A SNOW leopard caught in a winter storm, a snake and a frog locked in deadly battle and an ostrich family sprinting along sand dunes are just some of the powerful images featured in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, now on show in Tring.

The images each won a category in the prestigious competition, now in its 44th year, and run by BBC Wildlife magazine and London’s Natural History Museum.

Overall winner Steve Winter braved several months in northern India’s minus 40°C temperatures before capturing the endangered Snowstorm Leopard on camera. He had all but given up hope of getting the perfect shot, when more than a year after he began, Steve discovered this striking image from his remote-controlled camera.

The American photographer says: “I was thrilled to have finally captured the shot I had dreamed of – a wild snow leopard in its true element.”

Another dramatic photograph featured in the exhibition is David Maitland’s Deadlock, winner of the Animal Behaviour: All Other Animals category. Taken in Chiquibul Forest Reserve in Belize, the UK-based photographer discovered a cat-eyed tree snake locked in an embrace for more than three hours with a Morelet’s treefrog – a critically endangered species.

“The snake had failed to get its jaws around the whole of the frog’s head,” says David. “It wouldn’t let go, presumably because the frog would have leapt away. But it couldn’t swallow it either. It was a complete stalemate.”

Equally striking for its storytelling qualities is Dan Mead’s Sand Sprinters, which was highly commended in the Animals in their Environment category. Taken on a dried-up riverbed in Namibia, the picture shows a group of straggling ostrich chicks wading their way up a steep sand dune to meet their waiting mother at the top. Although midday, light is not usually the preferred choice to take award-winning pictures, in this case the overhead sun provided just the right light for a perfect composition.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year runs until Sunday, March 8 at the Natural History Museum at Tring, Akeman Street. Details: 020 7942 6171 or www.nhm.ac.uk/museum/tring