Like many wildlife photographers, I do enjoy entering the odd competition here and there, and annual staples are the BBC's Countryfile competition, Wildlife Photographer of the Year (more in hope than any expectation of success!) and the BWPA - British Wildlife Photography Awards.
I've entered the BWPA for a few years, and been fortunate enough to get through the final round of judging on a few occasions. After part careful selection and part gut instinct, I put my submission together earlier this year and fired it off - a good number of images having come from my trip to Shetland last year.
After being told I had two images through to the final judging round this year, I was delighted to hear that one of those was awarded Highly Commended, to appear in the exhibition and the published portfolio book for this year. Due to results being embargoed, I had to sit on the news for a couple of months but was then able to go public with my image - a Kittiwake colony on the Isle of Noss in Shetland:
The awards evening was held in central London at the end of September, so having taken the afternoon off from the day job, I jumped on the train at Manchester and arrived at Euston to find that the BWPA had even laid on weather to make us northerners feel at home - torrential rain!
I'd arranged to meet my good friend Peter for the evening, so after a quick catch-up over a pre-awards pint, it was off to the Mall Gallaries.
The evening was hosted by broadcaster and conservationist Mark Carwardine. After having a wander around the exhibition, marveling at the remarkable images on display, together with the obligatory photo-by-my-photo shot, we made of way into the main hall for the awards. A great talk by Mark and the category and overall winners were very much deserved.
I collected my copy of the portfolio and then, all after a final look round at the talent on display, it was off out in the (fortunately now dry) London evening for food and a final pint with Pete before heading back up to Euston, the last train out of town and finally getting back in to Manchester shortly before 2am. A great evening.
Just in case anyone's interested, I've included below a selection of the other images in my submission for this years awards that didn't quite make the cut.