I am very pleased that two of my images have been highly commended in the Animal Portraits Category of this year’s British Wildlife Photography Awards.
The image of Red Kites was made at the Red Kite Feeding Station and Rehabilitation Centre at Gigrin Farm, Powys, Wales. Gigrin Farm is one of the best places in the British Isles to see and photograph Red Kites at close quarters. It has therefore been, and continues to be, well visited by wildlife photographers. The key challenge when visiting well visited and popular locations is to produce original images, rather than simply reproducing images that have already been made. On the day I visited, the hoped for snow storms did not materialise. However, the conditions were perfect for creating this image with the snow lying on the ground acting as a giant reflector illuminating the underside of the Red Kites. By exposing for the Red Kites, the bright overcast sky was rendered as pure white as these two Red Kites passed each other in flight.
The image of a Northern Gannet on Sandstone cliffs was made from a boat below the Gannetry on the cliffs on Noss, Shetland Islands. Photographing on the back of a small boat, with limited room, in heavy seas whilst handholding a heavy camera and lens was not easy. With the Gannets packed tightly onto the cliffs, I was drawn to this single Gannet and the shape of the cliffs around it. The patterns of staining from years of occupation from numerous birds completed the image.
These two images, together with all of the other winning and highly commended images, are in the book of the British Wildlife Photography Awards – Collection 5 and will be displayed as part of the touring exhibition. The Awards, the book and the exhibition are testament to the quality of wildlife photography in the British Isles. They also play an important role in raising awareness of the diversity of wildlife, plant life and habitat that can be found in these Isles.