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November 2007

British photographer Ben Osborne has been crowned the overall winner in the 2007 Shell Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition for his image, 'Elephant Creation', taken in Botswana’s Chobe National Park using an EOS-1D Mark IIN.

The contest is one the most prestigious of its kind in the world, this year attracting a record 32,000 entries from photographers in 78 different countries.

Osborne used his vehicle as a hide to stake out the waterhole in Botswana for three weeks in the dry season. The low light levels of the early morning meant shooting with a higher ISO than usual and also a slow shutter speed. This has given the image the artistic look that attracted the judges.

Osborne started using Canon cameras a few years ago and for this particular trip had borrowed an EOS-1D Mark IIN from Canon Professional Services in the UK. He also owns an EOS 5D. Speaking to CPN, he said that he chose Canon for two main reasons: “One of my main commercial clients demands a full-frame image sensor – a need the EOS 5D fulfils perfectly. Secondly, the class-leading autofocus and image stabiliser systems allow me to capture dramatic moments even when I’m shooting from helicopters or boats.” For this he often uses the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM lens with or without an EF 1.4x II Extender.


Ben Osborne while on assignment in the Arctic.

Osborne has been a freelance photographer since 1984. He specialises in wildlife and landscape photography and has produced still images for several BBC productions including Life in the Freezer, Planet Earth and Blue Planet as well as having work published in magazines such as National Geographic, Geo and BBC Wildlife.

The other 2007 winners were:
  • Eric Hosking Award – Bence Máté (Hungary);
  • Gerald Durrell Award for Endangered Wildlife – Roy Toft (USA);
  • One Earth Award – Csaba Karai (Hungary);
  • Animals in Their Environment – Paul Nicklen (Canada);
  • Animal Behaviour: Birds – Louis-Marie Préau (France);
  • Animal Behaviour: Mammals – Johan J Botha (South Africa);
  • Animal Behaviour: All Other Animals – Amos Nachoum (Israel/USA);
  • The Underwater World – Felipe Barrio (Spain);
  • Animal Portraits – Sergey Gorshkov (Russia);
  • Urban and Garden Wildlife – Danny Green (UK);
  • Nature in Black and White – Thomas P Peschak;
  • Creative Visions of Nature – Ben Osborne (UK);
  • Wild Places – Robert Knight (USA);
  • 15-17 years old – Evan Graff (USA);
  • 11-14 years old – Fergus Gill (UK);
  • 10 years and under – Patrick Corning (UK/USA).

The Shell Wildlife Photographer of the Year is owned by London's Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine.