Two teenage photographers from Wales have been named among the best in the country in the RSPCA Young Photographer Awards today. (Friday)

Ant in silhouette_ ©_Mairi Eyres_RSPCA_YPA_2015Mairi Eyres, 17, from Powys, and Freja Petrie, also 17, from Carmarthenshire, were both named as runners up during the prestigious award ceremony at the Tower of London.

Their winning images were shortlisted by a panel of judges – made up of wildlife photographers and industry experts led by BBC Springwatch’s Chris Packham.

Mairi Eyres ended up with a total of 12 images in the final and scooped top prizes for her Ant in Silhouette shot for the 16-18-year-old category and her set of wildlife framed in different ways – entitled Framed – taking top spot in the Portfolio category.

Speaking about her winning set of portfolio shots where she framed pictures of an ant, a red squirrel, a fieldfare, a fox, and a little Egret, she said: “When I photograph wildlife I like trying to frame the subject in an interesting or unusual way.

“Sometimes this framing is achieved by using the shapes and spaces found in the surrounding habitat, and sometimes it involves making use of the way areas of the subject are picked out by the light falling on different elements within the picture.”

Mairi was also commended with her second portfolio of shots showing Ptarmigans in their natural landscapes up in the Cairngorms, and commended in the 16-18 year old category for her image Robin in the Snow.

Also named in the list of top young photographers was Freja Petrie, 17, from Carmarthenshire who entered a photograph of her black labrador Timber into the Pet Personalities category.   Timber _©_Freja Petrie_RSPCA_YPA_2015

Speaking about her runners up image of her family dog she said: “To get this shot I sat Timber in front of a stable, leaving the door open. This meant the background was black, but Timber was still lit from the side so he would stand out. Having taken the shot I increased the contrast and added a vignette to ensure the background was dark.”

Judge Chris Packham said: “This year’s entrants were really at an exceptional standard – we had some very tough decisions to make. The skills that are showcased every year never fail to impress me. The inventiveness and creativeness that is demonstrated by such young people is fantastic. I hope they all carry on taking photographs long into the future so we can all enjoy more of their work.

“It was fantastic to have so many entries for the new farm animals category too because these animals are so accessible. It is a great addition to the competition.

“The range of animals in this year’s entries were varied which is great to see. We had everything from bugs, through to farm animals, cats and dogs right through to monkeys.”

A set of 30 images were shortlisted by judges for the six categories Under 12’s, 12-15 years old, 16-18 years old, Farm Animals, Portfolio and Pet Personalities.

Wildlife photographer and YPA judge Andrew Forsyth said: “The quality of the YPA shortlist never fails to impress me. These young photographers produce such sophisticated images, but with a fresh vision that is unique to this competition.

“The new farm animal category has been a success, encouraging young photographers to broaden their subject matter to animals that are all around us but often overlooked. They rose to the challenge and far exceeded our expectations.”

The overall winner, Will Jenkins, 13, of north London, scooped the top prize with his image of a pelican’s beak – named Beak – and has been invited on a weekend photography break courtesy of Natures Images. Camera vouchers from WEX Photographic worth up to £750 are awarded in each category and an exclusive photo shoot at an RSPCA animal centre have been awarded to the winners from each age category.
The competition is sponsored by Warners Midlands, Wex Photographic and Natures images.

Full details and information please see www.rspca.org.uk/ypa.