Outdoor Photographer of the Year 2014 Shortlist
At the beginning of January (2015) I was absolutely delighted to have 4 photographs shortlisted as a possible category winners by Outdoor Photography in the Small World (macro) section of their Outdoor Photographer of the Year awards. This year's competition had over 10000 entries, and the winners are all exceptional images that truly standout and it is a real privellege to have had so many images involved in the mix for the final selection.
With the winners now having been announced I can reveal the four photographs that I had shortlisted, all of which I thought were the lesser lights of my own entry. The two that I thought were the best of my entry got absolutely nowhere, which just shows you how much I know! These are the four that brought me a degree of success:
This male Orange-winged Dropwing - Trithemis kirbyi was photographed at Arroyo del Vilano, La Fabrica, Huetor Tajar, Anadalucia on the 16th August 2013 Only a few years ago this species was an exciting newcomer to Andalucia from North Africa, now it seems to be everywhere!
This male Violet Dropwing - Trithemis annulata was photographed on a windy day along the river at Pizarra, Andalucia, on the 13th August 2014. I watched this particular male for quite a while hoping for a drop in the wind to get a still portrait when it finally dawned on me that given that the insect was blowing about anyway, why not try for a shot that captures that movement - a flight shot! So this is one of a series of shots taken as the insect came into land. Males often return to the same perch after making short flights to patrol their territory so all I had to do was focus on the perch and wait for the dragon to enter the frame.
This male Migrant Hawker - Aeshna mixta was captured in flight at Windmill Farm on the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall on the 25th September 2014. The main challenge here was to gauge the extent of the hawkers regular beat, which is often the point where it will briefly hover for a few seconds. I have found that manual focus gives a far better hit rate than the auto alternative, so it's always manual for me!
This is the very same insect as in the first of my four shortlisted photos, a male Orange-winged Dropwing - Trithemis kirbyi photographed at Arroyo del Vilano, Fabrica, Huetor Tajar, Andalucia, 16th August 2013. In this shot rather than having out of focus vegetation behind it, the insect has been captured against the out of focus river bank, bleached white under the blazing Andalucian sun, giving an almost studio look to the portrait.
If you would like to see the fantastic category winners in all their glory visit the OPOTY website here: https://www.opoty.co.uk/pages/2014%2Bwinners/
My personal favourite is the UNDER EXPOSED category winner, Craig Parry's Humpback Whale, Tonga, a truly amazing photograph. Have a look!