Congratulations to the finalists of this years Biodiversity Photographer of the Year competition!
Thank you to all who entered! There was a huge amount of talent on display and shortlisting the entries down to only 20 was a very tough job. The shortlist was chosen not only for the technical and artistic skill displayed in the images, but for the behaviours on display, and the interconnections between species and habitat. They truly showcase some beautiful aspects of Ireland’s biodiversity. A special thanks to the entrants for the Ocean Category. We were blown away by the quality of the images submitted for this new category, and found it stunning to see some of the hidden species living beneath the waves.
Below are the winners and shortlist, as well as comments from the judges.
Comments from the Judges
Judges: Frank Miller, Former Picture Editor of the Irish Times and Nick Bradshaw, Photographer with the Irish Times
“We were really impressed with the standard of entries, which seems to improve each year. There were many impressive images which could have won prizes or been highly commended, but ultimately, we had to choose our favourites and here they are!
1st – Flying High, by Dan Lettice. For both of us this was the standout image of the competition, we absolutely love it. It speaks not just of a healthy marine biodiversity but of life and vitality and hope, a knockout image.
2nd – Corncrake Breaking Cover by John Murphy. Several of us have heard the unmistakable sound of the Corncrake, but how many of us have ever seen one, let alone taken a very clean image of one of Ireland’s most elusive birds. This is a lovely capture, with excellent focus on the bird, nicely framed by the softer focus elements of the environment.
3rd – Dueling Grebes by Suzanne Behan. There were several images in contention for third prize but this terrific study won out for the elegant poise of the action.
Bumble Bee by Chris Howes – a terrific colourful composition, the detail of the bee and the pollen in which it is covered lifts this picture above the ordinary.
Mating Ritual, Little Tern by John Murphy – a moment brilliantly captured, cleverly taken from a low angle to help the small birds stand out from their environment.
Meadow Pipit with varied Diet by Maureen Hastings – another really excellent study of two species, reflecting perfectly on biodiversity in an attractive composition.
Two’s Company by Rosemary Deevy – a delicate and quite beautiful study of two butterflies in their natural environment, a really lovely image.”
OCEAN PHOTOGRAPHY CATEGORY
Judge: Jack O’Donovan, Fair Seas Communications Officer
“Ocean and underwater photographs from the cold Atlantic are much more rare than colourful photos taken in warm tropical waters. In my opinion it takes more passion, effort and dedication to capture our native cold water marine species and I am amazed to see so many incredible entries to this years Ocean Photography category.
Winning image: Peek-a-Boo Pipefish, by Vanessa Keane.
What stood out about the winning photograph was the beautiful composition of the shot. The framing of the pipefish among the seaweed gives an insight into the small creatures world. I also love that the subject is a pipefish, a beautiful animal related to the seahorse, that can be found all along our shores and in rock pools.
As well as being a beautifully composed image, this photograph is a perfect example and inspiration of what lies in the most accessible waters to anyone curious about exploring our ocean.
Fjordia chriskaugei by Libby Keatley. To capture a moment of behaviour from such a tiny underwater creature is truly something special.”
Past Winners of our Photo Competitions – 2021
With over 1000 images submitted this decision was a tough one. A special congratulations goes to the photographers of the final 20 images shortlisted.
Our judges this year were Frank Miller, former Photo Editor of the Irish Times, and Alan Betson, Photographer for the Irish Times. They shared the following comments about their choices.
“We were really, really very impressed with the standard of entries this year. There were some really lovely images entered and in all honesty at least ten entries merited serious consideration for prizes. In the end though we had to narrow it down and we settled on the charming picture of the duckling catching flies by Darrell Arnone as our overall winner. There were several reasons for this – first and foremost it is a delightful image, there is a sense of wonder as the young duckling comes to terms with it’s survival by catching its food, there is the beautiful texture and colours of the water and the magical summer light. But perhaps the clincher was that the image captures not just a single species trying to survive but the swarming flies and the interdependence of the natural world.
The second prize went to Dan Heap for a quite perfect image of a red squirrel taking a drink. The timing is perfect, catching the drops of water from the squirrel’s mouth and the perfectly composed reflection in the water adds to its impact.
Third prize goes to Chris Howes for Hungry Chick – another perfectly composed image with perfect timing too. The fact that the birds are each out on a limb of a bush with space between, together with the picture quality showing clearly the insect dinner being delivered makes this image an absolute winner.
Honourable Mentions. We could have picked ten but have narrowed it down to three. We loved the image of the Fox Moth by James O’Neill, the clarity and timing is extremely impressive and the upright composition adds to the power of the image. The Stand-off by Jonathan Rossborough is terrific. The Cuckoo’s “body language” is unmistakable and the Meadow Pippet holds back, a great capture of the engagement between the different birds. We loved Heron, Victoria Bay by Vivian Wynne Philips, it is a painterly image with wonderful subtle tones. The focus is perfect, highlighting the bird and the water while allowing the gentle tones of the watery environment to set the mood.”
Frank Miller – former Photo Editor for the Irish Times and Judge in this years competition