Wildlife turned surreal: photographer John Wilhelm turns his wildlife photos into fantastic works of art.

There are many weird and wonderful creatures in the animal kingdom – but you’re unlikely to ever spot an ice-skating chick or a flying rhino.

You’ve also got a cat in hell’s chance of seeing a young girl offering flowers to a 20ft-tall buffalo or a camel enjoying a cigarette. But then for all its evolutionary marvel, Mother Nature doesn’t have Photoshop.

Swiss photographer John Wilhelm does, however, and with a little fantasy escapism has turned his wildlife pictures into some truly surreal works of art.

IT director turns his wildlife pictures into surreal works of art | Mail Online.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year: winning photo.


Essence of elephants: Greg du Toit (South Africa)

Ever since he first picked up a camera, Greg has photographed African elephants. ‘For many years,’ he says, ‘I’ve wanted to create an image that captures their special energy and the state of consciousness that I sense when I’m with them. This image comes closest to doing that.’ The shot was taken at a waterhole in Botswana’s Northern Tuli Game Reserve, from a hide (a sunken freight container) that provided a ground-level view. Greg chose to use a slow shutter speed to create the atmosphere he was after and try ‘to depict these gentle giants in an almost ghostly way.’ He used a wide-angle lens tilted up to emphasise the size of whatever elephant entered the foreground, and chose a narrow aperture to create a large depth of field so that any elephants in the background would also be in focus. Greg had hoped the elephants would turn up before dawn, but they arrived after the sun was up. To emphasise the ‘mysterious nature’ of these ‘enigmatic subjects’, he attached a polarising filter and set his white balance to a cool temperature. The element of luck that added the final touch to his preparation was the baby elephant, which raced past the hide, so close that Greg could have touched her. The slow shutter speed conveyed the motion, and a short burst of flash at the end of the exposure froze a fleeting bit of detail.

Nikon D3s + 16-35mm f4 lens + polarising filter; 1/30 sec at f22; ISO 800; Nikon SB-900 flash + SC28 remote cord; mini-tripod; Nikon cable-release.

See the rest of the winning images.