Wrestling komodo dragons, traquil sharks and the largest-known lizards in the world all feature in this display showcasing the shortlist for the prestigious photography prize.

Now in its 51st year, this prestigious competition showcases the finest images of the natural world and attracted over 42,000 entries from 96 different countries this time round.

Photographs from the finalists’ collection include Andrey Gudkov’s incredible image of two komodo dragons fighting on Rinca Island, Indonesia.

Known to be the largest lizards in the world, the males often engage in violent battles, rearing up on their hind legs and using their muscular tails for support. Gudkov’s shot is particularly remarkable as komodos often fight in long grass, obscuring most of the action from view.

Another shortlisted entry was taken by Thomas P Paschal, off the coast of South Africa. Shot underwater, it depicts the outline of a shark and a surfer who is testing a new surfboard fitted with an electromagnetic shark deterrent.

Although shark attacks are rare (in 2014 there were 72 unprovoked attacks recorded, of which only 3 were fatal) their fearsome image prevails.

Paschal wanted to record a non-lethal form of deterrent with minimal intrusion, so he decided to free dive to avoid unnecessary bubbles. The result is a tranquil image suggestive of companionship as opposed to conflict.

National Museum of Scotland

Chambers Street, Edinburgh, Midlothian, EH1 1JF

0300 123 6789


Opening times

Daily, 10am – 5pm 26 Dec and 1 Jan, 12 – 5pm Closed 25 Dec

Free to all

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