THESE are the stunning pictures captured at one of Wearside’s top attractions that are in line for a national award.
Washington Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Centre has named the three regional winners in the autumn heat of its nationwide photography competition.
From the abstract to the arty, keen photographers from across the region were invited to submit entries for categories in the first seasonal heat of its national competition.
Ann Chapman, a civil servant, 50, was named winner in the Wetland Wildlife category, with her picture entitled Black Necked Swan Cygnet.
Ian Cook, 54, won the Wetland Landscapes category, with his picture called Sunset from the Hide.
Claire Dixon, 38, a full-time mum from Washington, was the winner in the Wildlife and People category, with her picture entitled Ouch!.
The competition was open to visitors at the nine WWT wetland centres around the UK.
Jane Ramshaw, manager at the WWT Washington Wetland Centre, said: “We received over 2,500 submissions across the country, but the quality of the entries from these three fantastic winners caught the judges’ eye and really bought our local WWT Wetland Centre to life.
“The competition encourages people to get really close to all the fantastic wildlife we have here at the centre and these stunning images show off some of the most elegant and colourful array of birds, insects and other animals seen during the autumn.
“The public are now invited to vote online for their People’s Choice category winner for each centre, for each season.
“More than 12,800 votes have been cast so far and voting closes on January 1.”
The autumn seasonal winners have each won a place on an acclaimed photography course, held by nature photography experts Wild Arena.
Each of the winners will also now go through to the national finals to be held next autumn, where £50,000 worth of prizes are up for grabs including wildlife photography and activity holidays.
As the winner of the Wetland Wildlife Category, Ann Chapman will also be in with the chance to win a three-day bird of prey photography workshop in the Czech Republic if she is voted the national winner.
Ann first discovered the WWT Washington earlier this year, despite having lived in the North East all her life.
She said: “My first visit was in May, but I immediately felt at home and now try to go as often as I can.”
Ian Cook has been taking photographs for more than 40 years after becoming seriously interested at school.
He said: “I won the ‘quirky’ category of last year’s WWT competition, so I was always going to have a stab at this year’s competition.”
Claire Dixon is relatively new to photography, having only really taken it up as a hobby a few years ago but has already held her first photography exhibition at the centre.
She said: “I got bought a camera for Christmas about four years ago and have been busy snapping away ever since.”
The winter heat of the competition is now open and photographers can enter their prize pictures taken at WWT centres online at www.wwt.org.uk/photo until February 29, 2012.
For more information, visit: www.wwt.org.uk/washington.