Jasper Doest / Wildlife Photographer of the Year 20134 of 10
by Jasper Doest, The Netherlands
Winner: Creative Visions
When photographing the famous Japanese macaques around the hot springs of Jigokudani in central Japan, Jasper became fascinated by the surreal effects created by the arrival of a cold wind. Occasionally, a blast would blow through the steam rising off the pools. If it was snowing, the result would be a mesmerizing pattern of swirling steam and snowflakes, which would whirl around any macaques warming up in the pools. But capturing the moment required total luck — for Jasper to be there when the wind blew and for the monkeys to be in the pool. For that luck to arrive, he had to wait another year. Returning the next winter, he was determined to get the shot. He set up a polarizer to remove reflections from the water and create a dark contrasting background, and got ready to use fill-flash to catch the snowflakes. "As it kept snowing, I stood there, willing the wind to pick up. I felt it just had to happen — sometimes you can push your luck, if you just wait long enough." But as the steam started swirling above the water, there wasn’t a monkey in sight. "All of a sudden, one adult appeared and jumped on a rock in the middle of the pool. When I started shaking off the snow, I knew this was the moment."
Photos: 10 Stunning Images of Wildlife Around the WorldWinning shots from the 2013 Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition