Wildlife Photographer of the Year Trip

Midway through March, 2018, all the Art Ambassadors at Stroud High School were invited on a trip to the M Shed museum in Bristol. This was a photography trip to see an art exhibition for the ‘Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award’. However, we were also allowed lots of free time to explore the amazing museum and shop. The actual museum was very interesting and beautiful, with many real and reconstructed artefacts, including old cars, air raid shelters and even a life size bus! This was very exiting - we could go inside the bus, take pictures and look around. There were also many stations where you could choose to hear about one of the displayed items or a relating topic in history. I loved looking at some of the art in the museum – old fashioned and incredibly detailed landscapes which must have taken years to paint!

After roaming the museum, at around 2pm, we went upstairs to visit the private gallery - currently showing the special art exhibition we were here to see. The room was filled with around 100 stunning and fascinating pictures, carefully selected out of almost 50,000 entries from 92 countries! These were taken by extremely talented photographers of all ages and nationalities. Although the overall theme was wildlife, the subjects ranged from natural spectacles to single micro-organisms, from hilarious animal moments to depressing and thought-provoking stories captured in a single image.

My favourite photo in the gallery was creatively and suitably named ‘Circle of Life’. It was taken by Spanish freelance photographer Jordi Chias Pujol and depicted a beautiful shoal of slender mackerel, encircled by their predators - striped European barracudas and broader bluefish. What stood out about this piece was its stunning composition and the amazing event the camera captured. I loved the way the mackerel shimmered in the sunlight, looking and moving as if they were one body. The hungry barracudas and bluefish swam in circles around the mackerel, many far below and others skimming the surface of the wall of mackerel. I find it amazing that Jordi managed to capture this hunt in all its beauty and technique before it disappeared into the deep. The ‘five-metre bait ball’ was slowly sinking – constantly changing shape. By swimming in a tight, coordinated school, the slender mackerel could confuse their assailants. This tactic seemed to be working, because for the whole hour that Jordi followed them, no fish attacked and perhaps the ingenious prey succeeded in outsmarting their predators.

Inspired by all the wonderful entries, Stroud High School will be hosting their very own wildlife photography competition. This will be organised and judged by the Art Ambassadors and will be open to all students and staff (excluding the judges of course!) More details about the competition will be broadcasted soon and we hope that there will be lots of stunning entries!

By Beth Constable, Year 9