I am very excited and chuffed to bits to have won the Wildlife Portraits Category with my female adder portrait - with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust.
The pic entered is the one I am using as a header for this blog, as it is one of my favourite photographs and one of my best encounters to date.
Wildlife conservation comes in many forms and one of the best is education. I love our snakes, not just because they are one of the most efficient creatures on our planet, but also because they are gravely misunderstood and this has led to them being persecuted by many, over thousands of years.
I was surveying one of my local areas for the adder back in 2007 when I saw this female making her way through a gorse bush. I watched her for a while to try and determine her path and then positioned myself where I thought she would pop out!
There were other adders in the vicinity, so I had to be careful while sitting down in the gorse bush (quite painful!)
At this point I could not see her, so I had to just sit there patiently waiting and hoping that she was coming my way.
Then I saw some movement, so I quickly, but calmly raised my camera to my eye and waited. She came through the gorse bush directly in front of me and this is when I took this shot.
She saw me almost immediately and hissed, but as I was low to the ground and very still, she stayed put. This gave me the opportunity to photograph her moving around in the gorse.
After she left, I was excited as I knew I had managed to get some good photographs of her, but at the same time I was disappointed as I knew opportunities like this are very hard to come by and it may be years before the next one arises.