Selection of Finalists for Bird Photographer of the Year 2021


Brian Matthews

These are a selection of the finalists of the prestigious Bird Photographer of the Year 2021 Photo Competition. With species from around the world, the shortlist offers a stunning look at birdlife across the planet. Highlights range from a face-off between a white-tailed sea eagle and fox in Japan, to a nuthatch landing in a garden in Solihull, UK.

Will Nicholls, director – Bird Photographer of the Year, explains: “This year we saw an incredible 22,000 entries into the competition, with images coming in from all over the world. The standard of photography was incredibly high, and the diversity in different species was great to see. Now the judges are going to have a tough time deciding the winner of the competition!”

Winners are announced 1st September 2021, and the next contest opens later that month.

More: Bird Photographer of the Year, Instagram h/t: petapixel


Daniel Zhang


Li Ying Lou


Øyvind Pedersen


Terry Whittaker


Daniela Anger


Gail Bisson


Tom Schandy


Mark Sisson


Diana Schmies


Scott Suriano


Irene Waring


Fahad Alenezi


Irma Szabo


Raymond Hennessy


Brad James


Amanda Cook


Andy Parkinson


Zdeněk Jakl


James Wilcox


David White


Aguti Antonio


Gábor Li


Mark Williams


Tzahi Finkelstein


Daphne Wong


Anupam Chakraborty


Taku Ono


Thomas Vijayan


Eirik Grønningsæter


Mario Suarez Porras

SOURCE: https://designyoutrust.com/2021/04/selection-of-finalists-for-bird-photographer-of-the-year-2021/

Russian Photographer Takes Portraits With Real Animals And People Say Her Works Look Like They’re Straight From A Fairy Tale

These pictures are what dreams and fairytales are made of—Russian photographer Katerina Plotnikova (previously) creates beautiful portraits that balance between the real and surreal. While she nails lighting, composition, and other important aspects of the craft, arguably the most impressive feature of Plotnikova’s work is her feature of animals that we aren’t used to seeing in fine-art photography. Like a bear. Or a moose.

While seemingly dangerous, these ideas were made possible with the help of professional animal trainers.

And even if Plotnikova includes a more “conventional” animal, the bond these creatures create with her models on set looks so strong, it’s like she has cast a spell on them.

Every pixel of Katerina’s photos radiates such rich mysticism, her work is absolutely enchanting.

More: Instagram, Facebook, 500px















































































SOURCE: https://designyoutrust.com/2021/04/russian-photographer-takes-portraits-with-real-animals-and-people-say-her-works-look-like-theyre-straight-from-a-fairy-tale/

Hyper-Realistic Animal Pencil Drawings By Helen Violet

As much as it’s hard to believe, these incredibly detailed realistic pet portraits are not photographs but in fact hand-drawn pencil drawings.

This art style is called hyperrealism and as you’ve probably seen it at first glance, it resembles a cute photograph of a pet but after you take a closer look and focus on details, you realize that it’s actually a very realistic drawing in black and white. Hyperrealism requires an incredible amount of work, skill, and patience but we can totally say the result is definitely worth all of this!

Helen Violet is a Canadian artist, based in Toronto, and as of recently, she has been working with hyper-realistic sculptures and making drawings with mostly just a single pencil. From a young age, Helen has been studying Fine Arts and mastering her skill in realism through various mediums.

More: Helen Violet, Instagram, Facebook h/t: boredpanda
















































SOURCE: https://designyoutrust.com/2021/03/hyper-realistic-animal-pencil-drawings-by-helen-violet/

Babushka Cats That Look Like Old Russian Ladies

Did you know that there is a Reddit community BabushkaCats where cat owners take photos of their pets dressed as elderly Russian ladies? Well, now you know. Featured below are the funniest examples.

More: Reddit h/t: sadanduseless






















SOURCE: https://designyoutrust.com/2021/03/babushka-cats-that-look-like-old-russian-ladies/

Italian Artist Roberto Rizzo Turns Rocks Into Incredible Animal Paintings

Inspired by nature and animals and “driven by emotions and curiosity,” Italian artist Roberto Rizzo, who is now based in southern Spain, paints extremely detailed animal portraits on an unusual canvas—rocks.

Rizzo takes on the challenge of creating acrylic animal paintings that curve around the natural shapes of the rock, making each painting a one-of-a-kind piece of art. He also draws realistic pet portraits for pet parents from all around the world who want to honor their furry friends in a unique way.

