See the fabulous photo efforts from school kids and professional snappers

Bees, flies, mosquitoes...and a common garden snail feature in the winning images in the Up Close + Spineless Photographic Competition for 2011.

This annual competition inspires young, mature, amateur and professional photographers to take a closer look at nature through the intriguing world of invertebrates – animals without backbones.

An exhibition of 28 finalists selected from almost 600 entries opens 13 November at the Australian Museum.

The competition has four categories:

  • Primary winner is Isabella Fanous, Engadine, NSW for her image of a robber fly on the clothesline in her backyard
  • Secondary winner is Aiden Webb, Griffith, NSW for spotting an orange-eyed fly on a green leaf
  • Professional winner is Steven Doggett of Old Toongabbie, NSW for his close-up of the pupal stage of the rare mosquito
  • Open winner is Corinne Jordan, of Redland Bay, QLD for capturing Australia’s largest native bee, the Great Carpenter Bee, in the act of ‘buzz pollination’

and for the first time a People’ Choice Award, voted online, has been made to Ronell Catulong, Smithfield, NSW looking up at a snail enjoying a sunny break after a rainy period.

Judging is based on a range of criteria including interesting animal behaviour, unusual or rare species as well as technical and photographic skills.

Member of the judging panel, Australian Museum Naturalist, Martyn Robinson, said this year's entrants showed great technical skills and eye for detail.

“The quality of entries is outstanding in all categories. Photographers just starting their careers are as adept as professionals in seeing the natural world and its inhabitants,” said Martyn.

The Up Close + Spineless photography exhibition is open now and free with general Museum entry.

Images available on request.