The best wildlife photos combine the skill and patience of the snapper with a majestic or quirky subject to create a perfect image. The photos in this collection fit that remit, and they’re captivating.

A picture called Killer In The Mist was taken during a sub-Antarctic rainstorm. In the foreground, a flock of penguins mill about in the shallows. In the background, rising out of the dark grey water, and set against the stormy haze behind, is the giant, jet-black fin of a killer whale. The penguins are about to be lunch.

In Igor Shpilenok’s Respect (© Igor Shpilenok / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2009) pictured, some hungry Russian foxes get too close to a badass house cat called Ryska, who is all too ready to throw down to defend her patch. Respect, indeed.


» Natural History Museum, Cromwell Rd, SW7 5BD Tube: South Kensington. Until Apr 11. £9