The close-up image of the left hand of a Japanese Snow Monkey captured the attention of the judges in the Travel Photographer of the Year 2017. Johan Siggesson, a Swede living in Malta, won the wildlife category with his image, “From the Abyss” taken on a recent trip to Hell Valley in Japan.

“Photographing the Snow Monkeys in Hell Valley in Japan is easy. They are everywhere, they are close and they are not afraid. At the same time, this also make it incredibly hard to achieve something different and unique. While shooting the monkeys resting in the hot pool, trying to get some kind of facial expressions etc, I noticed that if I composed the image in a certain way it would look like an almost human-like creature is climbing up from below and is just about to reach the top.”

PHOTOS: Local winners of world's largest photography competition

The judges said: “What a clever image! Snow monkeys have been photographed so often, it’s hard to find a different approach. Johan has captured a scene in which the monkey looks like a mysterious halfhuman creature emerging from the deep. The detail in the hand is fascinating.”

The Travel Photographer of the Year awards were founded by professional photographer Chris and Karen Coe in 2003. In 2016 and 2017 the touring exhibition of the winning images were seen by 250,000 visitors. The winning images from Travel Photographer of the Year 2017 will be displayed at exhibitions in the UK and beyond in 2018.

A full list of winners is at www.tpoty.com

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