Eight of the most amazing nature photographs of the year, from the 2019 Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition

The winner of the Natural History Museum's 2019 Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition will be announced imminently. We take a look at some of the finest pictures to be commended in this year's awards.

The competition is now in its 55th year, and always provides a truly magnificent collection of pictures, which go on display in the museum itself in London.

This year’s exhibition begins on Friday, October 18, but the winners from among the 48,000 entrants will be announced at the awards ceremony on Tuesday 15th October.

While the winners are still under wraps, we’ve picked out some of our favourites from those which have been highly commended to whet your appetite — and inspire you to start thinking about entering the 2020 competition, which opens for entries on Monday 21 October at www.nhm.ac.uk.


Canopy hangout by Carlos Pérez Naval

© Carlos Perez Naval - Wildlife Photographer of the Year

© Carlos Perez Naval – Wildlife Photographer of the Year

When Carlos’s family planned a trip to Panama’s Soberanía National Park, sloths were high on their must-see agenda. They were not disappointed.


Cool drink by Diana Rebman

© Diana Rebman - Wildlife Photographer of the Year

© Diana Rebman – Wildlife Photographer of the Year

On a bitterly cold morning on the Japanese island of Hokkaido, Diana came across a delightful scene. A flock of long-tailed tits and marsh tits were gathered around a long icicle hanging from a branch, taking turns to nibble the tip.


If penguins could fly by Eduardo Del Álamo

© Eduardo Del Álamo - Wildlife Photographer of the Year

© Eduardo Del Álamo – Wildlife Photographer of the Year

A gentoo penguin – the fastest underwater swimmer of all penguins – flees for its life as a leopard seal bursts out of the water. Eduardo was expecting it. He had spotted the penguin, resting on a fragment of broken ice. But he had also seen the leopard seal patrolling off the Antarctic Peninsula coast, close to the gentoo’s colony on Cuverville Island.


The freshwater forest by Michel Roggo

©Michel Roggo - Wildlife Photographer of the Year

©Michel Roggo – Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Slender stems of Eurasian watermilfoil, bearing whorls of soft, feathery leaves, reach for the sky from the bed of Lake Neuchâtel, Switzerland. Michel has photographed freshwater regions worldwide, but this was the first time he had dived in the lake nearest to his home.


Jelly baby by Fabien Michenet

©Fabien Michenet - Wildlife Photographer of the Year

©Fabien Michenet – Wildlife Photographer of the Year

A juvenile jackfish peers out from inside a small jellyfish off Tahiti in French Polynesia. With nowhere to hide in the open ocean, it has adopted the jelly as an overnight travelling shelter, slipping under the umbrella and possibly immune to the stinging tentacles, which deter potential predators. In hundreds of night dives, says Fabien, ‘I’ve never seen one without the other.’


Lucky break by Jason Bantle

© Jason Bantle - Wildlife Photographer of the Year

© Jason Bantle – Wildlife Photographer of the Year

An ever-adaptable raccoon pokes her bandit-masked face out of a 1970s Ford Pinto on a deserted farm in Saskatchewan, Canada… The only access into the car was through the small hole in the cracked safety glass of the windscreen. The gap was blunt‑edged but too narrow a fit for a coyote (the primary predator of raccoons in the area), making this an ideal place for a mother raccoon to raise a family.


Sleeping like a Weddell by Ralf Schneider

© Ralf Schneider - Wildlife Photographer of the Year

© Ralf Schneider – Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Hugging its flippers tight to its body, the Weddell seal closed its eyes and appeared to fall into a deep sleep. Lying on fast ice (ice attached to land) off Larsen Harbour, South Georgia, it was relatively safe from its predators – killer whales and leopard seals – and so could completely relax and digest.


Touching trust by Thomas P Peschak

©Thomas P. Peschak/www.thomaspeschak.com

©Thomas P. Peschak/www.thomaspeschak.com

A curious young grey whale approaches a pair of hands reaching down from a tourist boat. In San Ignacio Lagoon, on the coast of Mexico’s Baja California, baby grey whales and their mothers actively seek contact with people for a head scratch or back rub.


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