Stunning picture of St Albans heron wins photo contest

Amateur photographer’s wildlife snap beats 100 entries

AN OPPORTUNISTIC photo of a heron catching its supper - a brown trout on the River Ver in the heart of St Albans - has won top prize in a local charity’s photo competition.

Shop assistant and keen amateur photographer, Ben Andrew, 28, snapped the stunning shot during one of his many visits to St Albans in pursuit of wildlife spectacles.

As a result, his photo beat more than 100 other entries to feature on the front cover of the 2012 calendar of competition organisers, the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust.

The charity is based at Verulamium Park in St Albans, and proceeds from calendar sales go towards protecting local wildlife.

Ben, who has been indulging in his photographic hobby since 2007, said: “It was a completely opportunistic shot. I’d settled down beside the stream amongst the prams, pushchairs, dog walkers and joggers in Verulamium Park on a grey Sunday afternoon, watching an adult heron do nothing but stand still for around 10 minutes.

“I decided to lower my camera to move position; as I did the heron typically decided to strike and plunged his full body into the water. I had to react quickly and fired off as many shots as possible in the hope of getting something decent.”

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As well as good composition and technical ability the judges were looking for the photo that best captured the wildlife of Herts.

The trust’s communications officer, Sarah Buckingham, said: “Ben’s photo reflects local wildlife brilliantly.”

She added that a photo of a heron catching its supper in the heart of St Albans showed the importance of the county’s chalk streams and rare habitats which support species like brown trout.

The calendar is available for �5 and can be purchased through