A slumbering seal, a hovering bird drinking from an icicle and a zombie insect are among the images showcased in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2019 competition.
Nearly 50,000 entires from professional and amateur photographers were submitted this year and 100 will be on display.
The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in the Natural History Museum’s Hintze Hall on 15 October.
After the exhibition the images will be sent on a UK and international tour.
Among the highly commended images is a black-and-white photo of a Weddell seal, taken by German photographer Ralf Schneider, described by chair of the jury Roz Kidman Cox as “a portrait of pure, relaxed bliss”.
Also included is Matthew Ware’s image of a turtle fatally attached to a washed-up beach chair.
Dr Tim Littlewood, director of science at the Natural History Museum and member of the judging panel, said: “For more than fifty years this competition has attracted the world’s very best photographers, naturalists and young photographers, but there has never been a more important time for audiences all over the world to experience their work in our inspiring and impactful exhibition.
“Photography has a unique ability to spark conversation, debate and even action. We hope this year’s exhibition will empower people to think differently about our planet and our critical role in its future.”
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