The top awards for the 50th Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards have been announced at London’s Natural History Museum. More than 42,000 entries from 96 countries were submitted this year, making it the biggest event in the history of the awards.
There were many incredible entries, but the one that really grabbed us was the beautiful photo you see above, taken by Marsel Van Oosten, an extraordinarily talented photographer from the Netherlands. It shows a Japanese monkey submerged in water, using an iPhone.
Oosten’s photograph won the Wildlife Photographer of the Year contet’s People’s Choice Award. Here’s the story behind the photograph, courtesy of the Natural History Museum’s official write-up:
A tourist at Jigokudani Monkey Park, Japan, was so desperate to get a close-up of this young Japanese macaque in a natural hot spring that she held her phone ever nearer to her subject. Suddenly, the monkey snatched the device from her hand and retreated to the middle of the water to examine its prize. Marsel, who was leading a photographic tour at the time, saw the chance for a striking picture. His main challenge was the steam rising from the 42˚C water into the freezing air. ‘I wanted a really low angle,’ he explains, ‘but that meant getting close to the water. My lens was cold and kept fogging up, making focussing almost impossible.’ At first, the macaque just fumbled with the gadget. It had no idea what it had stolen but was nonetheless pleased with its new toy. It even managed to let the built-in flash go off a few times. When it finally held the phone just as a human would, looking intently at the screen, Marsel was ready to capture the image he had envisaged. Japanese macaques are thought to display culture, where a learned behaviour (most famously washing food) is passed on to other troop members and their descendants. But it remains to be seen if future generations of tech-savvy macaques emerge.
It’s a stunning photograph that shows that the fascination we feel when it comes to Apple products is not exclusive to humans. Other primates are just as fascinated by our iPhones as we are.
While there are no Apple products in the other finalist’s entries, they are all beautiful, and well worth perusing at the official Wildlife Photographer Of The Year Awards site at the link below. What’s your favorite?
Source: Natural History Museum