“The Watchful Cheetah,” an image of a female big cat resting in the grass at the Maasai Mara reserve in Kenya, has propelled young Greek shutterbug Leon Petrinos into the under-10 category of the prestigious international competition for best Wildlife Photographer of the Year, presented by London’s Natural History Museum and BBC, and celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
Petrino’s image of the feline is among 42,000 photographs from 96 countries submitted to the competition. He was 8 years old when he captured the shot while on safari in the east African country with his family.
“You can tell the animal’s feelings from the look in the eye, the way the fur lies and the ears move,” Leon says in the note accompanying his entry. He particularly likes portraits, he says, because “the animal’s feelings talk to you.”
Presenter at this year’s award ceremony at the Natural History Museum in London on October 21 is David Attenborough, who will announce the winners selected by a panel of judges, including American environmentalist and photographer Jim Brandenburg, Norwegian photographer Pal Hermansen and South Korean curator Sujong Song.
All 100 photographs will be exhibited at the NHM from October 24 to August 30.