Each year the Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition draws entries from the worlds finest wildlife photographers. The result is a series of winning images that are truly something special to see.

Overall winner – Paul Nicklen

Paul Nicklen from Canada has taken the overall honours for his picture entitled Bubble-jetting emperors.  Taken underwater with a Canon EOS-1D Mark IV camera and the EF 8-15mm f/4L Fish-eye Zoom lens in a frozen area of the Ross Sea in Antartica I think it’s a beautiful image.

Paul Nicklen wins Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012

This was the image Paul had been so hoping to get: a sunlit mass of emperor penguins charging upwards, leaving in their wake a crisscross of bubble trails. The location was near the emperor colony at the edge of the frozen area of the Ross Sea, Antarctica. It was into the only likely exit hole that he lowered himself. He then had to wait for the return of the penguins, crops full of icefish for their chicks. Paul locked his legs under the lip of the ice so he could remain motionless, breathing through a snorkel so as not to spook the penguins when they arrived. Then it came: a blast of birds from the depths. They were so fast that, with frozen fingers, framing and focus had to be instinctive. “It was a fantastic sight”, says Paul, “as hundreds launched themselves out of the water and onto the ice above me – a moment that I felt incredibly fortunate to witness and one I’ll never forget.”

Wildlife Photojournalist Award

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition has several categories, and Canon Ambassador Brent Stirton also features as a runner up in the Wildlife Photo Journalist Award for his work on a project titled Deadly Medicine. Steve Winter from National Geographic won the Wildlife Photojournalist award for his work entitled The Tiger’s Tale.

Brent Stirton Deadly Medicine, runner up Wildlife Photojournalist Award 2012. This is a tragic story about a growing fashion for consuming rhino horn that now threatens the extinction of rhinos. Their horns, mere keratin, the substance of fingernails, is now more valuable than gold on the Asian black market.

Online gallery


The Natural History Museum website has an online gallery featuring all the winners across the various categories, it’s well worth a chunk of your time to check it out.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition

The exhibition of the best images opens tomorrow, 19 October 2012, at the Natural History Museum in London. The exhibition will stay on display until 3rd of March 2013 and will also tour Bristol Gloucester, Guernsey, Halifax, Kendal in the UK, plus several countries around the world. Find out where to catch the exhibition from the Natural History Museum website.

About the author

Full-time photo tutor and photographer. I love to share my knowledge and skills to make photos, videos and teach others. I write books and articles for photo magazines and I always have at least one Speedlite flash in my camera bag