Our year-long digital photography competition has been a lot of fun. We've seen some superb entries from some very talented amateur photographers, shooting on a wide range of subjects. May was the final month, with the first prize of a superb Fujifilm FinePix S9600 digital camera up for grabs. Naturally with such a tempting prize on offer we had to have an especially challenging theme, and the one we chose was Urban Wildlife.
Perhaps because it was such a difficult subject we received slightly fewer entries than usual, but among them were some of the best photos we've seen for any subject. There were some that made us wonder though; there were several photos of urban environments but completely missing any sign of wildlife, one photo of some zebras in a distinctly non-urban Longleat Safari Park, and one photo of the New York Knicks cheerleader team. They're urban, they're alive, and I'm sure that under the right circumstances some of them could be pretty wild, but they're not quite what we were looking for. Neither were most of the several dozen snaps of cats, dogs, pigeons and seagulls that we also received. What we were looking for was, as usual, effort, imagination and photographic skill, and we've picked the winners accordingly.
That's not to say that all photos of pigeons were rubbish. This one from Christian Stalley of Novia Scotia, Canada, is excellent. Christian was also one of our runners-up last month, and here she proves that was no fluke. The photo was shot in Toronto city centre on a Canon EOS 20D, using the 17 - 85 kit lens and an exposure of 1/60th of a second at f/5. The black-and-white treatment works really well for the subject, and the shutter speed is just right to capture the birds in flight. I hate pigeons as much as anyone who's lived in London, but this is a really good photo.
Another great photo of urban birdlife is this shot from Vito Zgonik of London. It was shot on a Canon PowerShot A300 compact camera, with an exposure of f/3.6 and 1/200th of a second. These are Greylag geese, which can be found in several of London's parks around this time of year. I'm not totally sure, but I think this is the Serpentine, in Hyde Park.
Sticking with birds for the moment we come to this colourful sunset shot from Rita Kecskes of Budapest, Hungary. This is cropped from a larger photo to improve the composition, and the result is a very striking image.