Roberto Rizzo has been painting on rocks since 1996. From tiny rocks that can fit in the palm of your hand or close to life-size replicas of an animal—this artist is able to transform any lifeless rock or stone into an incredible hyperrealistic painting that could be easily mistaken for a photograph.

More: Roberto Rizzo, Instagram, Etsy h/t: boredpanda

After classical studies and attending IED (European Institute of Design) in Milan and in the 90s, Roberto Rizzo worked as an illustrator for various publishing houses and painted mainly with watercolors. However, his career took an unexpected turn in 1996.

“I first met the magic of rock painting in 1996. Rock painting made me discover and explore the potential of acrylic. Currently, it’s my favorite medium, even when I work on canvas. Since 1996, part of my artistic activity is dedicated to rock painting art and in 2004, I published with Mondadori the book Sassi Dipinti, which achieved remarkable editorial success in Italy. That manual consisted of tutorials and step-by-step instructions on how to paint different pieces,” Rizzo admits he has wonderful memories from that period that could only be made thanks to the help and advice of his mother, who unfortunately passed away in 2016.

Roberto Rizzo told Bored Panda about his inspirations: “I’ve always loved the many shapes and objects Mother Nature gives us. A variety of life represents my main source of inspiration while I’m painting.

The animal kingdom has especially fascinated me since I was just a child. I firmly believe artists, in their expressive and emotional journey, are bound to get back to their childish feelings and passions, because art has to be first of all pleasure and amusement.”









































SOURCE: https://designyoutrust.com/2021/03/italian-artist-roberto-rizzo-turns-rocks-into-incredible-animal-paintings/

These Incredible Cute Rodents Change Color Under UV Light

Scientists have discovered a vivid porphyrin-based biofluorescence in two species of springhares, Pedetes capensis and Pedetes surdaster.


E. Olsen, et al.

One of the more peculiar and rarest traits in the animal kingdom is the ability to glow in the dark. Some animals, including deep-sea fish and fireflies, are able to produce light in the visible spectrum. This is called bioluminescence, and it’s quite rare, but there’s another type of luminescence that some animals possess which we can’t see with our naked eyes. It’s called biofluorescence, and it’s the ability of an animal to glow under specific light conditions, like UV light.

More: Nature h/t: bgr


E. Olsen, et al.

In images captured by the scientists, the fluffy rodents look almost otherworldly. Patches of their fur light up in bright colors with no discernable pattern. However, the fact that the lighted parts of the fur break up the outline of the animal’s body may be a clue as to its usefulness.


E. Olsen, et al.

“Springhares are predominantly solitary and tend to forage in more open areas with sparse vegetation and, therefore, have greater exposure to predators due to the lack of cover or group vigilance,” the paper reads. “Thus, we hypothesize that the patchiness of biofluorescence in springhares could function as a camouflage of sorts, but this would depend on the UV sensitivity of their predators.”


E. Olsen, et al.

So, a UV-sensitive predator might be confused by the pattern it sees and struggle to follow or attack the rodents. That would be a very useful trait, and while it remains unproven, it seems like the most likely possibility while we wait for further research to be conducted.


E. Olsen, et al.


E. Olsen, et al.


E. Olsen, et al.


E. Olsen, et al.


E. Olsen, et al.

SOURCE: https://designyoutrust.com/2021/02/these-incredible-cute-rodents-change-color-under-uv-light/

No Necks! There’s an Instagram Account That Posts Animals Without Necks.

There are loads of weird stuff going on on Instagram. This time let’s take a look what animals would look like without necks!

More: Instagram



























SOURCE: https://designyoutrust.com/2021/02/no-necks-theres-an-instagram-account-that-posts-animals-without-necks/

Little Girl and Her Best Friend Elephant, ca. 1980s

Lovely photographs captured the relationship between a circus elephant and the trainer’s daughter. The photos were taken by John Drysdale in England from the 1980s. “I don’t know the name of the girl or the elephant but they were close friends!”

“The girl grew up with the elephant and they became best friends, playing with one another daily. They simply liked being together, and, since the elephant had an unusual ability to sit on his haunches, they were able to be close with physical ease.”

h/t: vintag.es









SOURCE: https://designyoutrust.com/2021/02/little-girl-and-her-best-friend-elephant-ca-1980s/

Choose The People’s Choice Award For Wildlife Photographer Of The Year

Choose the People’s choice award for Wildlife Photography of the Year. Browse the 25 photographs featured below and vote for the one you think should win this year’s People’s Choice Award.

