With outstretched wings, a bald eagle lands in fresh snow on the bank of a river in southeast Alaska. Its aim will be to grab a salmon from the icy water below. This is November and it’s a bonanza time for bald eagles gathering along the stretch of the river where, even during the freezing months, the water remains ice-free, the result of warmer water seeping up from a meltwater reservoir under the riverbed.
Meanwhile, deep in the Yukon, two male Dall’s sheep in full winter-white coats stand immobile at the end of a fierce clash on a windswept, snowy slope. Having attempted to duel for mating rights, strong winds, a heavy blizzard and extreme cold forced them into an uneasy truce.
These stunning photographic studies in white are the work of Jérémie Villet, winner of this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year Rising Star Portfolio award. A series of stark, yet dramatic visuals show animals including those pictured here, plus Atlantic puffins, alpine ibex, and a flock of hundreds of guillemots, emerging from ethereal white backdrops. Over a number of long, solitary expeditions in remote places, Villet uses the pure snow as a painter would use a white canvas to capture the drama and detail of his subjects.
The Rising Star Portfolio Award is a particularly prized category for entrants to the WPY competition, giving newer photographers a chance to show off their visual storytelling abilities to a global audience. Entries for the 2020 competition are open until 12 December and more details can be found at: geog.gr/wpy2020 while more of Villet’s photographic work can be viewed at www.jeremie-villet.fr.