over the edge, Andrew Parkinson tried to avoid any foreground showing in the picture by leaning right into the gale-force westerly. "Like so many people with a fear of heights, I am almost hypnotically drawn to drops, and I was determined to show the fulmar as part of this spectacularly precipitous landscape though if the wind had stopped, I might have had a problem. The fulmar is such an aerodynamic bird that the splayed tail feathers and legs seem comically incongruous. But the bird was, in fact, coping perfectly well with the winds surging up the cliff face. Indeed, it seemed to be just enjoying riding the swells."

Dawn Call by Pierre Vernay

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Animals in their Environment - Highly Commended

The roar of a red deer stag carries an unmistakable message: the more powerful the roar, the stronger the stag. The sound is designed to carry in a forest, leaving both hinds and competitors in no doubt about the caller's physical superiority. To catch the action of the rut, Pierre Vernay stationed himself in Dyrehaven forest, an ancient deer park north of Copenhagen in Denmark. Going out at dawn, he planned to photograph the deer backlit against the rising sun. Just as the very first beams of sunshine lit up the grass, a stag emerged from below a huge oak tree to challenge a rival that had strayed too close. One set of bellowing was enough - the rival got the message, loud and clear, and vanished.

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