The results of the second round of our prestigious Amateur Photographer of the Year competition are in! Ilena Fasci wins the top place in this round with a gorgeous fox portrait in the snow, with Lucy Monckton winning the Young APOY top place. Here are the top ten images uploaded to Photocrowd from APOY Round Two, Animal Kingdom, with comments by the AP team and our guest judge.

Entries into the Animal Kingdom round never fail to impress. The sheer variety, imagination, skill and technique on display from the entrants – not to mention the tenacity – is a joy to judge. But it makes it extremely difficult, too, as it’s also a hugely subjective genre, and one judge’s winning image could easily end up being another’s commended. Some might like a close-up, with pin-sharp detail revealing secrets about an animal’s fur or a bird’s feathers, while another will be drawn to a wider view that places the creature in context – almost combining landscape and wildlife in one frame. It’s a round that always gets the judges talking – and we hope you enjoy our top ten choices.

Round Two Animal Kingdom results

Winner APOY Animal Kingdom – Ilena Fasci, Italy 100pts

Fujifilm X-T4, 100-400mm at 400mm, 1/800sec at f/5.6, ISO 320

portrait of a fox with eyes closed in the snow winner of animal kingdom amateur photographer of the year round
Image: Ilena Fasci

This is a wonderfully expressive fox portrait, which goes beyond being merely a straight headshot. Context is everything here, and the falling snow is not only atmospheric but also gives the viewer a sense of the environment in which the fox lives. The timing of Ilena’s shot is spot on, and depth of field has been very well managed, balancing softness and detail beautifully. A memorable image.

2. Roy Egloff, Switzerland 90pts

Fujifilm GFX100S, 120mm Macro, 1/30sec at f/13, ISO 6400

green bush viper closeup detailed photo animal kingdom apoy second place
Image: Roy Egloff

The detail in this image of a green bush viper is exceptional. Placing the dark slit of the eye bang in the centre of the frame means our own attention goes straight there and is held for several moments, before moving around the frame and following the snake’s sinuously curving shape, to take in the incredible texture and colour of the scales.

3. Julie Tennant, USA 80pts

Canon EOS 80D, 18-135mm

head of peacock against yellow background
Image: Julie Tennant

This image is all about two things: the composition and the play on colour. The blue of the peacock contrasts beautifully with the yellow wall behind, and the placement of the bird’s head and neck in the bottom right corner balances with the blue doorframe, creating a very pleasing result. It’s an unusual take on an animal picture, which makes it stand out.

4. Gillian Evans, UK 70pts

Nikon Z 8, 100-400mm at 100mm. 1/2000sec at f/10, ISO 280

polar bear at the base of a large iceberg
Image: Gillian Evans

Guest judge Ben Hall says: ‘This is a wonderful image showing a polar bear in its natural environment. The subtlety in the colours, light and tones creates an ethereal quality, and the vastness of the scene coupled with the diminutive size of the polar bear conjures feelings of solitude and isolation. The composition works particularly well, with the bear placed close to an intersecting third, seemingly dwarfed by the immense peaks of the icebergs that hint at the scale of the remote landscape. Exposure is well balanced with plenty of detail evident in the highlights, and the soft light preventing any harsh shadows from ruining the subtle nature of the scene. All in all, this is a very well executed environmental image of a polar bear that tells the story of fragile existence in a beautiful but threatened habitat.’

5. Sara Jazbar, Italy 60pts

Nikon Z 8, 14-24mm at 17mm, 1/250sec at f/5, ISO 2000

ginger long haired cat reaching up towards the camera lens with paws apoy 2024 animal kingdom top ten
Image: Sara Jazbar

This is a technically brilliant interpretation of the cat-through-the-hole trope but in crediting the photographer let’s not forget the contribution of the cat, who delivered a perfect expression at just the right moment – which, of course, Sara had to use her skills and reactions to capture!

6. Pankaj Joshi, India 50pts

OM Digital Solutions OM-1 Mark II, 500mm, 1/2000sec at f/5.6, ISO 3200

large bat flying across the water
Image: Pankaj Joshi

As with so many of the images in our top ten, timing is crucial to the success of this superb action shot. Capturing it backlit adds to the depth, detail and impact, too.

7. John Mihopulos, Germany 45pts

Canon EOS R3, 600mm, 1/60sec at f/4.5, ISO 640

storks in a tree against dusk sky
Image: John Mihopulos

This image has a wonderful, painterly feel. The splashes of subtle colour add to the composition and the motion of the storks in flight has been captured beautifully. There’s a sense of drama in this image and the movement is excellently captured by skilful adjustment of shutter speed.

