by Charles Davis, New South Wales
Finalist, Animal Habitat category, 2017 Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
by Beau Pilgrim, New South Wales
Finalist, Animal Behaviour category, 2017 Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
by Raoul Slater, Queensland
Finalist, Botanical category, 2017 Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
by Jack Campbell Shick, Lord Howe Island
Finalist, Monochrome category, 2016 Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
by Dominic Barrington, New South Wales
Finalist, Our Impact category, 2017 Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
by Matthew Jones, New South Wales
Finalist, Threatened Species category, 2017 Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
A visually striking image of a crowd of spider crabs (Leptomithrax gaimardii) and a predatory Maori Octopus (Octopus maorum) has been judged the winning entry among 2,174 photographs in this year's Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year competition. ‘Predatory Pursuit’ by Justin Gilligan from New South Wales captured the exact moment the octopus was selecting its prey at Mercury Passage between Maria Island and mainland Tasmania
“I was actually out diving on a project with Professor Craig Johnson from the University of Tasmania when suddenly a large aggregation of spider crabs came out of nowhere. Capturing this shot was a case of being in the right place at the right time. The octopus was behaving like an excited child in a candy store trying to work out which crab to consume – its eyes were definitely bigger that its belly,” Mr Gilligan said.
Mr Gilligan, who has been taking underwater pictures for about 20 years, wins $10,000 plus a trip to Antarctica thanks to Heritage Expeditions. Mr Gilligan’s striking images have also received first place in the Botanical and Our Impact categories.
This year’s judges described Mr Gilligan’s fascinating photograph as photographic storytelling at its finest - visually striking and somewhat terrifying. This scene of an octopus encountering a horde of crabs has been masterfully composed. The ultra-wide angle perspective has allowed a uniquely immersive view of this epic struggle.
The Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year competition is produced by the South Australian Museum; it open now and continues until 24 September. Museum Members receive unlimited FREE VIP entry.
The Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year competition celebrates the natural heritage of the Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and New Guinea bioregions each year.
Photographers from around the world are invited to submit their nature and wildlife photographs from the bioregion of Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and the New Guinea. For the purposes of this competition the region of New Guinea is limited to the west by the Wallace Line (the bio-geographical line extending between Bali and Lombok northward through the Makassar Strait between Borneo and Sulawesi). To the east the New Guinea region includes the Bismarck and Solomon Archipelagos and islands of the South West Pacific, with its eastern boundary formed by the International Date Line. Antarctica includes the Sub-Antarctic Islands, which for the purposes of this competition are those south of the Antarctic Convergence or Antarctic Polar Front.
Every year the finalist entries are included in an exhibition developed by the South Australian Museum. The stunning beauty of our natural world is placed on display, with professional, emerging and junior photographers alike showing impeccable timing, patience, artistry and technique to capture superb moments in time.