MINSK, 14 October (BelTA) - To photograph one of rarest creatures on Earth you have to be incredibly skilled and remarkably lucky. But Sergey Gorshkov is clearly both - as demonstrated by his stunning picture of a Siberian, or Amur, tiger deep in the forests of Russia's Far East won him the title of Wildlife Photographer of the Year (WPY), BBC informs.
The female tiger is seen embracing a tree, rubbing herself up against the bark to leave her scent and mark territory in Leopard National Park.
"The lighting, the colours, the texture - it's like an oil painting," WPY chair of judges Roz Kidman-Cox told BBC News. "It's almost as if the tiger is part of the forest. Her tail blends with the roots of the tree. The two are one".
All the more extraordinary is that this is a camera-trap image. The equipment was set up in the forest and left, waiting to trigger automatically when a tiger came by. Of course, the photographer had to know where he'd be most likely to frame the animal - and that's where the skill of an experienced wildlife photographer comes into play.
Eastern Russia's tigers were hunted to near-extinction and probably now number only a few hundred individuals. And with their prey - mostly deer and wild boar - also diminished, it means the Amurs must range over vast distances to find food.
It all adds to the difficulty of securing any sort of picture, never mind one that looks as impressive as Sergey's. But consider this: the camera-trap that took the winning picture was left in the field for 10 months before its memory card with its precious image file was recovered.
Sergey Gorshkov's grand prize award was announced by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge and TV presenters Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin during an online event organized by London's Natural History Museum. The NHM runs the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, which is now in its 56th year.
The competition covers 17 categories of wildlife photography, including photojournalism and portraiture. This year, the competition received 49,000 entries from photographers from all over the world.
BBC presents the works of the prizewinners of the competition.
Photos courtesy of Wildlife Photographer of the Year