LIGHT GOLD AWARD WINNER – Bernhard Schubert, Austria. Prize: £500.
Image Title: Magic Spores
Subject: Cockroach and bracket fungus
On a night hike through a Bornean national park, I noticed this bracket fungus releasing masses of spores. At first, I held my headlamp behind the fungus to get a better sense of the floating spores. As I tried capturing the scene with my camera and a flash, I noticed that the white light split up in many different spectral colours. Experimenting to achieve the right angle for the flash in relation to the position of my camera took quite a while, but in the end I was rewarded with this picture. The cockroach which came by later added just the final touch to it.
Equipment and Settings: Canon EOS 5D mark IV with Tamron 35mm DI VC f/1.8 lens. Focal length 35mm; 1/200 second; f/16; ISO 800. Meike MT-24 flash.
Website address: www.bernhardschubert.com
Instagram: @bernhardschubertphoto

Stunning cockroach bathing in light wins WildArt photo competition

WildArt Photographer of the Year has announced the jaw-dropping winners of its 'light' category.

You wouldn’t expect a cockroach to be described as beautiful, nor would you imagine fungus to be particularly photogenic. But put them together and you get a magical combination, and the winner of this months WildArt photo competition.

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The WildArt Photographer of the Year is a new wildlife photography competition featuring 10 themed categories, which are announced each month. Following on from June’s ‘connection’ theme, the category for July is ‘light’, and the winning and highly commended images have just been unveiled.

There are still many rounds to come over the following months, and once each round has been decided, an overall winner will be awarded at the end of the year.

But until then, we bring you our pick of our favourites from the light category.

Magic Spores: Gold winner

LIGHT GOLD AWARD WINNER – Bernhard Schubert, Austria. Prize: £500. Image Title: Magic Spores Subject: Cockroach and bracket fungus On a night hike through a Bornean national park, I noticed this bracket fungus releasing masses of spores. At first, I held my headlamp behind the fungus to get a better sense of the floating spores. As I tried capturing the scene with my camera and a flash, I noticed that the white light split up in many different spectral colours. Experimenting to achieve the right angle for the flash in relation to the position of my camera took quite a while, but in the end I was rewarded with this picture. The cockroach which came by later added just the final touch to it. Equipment and Settings: Canon EOS 5D mark IV with Tamron 35mm DI VC f/1.8 lens. Focal length 35mm; 1/200 second; f/16; ISO 800. Meike MT-24 flash. Website address: www.bernhardschubert.com Instagram: @bernhardschubertphoto
A passing cockroach is engulfed by floating spores of a bracket fungus, photographed on a night hike through a Bornean national park, Malay Archipelago, Asia. Photo by Bernhard Schubert/wildartpoty.com

Last moments: Silver winner

LIGHT SILVER AWARD WINNER – Tibor Kercz. Hungary. Prize: £200. Image Title: Last Moments. Subject: Caribbean Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber The image was taken at Rio Lagarto Biosfera Reserve, Mexico where I have spent few days laying in the mud to capture interesting compositions of the Caribbean Flamingos. Equipment and Settings: Nikon D850 with Nikon AF-S 200-400mm f/4 ED lens. Focal length 380mm; 1/800 second; f/4; ISO 64. Website: www.facebook.com/tibor.kercz
A Caribbean flamingo (phoenicopterus ruber) photographed as the sun sets at Rio Lagarto Biosfera Reserve, Mexico. Photo by Tibor Kercz/wildartpoty.com

Fighters and audience: Bronze winner

LIGHT BRONZE AWARD WINNER ñ PÂl Hermansen, Norway. Prize: £100. Image Title: Fighters and Audience Subject: Mountain Hare Lepus timidus Hares often fight in the spring at mating time. I took this image at a location where I have often found Mountain Hares feeding in the winter as the mating season approaches. They are used to artificial light during the night, so it is possible to photograph them like this during the hours of darkness. Equipment and Settings: Olympus E-M1X with 120-300mm f/2.8 lens. Focal length 183mm (367mm equivalent in 35mm); 1/1,250 second; f/22; ISO 800.
A pair of mountain hares (lepus timidus) fight as another hare looks on, in this scene photographed in Norway. The males often brawl as the mating season approaches. Photo by Pål Hermansen/wildartpoty.com

