19/12/2007
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BirdGuides Photo of the Year 2007

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After the roaring success of last year's Photo of the Year competition, we felt it would be churlish not to run it again. This year there had been an incredible 16010 photos of 1121 species uploaded to our website at the time of writing. The photos now come from all over the world, and are becoming a useful resource for identification. The galleries represent everything from record shots of rarities, through holiday snaps, beautiful images worthy of any photographer, to experimental photography techniques.

A panel of distinguished judges (see below) will be poring over the pictures that have won Photo of the Week during 2007 and coming up with a winner. To see the photos in contention so far, go to http://www.birdguides.com/photooftheweek.

The panel's decision will be announced early in the New Year, with a follow-up feature detailing the short-list and eventual winner.

The Prize

The winner will be treated to a day of one-to-one training with Paul Hackett, the renowned digiscoper, courtesy of Zeiss. Paul will cover a variety of techniques as well as image processing, and a scrumptious lunch will be provided. A fabulous chance to swap experiences and ideas with one of Britain's leading bird photographers, we can promise a great day's birding. We'll be adding an iPod nano loaded with both iDentify video and audio.


iPod Nano with iDentify Video Guide

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The Judges

Paul Hackett

Paul Hackett, one of the UK's leading bird digiscopers, has been at the forefront of the digiscoping revolution since 1998, and has pioneered many of the techniques and best practice used to great success today. As well as having his work widely published in all the leading birding journals such as Birdwatching, Birdwatch, Dutch Birding, Birding World and British Birds to name just a few, Paul's bird images and footage have been used by both regional and national news services. Perhaps Paul's most famous image was his portrait of the pair of Bee-eaters that bred in County Durham in 2002 that made it onto the front cover of the Daily Telegraph.


Bee-eaters, Co. Durham (Paul Hackett)

A regular at the Rutland Bird Fair, Paul has held digiscoping lectures and field demonstrations in the UK, Spain and the USA. Paul organised and led the world's first known digiscoping holiday that was held in Extremadura (Spain) in 2005.

Julian Hughes

Julian Hughes is Head of Species Conservation at the RSPB. Hailing from Wales, but living in the flatlands of East Anglia for the last 18 years, Julian has been a keen birder since the age of 16. Although a decent rarity will still occasionally deprive him of sleep, leading to excessive caffeine consumption, much of his birding is now done in Cambridgeshire, particularly his local patch at Paxton Pits. Based in Sandy, he looks after the RSPB's species recovery work for birds such as Stone Curlew, Black Grouse and Hen Harrier, reintroduction programmes for Red Kite, White-tailed Eagle and Crane, and campaigns to ban the import of wild birds into Europe.

Julian commented "I'm a very amateur photographer, but a look at the BirdGuides photos each week shows what can be achieved by birders in the field. I'm looking forward to seeing the final selection, but I know that choosing just one is going to be a tough, tough call."

Mike Atkinson

Mike's twin passions for birds and photography have been with him since his teen years. With the advent of digital photography, he has finally managed to combine these passions to create a rich collection of images covering over 150 British species, almost 800 of which are featured on his website. His images have appeared in a wide range of publications, both in print and in electronic media such as BirdGuides' DVD-ROM Guide to British Birds. Since suggesting the initiation of the Photo of the Year contest in 2006, Mike has acted as Photographic Adviser to BirdGuides, encouraging the development of bird photography through the Reviews of the Week and other activities. Having learnt the art and craft of bird photography the hard way, Mike is now keen to pass this on to others, both through his training workshops and his popular series of tutorials published on birdguides.com.

Last year's winner

We just can't resist reproducing last year's winner. Richard Bedford's Sparrowhawk with Snipe was a unanimous choice, and it's easy to see why.


Sparrowhawk with Snipe: Summer Leys LNR, Northamptonshire (photo: Richard Bedford).

BirdGuides would like to thank Zeiss Sports Optics for their kind donation of prizes for this competition.
Written by: Fiona Barclay