Sussex Wildlife Trust judges, headed up by professional international wildlife photographer David Plummer, selected 12 finalists from over 600 entries for our photography competition. Then it was over to the public, when over 750 people voted for their favourite.
Despite being one of our closest contests in years, we emerged with a clear winner, Maxine Dodds of Rudgwick, Horsham, with this beautiful shot of a Vole in a Foxglove called ‘Pretty in Pink’.
Maxine took the photograph with her Canon 6D Mk II on a lunchtime walk last July in woodland near Crawley. 'I was in the right place at the right time. When you’re holding a camera, you see and notice things differently. I love photographing wildlife, especially macro shots. I’m absolutely blown away to have won.'
Horsham primary school teacher Emma Varley from Pulborough was voted runner-up with her ethereal photo of a Common Blue butterfly. 'There were some amazing images in the final 12. I live in the South Downs National Park near Washington. Spending time in nature is my way of winding down from the busy classroom, and photography helps me to appreciate and learn about local wildlife - there's so much beauty and wonder out there. I enjoy landscape and wildlife photography, but most of all I love close-up photography of the smaller things in our countryside.
'The Common Blue is one of my favourite butterflies to photograph, and I found this beauty at Sullington Warren on a warm July evening earlier this year. I'd taken our dog Woody for a late walk, hoping to find some blues roosting in the long grass. The sun was about to set, giving a beautiful orange glow through the trees in the distance. This created the warm circle of light through my lens (it's not actually the sun itself), but the trickiest part was getting the butterfly centred and sharp, as it was quite breezy that evening and the light was fading fast. I was thrilled to get home and find a few of the shots I was hoping for.'
Maxine has won £100, Emma has won a pair of reusable Keep Cups and Sussex Wildlife Trust’s 2020 printed calendar.
All 12 finalists’ photographs will feature in our 2020 online calendar, available from December this year, as well as on social media and in Sussex Wildlife Trust's members' magazine. They will be displayed at Sussex Wildlife Trust’s AGM on 9 November in Shoreham-by-Sea and in the Booth Museum of Natural History, Brighton. Maxine has also been offered the chance to take over the Trust's Instagram account for a week.