Bush Hill Park teen wins wildlife photography award

Beau Healy’s image of a spider won the award for best ‘small world’ image at the RSPCA Young Photographer Awards presented by Chris Packham

'Self Reflection' by Beau Healy
Self Reflection by Beau Healy

A 14-year-old from Bush Hill Park has won a national photography competition after capturing an “extraordinary” image of a tarantula.

Beau Healy’s photograph, titled Self Reflection, won the ‘small world’ category as part of the RSPCA Young Photographer Awards, which were presented by Chris Packham in a ceremony at the Tower of London last week.

Beau’s picture depicts the spider on a reflective surface, hiding its head. Announcing Beau’s image as the winner of the award, the Springwatch presenter said: “You’ve got this symmetry of this curly-haired tarantula with all of its legs drawn up to its body so the head of the animal is hidden within it […] it is beautifully lit.

“It is a fantastic photograph and as soon as all of the judges saw it, we all went ‘wow’.”

Beau Healy collects his award from Chris Packham
Beau Healy collects his award from Chris Packham

Explaining the idea behind the photograph and how he captured it, Beau told the Dispatch: “I created the reflective effect because I thought it was an interesting perspective as it showed off the texture of the spider’s hairs and made an interesting shape as the spider and the reflection joined together in a relatively spherical shape.

“The photo was quite difficult to capture as it needed to be a focus stack. This a process where you take multiple images, each one slightly closer to the subject and then combine them in Photoshop to get the whole animal in focus. The process is difficult because the animal must stay still the whole time while the flash recharges.”

Beau said he’s only been doing photography for about a year-and-a-half and taught himself using cameras that “were just lying around the house” while also reading books and looking up techniques on the internet. “It would be my dream career to become a wildlife photographer or videographer”, he added.

The RSPCA Young Photographer Awards is in its 32nd year and is open to anyone aged 18 or under, with a wide range of categories.

Speaking about the awards in general Chris Packham said: “I’m proud to say I’ve been involved with the competition since it began back in 1990. As one of the team of judges, I never tire of looking at the images you send in. The thousands of entries we receive each year are always fresh, exciting and a true celebration of the animal kingdom.

“All you need is a camera, smartphone or tablet to take pictures with, and a passion for animals. There are lots of different categories to enter so there’s something for everyone.”

To see more of Beau’s photography:

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