Up close and personal pays off with photo award

A stunning image of the moment a brightly coloured bird finding food in snow has won a national wildlife photography award.

Tristan Wilkinson, 30, an IT consultant from Saggart in Dublin, captured the yellowhammer feeding on grass-seeds on scrubland in north Co Dublin during the last big freeze.

“I was just out with the camera and I saw the bird flying around looking for food,” said Tristan.

“It landed near these grass shoots — the only food around at the time.

“So I made my way up as close as I could as it ate the seeds, and managed to get a few shots.

“It’s not that often you get to see a bird that close, in those conditions.”

He captured the image using a Canon 7D fitted with a Canon 400 F5.6 lens, with the aperture set at F6.3, and a shutter speed of 1/1250.

Tristan was among hundreds of photographers who submitted images to the Irish Wildlife Trust’s (IWT) inaugural Irish wildlife photograph of the year competition, sponsored by Canon.

Judges Mike Brown and Andrew Kelly whittled the images down to 12, which now feature in the IWT’s 2013 fundraising calendar.

“The judges chose this because it’s a beautiful image. And it tells a story or a bird struggling for survival, feeding on these seeds,” said IWT spokesman Pádraic Fogarty.

“We had a fantastic response, with hundreds of entries. The standard was very high, with very high quality images. We certainly hope to run the competition again next year.”

Tristan, a keen amateur wildlife photographer, said he was delighted to win.

“I consider myself to be a serious amateur wildlife photographer. I’ve always had a passion for wildlife,” he said.

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