An image of seal on a pebbled beach glistening in the first hints of morning sun has scooped first prize in an RSPCA photography competition that focuses on young talent.
Owen Hearn, 16, from Stewkley, has been named the overall winner of the RSPCA Young Photographer Awards 2014 for his atmospheric ‘Seal at Sunrise’ photograph taken on the Norfolk coastline on New Year’s Day during a morning out with his grandfather.
It wasn’t just a one off for Owen as he also won the 12-15 years category for the same photo and had another two commended photos in the age category – ‘Nesting Gannets’ and ‘Gannet at Sunrise’.
TV personality, wildlife expert and RSPCA vice president Chris Packham led a judging panel of industry professionals and hosted the award ceremony at the Tower of London just before Christmas.
He said: “Owen was a worthy winner – his image was beautiful and striking. Technically it was very strong too.
“It really stood out to the whole panel as soon as we saw it. Through this image he has really shown his talent and as fellow photographers us judges were jealous we hadn’t taken the shot ourselves!”
“It is a stunning shot that stands out. It is just magical and I think I can safely say it took our breath away in the judging room.
“Owen’s shot wasn’t the only photograph to catch my eye though.
“There were so many images that showed real skill and imagination.
“It is so exciting to see young people getting out there and trying new things and really learning the art of wildlife photography.”
Owen said: “I am so pleased to be given this award. Especially considering the quality of all the pictures in the competition. It is amazing to be picked as the overall winner. I really am very pleased.
“I took the picture on New Year’s Day in Norfolk and it was the first time I had photographed seals. I am so glad I did!
“I have entered this competition a few times and to be named the overall winner is just wonderful.”
As the overall winner Owen will go on an weekend photography break courtesy of Natures Images.
Camera vouchers from WEX Photographic worth up to £750 and an exclusive photo shoot at an RSPCA animal centre were also handed to each of the the winners from each age category.
For more information visit www.rspca.org.uk/ypa.