After last years success of sneaking into the British Wildlife Photography Awards book covering the best pictures from the 2018 competition, I gave it another go for this year - more in hope than expectation.
2018's 'Pheasant Calling' shot looked fantastic as soon as I saw it on the back of the camera screen. Finding another image from this years collection to compete with that shot, seemed a tough task so I entered a few of my favourites and crossed my fingers.
I was truly delighted therefore, to receive an email saying that 3 of my entries had been shortlisted for further expert judging, with the winners and highly commended entries to be notified later this Summer.
Family, friends and followers of this Blog will probably recall seeing the 3 images from my various social media updates.
1.Locked and loaded
The White-tailed Eagle shot was taken last Summer on a wildlife boat trip from Mull and tries to capture the amazing spectacle of coordination and precision flying that's entailed in a dive for prey.
2. Keeping an eye on you
This slightly unusual shot of a Kestrel balancing to secure its prey, whilst looking through the hole in an old gatepost was taken at Nature Photography Hides, near Droitwich - another great place to get close to wildlife.
3. Look out - ambush below!
This is my personal favourite of the three shortlisted shots was taken off the North East coast from a gentle rolling fishing boat, converted to get wildlife photographers close to the amazing sight of Gannets diving into the North Sea in pursuit of fish!
If you look closely, you can see that the bird trying to ambush the bird who's caught its lunch, is emerging from the dark depths with a wider pupil as a consequence of being underwater, compared to its rival, whose pupil has contracted to compensate for emerging into bright sunshine, prize in beak!
The action all happens at such speed and to capture this kind of moment is the most rewarding thing ... truly it is, ha ha!!
I will be keeping everything crossed that the expert judges agree when they study the shortlisted images, but the standard is generally so high that its a long (but hopeful) shot - will let you all know how it goes later in the year!