The prestigious annual event is designed to capture “the incredible diversity of life on our planet” and remind people of “our complex relationship with wildlife and the effects of human impact”, says the NHM.

Now in its 54th year, it is open for entries in a range of categories from amateur, professional and young photographers, but only until 11.30am GMT on Thursday, 14 December this year.

Images are selected on the basis of originality, aesthetic qualities and technical complexity, says the NHM.

The international judging panel will include biologist and wildlife photographer Alexander Badyaev (USA/Russia), natural history and conservation photographer Clay Bolt (USA), photo editor and curator Ruth Eichhorn (Germany), naturalist and underwater photographer Angel Fitor (Spain), wildlife photo-journalist and documentary filmmaker Sandesh Kadur (India), and NHM Director of Science Ian Owens (UK).

Winning images are said to reach an audience of millions through the annual exhibition, which tours the UK and internationally, and through international publication of a limited-edition hardcover book.

The overall winner and young winner receive a cash prize.

The 2017 images remain on display at the museum until late May, and the 2018 winners will be announced next October.

The awards ceremony will take place in the NHM’s Hintze Hall, now dominated by a 25m blue whale. This was chosen, says the museum, “to tell a story of hope about humanity’s relationship with the planet. Hunted to the brink of extinction by humans, blue whales were also the first species protected on a global scale”.

Adult competitors can enter up to 25 images for a £30 fee, while those aged 17 and below can enter up to 10 images for free.

Find out how to enter here.

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