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Photographer wins prestigious award

APHOTOGRAPHER from Frome has won a category in a prestigious world-wide competition, placing her work amongst some ‘of the most amazing animal photography in the world’.

Victoria Hillman has won the ‘Size Matters adult category’ and was highly commended in the ‘Birds and the Bees adult category’ of The Zoological Society of London Animal Photography Prize 2012.

The competition attracted thousands of entries from all across the globe and was set up to find the most amazing animal photography in the world.

Victoria’s photographs will now form part of an exhibition in the grounds of London Zoo alongside the winners of the other categories in the competition. For Victoria, who is a wildlife biologist, her winning photograph, ‘The Weevil and The Fern’ was taken on one of her daily visits to Westhay Moor Nature Reserve near Glastonbury, where she studies animal behaviour patterns.

Her photograph that was highly commended, ‘Mating Bubbles’, was taken in her parents’ back-garden in Shepton Mallet. The image was the only black and white photograph in the competition that was given an award.

Victoria said, “It’s a phenomenal feeling to have won. It is still sinking in. I was sent an email announcing that I had won the category for the competition and had to read it over and over again.

“I’ve been taking photographs for nearly 20 years, from when my parents bought me my first camera. Winning the prize is recognition of all the hard work and support from my family, friends and sponsors.”

Victoria says that studying insects at Westhay Moor nature reserve is a past-time of hers, “I research animal behaviour,” she said, “as part of that I take photographs to document behaviour patterns. It does help when waiting for that perfect picture because I can almost tell what the animal is going to do.

“With the weevil, featured in my winning photograph, I set my camera up on a tripod and waited for the bug to move to the end of the fern, no flash was used and I was pleased with the finished photograph.” She took the photograph using a Canon 30D camera equipped with a 100mm macro lens.

“My other entry, ‘Mating Bubbles’, I stumbled upon by chance. It was taken in my parents back garden around mid-afternoon. I chose to enter the photograph into the competition in black and white because it really brings out the detail. That photograph was taken with my Canon 7D and 100mm macro lens on a tripod.”