We all like to think of ourselves as capable photographers. Thanks to the humble cell phone, we are all able to snap great quality pictures at any time, in any place. It isn't until you see perfectly curated photographs, taken by real professionals, that you realize your skills are amateur at best.
So, to inspire you, we present the stunning shortlisted photographs for this year's Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. They will not only mesmerize you, but they'll also leave you feeling a little inadequate about that quick snap you took of the squirrel in your garden the other day...
Justin Hofman's 'Sewage Surfer' is a finalist for the Photojournalist Award. The simple snap captures a tiny sea horse carrying a used Q-tips through the deep blue sea, near Sumbawa Island in Indonesia. The waters in Indonesia are infested with plastic debris, sadly meaning that scenes such as this are not all that uncommon to see.
It's a somewhat beautiful reminder of man polluting the oceans, as nature is thrown together something so pedestrian as an Q-tips!
'Saved But Caged' was entered by Steve Winter. The American photographer couldn't resist shooting this picture, which shows a six-month-old Sumatran tiger cub, shortly after one of its legs was amputated. The leg was so badly mangled by a snare, that removing it was the only option. The tiny cub had been trapped for four days before being rescued. While it is now safe from further injury, the cub will live the rest of its life in a zoo.
David Lloyd captured this stunning photograph in Kenya, as a herd of elephants made their evening pilgrimage to the watering hole. Lloyd, from New Zealand, was enticed by the elephants deep wrinkles that helped give his photograph, 'The Power of the Matriarch' texture and life.
The awe-inspiring images could have been plucked straight from the dreams of Sir David Attenborough. Their rich colors help to display the true wonder of nature...