The feeling of seeing an animal on an empty street in the middle of the night is both eyrie and life-affirming.
During the pandemic, city dwellers were shocked to see encouraged animals roaming the deserted streets of enclosed urban spaces.
Deer in Paris, goats on the streets of Llandudno in Wales and even a cougar strolling the streets of Santiago, Chile, all captured the imagination of the public trapped at home with nothing to do but scroll through social media. .
Well, the art of urban wildlife photography is now the subject of a new competition organized by Picfair.
The Urban Wildlife Photography Awards received 6,000 applications from amateur and professional photographers, showing pigeons, foxes, lizards and squirrels enjoying the cityscape of Melbourne until Mexico.
In the ‘Nightlife’ category, a rat from a city sewer in Mexico took the top prize, while a Flamingo in Italy won in ‘Daylight’.
In a public vote that took place on social media, an image of a raccoon in a ravine near a subway station was in the “Fancy Seeing You Here” category.
Meanwhile, the overall winning entry, by an amateur photographer who works in digital marketing, showed a pair of coyotes on a street in Ontario.
“I thought it was my car that caught their attention as I turned the corner, and maybe it did at first, but when I rolled down the window I heard it was another group of howling coyotes who had their interest awakened,” says winner, Andrew Interisano.
“I parked, turned off the engine and frantically got to work with the camera…but in the rush of that moment, I was soon forced to put down my camera and enjoy the scene.”
Winner ‘Nightlife’: Life Beyond the Sewer by Austin Montero
“The pandemic forced me to stay in a small town for the past two years. This led me to find different animals that used different parts of our city. They take shelter under bridges, move through aqueducts or nest along roads. But most of the time we don’t notice it,’ says the photographer.
Winner ‘Daylight’: Window to the Salt Pan by Mano Aliczki
“Home to one of the largest flamingo colonies on the island, this national park in Sardinia allows for photographing flamingos with the town and the now-abandoned salt-evaporating facilities as a backdrop, creating exciting composition opportunities. I was able to capture the moment when a feeding flamingo ran into a wooden frame in a dike on a salt pan,” says Aliczki.
‘Fancy Seeing You Here’ Winner: Jill Finney’s Trash Panda
“I’ve dreamed of photographing wildlife since childhood and only got serious about shooting when I was almost 50, during the covid lockdown when I decided it was time to make my own Natgeo dreams come true, too even if it was just squirrels in the backyard,” explains Finney.
Runner up: Illuminated by Oliver Schultz
“I was walking back from Victoria Station on a cold English evening, and the twilight was fading. There was a chilly breeze that cut through the sky and as I looked around I saw a lone pigeon crouching against a warm light, waiting for the night to pass,” says Schultz
Runner Up: Urban Fox by Jenny-Louise Read
“I went out to take this photo because foxes, while common in most parts of my country, are rarely seen here. Especially for me, silent ghost hunters in the night! I wanted to capture the grunginess of the street as well as the elusive personality of my local foxes. I’m a disabled photographer with one arm so my goal with my photography is to A) take amazing photos of the most magical creatures in the world and B) show the world that being disabled doesn’t mean I’m incapable ! †
Runner-Up: Kick by Cheryl Rogers
Photo of an Australian Native Brolga Bird