The photo of a bear defending her cubs, taken by Miroslav Ondruš, won this year’s Czech Nature Photo competition. “The photograph was taken unplanned in the middle of a very warm and dry summer in Velká Fatra. I waited for it in a collapsible photo tent almost until dark,” Ondruš said at the announcement of the competition results, which took place on May 10 at the Czech Photo Center gallery in Prague.
“The photo of the fighting bears was unanimously chosen as the winner by the entire jury. It captures the moment when a mother bear defends her cubs. It is technically excellent, it radiates emotion, it is action-packed and depicts a unique moment from the behavior of animals in the wild,” stated the chairman of the jury, Petr Nightingale.
The winners were chosen by an expert jury with the participation of Spanish photographer Roberto García-Roy from more than 2,400 photographs. 254 photographers from the Czech and Slovak Republics sent their work to the competition.
“At the moment when I started packing, a 150-kilogram bear was slowly approaching between the massive trees,” Miroslav Ondruš, its author, described the circumstances under which the photo was taken. It was getting dark at that moment. “The exposure showed values at the limit of usability, but I was ready for a few documentary shots if the bear happened to come close. But there was no way to prepare for what happened in front of the lens,” he explains.
“From the opposite side to where the bear was coming, the sounds of the bear family began to be heard. The cubs were running around, squealing here and there, as they fought with each other, the bear sometimes grunted educationally. The bear suddenly stood on its back and started looking around – probably watching , where the cubs move, and suddenly she ran towards the surprised male. They met in a wild and furious fight that lasted only a few tens of seconds. After about half a minute, the fight ended and the bear returned to the cubs,” Ondruš says, adding that in at that moment he began to shake from what had just happened before his eyes.
Slovak photographer Miroslav Ondruš was very close to nature from an early age and spent most of his free time in it, which lasted his whole life. He graduated from the Faculty of Forestry in Zvolen and still works in forestry.
Exhibition and accompanying program
The announcement of the results of the seventh year of the Czech Nature Photo competition is followed by an exhibition of the best photographs, which this year takes place in two places. In the outdoor exposition, mainly students and pupils of primary and secondary schools will present themselves. It is located in the section between the Nové Butovice subway exit and the Czech Photo Center gallery, where award-winning and selected images of adult photographers are exhibited. The exhibition is open to the public from May 11.
The accompanying program to the exhibition will take place in the gallery of the Czech Photo Centre. On Wednesday, May 17, the director of the Šumava National Park Administration, Pavel Hubený, will give a lecture about Šumava forests. Next Wednesday, May 24, wildlife photographer Vít Lukáš will talk about an unsuccessful trip to Madagascar. The program will also include a lecture by Vít Kahle from the Prague Zoo, who will present In situ projects on June 14.
As usual, visitors can enjoy guided tours led by competition manager and photographer Michal Krause (May 23, June 6 and September 3, always from 5:00 p.m.).
The complete program will be published on the website www.czechphoto.org.
Results of the Czech Photo Junior 2023 competition
Category younger pupils:
1st place: Jakub Jelínek – Duel
2nd place: Anežka Veselá – Furs from Africa
3rd place: Tereza Hospodářová – Muchomůrka
Older students category:
1st place: Matyáš Mutina – Lantern
2nd place: Michal Bogár – Bee
3rd place: Šimon Martínek – Medúza
Secondary school students category:
1st place: Eliška Panáčková – Blue flash
2nd place: Kristýna Velnerová – Ice Bear
3rd place: Vojtěch Gregor – Courtship
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