The history of the Royal Society goes back to 1660. Since then, they have been at the forefront of communicating, recognizing, and supporting the very best of science. But in their long and rich history, this is their very first official photography competition.
Over 1,000 contestants entered their inaugural photo comp. However, the one image that really caught the eyes of the judges was “Tadpoles Overhead” by Bert Willaert, who works as an evolutionary biologist and environmental advisor. The photograph was snapped in Belgium, and provides a previously unseen perspective of the life of these common toad (Bufo bufo) tadpoles.
Ecology and Environmental Science Category: Winner. Image credit: Bert Willaert/Royal Society
The panel of judges, made up of a melting pot of scientists and photographers, also assessed photographs from categories such as “behavior,” “evolutionary biology,” and “ecology and environmental science." They also gave out special commendation prizes
Willaert said in a statement: “Clear water is hard to come across in the part of Belgium where I live, as a consequence of eutrophication. When I noticed these common toad tadpoles in the crystal clear canal I wanted to capture the chance encounter from their perspective.
“To conserve the natural world I think drawing attention to the beauty of these ordinary moments in our own neighborhoods, including our own backyards, is particularly important. I believe people will only conserve things when they know it exists – and how often will people have had snorkeled in their own garden pond?”
Alex Badyaev, one of the judges and also a category winner in the 2011, 2012 and 2014 Wildlife Photographer of the Year competitions, said: “To me, the winning photo communicates the power of a common biological phenomenon visualized in a new light, and from a perspective that emphasizes the other half of the ecosystem; the half we usually miss when looking down at a tadpoles’ puddle, but one that is very much part of the tadpoles’ own view – the clouds, the trees, and the sky.”
All the winning and runner-up photographs will be displayed at a free exhibition called "Life through a lens: Celebrating science photography" at the Royal Society in London on November 26, 2015.
Some of the equally amazing runners-up can be seen below and you can check out all of the runners-up on the Royal Society’s Flickr page.
Ecology and Environmental Science Category: Runner Up. Image credit: Martha Robbins
Behaviour Category: Runner Up. Image credit: Luca Antonio Marino
Evolutionary Biology Category: Runner Up. Image credit: Fabio Pupin
Evolutionary Biology Category: Winner. Image credit: Ulrike Bauer
Evolutionary Biology Category: Specially Commended. Image credit: Davide Gaglio