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Winning image captures piercing beauty of nature

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GALLERY: Titled ‘Piercing Headache’, this striking image of an orange-eyed tree frog being stung by a pair of mosquitoes has won this year’s Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year competition run by the SA Museum.

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The winners and runners-up in nine categories in the competition were announced last night, with Queensland photographer Matthew McIntosh earning $10,000 plus a trip to the Subantarctic islands for his photo.

It was taken at Cedar Bay National Park in Queensland during a road trip, with McIntosh saying he had stopped to investigate a chorus of orange-eyed tree frogs calling from foliage around an old car tyre filled with water.

“With my headlamp light failing, I managed to take just one photo of uranotaenia mosquitos, also affectionately known as ‘frog flies’, happily feeding from a frog’s head.

“Luckily it turned out more or less as I intended.”

This year’s competition attracted a record 2171 entries, with professional, emerging and junior photographers invited to submit works celebrating the “natural heritage of the Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and New Guinea bioregions”.

The resulting images encompass a wide range of flora, fauna and landscapes viewed from different perspectives and judged across categories ranging from Animal Portrait and Animal Behaviour, to Botanical, Monochrome and Threatened Species.

Judges said McIntosh’s photo called the viewer in for a second look, adding:

“The bulging orange eyes grab your attention and the mosquitoes add a layer of complexity. Adept storytelling along with bold colours and impactful image design make this a worthy winner.”

The work of finalists in the Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year competition will be on display at the museum from today until October 3.

Below is a selection of images by category winners and runners-up.

Well, hello! Smallspotted combtooth blenny (Escenius stictus), David Westcott - winner Animal Behaviour category.

Well, hello! Smallspotted combtooth blenny (Escenius stictus), David Westcott – winner Animal Behaviour category.

Red Whip Ambush, painted flutemouth (Aaulostomus chinensis), Wade Hughes - winner, Animal Portrait category.

Red Whip Ambush, painted flutemouth (Aaulostomus chinensis), Wade Hughes – winner, Animal Portrait category.

Swaying dandelion, Hypochaeris sp, Dianne Galbraith - winner, Interpretive category

Swaying dandelion, Hypochaeris sp, Dianne Galbraith – winner, Interpretive category.

Aligning Planets, Grass tree (Xanthorrhoea sp.) Julie Fletcher - winner, Botanical category.

Aligning Planets, Grass tree (Xanthorrhoea sp.) Julie Fletcher – winner, Botanical category.

A Fishy Present, Georgina Steytler - finalist, Animal Behaviour category.

A Fishy Present, by Georgina Steytler – finalist in the Animal Behaviour category.

The Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year competition is owned by the South Australian Museum.

 

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