British photographer Richard Peters has won European Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2015 with a photograph of a fox in his back garden

[Photo credit: GDT EWPY 2015/Richard Peters]

Richard beat more than 17,000 entries with ‘Shadow Walker’, an image that also recently won the Urban category of Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

The photographer – whose work has been featured in Amateur Photographer (AP) – said: ‘The image shows the shadow of an urban fox on its nightly patrols.

‘To give context… I placed the camera up high enough to show the neighbouring house, and using a 30-second exposure setting I also captured the stars in the night sky.

‘I did not plan to include the upstairs light in the neighbour’s house, but it helps connect the human and wild elements of the image, giving context to the story.

‘The camera was triggered by a light barrier when the fox walked by.’

Richard used a Nikon D810 with an 18-35mm lens and SB-800 flash, shooting a 30secs exposure at f/8 and ISO of 1,250.

The Society of German Nature Photographers (GDT), which runs the competition, awarded Richard his €3,000 prize at a ceremony in Lünen, Germany.

Speaking afterwards, Richard said the prize was reward for the time and effort he has spent on his long-term ‘back garden safari’ project, which saw his kitchen ‘transformed into a hide’.

Commenting on this year’s European Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest, Keith Wilson, a former Editor of AP and one of the judges, said: ‘Aesthetics and technical expertise were in abundance, but what I remember more are the imaginative and innovative interpretations of the natural world that have become the signature of this exciting competition.’

Professor Beate Jessel of Germany’s Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, said: ‘This fox stands for many more European animal species that are conquering new habitats in our constantly growing cities.

‘Increasingly, foxes, wild boars and others are finding better living conditions in urban settlements than in the desert-like agricultural landscapes of the surrounding areas.

‘Nowhere else are so many diverse habitats available for wild animals as in towns and cities.’

• AP is running a free Nikon School seminar in conjunction with Richard Peters on 17 November. For details visit www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/nikon