8. Chris Robbins, UK 40pts

Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 100mm Macro, 1/200sec at f/13, ISO 320

swallow flying towards nest with chicks looking out mouths open
Image: Chris Robbins

Many of us will have spotted the incredibly quick movement of a swallow with the naked eye, but to see a moment as special as this captured so effectively is rare indeed. Chris’s perseverance in capturing this scene has paid off handsomely, and as a result we are treated to an outstanding image of this lovely bird returning to the hungry occupants of the nest. We don’t know how many attempts it took to get the bird at the moment its wings were outstretched, but the effort was worth it.

9. Robert Chirileanu, Romania 35pts

Nikon D800, 20mm, 1/400sec at f/7.1, ISO 400

three Romanian shepherd dogs in the show looking curiously
Image: Robert Chirileanu

This is a wonderfully characterful shot of three Romanian shepherd dogs; the curiosity in their expressions really leaps out of the frame, particularly as the photographer has crouched down to their eye level. They have posed beautifully, so the viewer can take in both their similarities and their differences. Most of all, however, we can appreciate the harsh environment that they live in and have been bred for, and how their shaggy coats clearly keep them warm in the snow that must be a part of their everyday lives for months at a time.

10. Phil Orris, UK 30pts

Canon EOS R7, 100-500mm at 500mm, 1/640sec at f/7.1, ISO 1000

portrait of a starling against dark black background
Image: Phil Orris

The humble starling is not a bird many of us would consider photographing, but this gorgeous portrait by Phil reveals exactly why we should. The jewel-like tones on its gleaming feathers have been captured beautifully, topped off by the white glint in its intelligent eye. The black background is the perfect foil for it all.

Young APOY Animal Kingdom winner

Lucy Monckton, UK 100pts

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, 500mm, 1/1600sec at f/5, ISO 400

 Arctic fox portrait in the snow young apoty 2024 animal kingdom winner
Image: Lucy Monckton

Lucy won Young APOY in 2021, and her photography has since gone from strength to strength, as this shot of an Arctic fox demonstrates. A lot of close-up animal portraits are poorly cropped but this is a good example of how to do it properly. The subject is well placed in the frame, the neutral background focuses all your attention on it, and the black & white conversion is very sympathetic.

See more from Young APOY.

APOY 2024 Camera Club competition

Carolyn Moore, UK 10pts

Canon EOS R5, 300mm, 1/320sec at f/2.8, ISO 4000

great tit bird perched on a branch
Image: Carolyn Moore

Carolyn’s well-captured image was awarded a much-deserved commended, and as such meant both she and the society she’s a member of – Mid-Somerset Camera Club – received ten points. It’s a great shot, where the three raindrops, frozen in time, add an extra dimension to the scene, while the muted colours are very pleasing.

APOY 2024 leaderboard after Round Two!

apoy 2024 leaderboard after round two animal kingdom top ten and winners

The leaderboard is always rather congested at this point in the competition; it’ll definitely start to spread out in the coming months and we fully expect there to be more than 50 points between top and bottom as things progress. It also goes to show that it’s not too late to enter if you haven’t yet. What do you have to lose? Young APOY is in a similar position, with only 20 points separating previous winners Lucy and Yousef – but with plenty of new names chasing them down. Camera clubs are equally tight, so keep those entries coming.

Winning kit from Camera Centre UK

What gear did our top ten photographers use?

Taking 6th place, Pankaj Joshi used an OM Systems OM-1 Mark II to capture his fabulous action shot of an Indian fruit bat. Receiving five stars when reviewed in AP , this flagship Micro Four Thirds camera features a 20MP Four Thirds Stacked BSI Live MOS sensor, has a range of ISO 80 to 102,400 and 5-axis in-body stabilisation. The review says: ‘Image quality and detail are both excellent, particularly at lower ISO speeds.’ This fine model can be found at Camera Centre UK for £2,199.

OM System OM-1 Mark II. Photo Andy Westlake
OM System OM-1 Mark II. Photo Andy Westlake

In 9th place, Robert Chirileanu used an AF Nikkor 20mm f/2.8D for his shot of shepherd dogs. This compact ultra-wideangle lens is useful in a wide range of photographic genres. It’s compatible with both FX and DX-format cameras, while the wide maximum aperture is ideal for shooting in low-light conditions. Find this lens at Camera Centre UK for £449.

Canon EOS R7 in hand (Lifestyle, 1000px)
Canon EOS R7 in hand. Photo credit: Joshua Waller

Taking 10th place, Phil Orris used a Canon EOS R7 for his sumptuous starling image. Receiving 4.5 stars when reviewed in AP , this compact, high-speed mirrorless camera features a 32.5MP APS-C sensor, weather-sealed body and in-body image stabilisation. We said: ‘With high-speed shooting, advanced AF tracking, and good battery life, it makes a great all-rounder.’ This body can be bought at Camera Centre UK for £1,279.

To see the full range, visit

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