Cap­ture na­ture’s beauty on cam­era

Kate Tit­ford from the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust en­cour­ages you to get snap­ping

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - COMMUNITY -

WHEN you’ve given up on the Easter egg hunt and had enough choco­late then it’s about time for a brac­ing walk through the Chilterns coun­try­side to take pho­to­graphs that could win prizes!

If wildlife and wild places in­spire you to get your cam­era out and cap­ture the mo­ment, then a new pho­tog­ra­phy com­pe­ti­tion or­gan­ised by the lo­cal Wildlife Trust is just the place for you to show­case your re­sults.

The Ox­ford Festival of Na­ture pho­tog­ra­phy com­pe­ti­tion has five cat­e­gories, in­clud­ing a new one for this year, mo­bile phone images; so any­time an awe-in­spir­ing view or amaz­ing wildlife catches your eye, grab your smart­phone and take a snap!

All the win­ning pho­to­graphs will be ex­hib­ited at Ox­ford Univer­sity Mu­seum of Nat­u­ral His­tory on June 4 as part of the Wild Fair dur­ing the Ox­ford Festival of Na­ture.

The over­all win­ner will re­ceive a Pana­sonic Lu­mix cam­era and ac­cess to ProHides, the pro­fes­sional hides man­aged by top wildlife pho­tog­ra­pher El­liott Neep. Cat­e­gory win­ners will re­ceive a Pana­sonic bridge cam­era and a printed copy of their win­ning im­age.

The com­pe­ti­tion cat­e­gories in­clude My Wild Life, a chance to cap­ture peo­ple in their favourite wild places and tell their story in just one im­age. For in­stance you may know some­one whose sec­ond home is a bird hide, and you could il­lus­trate their love of birds in a sin­gle frame.

The Wild Places cat­e­gory is a chance to show­case our stun­ning lo­cal scenery. From rolling Chiltern Hills and glis­ten­ing lakes and rivers to sun-dap­pled wood­land and flower-filled chalk grass­land, there’s a whole host of places to ex­plore and pho­to­graph at their best.

The wildlife on of­fer in this area is some of the rich­est in Eng­land, es­pe­cially or­chids and but­ter­flies in Buck­ing­hamshire. Wildlife is the cat­e­gory to por­tray our mag­nif­i­cent wild an­i­mals and plants – tiny colour­ful in­sects, se­cre­tive mam­mals, cam­ou­flaged but­ter­flies, and flam­boy­ant breed­ing birds. The fifth cat­e­gory gives all bud­ding young pho­tog­ra­phers un­der 18 years old the chance to show off their tal­ents.

As the com­pe­ti­tion cel­e­brates our won­der­ful lo­cal wildlife and wild places all pho­to­graphs must be taken in one of the three coun­ties cov­ered by the Wildlife Trust – Berk­shire, Buck­ing­hamshire and Ox­ford­shire. The images should rep­re­sent wild species, scenes and habi­tats, not pets or cap­tive an­i­mals.

Roy McDon­ald was the over­all win­ner of last year’s com­pe­ti­tion. His prize was a day with top wildlife pho­tog­ra­pher El­liott Neep, when he cap­tured this amaz­ing im­age. “Win­ning the com­pe­ti­tion al­lowed me to pho­to­graph a lit­tle owl so close and in per­fect light. I will never get a photo ses­sion like it again!” said Roy.

Com­pe­ti­tion judge and pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­pher El­liott Neep has these tips for en­trants: “Judges are al­ways look­ing for those images that grab the eye and hold the at­ten­tion. This can be be­cause of fan­tas­tic light, en­gag­ing and emo­tive con­tent, ac­tion and mo­tion, strong/ chal­leng­ing com­po­si­tion, or graphic de­tails.

“We’re look­ing for qual­ity, not rar­ity. I would much rather see an ex­cep­tional im­age of a mal­lard, than a dull por­trait of a rare ‘lit­tle brown job’!”

If you’re in­spired to en­ter the pho­tog­ra­phy com­pe­ti­tion, then make the most of the spring sun­shine this week­end.

Tall wild cherry trees in the Chiltern woods, such as Mill­field Wood na­ture re­serve near Hugh­en­den, of­fer frothy creamy-white flow­ers among the dark branches of beech trees hold­ing their ver­dant green leaves in tight buds.

On the ground the dark green spears of blue­bell leaves have al­ready pushed through the leaf lit­ter to prom­ise a fab­u­lous vista of heav­enly-scented nod­ding blue flow­ers later in April. You may even spot an early flow­er­ing blue­bell, en­cour­aged by the warmish weather!

Stroll across Grange­lands and the Ri­fle Range na­ture re­serve, near Princes Ris­bor­ough. It’s renowned for but­ter­flies, and this is where on warm spring days you may spot the bright yel­low brim­stone but­ter­fly emerg­ing from its win­ter hi­ber­na­tion among the bushes.

Is the word but­ter­fly de­rived from the ex­tra­or­di­nary brim­stone with its large sul­phuryel­low wings? Pos­si­bly, but across Europe old names for but­ter­fly also re­flect the at­trac­tion of these in­sects to hand-churned but­ter­milk.

Wher­ever you are in the Chilterns, en­joy the spring weather and be in­spired to en­ter the Wildlife Pho­tog­ra­phy Com­pe­ti­tion.

Tawny owl by Roy McDon­ald

Brim­stone but­ter­fly

by Janet on blue­bell Pack­ham

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