More than 49,000 images are entered into Wildlife Photographer of the Year every year, but our panel of judges can only award 100 winners. Each year the Natural History Museum chooses an additional 25 of the best images from the latest competition shortlist. We then ask the public to help us select the recipient of the People’s Choice Award.

The winner will be announced on 10 February 2021.

Hare ball by Andy Parkinson

Andy spent five weeks watching the mountain hares near Tomatin in the Scottish Highlands, waiting patiently for any movement – a stretch, a yawn or a shake – which typically came every 30 to 45 minutes.

As he watched, frozen and prostrate, with 50 to 60 mph winds surging relentlessly around him, the cold started to distract and his fingers clasping the icy metal camera body and lens began to burn. Then relief came as this little female moved her body into a perfect spherical shape. A movement of sheer joy. Andy craves such moments: the isolation, the physical challenge and, most importantly, time with nature.

More: Wildlife Photographer Of The Year, Instagram, Facebook h/t: 121clicks

Family portrait by Andrew Lee

Capturing a family portrait of mum, dad and their eight chicks proved tricky for Andrew – they never got together to pose as a perfect 10.

Burrowing owls of Ontario, California often have large families so he knew it wouldn’t be easy. After many days of waiting, and when dad was out of sight, mum and her brood suddenly turned wide-eyed to glance in his direction – the first time he had seen them all together. He quickly seized the precious moment.

Baby on the rocks by Frédéric Larrey

When this six-month-old snow leopard cub wasn’t following its mother and copying her movements, it sought protection among the rocks.

This was the second family of snow leopards that Frédéric photographed on the Tibetan plateau in autumn 2017. Unlike other regions, where poaching is rife, there is a healthy breeding population in this mountain massif as the leopards are free from persecution by hunters and prey is plentiful.

Licence to kill by Britta Jaschinski

Britta’s photographs of items seized at airports and borders across the globe are a quest to understand why some individuals continue to demand wildlife products, even if this causes suffering and, in some cases, pushes species to the brink of extinction.

This zebra head was confiscated at a border point in the USA. Most likely, the hunter was not able to show proof that the zebra was killed with a license. Britta found the use of a shopping trolley to move the confiscated item ironic, posing the question: wildlife or commodity?

White danger by Petri Pietiläinen

While on a photography trip to the Norwegian archipelago, Svalbard, Petri had hoped to spot polar bears.

When one was sighted in the distance on a glacier, he switched from the main ship to a smaller rubber boat to get a closer look. The bear was making its way towards a steep cliff and the birds that were nesting there. It tried and failed several routes to reach them, but perseverance, and probably hunger, paid off as it found its way to a barnacle goose nest. Panic ensued as the adults and some of the chicks jumped off the cliff, leaving the bear to feed on what remained.

Turtle time machine by Thomas Peschak

During Christopher Columbus’s Caribbean voyage of 1494, green sea turtles were said to be so numerous that his ships almost ran aground on them.

Today the species is classified as endangered. However, at locations like Little Farmer’s Cay in the Bahamas, green turtles can be observed with ease. An ecotourism project run by fishermen (some who used to hunt turtles) uses shellfish scraps to attract the turtles to the dock. Without a time machine it is impossible to see the pristine turtle population, but Thomas hopes that this image provides just a glimpse of the bounty our seas once held.

Lion king by Wim van den Heever

As Wim watched this huge male lion lying on top of a large granite rock, a cold wind picked up and blew across the vast open plains of the Serengeti, Tanzania.

A storm was approaching and, as the last rays of sun broke through the cloud, the lion lifted its head and glanced in Wim’s direction, giving him the perfect portrait of a perfect moment.

A special moment by Oliver Richter

Oliver has observed the European beavers near his home in Grimma, Saxony, Germany, for many years, watching as they redesign the landscape to create valuable habitats for many species of wildlife including kingfishers and dragonflies.

This family portrait is at the beavers’ favourite feeding place and, for Oliver, the image reflects the care and love the adult beavers show towards their young.

Spirit of Bhutan by Emmanuel Rondeau

On assignment for WWF UK, Emmanuel’s brief was to photograph the elusive wildlife of the Bhutanese mountains.

Surprised to find a rhododendron at an altitude of 3,500 metres (11,500 feet), he installed a camera trap, hoping, although not overly confident, that the large mammals he was there for would use the very narrow forest path nearby. Returning many weeks later, Emmanuel was amazed to find a head-on picture of a takin, with the colours of blue sky, pink flowers and mustardyellow coat of the beast perfectly complementing one another.

Bat woman by Douglas Gimesy

Wildlife rescuer and carer Julie Malherbe takes a call to assist the next animal rescue while looking after three recently orphaned grey-headed flying-foxes.

