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Wild Wonders competitors win prestigious
Grand Prize to The High Arctic

Wild Wonders of Europe
Wild Wonders of Europe
Berlin, Germany – On Monday May 21st, Wild Wonders of Europe proudly presents the 2012 Grand Prize Winners of the “Wild Wonders of Europe Online Photo Competition”!

More than 10.000 images were submitted to the competition by hobbyists, semi-pro and pro photographers from 27 countries between August 2010 and November 2011.

But only two were lucky enough to win the prestigious Grand Prize: their own Wild Wonders of Europe Photo mission to Europe’s High Arctic archipelago, Svalbard!

José Luis Rodríguez’ image of a group of nine! European Bee-eaters cuddling wing to wing on a branch on a rainy day in May was considered this year’s most striking entry in the adult age group by the international panel of judges. Acclaimed natural history photographer/filmmaker and jury member Jim Brandenburg stated: “A very emotional image, well-composed, strong in colours and with unique behaviour of the birds as a plus!”

Young Crew (photographers aged 17 and under) winner Quentin Martinez from France found a completely different perspective for his photograph of a marsh frog: he went under water with his camera, shooting the swimming frog from below in full stride. “Simply fabulous!” says jury member Martina Beckmann, Senior Manager, Business Development & Communications EMEA at NikSoftware.

“Both images are so colourful and have such an exotic look to them – they could have been taken in Africa or Asia! But no, they are shining examples of the beauty of our natural heritage here in Europe”, says Bridget Wijnberg, Media & Exhibitions Director of Wild Wonders of Europe, who spent much of her life in Zambia.

Thanks to the generous support from Wild Wonders of Europe partner, PolarQuest, Quentin and José Luis will embark on the M/S Quest this August that will take them on close encounters with the Nordic wildlife of Svalbard, presenting excellent photo opportunities of Polar bears, walruses and seals, amazing birdlife and icy landscapes!

They will report back about their trip in the Wild Wonders of Europe blog and a selection of their best photos can be viewed in special galleries after their return.

Neither Quentin nor José Luis have ever been to Svalbard before and are awaiting their mission with great excitement.

This 2nd edition of the Wild Wonders of Europe online photo competition was supported with prizes worth more than 35,000 EURO donated by Wild Wonders of Europe partners PolarQuest, Nikon, NikSoftware and EPSON, making the competition again one of the biggest and most prestigious of its kind in nature photography.

For more information see following pages or contact:
Florian Möllers, Communications Director, Wild Wonders of Europe
florian@wild-wonders.com, +49 170 937 57 89
Further information and press images can also be obtained from www.wild-wonders.com.

About Wild Wonders of Europe

Directed by Magnus Lundgren, Florian Möllers, Staffan Widstrand and Bridget Wijnberg, Wild Wonders of Europe is the world’s biggest nature photography based conservation communication initiative ever. From May 2008 until August 2009, 69 of Europe’s top wildlife photographers were sent on 135 photo assignments by the project to all 48 countries in Europe. Their mission during more than 1100 days in the field: to use the power of great photography to reveal the beauty of Europe’s incredible natural heritage.

To date these photos have been published widely, reaching an audience of more than 300 million people around the world so far through multiple media. This Tuesday, on May 22nd, the International Day of Bidoviversity, the 4th Wild Wonders of Europe Outdoor Exhibition was inaugurated in Berlin, supported by the Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.

More information can be found on the project’s website: http://www.wild-wonders.com

About the Wild Wonders of Europe Online Photo Competition

The first edition of this high-class photo competition started in November 2008 and ran over 12 months. The two Grand Prize Winners winning a trip to the Cairngorms National Park and the exclusive property, Alladale, in the Scottish Highlands.

Similar to the competition in 2009/2010, the 2nd edition was supported with prizes worth more than 35,000 EURO donated by Wild Wonders of Europe partners PolarQuest, Nikon, NikSoftware and EPSON, making this competition again one of the biggest and most prestigious of its kind in nature photography.

Competition background:
  • Pictures were only eligible when taken in geographical Europe
  • The submitted photographs must show wild European nature, plants and wildlife
  • Two age groups: 1) adult: 18 years and older, 2) young crew: 17 years and younger
  • Photographers from 27 European countries submitted more than 10.000 images in 16 months via upload to the Wild Wonders of Europe website.
  • 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.
  • Winners and Runner-ups were selected through a points system chosen by public voting for each age group, i.e. 4 awards / month
  • Prizes worth more than 25.000 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. All awarded images of the competition 2010/11 and of the first competition 2008/09 can be seen on the Wild Wonders of Europe website.

