Flying high with unique photo

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Stewkley teenager Owen Hearn’s impressive picture of a red kite mirroring a distant plane is on show at a prestigious exhibition in Tring.

The image, called Flight Paths, beat others entries from around the world to take the junior category of the 2012 Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest .

Winner.

This was the image Paul had been so hoping to get: a sunlit mass of emperor penguins charging upwards, leaving in their wake a crisscross of bubble trails. The location was near the emperor colony at the edge of the frozen area of the Ross Sea, Antarctica. It was into the only likely exit hole that he lowered himself. He then had to wait for the return of the penguins, crops full of icefish for their chicks. Paul locked his legs under the lip of the ice so he could remain motionless, breathing through a snorkel so as not to spook the penguins when they arrived. Then it came: a blast of birds from the depths. They were so fast that, with frozen fingers, framing and focus had to be instinctive. ��It was a fantastic sight�", says Paul, ��as hundreds launched themselves out of the water and onto the ice above me�" � a moment that I felt incredibly fortunate to witness and one I�"ll never forget.
Winner. This was the image Paul had been so hoping to get: a sunlit mass of emperor penguins charging upwards, leaving in their wake a crisscross of bubble trails. The location was near the emperor colony at the edge of the frozen area of the Ross Sea, Antarctica. It was into the only likely exit hole that he lowered himself. He then had to wait for the return of the penguins, crops full of icefish for their chicks. Paul locked his legs under the lip of the ice so he could remain motionless, breathing through a snorkel so as not to spook the penguins when they arrived. Then it came: a blast of birds from the depths. They were so fast that, with frozen fingers, framing and focus had to be instinctive. ��It was a fantastic sight�", says Paul, ��as hundreds launched themselves out of the water and onto the ice above me�" � a moment that I felt incredibly fortunate to witness and one I�"ll never forget.

It is one of 100 awe-inspiring images of the natural world on show in The Natural History Museum at Tring until December 1.

Owen, 14, said: “It’s not unusual to see me leaving the house at dawn or lying in a hedge at 9.30pm waiting to take that perfect shot.

“I sent in this image as I think it’s unique. I feel very proud that one of the images taken on my grandparents’ farm in Stewkley, was so successful.”

Museum manager Paul Kitching said: “This exhibition is always a popular one for the museum.

“Showcasing Owen’s internationally acclaimed photograph captured in the local area makes this year particularly inspiring.

“Only 50 years ago, red kites were facing extinction but, with a successful reintroduction campaign, it’s no longer unusual to see the birds flying over the museum.”

Now in its 48th year, the annual competition has attracted more than 48,000 entries from amateur and professional photographers across 98 countries.

Judges from across the globe chose the best entries based on creativity, artistry and technical complexity.

Paul Nicklen’s bubble-jetting emperors (pictured) claimed the overall adult title for his spectacular image of the chaotic world of emperor penguins at the edge of the Ross Sea in Antarctica.

The exhibition at the Natural History Museum at Tring forms part of a tour venue UK tour, before the images are shown in other parts of the world.

For more details visit www.nhm.ac.uk/tring

 

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