Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012 gallery
Marvel at some of the fantastic photos competing for this year's prize
Photogenic plants, fascinating animals and dramatic landscapes are all ready for their close-ups in this annual photography competition and exhibition. A key component of the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year show are the stories which accompany the photos, describing the often remarkable conditions under which each photographer captured their winning shot.
Marvel at our favourite ten photos from this year's competition. We think the winner is definitely amongst these stunning snaps but what do you think? Tell us which photo is your favourite in the comment box below.
‘I followed this bear until it settled down to eat'
Spirit of the forest by Paul Nicklen
The spirit bear is a rarity – a black bear with recessive genes that give it a creamy white coat. Paul encountered this individual in September, at the height of the salmon run, when the bears are feasting on the fish bonanza and fattening up in preparation for hibernation. Spirit bears seem to prefer to escape the busy bear-fishing areas and wander into the forest to savour their meals in peace. ‘I followed this bear until it settled down to eat. I was crouched less than a metre away,’ says Paul, ‘but he was very chilled and acted as though I wasn’t there. It was really a dream come true to walk through the forest with a bear.’