The two winning images may be downloaded as printable high-res JPEG files from the Wild Wonders of Europe website / Press Room:

The images of Quentin Martinez and José Luis Rodríguez are copyright protected and subject to international copyright legislation. They may be downloaded for media purposes only and may be used at no cost on the conditions that 1) they form part of an editorial report about the “Wild Wonders of Europe Online Photo Competition”, which needs to be mentioned as such, 2) they are linked back to the Wild Wonders of Europe website in any online publication, 3) they are credited to the respective photographer as follows: Quentin Martinez / Wild Wonders of Europe or José Luis Rodríguez / Wild Wonders of Europe, 4) publication is only granted for single, non-exclusive usage.
Additional images and usage rights can be obtained from Wild Wonders / the photographers through a request to Florian Möllers at: florian@wild-wonders.com
or mobile: +49 170 937 57 89

The 2012 Grand Prize Winners

About José Luis Rodríguez, Grand Prize Winner Adults:
José Luis Rodríguez has been photographing nature for the past 30 years and now holds an impressive archive of images of the living world around us. His nature photographs have been published and awarded widely, both nationally and internationally in various media. Specialising in high-speed photography he loves to capture the movements of animals that would otherwise remain unseen to our human eyes. This elaborate technique frequently needs self-invented gear and set-ups and requires a lot of knowledge about lighting, but even more than that about the animal’s behaviour and daily (and nightly) whereabouts – something José Luis takes great pleasure in investigating. These days he concentrates on leaving classic documentary photography behind, focussing on artistic images and creative video productions. He lives with his family in Avila, Spain.
website: http://www.joseluisrodriguez-fotografo.com
email: joseluis@joseluisrodriguez-fotografo.com

José Luis Rodríguez’ winning photograph
Title: “Oruga de plumas” (Caterpillar of feathers), European Bee-eaters (Merops apiaster)
Discovering this group of bee-eaters was a big surprise for me on that cold morning in May as I had never observed such behaviour in 30 years photographing Spain’s abundant birdlife. I spotted them from afar and slowly approached them in my car, stopping every few meters. The photograph was taken through the window with a telephoto lens of 500 mm. I came very close and ended up falling into a ditch to get this photo. The car (a 4x4) escaped the ditch with some scratches. But it was definitely worth it, because I could capture a behaviour of these birds that had never been photographed before.

About Quentin Martinez, Grand Prize Winner Young Crew:
Born in 1993, Quentin Martinez’ great passion is wildlife photography, but initially he was curious about everything around entomology. He started off collecting insects, then breeding them with the aim to make observations – his humble approach was to follow in the footsteps of the famous naturalist, Henri Fabre. Quite soon though the crickets and cockroaches he raised were fed to snakes and tarantulas, the home-bred hamsters to serpents and other reptiles until – finally – the frogs showed up in his life: tree frogs, poison-arrow frogs and horned frogs. This interest in the amphibians has been increasing over time and today he only observes them in their natural habitat, trying hard to reveal some stolen moments of their secret lives with his camera. Whether or not we like toads or other amphibians, Quentin takes us right into their world, making us aware of their colours and behaviour, their habitats and peril, allowing us to have an insight into the extraordinary nature that surrounds us. With his motivation growing over the years, after many wild encounters and pictures, he is now preparing to continue his quest elsewhere in Europe and in South America.
website: http://quentinmartinez.com/
email: quentinmartinezphoto@gmail.com

Quentin Martinez’ winning photograph
Title: “L’Athlète” (The Athlete), Marsh frog (Pelophylax ridibundus)
The Marsh frog (Pelophylax ridibundus) is quite big for a frog, quite common and quite shy. This is the ideal species to go try and take some photos of. A photo taken from underneath though is probably not the most obvious one. And it was only thanks to great patience that I could take this image of the swimming frog near a spring in southern France. Unfortunately, one foot is not visible in the shot...

 Wild Wonders of Europe thanks our Main Partners:

National Geographic logo WWF logo Rewilding Europe Logo
				logo Deutsche Umwelthilfe Nokia
…and our many other important partners for their generous contributions and support, all without whom this epic conservation photography project would never have been possible.
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