'Bokeh Heron' by Danielle Connor
A heron surrounded by water drops glistening in the setting sun has won first prize in the RSPCA Young Photographer Awards 2013.
Danielle Connor, 18, from Wimbledon, London was crowned the overall winner for her atmospheric ‘Bokeh Heron’ photograph taken at her local pond. She also won the 16-18 years category for the same photo.
TV personality, wildlife expert and RSPCA vice president Chris Packham, who led the judging panel, said: "Danielle was a worthy winner - her image is both captivating and technically strong. She used some really sophisticated techniques and shows a real understanding of how to make photography work.
What stands out for me is the use of the simple element of water to enhance the portrait of the heron. The droplets transform the image of the bird into something else entirely – it is verging on magical.
It wasn’t just Danielle’s image which took my breath away though. There were so many photographs which showed real skill and imagination. It is such a pleasure to be a part of this very special event and look through the eyes of young people to see their view and joy in the animal world around us."
Other winners include 15 year-old Owen Hearn, from Stewkley, Leighton Buzzard, who topped the Portfolio category with a selection of images of wildlife on his family farm – including a portrait of a badger, a hare running across the snow, a Chinese Water Deer skipping in a field and a barn owl swooping..
'End of Another Day' - a serene silhouette of a damselfly in front of a setting sun - won the 12-15 age category for 15-year-old Kyle Moore of Lowestoft, Suffolk; and a close up portrait of a cow’s face, named 'Lunch for a Cow' beat off competition to win the Under 12 category for ten-year-old Niall Eddleston from Waverton in Cheshire.
An endearing close-up of a rescue springer spaniel licking his lips, called 'Finally Happy' won 15-year-old Rachel Kemp the Pet Personalities category; and 'Best Friends' - a tender embrace between a girl and her cocker spaniel - was the image which won the Making Life Better category for 14-year-old Alicia Hayden from Spennithorne, Leyburn.
As the overall winner, Danielle will go on an amazing weekend photography break courtesy of Natures Images. Olympus cameras worth up to £500 were given to the winners and runners up in each category. The winner of each age category also received an exclusive photo shoot at an RSPCA animal centre.
For more details and to see all of the winning images from the 2013 competition, take a look at the RSPCA YPA page