Striking images of a bewhiskered yawning cat and a red and black moth on a white flower caught the judges eyes at the prestigious RSPCA Young Photographer Awards 2017.
Youngsters aged under 19 were invited to capture the animal kingdom on camera or mobile device for this year’s competition.
Branscombe 12-year-old Marlon Darragh’s photo of his cat ‘Milou’ yawning won the 12-15 mobile phone and devices category.
Marlon said: “I am so proud to be chosen. It’s the first photography competition I have ever entered and it has inspired me to go out and take more photos.
“I enjoy taking photos on my phone, but on this occasion I had lost it so took my Dad’s iPad outside.
“Our cat Milou was lounging in the sun on the patio, and I saw the perfect opportunity for a photo. I took this one just as she yawned and stretched. I particularly like the contrast between her white fur and the dark grey slate, and the way her whiskers really stand out.”
Pewsey teen, Joshua Kneale was runner-up in the Under 12 category with his stunning picture of a Five-Spot Burnet moth. He said: “I took this photo in my garden in Wiltshire. This summer we had many species of moths and butterflies.
“I was lucky enough to spot a five-spot burnet resting on this flower. I like the metallic black on the body and the symmetrical red spots. It really stands out against the white petals.”
Attracting entries from under 19s across England and Wales, the RSPCA Young Photographer Awards 2017 were judged by a panel of experts in wildlife photography led by Springwatch presenter Chris Packham.
Judge and host Chris Packham said: ““I’ve been judging the RSPCA Young Photographer Awards since they started. It’s exciting to see it move with the times, with this year’s new mobile device category. It’s a great way of making the competition accessible to virtually everyone.”
The winning images across seven categories were announced during an awards ceremony hosted at the Tower of London on Friday 15 December.
Reflecting on the strength of the competition this year, Chris added: “It’s nice to see so many photos of day-to-day animals in such a strong competition. It needs real imagination to make commonplace species interesting, showing that the photographer has been really innovative.
“There are a whole range of images this year from creatures they’ve found in their back garden to pets or animals they’ve seen while they were on holiday. It’s great these young people are going out and experiencing the environment around them and in their local area.
“There are some beautiful pictures in this year’s winners gallery and real talent shining through. This year’s entrants have been really creative and that is what we want to see.”
For a full gallery of the winning images visit: https://young.rspca.org.uk/ypa/galleries
(top image: Winner of the RSPCA Young Photographer Awards 2017, 12-15 mobile phone and devices category, Branscombe 12-year-old Marlon Darragh’s photo of his cat ‘Milou’)
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