The results of this year’s British Wildlife Photographer of the Year have now been announced and attractive though the portfolio of images is, there is something more telling about the winning selection. Generally the images fall into two categories:
1. Those shot at well-visited, easily accessible locations (including workshop sites).
2. Those shot close to the photographers home.
The former images rely on technical competence, creative interpretation but little fieldwork and preparation. The latter rely on subject knowledge and a decent amount of groundwork in advance.
So does one approach hold more merit than the other? Not necessarily unless your criteria is originality. The winning image by Steve Young features a herring gull – not a species that would encourage many photographers to travel in search of. It’s not my personal favourite but it is original, and as such surprises the viewer. In an age where it takes something special to pull off that surprise, should we all be looking for herring gulls on our local patch?
The images of mine featured in the competition portfolio were all shot within 1km of my home. That’s certainly telling me something.