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Culture, Art

BBOWT's Photography Competition 2023 Results

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Harry Berks nwmew3

A stunning extreme close-up of a white-legged damselfly won first prize in the  Berkshire,  Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT)  2023 Photography Competition.

The contest launched in April with seven new categories for 2023, and nature-lovers of all ages were challenged to take pictures either at a BBBOWT nature reserves or in their community.

The winning shot was taken by Harry Berks, 24, from Sibford Gower near Banbury, who comments: "Photographing animals can be extremely difficult at times but the occasions when they let you into their world for even just a moment are extremely special and I never forget them. I took this shot on a sunny summer's day at my local nature reserve, Lamb's Pool. Dozens of damselflies were mating around the pool, and young buzzards were scrapping over a mouse. After almost 10 minutes of crawling and crouching next to the bank of the pool, I managed to get the angle I wanted and the head in focus."

The winner of this year's Children's category was nine-year-old Fern Gregory from Oxfordshire, with a pin-sharp picture of a yellow-and-black hoverfly drinking nectar from a pink scabious flower.

She said: "I like to use the camera to take photos of animals. First of all I was taking bird photos, but I had to zoom in so much. The birds kept on flying away or hopping into the leaves and bushes, so I started to take photos of bugs because they don’t move as fast and I could get close to them. I took the photo in my back garden. Unexpectedly, I saw a hoverfly drinking nectar with its tongue and I quickly snapped it. I hope that I helped to raise awareness for nature, even the tiny things we might not give much thought to, like the hoverfly." 

Nearly 150 people submitted images for this year's competition, sponsored by GG Wildlife Experiences and Chroma. The winners were painstakingly chosen by this year's panel of judges including BBOWT’s Wild Magazine editor Ben Vanheems, who said " What I loved was seeing photographs by people clearly passionate about wildlife from all different age groups, especially children and teenagers. It's been such a joy judging the contest and the entrants gave us a really hard job." Also on the panel was website and design officer Chris Deeney, and wildlife photographer Steve Gozdz of GG Wildlife Experiences, who added, "What's blown me away this year is the Insects category - my passion is birds, but this year the insects have just been amazing."

Congratulations to all the winners:

Insects and overall winner: Harry Berks (White-legged damselfly at Lamb's Pool). Runner-up: Nigel Carter (Roesel’s bush-cricket at Chimney Meadows).

Birds: Darren Prestoe (Dartford warbler at Greenham Common). Runner-up: John Kearns (Juvenile bullfinch at Warburg Nature Reserve).

Darren Prestoe

Mammals: Andrew Kelsick (Bank vole at Warburg Nature Reserve). Runner-up: Jono Mckendry (Hare at Chimney Meadows).

Andrew Kelsick

Reptiles, amphibians & fish: Jessica Crumpton (Common frog at Letcombe Valley). Runner-up: Nigel Carter (Common lizard at Bernwood Meadow).

Flora: Paul Olive (Round-leaved sundew at Sole Common Pond). Runner-up: Gill Cornelius (Frosted fronds at Weston Turville Reservoir).

Fungi: Paul Morgan-Russell (Common earthballs at Wildmoor Heath). Runner-up: Tom Dixon (Fruiting body on tree at Wokefield Common).

Paul Morgan-Russell

Children: Fern Gregory (Common banded hoverfly in garden). Runner-up: Evelyn Paveley (Ladybirds on dandelion).

Fern Gregory

Teens: Anton Poon (Dock bug on blackberry). Runner-up: Anton Poon (Hoverfly on flower).

Nature reserves: Gill Cornelius (Grangelands & The Rifle Range nature reserve). Runner-up: David Brown (College Lake).

People in Nature: Gill Cornelius (Volunteers at Weston Turville Reservoir).

Urban: Danny Kidby-Hunter (Heron silhouetted on water). Runner-up: Denes Dobai (Common frogs with frogspawn).

Team Wilder: Colin Lamb (Hummingbird hawkmoth). Runner-up: Volodymyr Lebediev (bird feeder).

Visit bbowt.org.uk to see all the winning images

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