Photography News Issue 36

Photography News | Issue 36 | absolutephoto.com

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Competitions Seasons of the British Isles The Thomson Ecology Photography Competition is all about nature and wildlife. In its sixth year, we speak to marketing manager Gemma Balaam to find out more

I’ve always had an interest in photography, and used to have my own darkroom, so this seemed like a great opportunity to combine wildlife with photography – two areas which I, like so many other people, am interested in. It’s also great fun for us to have so much contact with people all over the world. Last year, one of our runner-up images was taken in West Bengal, India, and the overall winner of the 2014 competition was an image taken in New York City. It’s also useful in helping us generate more images for us to use on our website. We pay the photographer of any images we use a fee for use of their image. This is part of the terms of the competition. Tell us a bit about Thomson Ecology. Thomson Ecology is the UK’s leading ecological expert in gaining consents and managing ecological planning conditions. We have expertise across all ecology services from data gathering, analysis, consultancy and habitat creation. We advise clients inmost

sectors on how to comply, in a practical way, withwildlife laws to gain planning consent for their developments. These may be new power stations, wind farms, rail developments, motorway extensions or any large development projects. Our expertise covers ecosystems fromocean floor tomountain tops. The theme is Seasons of the British Isles. What sort of images are you looking for? Much of our work as an ecology consultancy takes place in the summer, but some ecological activities can be done throughout the year, even in the midst of winter. We are looking for images that reflect wildlife and ecology throughout the year by illustrating the seasons – perhaps a snowy landscape, or flora or fauna in summer, for example. What are you looking for in a winning image? What will make an image stand out? The winning image must have the wow factor. Pin-sharp in all the right places, great

Interview by Jemma Dodd

What role do you have within the photography competition? I started the competition six years ago, initially just as a bit of fun for the company’s staff. Then I thought we could ask some of our clients to enter, and then we decided to open it up to the general public. I thought it would be more fun and interesting to get a wider range of people involved and, of course, that way we would receive a much better selection of images. What are the aims of the competition and this year’s theme? The competition is a great way to generate more interest in UK wildlife and the diverse ecology that is unique to the British Isles. It is also an opportunity to share some of the great images which people have taken. Photography is so popular these days, with most people having access to a camera.

We’re looking for images that reflect wildlife and ecology throughout the year by illustrating the seasons – perhaps a snowy landscape

Above left Little Owls by Phil Scarlett, runner-up in the 2013 competition. Above right Sail Steam and Steel by Trevor Shelley, winner of the 2015 competition.

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