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Royal Society of Biology Young Photographer Competition 2016

Beyond Science

With his impressive photograph, Robert Sommer won the competition of “Photographer of the Year”. The prize will be awarded by the Royal Society of Biology in cooperation with Eppendorf.

Winner: Photographer of the Year 2016 – Robert Sommer

On a hike above the Bow River in the Banff National Park, I discovered two huge elk-bulls in the middle of the river. They then proceeded to fight in front of the Rocky Mountains. The Elk Bulls are enormous and dangerous during heat, but they seem so small and fragile in their environment, especially in front of this fantastic mountain range.

Fighting Bulls - Location: Bow River, Banff National Park, Canada
About Robert Sommer
I was born in 1984 in Röbel/Müritz in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Growing up in the land of a thousand lakes, I have always enjoyed exploring nature and discovering new places. I fell in love with photography in 2009, taking pictures of anything and everything in sight.For the past few years, however, I have been focusing exclusively on nature photography and I get outside as often as possible. With the broad spectrum that nature has to offer, from landscape photography to ­animal and plant photography, it is never boring.My other passion, besides photography, is traveling, which is why the majority of my photographs originate from forays into foreign lands. That being said, I always appreciate my native landscape and I continue to explore the Mecklenburg Lake ­District or the nature reserves around the city of Hamburg, where I currently live and work.
About the Photograph
After arriving in Banff on the previous day and being able to take only a few pictures of Moraine Lake that afternoon, I made a plan that did not entirely meet with Lisa’s approval. I wanted to greet the sunrise at a lake 90 km away. I spent all evening deliberating whether or not to go ahead – but since this was going to be our only opportunity, we were up by 4 am the next morning. The clear and starry skies proved to be deceptive: an hour and a half later, as we arrived at Moraine Lake, it was raining buckets. There seemed to be no end to the rain, and we decided to make our way back to the hotel.Shortly before we arrived at the hotel, the sun came out, prompting us to stop briefly to enjoy the view of the Rocky Mountains. We had been hiking a short distance when Lisa suddenly spotted two Wapitis emerge from the forest. The two stags walked into the Bow River and started fighting! I could barely believe my eyes, two Wapiti stags engaged in combat in the middle of the river, with the Rocky Mountains behind them. I could not have dreamed of ever beholding such a spectacle.When I did take the photograph, I was determined to capture the entire scene. The sparring stags alone would have been phenomenal, but the Rocky Mountains in the background made the scene absolutely unique.I had witnessed and photographed beautiful occasions before, but this was by far the most stunning experience. We could hear the crashing sounds as the Wapitis’ antlers collided. The spectacle lasted a mere five minutes, and the two stags disappeared from view as quickly as they had appeared. Both of us had a big smile on our face as we headed for breakfast. The rain at sunrise was long forgotten, and in fact, it had granted us this amazing experience. Sure, we would not have known what we had missed, but in the end, everything was just right.

Winner: Young Photographer of the year 2016 – Pradyuman Samant

We have a huge planet with some tiny creatures we often ignore. Some people find it gross to even look at them and some aren’t even bothered. But no matter how big our world is, the beginning is always small. These bush frog tadpoles will be part of our “BIG” world someday, while others will be washed away in the rain.

bush frog tadpoles - Location: Amboli, Maharashtra, India
Tiny Creatures, ready for their Close-up

Pradyuman Samant has been named Young Photographer of the Year by the London Royal Society of Biology. With his photo entry “The Beginning”, the 16 year old from India convinced the expert jury and was awarded first prize in the category of under 18 year olds. The photograph, which shows a close up of tiny bush frog tadpoles inside their egg membranes, was, in the opinion of the members of the jury, the best among a total of 317 entries for this year’s theme “Biology: from Big to Small”. When asked about his award-winning photograph, taken in the region of Amboli in the West of India, the laureate says: “We have a huge planet with some tiny creatures we often ignore. Some people find it unpleasant to even look at them and some aren’t even bothered. But no matter how big our world is, the beginning is always small. These bush frog tadpoles will be part of our big world someday, while others will be washed away in the rain.”