|"Weasel" by Dave Burden|
I've seen some lovely photos taken here over the first few cold weeks of 2019, but before we share any of those, here is the photo of the year for 2018 chosen by our professional judge Sean Weekly. I'll hand over to him to explain his choice...
"Thanks so much for asking me to be this years Judge for the British Wildlife Centre annual Photography competition. It is most certainly a privilege to have been asked. Before my wildlife photography took off into a professional career, I first started my photography with many many visits to the BWC enjoying the endless amounts of wildlife, friendly staff and photography opportunities. It became near on weekly visits for me and without a doubt taught me so much about our native wildlife.
Not only did it teach me about these animals, but the Centre certainly helped shape my photography into what it is today. Practicing for hours in getting photos of the fast moving stoats, patiently waiting for the appearance of the rather timid water voles and honing my compositional skills whist photographing the red foxes. Life changes has resulted me moving to mid Wales, so unfortunately I have not visited for a while now but the BWC will always have a special place in my heart.
Enough rambling from me, let’s get to the judging of the competition! Matt sent me the final 12 photos of the month, and I must admit they are all lovely photos, it always makes judging difficult when there are some great photos. However there can only be one winner. My choice for the photo of the year is the weasel!
This particular image stood out for me, one reason why is that I know myself that weasels are extremely challenging subjects to photograph, they move so quickly testing any cameras autofocus system and a photographers skill level to the limits. The fast subject therefore makes composition a really tough factor! As you literally have seconds to lock focus and compose your image before the stoat moves out of frame.
The second thing about this image that stood out for me was the composition itself. The photographer had obviously thought about his composition for a while and carefully placed the focus points to the top right of the image to ensure there was going to be some nice open space to the left of the subject. This composition works so well for an image like this, where the subject itself is looking into space, giving the subject room to move in the photo. Compositions like this are great in wildlife photography and certainly makes photos stand out from the crowd when they are composed as nicely as this.
The last thing for me about this image is the nice shallow depth of field that the photographer has used. The aperture is enough to have a nice sharp subject and log whilst retaining a nice clean and out of focus background.
Thanks again for asking me to judge this competition and I hopefully will visit the Centre soon and catch up with some old and new faces." - Sean Weekly
So, many congratulations to Dave for his photo of Molly the weasel! Dave will win a photographic day voucher here at the Centre to be used on one of our mammal or owl days later this year. To see more of Dave's photos, have a look at the link in his name under the photo above.
Once again many thanks to Sean for being our professional judge this year. To see some of his absolutely stunning images of wildlife, have a look at the link below.