Spider: Highly commended

LIGHT – HIGHLY COMMENDED – Csaba Tökölyi, Hungary. Image Title: Spider Subject: Spider (species unknown) Looking for subjects to photograph at the end of the day, I found this spider wandering through the leaves of a cherry tree. Specs of light were hitting some of the leaves and I waited until my model reached one of these light spots. Luckily, it did not take long so I could take this image. By under exposing I created the feel of a curious spider at night. Equipment and Settings: Nikon D800 with Nikon AF-S 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED VR Nikkor macro lens. Focal length 105mm; 1/100 second; f/13; ISO 640. Website address: www.csabatokolyi.com Instagram: @csabatokolyi
An unknown species of spider captured wandering through the leaves of a cherry tree. Photo by Csaba Tökölyi/wildartpoty.com

Summer rain: Highly commended

LIGHT – HIGHLY COMMENDED – Tibor Kercz. Hungary. Image Title: Summer Rain Subject: Little Owl Athene noctua I was following a Little Owl family' during the breeding season. After spending few nights photographing these birds, I could caught many memorable moments in different phases of their life. In order to light the scene in this way I used four off camera flashes, fired remotely. Equipment and Settings: Nikon D4 with Nikon AF-S 200-400mm f/4 ED lens. Focal length 330mm; 1/320 second; f/9; ISO 1250. Four off-camera remote flashes. Website: www.facebook.com/tibor.kercz
A little owl (Athene noctua) peeks from behind the trunk of a tree during a rain shower. Photo by Tibor Kercz/wildartpoty.com

Night creature: Highly commended

LIGHT – HIGHLY COMMENDED – Fabio Sartori, Italy. Image Title: Night Creature Subject: European Dwarf Mantis Ameles spallanzania The photograph shows two mantises above an ear of corn. The shot was taken against strong backlight, underexposing a lot. In post-production I changed the white balance to give the image the feel of having been taken at night. Equipment and Settings: Olympus OMD EM-1 mkII with Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45 f/2.8 lens. Focal length 45mm (90mm equivalent in 35mm); 1/8,000 second; f/2.8; ISO 125. Handheld. Instagram: @fabiosar1962
A pair of European dwarf mantis (ameles spallanzania) sit above an ear of corn. The shot was taken against strong backlight, underexposing the image to create the effect of nighttime. Photo by Fabio Sartori/wildartpoty.com

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Wings of fire: Highly commended

LIGHT – HIGHLY COMMENDED – Kallol Mukherjee, India. Image Title: Wings of Fire Subject: Blue-tailed Bee-eater Merops philippinus I found a colony of Blue-tailed Bee-eaters couple of years ago in a riverbank. It is always beautiful to photograph these birds with backlight as the colour of the wings looks completely different. That evening, the light was extremely good and the birds sometimes flew close to the shallow water of the river while they were hunting bees from the nearby field. Although it was difficult to capture these fast-flying birds in backlight and with strong wind coming from the river, with a high shutter speed I was able to capture this shot where the reflection of evening light creates a magical effect. Equipment and Settings: Nikon D850 with Nikon AF-S 300mm f/4 Nikkor Lens and 1.4x converter. Focal length 420mm; 1/5,000 second; f/5.6; ISO 1250. Website: www.kallolclick.com Instagram: @kallol_mukherjee_photography
A blue-tailed bee-eater (merops philippinus) swoops over a riverbank whilst hunting. Photo by Kallol Mukherjee/wildartpoty.com

Walk on the light: Topaz Labs award winner

LIGHT - HIGHLY COMMENDED ñ TOPAZ LABS AWARD WINNER - WILDART PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR FOUNDERíS CHOICE ñ Fabio Sartori, Italy. Image Title: Walk on the Light Subject: Spider (species unknown) The photograph shows a spider on its web in the early morning dew which formed small beads of water that sparkled against the light. As I approached with my camera, the spider rose in a defensive stance. Equipment and Settings: Olympus OMD EM-1 mkII with Olympus M.Zuiko ED 60mm f/2.8 macro lens. Focal length 60mm (120mm equivalent in 35mm); 1/500 second; f/3.5; ISO 200. Handheld. Instagram: @fabiosar1962
An unknown species of spider takes up a defensive stance in the early morning dew, which forms small beads of water on its web. Photo by Fabio Sartori/wildartpoty.com

