Overall Winner: "Beast of the Sediment"
Shell Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition, 2006
This image of a massive walrus looming through clouds of mud while probing for food in Arctic waters was voted best overall photo in the 2006 Shell Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.
Unveiled October 19 at the Natural History Museum in London, the winning imagesfive of which are included in this gallerywere chosen from 18,000 entries from amateur and professional photographers in 55 countries.
Gvran Ehlmi from Sweden captured top prize for this face-to-face walrus encounter off northeast Greenland, where the tusked giants come to root out mollusks from the seabed using their bristled snouts and powerful flippers.
Ehlmi, who has filmed walruses for National Geographic Television, is the first person to photograph the animals feeding underwater. Diving with walruses is fraught with danger, and Ehlmi took the plunge only after spending many years studying their behavior.
"They are highly unpredictable and dangerous," said Ehlmi, who has been attacked by the marine mammals in the past.
"I think this one was in a bad, bad mood when he saw me. Appearing through the mud clouds, he looks like an angry god coming down from the heavens."
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Photograph by Gvran Ehlmi. The Shell Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition is owned by the Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine, and is sponsored by Shell.