This megabat is native to Australia and is endemic to the southeastern forested areas, playing a vital role in seed dispersal and the pollination of more than 100 native species of flowering and fruit bearing trees. Sadly, the species is listed as vulnerable to extinction because of the destruction of foraging and roosting habitats and, more frequently, mass die-offs caused by heat-stress events.

Border refuge by Joseph Dominic Anthony

Joseph formed the idea for this photograph in 2016 on a visit to Mai Po Nature Reserve in Hong Kong.

Taken within the Frontier Closed Area on the Chinese border, strictly timed access rules meant years of studying tide tables and waiting for the perfect weather. Joseph wanted to convey the story and mood of Mai Po in a single balanced photograph, combining individuals and the behaviour of multiple species in the context of their wider environment, particularly to juxtapose the proximity of the everencroaching urban development.

The alpha by Mogens Trolle

Of all the different primate species Mogens has photographed, the mandrill has proved the most difficult to reach, preferring to hide in tropical forests in remote parts of Central Africa.

This made the experience of sitting next to this impressive alpha, as he observed his troop above, even more special. When a male becomes alpha, he undergoes physical changes that accompany a rise in testosterone levels, and this results in the colours on his snout becoming much brighter. With the loss of status, the colours fade. Mogens used a flash to enhance the vivid colours and textures against the dark forest background.

Life saver by Sergio Marijuán Campuzano

As urban areas grow, like Jaen in Spain, threats to wildlife increase, and Iberian lynx have become a casualty of traffic accidents as they too seek to expand their own territories.

In 2019, over 34 lynx were run over, and three days before Sergio took this photo a two-year-old female lost her life not far from this spot. To combat mortality on the roads, improvements in the fencing and the construction of under-road tunnels are two proven solutions, and they are a lifeline for many other creatures as well as lynx.

A window to life by Sergio Marijuán Campuzano

Two Iberian lynx kittens, Quijote and Queen, play in the abandoned hayloft where they were born.

Extremely curious, but a bit scared as well, they started exploring the outside world through the windows of their straw-bale home. The reintroduction of the species to eastern Sierra Morena, Spain, has seen them, in more recent years, take advantage of some human environments. Their mother, Odrina, was also born in the hayloft, and her mother Mesta stayed with her for a whole year before leaving her daughter this safe and cosy place to raise her own family.

Drey dreaming by Neil Anderson

As the weather grew colder, two Eurasian red squirrels (only one is clearly visible) found comfort and warmth in a box Neil had put up in one of the pine trees near his home in the Scottish Highlands.

In the colder months, it’s common for the squirrels, even when unrelated, to share dreys. After discovering the box full of nesting material and in frequent use, Neil installed a camera and LED light with a diffuser on a dimmer. The box had a lot of natural light so he slowly increased the light to highlight his subjects – and using the WiFi app on his phone he was able take stills from the ground.

Bushfire by Robert Irwin

A fire line leaves a trail of destruction through woodland near the border of the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve in Cape York, Queensland, Australia.

The area is of high conservation significance, with over 30 different ecosystems found there, and is home to many endangered species. The fires are one of the biggest threats to this precious habitat. Although natural fires or managed burns can be quite important in an ecosystem, when they are lit deliberately and without consideration, often to flush out feral pigs to hunt, they can rage out of control and have the potential to devastate huge areas.

Drawn and quartered by Laurent Ballesta

Scraps of grouper flesh fall from the jaws of two grey reef sharks as they tear the fish apart.

The sharks of Fakarava Atoll, French Polynesia, hunt in packs, but do not share their prey. A single shark is too clumsy to catch even a drowsy grouper. After hunting together to roust the grouper from its hiding place in the reef, the sharks encircle it, but then compete for the spoils – only a few sharks will have a part of the catch and most of them will remain unfed for several nights.

Resting dragon by Gary Meredith

The Great Sandy Desert in Western Australia is home to a wide variety of wildlife, which exists alongside man-made mining operations.

The wildlife found in this environment needs to adapt to the harsh, hostile living conditions. When the opportunity arises, the long-nosed dragon makes use of human structures. This individual positioned itself on a piece of wire mesh outside a workshop, waiting for the sun’s rays. The artificial light source outside the building attracts moths and insects, easy prey for a hungry lizard.

The real garden gnomes by Karine Aigner

Located a short ride from the Florida Everglades, USA, Marco Island is the largest and only developed land in Florida’s Ten Thousand Barrier Islands.

