These award-winning wildlife photos are absolutely stunning

The Natural History Museum honors the best wildlife photography of the year

Topics: wildlife, Photography, Competition, ,

These award-winning wildlife photos are absolutely stunningLocation: Val d'Aran, Spain. Category: 11-14 (Credit: Marc Montes/Wildlife Photographer of the Year)

The first four winning photographs from the Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition have been announced, and they are spectacular.

The first competition took place in 1965 and received just 361 submissions. Today, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year judges receive almost 42,000 entries from 96 countries, and the competition is one of the most prestigious photography events of its kind. This year’s 100 winning images will go on an international tour from October 2014 to August 2015.

Take a look below.



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    Lukasz Bozycki/Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014

    Winter hang-out

    The photographer, Lukasz Bozycki is a cancer researcher at Poland's Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology. He spoke of the specific kind of bat depicted in the photo: "It's a Daubenton's bat. I found seven of them hibernating in an old bunker built by the Germans in the Second World War. There are many of these abandoned buildings in Poland. The bats were in complete torpor, taking just one breath every 90 minutes. Most of them were tucked away, inaccessible. But this one was just hanging down from the ceiling."

    Jasper Doest/Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014

    The elegant crowd

    Jasper Doest, the Dutch self-taught photographer described his inspiration in capturing this moment: "Whatever my subject, my goal is to show the beauty and fragility of our planet to as many people as possible. So I like to make expressive images that touch viewers emotionally. I saw the demoiselle cranes of Khichan in a BBC documentary. I was struck by the vast gathering of these graceful birds - it was like watching a ballet. I knew I had to see it with my own eyes. I wanted to capture the essence of the mass chaos but at the same time reveal how elegant the birds are."

    Marc Montes/Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014

    Snake-eyes

    Photographer Marc Montes captured this moment when he was trekking through the forest in the Val d'Aran in Northern Spain.

    Bernardo Cesare/Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014

    Kaleidoscope

    Bernardo Cesare shot this photo in India while studying granulite rock in a working quarry. The image shows a crystal formation from a geological event around half a billion years ago.

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Joanna Rothkopf

Joanna Rothkopf is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on science, health and society. Follow @JoannaRothkopf or email jrothkopf@salon.com.

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