Last month local photographer Victoria Hillman travelled to London to meet others who had won, and been highly commended in, the ZSL Animal Photography Prize. Victoria won the "Size Matters" category for her photograph of a Green nettle weevil taken at our Westhay Moor Nature Reserve.
Below Victoria tells the story of how she came to take the photograph and more about the competition.
The Westhay is a favourite spot of mine for insects, particularly around late spring. I had set aside several days to spend at Westhay towards the end of May, getting there very early in the morning to capture dew drops and then spending time looking for all manner of invertebrates. As the day warmed up I set off in search of anything I could find and walking around I found this green nettle weevil making its way along a fern frond.
Nettle weevils are strange little insects with a beautiful metallic green appearance and large round dark eyes. I sat for some time watching this one make its way up and down the foliage pondering how I could capture the moment and something a little different. As it worked its way across the fern towards the end of the frond it paused and I could just imagine it thinking about its next adventure!
With the dark green background and the slightly out of focus fern just behind the image of the weevil in its habitat presented itself to me and remains one of my favourite images. I feel very honoured that it has been chosen as a winning image and hope that being part of the exhibition will help to change people’s perceptions of insects as a whole.
ZSL Animal Photography Prize winners
At the start of the year, The Zoological Society of London launched the ZSL Animal Photography Prize 2012, a competition set up to find the most amazing animal photography in the world. The competition, the first of its kind run by the Zoological Society of London, launched in April in a bid to inspire amateur and professional photographers to get out and capture the wonders of the natural world.
The ZSL Animal Photography Prize aimed for more than just pretty pictures, we were looking for images that would form part of an exhibition and ongoing collection of work which would challenge the viewers’ perception of and relationship with the natural world and its inhabitants. The competition attracted entrants from around the world and the calibre of the work entered has been truly remarkable. The winning and highly commended images in each category of the junior and adult divisions will now form the basis of an outdoor exhibition to be displayed in the heart of ZSL London Zoo.
On Thursday 20th September, ZSL invited all the photographers with winning and highly commended images in both the adult and junior divisions to attend an exclusive preview of the exhibition where they also handed out the awards. We were greeted with drinks and the evening was fantastic providing a great opportunity to meet the other photographers and the organisers of the event, with plenty of time to chat about the images and the impact they will hopefully have.
Westhay Moor Nature Reserve
If you fancy following in Victoria's footsteps, and trying your hand at a few insect photographs, Westhay Moor is a wonderful place to start - but you'll have to hurry before the frosts start and the insects disappear!
Find out more about the reserve here and add any photographs you take to our popular Somerset's Wonderful Wildlife Flickr Group
Victoria Hillman standing next
to her winning photograph
Click the winning photograph
above to enlarge
Green nettle weevil,
Westhay Moor, Somerset
Camera - Canon 30D
Lens - Canon Macro EF 100mm f2.8
Aperture - f4.5
Focal Length - 100mm
ISO - 400
Exposure - 1/400 second
Exposure Bias - -1.3EV