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Photography exhibition leads you getting closer to the

If you want to see nature's stunning beauty and trace the lives of wild animals in the concrete jungle, the "Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition" to be held at the Hong Kong Science Museum from tomorrow (February 1) to May 1, is worth a visit.

The exhibition showcases about 200 winning entries of the "Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition" co-organised by the BBC Wildlife Magazine and the Natural History Museum, England in 2006 and 2007. Combining artistic perspective and technical expertise, the photographic works on display show the natural beauty of wildlife in deserts, mountains, forests and oceans. Each photograph has a caption describing the subject animals and the background in which the photograph is taken.

Speaking at today's (January 31) opening ceremony, the Deputy Director (Culture) of Leisure and Cultural Services Department, Mr Chung Ling-hoi, pointed out the importance of environmental protection. "The animals sharing the resources with us on Earth provide our daily necessities, therefore, humans have to cherish the environment to maintain this mutually beneficial relationship," Mr Chung said. He thought that people could help by reducing the consumption of energy, paper and marine life from deep sea, and by avoiding wearing fur. “What we do now will benefit our next generations.

"Recently, the Government launched a series of measures to relieve the problem of pollution, protect the ecology and raise citizens' awareness of environmental protection. Such a campaign needs the participation of the public and local green groups are definitely our partners in this aspect," Mr Chung said.

Produced by the National History Museum, the exhibition is divided into 10 zones: "Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year", "One Earth Award", "Eric Hosking Award, Gerald Durrell Award for Endangered Wildlife", "Animals Behaviour: Bird, Mammals, All Other Animals", "Animal Portraits, Animals in the Environment", "Wild Places, Creative Visions of Nature", "Underwater World, In Praise of Plants, Urban & Garden Wildlife, and The World on Our Hands", "Nature in Black and White", "Young Wildlife Photographers (17 years old or under)", and "Slide Show".

The title Wildlife Photographer of the Year is given to the photographer whose single image is judged to be the most striking and memorable of all the competition entries. There is a special category for young photographers aged 17 or under and the winner is given the title the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

One Earth Award highlights the interaction between humans and the natural world. Images must demonstrate the power and resilience of our planet and its impact on us. They can also show our connection with, dependence or effect on the natural world. Whether graphic or symbolic, each image must be thought-provoking, memorable and encourage respect for our world.

Gerald Durrell Award for Endangered Wildlife commemorates the late Gerald Durrell's work with endangered species and his long-standing involvement with the competition. Photographs are species critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable or at risk as officially listed in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Eric Hosking Award, named after the famous British wildlife photographer, aims to encourage and promote young photographers aged 18 to 26. Each entry must be a portfolio of six photographs that demonstrates a range of ability.

Photographs in the category of Animal Behaviour:Birds, Mammals, All Other Animals must show action and have interest value as well as aesthetic appeal. The category of "All Other Animals" offers plenty of scope for interesting pictures, especially when one considers that species other than mammals and birds make up the majority of animals on Earth and have behaviour that is often little known.

Animal Portraits, one of the most popular in the competition, invites portraits that capture the character or spirit of the subject on which they focus.

In this category of Animals in Their Environment, photographs must convey a sense of the relationship between the plant or animal and its habitat, which must be as important a part of the photograph as the subject.

Wild Places is a category for landscape photographs, but ones that must convey a true feeling of wildness and create a sense of awe.

Photographs shown under the category of Creative Visions of Nature should take inspiration from nature but reveal new ways of seeing natural subjects or senses. They can be figurative, abstract or conceptual, but must provoke thought or emotional reactions, whether through their beauty or imaginative interpretation.

Subjects of the category of The Underwater World can be marine or freshwater. But, as with land subjects, the images must be memorable, either because of the behaviour displayed or because of their aesthetic appeal.

The aim of In Praise of Plants is to showcase the beauty and importance of flowering and non-flowering plants, whether by featuring them in close-up or as part of the habitat.

Urban and Garden Wildlife features memorable photographs in which environments reveal a human presence, including urban, suburban and garden settings.

Photographs in The World in Our Hands must be thought-provoking. They must convey our relationship with the environment;our connection with it, effect or dependence on it.

The subject captured in the Nature in Black and White can be or include any wild landscape or any living organism. The judges look for skillful use of the black-and-white medium.

There are three sub-categories in the category of Young Wildlife Photographers (17 years old or under). The pictures must show wild animals or plants, or wild landscape.

Since its launch in 1964, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition has become a major event for thousands of amateur and professional wildlife photographers around the world. It attracts more than 18,000 entries each year. The exhibition of winning entries has visited more than 55 countries in the North and South Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia.

The Science Museum is located at 2 Science Museum Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Kowloon. It opens from 1pm to 9pm from Monday to Friday, and from 10am to 9pm on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. On the Lunar New Year's Eve (February 6), the museum opens from 1pm to 5pm. It closes on Thursdays (except public holidays) and the first two days of the Lunar New Year. Admission is $25 with a half-price concession for full-time students, people with disabilities and senior citizens aged 60 or above. Admission is free on Wednesdays.

For enquiries, please call 2732 3232 or visit the Science Museum's website at .

Ends/Thursday, January 31, 2008

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