Photo finish for creative creature close-ups

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Aspiring photographers from across the UK battled it out for top spot in a contest that resulted in breath-taking pictures of some of the world’s most endangered animals.

From moody and monochrome, to charismatic cats and fabulous feathers, our photography competition saw more than 890 entries in six categories with adult and junior winners and highly commended selected for each.

The overall adult winner of the competition was Glyn Nightingale who is 45 and from Preston. His awe-inspiring snap of one of the zoo’s free roaming peacocks was hailed picture perfect by the judges.

Glyn said: “I feel extremely proud to have been named as the winner after a life long interest in photography.

“In the past five years I have been taking more and more pictures and have created a Facebook page, which is home to my finest work including scenery, animals and portraits, so official recognition is fabulous!

“I visit the Blackpool Zoo two or three times a year with my partner Jennifer and children Aaron and Cora and always take lots of photographs – and can’t wait to go again!”

The junior champion was Jack Richardson, who is just ten years old and from Lytham. His close up, black and white picture of a howler monkey was impeccably timed to capture every detail on the primate’s face.

His mum, Karen, said: “Jack was quite literally jumping for joy when I told him that he was the overall winner of the junior section.

“I took Jack and his older brother Ben to the zoo after hearing about the competition and they both took lots and lots of pictures!

“It took quite a while to go through and select the best from both boys and we entered into a few categories.

“Jack is sports mad, so he isn’t a regular photographer – apart from lots of selfies!

“It is great to see him gain recognition for something other than his many sporting achievements and we are all thrilled for him!”

The judges were Emma Cottam, Programme Leader FE Photography, Blackpool & The Fylde College, BA (Hons) Wildlife and Environmental Photography,

Shaun Wilson, Landscape and Wildlife Photographer and our very own Laura Ockenden, Digital Marketing Executive at Blackpool Zoo, BA (Hons) Photography.

Laura added: “We receive thousands of pictures from visitors every year and we decided to launch this competition to recognise and reward the best of the best!

“We were absolutely blown away by the standard of the pictures and it was extremely difficult to pick winners for each category – and almost impossible to select the overall champions!

“In the end we all agreed that Glyn and Jack’s pictures had captured something really special and we were delighted to crown them both the winners!”

Glyn and Jack both won Gold Blackpool Zoo memberships, a winners certificate, adoption of the animal photographed and their stunning pictures will be printed and displayed in the zoo and online.

The competition was sponsored by Blackpool based Links Signs and Graphics. The winning pictures will be shown on display here at Blackpool Zoo. All winning and highly commended photographs can be viewed here: