Wildlife photographer snaps up print of the year

Mr Connelly's winning print of the year: 'Emerging from the shadows'.

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A striking portrait of a ‘famous’ heron has won an east Kintyre man ‘print of the year’ in a photography competition.

Field ecologist and wildlife photographer Ged Connelly entered his snap of Hector the heron, a bird which made headlines in the Courier and national press earlier this year, to Carradale Camera Club’s annual competition.

The peckish bird is a regular visitor to Mr Connelly’s mother and father-in-law’s back garden, where he is fed a diet of fish fillets.

The five-year-old coastal bird was rescued by the late Gordon Robertson, after he fledged his nest in a large rhododendron bush but was struggling to feed himself.

Gordon knew that Mr Connelly’s mother-in-law, 91-year-old Crystal, looked after all sorts of wildlife.

‘With their sharp long beak herons can be quite dangerous but Crystal just got hold of Hector in a no nonsense way and put him in her shed,’ said Mr Connelly.

‘People rallied round and shortly Hector put on weight and was well enough to return to a life in the wild.’

After three or four days, the bird returned, looking for food, and is now a regular visitor.

Hector made the news in March this year when it was revealed the Tesco fish fillets he relied upon were going to be discontinued, but local staff guaranteed Hector’s supply would continue.

Mr Connelly waited patiently to take his prize-winning photograph, for more than an hour, until the bird emerged from the shade in which it was standing.

Competitors are permitted to enter four prints and this was one of the two submitted by Mr Connelly.

Mr Connelly said: ‘There was nice afternoon light but the heron was in the shade – I waited an hour for it to come into the light, that’s why I’ve called the photograph: ‘Emerging from the shadows’.

‘It was a difficult picture to take, getting the right exposure for the photo was tricky as it was half black and half grey.

‘I took a reading of the bird’s chest with my light meter. I waited and waited and waited until the right moment.

‘I’m very happy with the outcome.’

Around a dozen other people entered the competition, which was judged by Kintyre photographer Fraser McNair.

A trophy accompanied the title, which Mr Connelly will keep until next year’s competition.

Prize-winning photographer Ged Connelly.
Prize-winning photographer Ged Connelly.

Mr Connelly’s winning print of the year: ‘Emerging from the shadows’. NO_c23photocompetition01

Prize-winning photographer Ged Connelly. 25_c12GedConnelly01