This Gulf Coast retreat offers luxury resorts, beautiful beaches, multimillion-dollar neighbourhoods and, surprisingly, a thriving community of Florida burrowing owls. The owls dig their own burrows and are happy to take up residence on meticulously manicured lawns, the perfect place to hunt insects and lizards. The Marco Island owls are the new neighbours, and their human friends are (mostly!) thrilled to have them around.

Coexistence by Pallavi Prasad Laveti

A cheeky Asian palm civet kitten peeps from a bag in a small remote village in India, curiosity and playfulness shining in its eyes.

This baby was orphaned and has lived its short life in the village backyard – comfortable in the company of locals, who have adopted the philosophy of ‘live and let live’. Pallavi sees the image as one of hope, for in other parts of the world the civets are trapped for Kopi Luwak coffee production (coffee made from coffee beans that are partially digested and then pooped out by the civet) – where they are contained in tiny, unsanitary battery cages and force fed a restricted diet of coffee beans. She feels this image portrays a true essence of cohabitation.

Close encounter by Guillermo Esteves

The worried looking expression on this dog’s face speaks volumes and is a reminder that moose are large, unpredictable, wild animals.

Guillermo was photographing moose on the side of the road at Antelope Flats in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, USA, when this large bull took an interest in the furry visitor – the driver of the car unable to move it before the moose made its approach. Luckily, the moose lost interest and went on its way after a few moments.

Eye to eye by Andrey Shpatak

This Japanese warbonnet was photographed in the north of the Gulf of Oprichnik in the Sea of Japan.

These unusual fish lead a territorial lifestyle among the stones and rocks of shallow coastal waters. They use their sharp-edged jaws to snap off sea cucumbers and gastropods. They were once thought to be timid and almost impossible to observe, but curiosity has taken over and they will now often swim right up to divers, who are usually startled by their extraordinary appearance.

Backstage at the circus by Kirsten Luce

At the Saint Petersburg State Circus, bear trainer Grant Ibragimov performs his daily act with three Siberian brown bears.

The animals rehearse and then perform under the lights each evening. In order to train a bear to walk on two feet, Kirsten was told that they are chained by the neck to the wall when they are young to strengthen their leg muscles. Russia and Eastern Europe have a long history of training bears to dance or perform, and hundreds of bears continue to do so as part of the circus industry in this part of the world.

Shut the front door by Sam Sloss

This coconut octopus was spotted walking around the black sand of the Lembeh Strait, Sulawesi carrying its house made of shells.

Remarkably, this small octopus constructs its own protective shelter using clam shells, coconuts, and even glass bottles! These intelligent creatures are very picky when it comes to choosing the perfect tools. They know that certain types and sizes of shell have their advantages, whether they be for shelter, camouflage, or concealing themselves from both prey and predator alike. It is safe to say that the coconut octopus is certainly one of the most scrappy, resourceful, and brainy creatures in the ocean.

The last goodbye by Ami Vitale

Joseph Wachira comforts Sudan, the last male northern white rhino left on the planet, moments before he passed away at Ol Pejeta Wildlife Conservancy in northern Kenya.

Suffering from age-related complications, he died surrounded by the people who had cared for him. With every extinction we suffer more than loss of ecosystem health. When we see ourselves as part of nature, we understand that saving nature is really about saving ourselves. Ami’s hope is that Sudan’s legacy will serve as a catalyst to awaken humanity to this reality.

SOURCE: https://designyoutrust.com/2021/01/choose-the-peoples-choice-award-for-wildlife-photographer-of-the-year/

Nubian Ibex Make the Most of Lockdown in Israel


Abir Sultan/EPA/EFE

Nubian ibex roam the streets during a national lockdown in Mitzpe Ramon, southern Israel. Although Israel is one of the first countries to have received vaccines and has so far vaccinated more then two million of its around nine million citizens, the rate of infection with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, that causes the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), is rising drastically as Israel entered a full closure of two weeks.


Abir Sultan/EPA/EFE


Abir Sultan/EPA/EFE


Abir Sultan/EPA/EFE


Abir Sultan/EPA/EFE


Abir Sultan/EPA/EFE


Abir Sultan/EPA/EFE


Abir Sultan/EPA/EFE


Abir Sultan/EPA/EFE


Abir Sultan/EPA/EFE


Abir Sultan/EPA/EFE


Abir Sultan/EPA/EFE


Abir Sultan/EPA/EFE

SOURCE: https://designyoutrust.com/2021/01/nubian-ibex-make-the-most-of-lockdown-in-israel/