Online photography platform Picfair has announced the winners of its Urban Wildlife Photography Awards for 2022, which celebrate photos of those who turned out to document their local wildlife when travel restrictions were in full effect.
Nature finds its way into urban areas
The free photography competition received over 6,000 entries from amateur and professional photographers around the world. The photos submitted featured captured moments of wildlife in urban settings such as Melbourne, San Francisco, London, Toronto, Miami and others.
At the height of the pandemic, wildlife found its way into quiet urban centers, taking the opportunity to explore areas that were previously inaccessible. At the same time, it gave photographers the opportunity to document unique scenes of wildlife in urban areas.
Picfair has also seen the trend on its platform, after the number of urban wildlife images submitted quadrupled since 2019. Similarly, The City Nature Challenge – one of the world’s largest urban wildlife databases – achieved a record 1.2 million sightings in 2021.
The awards had four categories – Nightlife, Daylight and Fancy Seeing You Here, and one overall winner. The grand prize pool included a Nikon Z 6II and 24-70mm kit, lifetime Picfair Plus subscriptions and a framed copy of the submitted photo. Category winners received a range of photography accessories, MBP vouchers and other prizes.
Andrew Interisano was crowned the overall winner for his late-night capture of two coyotes on the streets of Ontario, Canada, as seen above. The photo is titled “Date Night,” and Interisano initially thought his car had caught the coyotes’ attention, but soon saw them turn their attention to another group of howling coyotes in the distance.
“I parked, turned off the engine and frantically got to work with the camera…however, in the rush of that moment, I was quickly forced to put my camera down and soak up the stage,” says Interisano.
American biologist Austin Montero, grounded by the pandemic, won the Nightlife category with a photo of a rat emerging from a city sewer in Mexico, titled “Life Beyond The Sewer”. Montero had to stay in a small town for the past two years, which led him to encounter several animals using different parts of town.
“I was surprised to see the number of urban structures used by many species,” he says. “They shelter under bridges, move through aqueducts or nest along roads. But usually we don’t notice it.
Hungarian zoologist Mano Aliczki took the winning “Daylight” photo while vacationing in Italy. The photo, titled “Window on the salt pan”, shows a flamingo feeding and walking in a wooden frame in a dike on a salt pan, creating a unique composition.
Want to see you here
Canadian photographer Jill Finney has captured the hearts of the public for her image of a raccoon in a ravine near a subway station, titled “Trash Panda”. Her photo was chosen as the category winner based on a public vote on social media.
“I had dreamed of photographing wildlife since I was a child and didn’t start serious photography until I was almost 50, during the covid lockdown when I decided it was time to shoot my own Natgeo dreams, even if it was just squirrels in the backyard,” Finney says.
The judging panel was comprised of Picfair’s chief content officer, Philip Mowbray, and guest judges – professional wildlife photographers Melissa Groo, USA, Andrew Budziak, Canada, and Will Burrard-Lucas, UK, as well as writer and urban wildlife author Florence Wilkinson of The UK.
The full gallery of finalists and winners can be viewed on the Picfair website, with proceeds from all print sales going to the global non-profit conservation organization Re:Wild.
Picture credits: All photos are individually credited and provided courtesy of Picfair.