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With so many wildlife photographers on ePHOTOzine we knew that the animals theme would create a good response, and just short of 1000 entries came through, with some incredible shots to choose from.
The shortlist was picked and then we had the tough job of going through to pick the three winners. We had four judges and in the end we decided (in no particular order - our competition system has no option to not set a place so they appear 1st 2nd and 3rd but they are not) on the following:
phil-j's shot taken at a zoo is an incredibly well timed shot that shows the interaction of animals on both sides of the glass. We like the way the animals are almost mirrored creating a strong diagonal through the photo.
csurry's shot would have been a difficult one to expose well and is a well balanced shot. We like the way the red squirrel is disturbing the snow as he runs and those flakes are caught mid air giving the shot a more action packed feel.
backbeat's shot is a superb manipulation of two apes all subtly toned to give a moody feel. Reminds us of the opening scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey. If Kubrick had filmed it like this the epic would have looked even more atmospheric.
The three winners each receive a Fuji F70EXR compact camera and go on to accept the Chester Zoo challenge.