That was Wild!

Wild Wonders of Europe Ltd., Press Info, April 20th 2010 

Winners of the biggest prize in nature photography
look forward to the 2010 launch.


Wild Wonders of Europe, the biggest nature photography conservation initiative in the world, recently awarded two aspiring young amateurs the opportunity to hone their skills during a six-day adventure to the Cairngorms National Park and Alladale Wilderness Reserve in the Scottish Highlands, followed by a day at a special Epson print academy. 

Peter Cairns, the Wild Wonders of Europe Business Director and himself a former winner of some of the most prestigious nature photography competitions, helped winners Janne Heimonen (28, Finland), and Marcus Valeur (18, Norway), to track and photograph amazing wildlife such as wild boar, ptarmigan, red squirrels and mountain hares using equipment donated by Nikon.

Janne and Marcus were given this fantastic opportunity by winning Wild Wonders of Europe’s 2009 Photography Competition. Their winning images were selected from almost 11,000 images submitted to the competition by hobbyists, semi-pros and pro photographers from 23 countries.

You can judge the results of the trip for yourself by viewing the two young talents’ work in blogs and galleries on the Wild Wonders of Europe website or by reading Marcus and Janne’s comments on the experience:

Janne Heimonen: “Nikon loaned us absolutely the best stuff they have. The D3s is made for me, because 90% of my images are taken with iso1600 or more. So it was a great experience to try the absolutely best high ISO camera that exists today. Also trying those new lenses like AF-S 500/4 VR was great! We had quite severe testing conditions: lots of rain and hard wind... The equipment was so wet, but still worked like a dream!”

Marcus Valeur: “The day with Epson was fantastic! They taught me a lot about printing, colour management, ICC-profiles and processing. They even gave us both an Epson P-7000 Multimedia Photo Viewer. An Epson printer is officially on my shopping list after seeing the amazing results you can get with them.”

Marcus Valeur: “Alladale is very beautiful. Even if you’re not a wildlife photographer, there are so many amazing animals at Alladale that you don't want to make the mistake of leaving your camera at home – I would recommend it to all wildlife photographers.”

The 2010 competition is set to launch in May – entries for which can be submitted by visiting: In addition to the Grand Prizes for ‘Young Crew’ and ‘Adult’ winners, worth more than 3,500 EURO each, monthly prizes worth more than 30,000 EURO were donated last year by Wild Wonders of Europe partners Apple, Epson, Gitzo, Nokia and Nikon, making this competition one of the biggest and most prestigious of its kind in nature photography.

Free Press Images

Free Press Images are available from our download area.
Images of the Wild Wonders of Europe 2009 Online Photo Competition may only be used free of charge in conjunction with a report about the competition or the Grand Prize Trip. In every case, the Wild Wonders of Europe website has to be mentioned / linked to.

The credit line has to be: Photographer's Name / Wild Wonders of Europe
Single reproduction only, non-exclusive, all further usage needs written confirmation by Wild Wonders of Europe.
image by Marcus Valeur
image by Marcus Valeur
image by Janne Heimonen
image by Janne Heimonen

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About Janne and Marcus’s day at the Epson print academy:

Epson are the official print partners for the amazing Wild Wonders of Europe exhibitions that will tour Europe from May this year.  Just like their professional colleagues, Janne and Marcus were given the opportunity to maximise the beauty of their images during a day at Epson’s specialist printing labs in Hemel Hempstead, England.  They worked alongside one of Epson’s expert consumer training managers, learning how to produce fantastic prints of all their work.  They used the Epson Stylus Pro 3800, experiencing first-hand the superior results personalised printing can achieve. They also learned about Epson’s commitment to environmental sustainability.  Epson’s Environmental Vision 2050 commits them to reducing company carbon emissions by 90% by 2050.  Much progress has already been made by reengineering their products to significantly reduce energy usage throughout the product lifecycle.

About the Nikon products trialled by Janne and Marcus:

The Nikon D3S is Nikon’s first FX format camera to feature high-definition movie recording which offers photographers a whole new level of creative flexibility. The D3S features a highly sensitive 12.1 megapixel FX format CMOS sensor that boasts an ISO range of 200 to 12800. Nikon’s acclaimed 51-point AF system offers high sensitivity in low-light and superb performance when tracking fast moving subjects. An advanced image sensor cleaning function reduces the impact of dust spots and three alternative crop modes enhance shooting flexibility. The EXPEED image processing engine and expansive buffer enables you to shoot up to 9 fps for extended bursts. Protected by a tough, environmentally-sealed magnesium alloy body, the D3S redraws the boundaries for professional action photography.

Nikon is delighted to sponsor this project with photographic equipment.  Nikon continues to be committed to nature photographers and many of them trust their equipment in their challenging working conditions.

About the trip to Alladale Wilderness Reserve:

Janne and Marcus headed north to Alladale Wilderness Reserve (, where the owner Paul Lister kindly offered the winners the chance to explore the remote wilderness found in the Scottish Highlands.

At Alladale there is a pioneering project taking place and an impressive habitat restoration initiative.  Through the charity, The European Nature Trust, Alladale is invigorating this landscape with extensive native forest regeneration, before considering the return of species that once lived there. Against a stunning backdrop of steep wind-sculpted glens, winding rivers and dramatic scenery, the winners were able to get up close and personal with the reserve's red deer and wild boar and took the opportunity to learn about the exciting plans at Alladale over the coming years. Evenings were spent in one of the reserve's eco-friendly traditional cottages.

About Wild Wonders of Europe:

In two years, Wild Wonders of Europe has developed into the biggest nature photography based conservation initiative in the world.

From May 2008 until August 2009, 69 of Europe’s top wildlife photographers had been sent on 125 photo assignments to all 48 countries in Europe.

Their mission: to use the power of great photography to reveal the beauty of our shared natural heritage to 700 million Europeans and the world!

Wild Wonders of Europe will release this May: the flagship large-format Outdoor Exhibition, touring major cities across Europe with a grand launch on May 27 in The Hague, Netherlands, together with an elegant Indoor Exhibition series, an impressive coffee-table book in 10 languages, and AV shows, lectures and seminars accompanying events throughout Europe.

In conjunction with the interactive website, they will present the best of the 200,000 images taken during this epic initiative.

More information can be found on the project’s website:

About the Wild Wonders of Europe Online Photo Competition:

  1. Competition started in November 2008. Open to anyone from around the world.
  2. The submitted photographs must show European nature and wildlife, e.g. no penguins, no tigers, no Himalayan landscapes, no domestic animals or plants.
  3. Two age groups:  1) adult: 18 years and older, 2) young crew: 17 years and younger
  4. Two categories in each age group: 1) European Wild Wonders, 2) Inspired by Nature
  5. Photographers from 23 European countries submitted almost 11,000 images in 12 months via upload to the Wild Wonders of Europe website.
  6. After a pre-selection by the Wild Wonders of Europe Directors, pictures from each month were made accessible for 4 weeks of public voting through the Wild Wonders of Europe website.
  7. Winners and Runners-up in each age group and category, i.e. 8 awards / month.
  8. Prizes worth more than 30,000 EURO have been donated by partners of Wild Wonders of Europe
More information and detailed competition rules can be downloaded from the project’s website.
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