In their annual member's competition, the German Society for Nature Photography has chosen the GDT Nature Photographer of the Year 2021. Due to the covid-19 pandemic the vote did not take place at the general meeting as usual but online with the participation of all members.
Overall winner is a photography duo from the Teutoburg Forest with the photo of a barn swallow in flight. In their photographs, Karsten Mosebach and Bernhard Volmer aim to depict the beauty and elegance of these animals, which is particularly evident in flight. The photos want to merge speed, ease of flight, elegance and beauty of the animals into one. Not an easy task. Karsten Mosebach: “Barn swallows are fast flyers. They cut through the air at top speed, swerving around obstacles blazingly fast und unexpected. Our eyes can hardly follow their daredevil manoeuvres. The birds seem to be in the air all the time. Only rarely do they rest with other swallows on a telephone wire or on the gutter of an old pigsty."
For the awarded picture the two photographers chose a long exposure setting as a stylistic device. Using flash units whose light time is particularly short, they freeze the movement towards the end of the exposure time. Thus, the swallow in the picture wears a veil that follows after it airily, lightly and transparently, and at the same time it testifies to its high speed.
Twenty years ago, Karsten Mosebach and Bernhard Volmer met each other by chance while photographing. Since then, they have been connected by their love of photography and a long-standing friendship. In the course of time, they have realised various photo and book projects together, most recently the book "Magische Impressionen - Naturfotografien aus dem Osnabrücker Land". The two photographers work particularly close together on technically complex projects. With the swallows, it was impossible to control two cameras at the same time due to the necessary light barrier and flash technology. So, in this case, only one camera is set up and the achieved photographs belong to both photographers equally. This is how they previously won the title Nature Photographer of the Year 10 years ago. They have also been successful individually in national and international photography competitions.
Every year the competition GDT Nature Photographer of the Year is exclusively run for the Society's members (unlike the competition GDT European Wildlife Photographer of the Year, which is open to all photographers resident in Europe).
In this year’s competition Volmer and Mosebach came out on top with their photo Turbo swallow in a field of almost 400 GDT members from 13 different countries. Overall, 6470 photographs were submitted. After a pre-jury procedure by a jury consisting of Heike Odermatt, Jan Piecha and Stefan Christmann, GDT members were asked to choose from ten images in each of the seven categories: Birds, Mammals, Other Animals, Plants and Fungi, Landscapes, Nature's Studio and this year's special category We are family.
Again, all winners and runners-up as well as the overall winner receive generous prizes sponsored by AC-Foto, the GDT's long-term partner. In addition, the overall winner is presented with an Olympus E-M5 Mark III incl. a kit lens (12-40/f2.8) by their premium partner Olympus Europe.
The winners of the individual categories and prize of the jury
In the category Birds Karsten Mosebach and Bernhard Volmer from Germany won with the image Turbo barn swallow and also came out as the overall winner. Last year's winner Peter Lindel succeeded in the category Mammals with the photograph of a maned lion and its young. The winning photograph by Scott Portelli in the category Other Animals is named Mudskipper. Stefan Imig won the category Plants and Fungi with the photo Porcelain fungi. In the category Landscapes Corinna Leonbacher came out on top with the image Volcano?, a thunderstorm in the Dolomite Mountains, and Sandra Bartocha with Golden wave was the chosen winner of the category Nature's Studio. The special category We are family was also won by Corinna Leonbacher, this time with the photo Family breakfast – a pair of crested grebes with their young.
The jury's prize went to Alexandra Wünsch for her atmospheric photo of a blackbird in a light-flooded forest.