Will pygmy seahorse be the People’s Choice?

A Tight Grip , pygmy seahorse (Nicholas More / Wildlife Photographer of the Year)
A Tight Grip (Nicholas More / Wildlife Photographer of the Year)

This image, A Tight Grip by British photographer Nicholas More, is the only one captured by a scuba diver to make the shortlist of 25 shots in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People’s Choice Award 2022.

Taken in Tulamben, Bali, the photo shows a male Bargibant's seahorse, gripping tightly with its prehensile tail to a pink seafan during the two-week gestation period before it gives birth to miniature live young. A dive-guide had pointed out the tiny seahorse, one of three on the coral.

For the record, More used a Nikon D500 with Micro Nikkor 60mm f2.8 lens, a Nauticam housing and CMC-1 Macro Converter and two Inon Z240 strobes (1/320th sec, f/11, ISO 100).

Online voting for the People’s Choice Award opens today (1 December) and remains open until 2 February next year. The main competition, run by the Natural History Museum (NHM), was judged in October from 38,575 entries across 93 countries, as reported on Divernet.

For the first time, visitors to the 58th Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the NHM in London can vote for their favourite images using interactive screens located inside. The top five will be displayed online and the winner showcased on the voting screens at the museum until the exhibition closes next 2 July. Vote here, especially if you’d like to see an underwater image chosen.

Two other images are particularly likely to catch the eyes of divers. The chilling Covid Litter by Auke-Florian Hiemstra shows a young perch found trapped in the thumb of a surgical glove discarded in a canal in the Netherlands. Its dorsal spines had probably prevented the fish backing out.

Covid Litter by Auke-Florian Hiemstra / Wildlife Photographer of the Year)
Covid Litter by Auke-Florian Hiemstra / Wildlife Photographer of the Year)

On a more joyous note, Jodi Frediani took Heads or Tails? from a whale-watching boat in an unusually clear, flat sea in Monterey Bay, California. She captured this shot of two adult heads and the silvery tail of a juvenile northern right whale riding the bow wave, after a woman in the bow had given up her place for the photographer.

© Jodi Frediani Wildlife Photographer of the Year
Heads Or Tails? (Jodi Frediani / Wildlife Photographer of the Year)

The exhibition is open daily from 10-5.50 and adult tickets cost £17. It will also tour the UK and internationally at venues in Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, New Zealand, Switzerland, USA and more.

The 2023 Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition closes for entries on 8 December. Entrants to the adult competition pay £30 to enter up to 25 images (£35 in the final week), but those aged 17 and under can enter up to 10 images for free. More information and entries here.

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