WELNEY Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust Centre (WWT) has named the four regional winners in the autumn heat of its nationwide photography competition.
Keen photographers in and around Norfolk were invited to submit entries for four photography categories in the first seasonal heat of its national competition; WWT Photography Competition (2011 – 2012), in association with Canon.
Ian Taylor (27), a finance worker from Maida Vale, London, was named winner in the Wetland Wildlife category, with his picture entitled ‘Swans’.
Albert Horton (71), a retired local Government officer from March, was named winner in the Wetland Landscapes category, with his picture entitled ‘Welney at Sunset’.
Hayley Wincott, was named winner in the Wildlife & People category, with her picture entitled ‘Seeking the Hide’.
And Karenanne Millburn (15), a Downham Market High School pupil from Upwell, was named Young Photographer, following her picture submission entitled ‘Emotion’.
The competition was open to visitors at the nine WWT wetland centres around the UK.
Julie Ward, manager at local WWT Welney Wetland Centre, said: “We received over 2,500 submissions across the country, but the quality of the entries from these four fantastic winners caught the judges’ eye and really bought our local wetland centre to life.
“The competition encourages people to get really close to all the fantastic wildlife we have here at the centre; and these stunning images show off some of the most elegant and colourful array of birds, insects and other animals seen during the autumn.”
The public are now invited to vote online for their ‘People’s Choice’ category winner for each centre, for each season. More than 12,800 votes have been cast so far and voting closes on January 1, 2012.
The autumn seasonal winners have each won a place on an acclaimed photography course, held by nature photography experts Wild Arena. Each of the winners will also now go through to the national finals to be held in autumn 2012, where £50,000 worth of prizes are up for grabs including wildlife photography and activity holidays.
As the winner of the Wetland Wildlife Category, Ian Taylor will also be in with the chance to win a three-day bird of prey photography workshop in the Czech Republic if he is voted the national winner.
Though he lives in London, Ian visited the Welney WWT centre as a day trip out with his family.
He said: “It can be so difficult to photograph birds in flight. I’d been sat in a hide at the centre waiting for about 40 minutes but nothing was happening. All of a sudden three swans flew up and I was able to get my winning shot. I was just lucky to be in the right place at the right time.”
Winner Albert Horton has held his WWT membership for two years.
“I am a keen photographer and have been a member of March’s local camera club for many years,” he said. “I was really happy with my winning photo as soon as I took it. The conditions and the lighting were ideal, so it was just a case of getting the composition and exposure right.”
Young Photographer winner, Karenanne Millburn, has won the Young Photographer category for the last three years. She has been a WWT member for about five years and typically visits the centre with her Mum.
She said: “I usually take around 300 photographs every time I visit the WWT centre. I am so pleased to have won. My winning shot was taken just as the sunset was falling, the sky was moody but the sun was still trying to peep through. I really enjoy taking photos and have just secured a place at City of Norwich College doing photography A-Level.”
The winter heat of the competition is now open and photographers can enter their prize pictures taken at WWT centres online at www.wwt.org.uk/photo until 29th February 2012.
Entrants are encouraged to enter more than two of the seasonal heats to automatically go into the Portfolio Photographer of the Year category and to be in with a chance of winning a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Antarctica, courtesy of Exodus in partnership with Quark Expeditions.
Julie Ward added: “Our WWT wetland centre isn’t just for budding photographers; it’s for everyone who enjoys nature, wildlife or simply just a great day out.
“Winter is truly spectacular at WWT’s Welney wetland centre and the Christmas period is an excellent time to visit.
“We have the largest roost site in the UK for bewick and whooper swans. At any one time, several hundreds of swans can be seen dropping down onto the main lagoon, sometimes as many as up to 1,000 swans at a time. It’s like watching snow falling out of the sky.”
For more information on your local WWT wetland centre, please visit: www.wwt.org.uk/welney