Making a welcome return visit to judge the Annual Nature competition was Victoria Hillman BSc MSc who with her extensive knowledge of flora and fauna and degrees in wildlife, conservation & zoology was very well qualified to take on the task. Victoria has travelled extensively and has a deep knowledge of all wildlife. Victoria is a self-taught photographer herself and has visited the club previously to present her own excellent wildlife images.
Starting with the print entries Victoria commented that it was good to see such a wide range of subjects. When commenting on each entry she tries to give pointers that could help the photographer get better results. She suggests not cropping too heavily and to be careful not to over-sharpen.
In first place was a close up of a critically endangered lemur taken in Madagascar by Robert Harvey ARPS EFIAP. Titled ‘Red Tailed Sportive Lemur’ Victoria commented that it was a well composed, detailed portrait.
Probably most photographers have never bothered to take a really close look at the common bramble but new member Dave Johnson managed to show how interesting a close up of the thorny stem could look. His image ‘rubus thorny’ was awarded second place as well as ‘rubus three’ which gained an HC.
Robert Harvey was awarded third place with ‘Buzzards Fighting’ which showed the birds in action when attracted by the food put out for them. Robert also gained an HC for ‘Shag,’ an extreme close up of the colours of the eye and feather detail.
Next came the digital entries and again a range of interesting subjects.
First place went to an extreme macro shot ‘Common Darter’ by Richard Jones. Richard said he was quite shocked at winning as it was one of the first shots he took when trying out a new macro lens!
A well caught image titled ‘Blackbird in a Sunbeam’ by Tim Pier caught the judges eye and gained second place. Tim was awarded third place for another well-lit, atmospheric shot ‘Fungi on a Decaying Log’ also an HC for ‘Collared Dove’. Several excellent macro images gained HC’s including three by Sue Wadman.
Very well done to the award winners and to all members that entered such an excellent range of images.
After the break Victoria began an interesting discussion on the ethics of wildlife photography.
Victoria said that ‘no photo is more important than the welfare of the subject’.
When judging photographic competitions she has found that many images exploit wildlife and this can often lead to changes in natural behaviour.
Live baiting is not permitted and baiting of any sort is a contentious issue. Photographers can pay to photograph from hides where the subjects are encouraged to the area by food which changes their natural behaviour and can have detrimental effects on their welfare. Insects and invertebrates are sometimes artificially ‘chilled’ to slow them down for photography. The use of drones can stress animals and inadvertently lead to their death.
Please read the rules carefully when entering any nature competition, captive and zoo animals are not allowed. Birds on nests and nestlings should not be used and licences are needed to photograph many species so be very careful to not break the law. Any set-ups should be natural so Victoria is asking all photographers to set a good example and behave responsibly and not exploit the wildlife.
Victoria said that she had enjoyed looking at the entries which were from all club sections – Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced.
Club Chairman thanked Victoria for her comments and judgement on the entries and for leading the interesting discussion on the ethics of wildlife photography. PM
Full Results See all the awarded images in the Galleries