A dramatic photograph capturing a hovering barn owl has been unveiled as the overall winner of this year’s RSPCA Young Photographer Awards (YPA09) – after the successful snapper pipped his twin brother to the top prize.
There was a hint of sibling rivalry at the Tower of London today when 18-year-old Ryan Edwards scooped the YPA09 overall winner’s prize, as well as the 12-18 category, with his photograph Golden Flight (below). His twin brother Paul had to settle for runner-up slots in the 12-18 section and the Olympus portfolio prize in the competition, which is sponsored by Olympus and Warners Midlands.
Ryan, from Woodbridge, in Suffolk, received his prizes from BBC One Countryfile presenter Matt Baker, who was also on the judging panel for this year’s awards.
“The standard of entries in this year’s competition was incredible. It has been the hardest competition I’ve ever had to judge because there were so many superb photographs to choose from,
” said former Blue Peter host Matt.
“For me it is all about catching the character of the animal and these pictures do exactly that. Some of these photographs would easily hold their own against those taken by professionals. I think people would be stunned to know how young some of these people are when they see what extraordinary images they have captured.
Ryan’s prizes include £1,000 worth of Olympus vouchers, an Olympus E-620 D-SLR camera with two zoom lenses and the opportunity to go on an exclusive photo shoot at a unique RSPCA location when he’ll be able to put his new equipment to the test.
Another winner was Lucy Best, whose photograph of Steg found favour with the public. They voted it winner of the first ever YPA People’s Choice Award, in association with The Sunday Express. The 13-year-old, from Coulsdon, Surrey, was picked ahead of the judges choice Sam Rowley, 15, of Richmond, Surrey, who was crowned winner of the pet personality category. Sam’s photo of his grandmother’s dog Twiggy saw him scoop yet another accolade after he won the 12-14 years category in this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.
Someone else celebrating success in this year’s YPA was 11-year-old Tim Bramall, from Staffordshire, who won the under 12 category with his impressive photograph of terns on the hunt for some tasty morsels.
The winner of this year’s Olympus portfolio prize was Lela Penistone, 15, of Escrick, near York. She was praised by the judging panel for her stunning collection of five photographs, with subjects including a spider, frog, hoverfly, grasshopper and a caterpillar (left).
There was another first in this year’s competition – the 19th year the RSPCA has held its Young Photographer Awards – when Haydn Shelton, of Ashfordby, Leicestershire, became the youngest ever entrant to make the final. The talented youngster was just five-years-old when he submitted his shot of a golden ringed dragonfly. His success comes just a year after his brother Evan, then aged six, won the under 12 category.
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