Light and shadow: Wild Planet Photo Magazine winner

LIGHT - WILD PLANET PHOTO MAGAZINE – EDITOR’S CHOICE – Duncan Armour, United Kingdom. Prize: A year’s free subscription to Wild Planet Photo Magazine. Image Title: Light and Shadow Subject: Green Hermit Phaethornis guy A Green Hermit feeds from a Heliconia flower in Costa Rica. The flower was injected with a small amount of sugar water to increase the frequency of visits. Equipment and Settings: Canon EOS 5D mark IV with Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens. Focal length 300mm; 1/160; f/16; ISO 400. Three remote GODOX TT600 flashes. Website: www.twodrifters.co.uk
A green hermit (phaethornis guy) feeds from a heliconia flower in Costa Rica. The flower was injected with a small amount of sugar water to increase the frequency of visits. Photo by Duncan Armour/wildartpoty.com

Warm light: Cotton Carrier award winner

LIGHT – COTTON CARRIER AWARD WINNER – Peter Hudson, United States of America. Prize: Cotton Carrier camera harness. Image Title: Warm Light Subject: Greater Roadrunner Geococcyx californianus After the cold of the desert night, the first light brings a much-needed warmth for many of the desert animals, and the roadrunner just bathes in this warmth. I had been up most of the night photographing bats and, rather than go back to bed, I slipped into the hide for first light. Sipping my coffee, I thought nothing was happening and then he was just there, ruffling up his feathers with his back to the sun enjoying the warmth. I was keen on getting the light through the vegetation as much as the bird. Equipment and Settings: Sony ILCE-9 with Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens. Focal length 291mm; 1/2,000 second; f/6.3; ISO 3200. Tripod. Website: www.peterhudsonphotos.com Instagram: @peter_hudson018
A greater roadrunner (geococcyx californianus) ruffles up his feathers and bathes in this warmth of the early morning sun. Photo by Peter Hudson/wildartpoty.com

Out of the darkness: Highly commended

LIGHT – HIGHLY COMMENDED – Kevin Morgans, United Kingdom. Image Title: Out of the Darkness Subject: Atlantic Puffin Fratercula arctica Playing with light and shadows can be an effective way to transform a scene, creating dramatic silhouettes and images full of darkness and mystery. It’s a technique I often find myself drawn to as the focus no longer becomes the detail of your subject but the shape. In order for this to work you need an instantly recognisable subject such as a red deer stag, squirrel or in this instance my favourite subject the Atlantic Puffin. Equipment and Settings: Canon EOS 1DX with Canon EF500mm f/4L IS USM lens. Focal length 500m; 1/1,250 second; f/4; ISO 100. Website: www.kevinmorgans.com Instagram: @kevmorgans
A dramatic silhouette of an Atlantic puffin (fratercula arctica) photographed as the sun sets. Photo by Kevin Morgans/wildartpoty.com

Firefly: Highly commended

LIGHT – HIGHLY COMMENDED – Ripan Biswas, India. Image Title: Firefly. Subject: Firefly (species unknown) Fireflies communicate with each other with the help of their light. They move in different patterns to create different signals. Capturing these patterns of light and a firefly in a single frame was challenging. I used a manual focus with a wide angle macro lens to capture this picture. After spotting a firefly I approached it very slowly and pre-focused the lens. When I judged the firefly was in my focus area, I started the exposure with a cable release. I fired a first curtain flash to freeze the movement of firefly with a long exposure for capturing the trails. I followed the firefly with my camera to capture more of the trails in my photograph. This is a trial and error method and 99% of my pictures were unusable because the firefly was out of the focus. After 3 months of trying hard, eventually I got 3-4 usable pictures. Equipment and Settings: Nikon D750 with 15mm lens. Focal length 15mm; 8 seconds; f/4; ISO 3200. Flash. Website: www.ripanbiswas.com Instagram: @ripanb2
Fireflies communicate with each other with the help of their light. They move in different patterns to create different signals. The photographer has skilfully captured examples of these patterns of light. Photo by Ripan Biswas/wildartpoty.com

Swamp tenor: Highly commended

LIGHT – HIGHLY COMMENDED – Łukasz Sokół, Poland. Image Title: Swamp Tenor Subject: Savi’s Warbler locustella luscinioides Spring is my favourite photographic time of the year. Everything comes to life and you can come back from an ordinary walk with interesting photos. This was the case here, An early morning visit to a wetland I know well, resulted in me coming across a Savi's Warbler singing beautifully as the sun rose. The frame was filled with beautiful swamp flora and sunrise light. Equipment and Settings: Canon EOS 5D mark IV with Canon EF400mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens. Focal length 400mm; 1/1,000 second; f/4; ISO 640. Website address: www.lukasz-sokol.pl Instagram: @lukaszsokol_wildlife
A savi’s warbler (locustella luscinioides) amongst swamp flora photographed in spring light as the sun rises. Photo by Łukasz Sokół/wildartpoty.com