The frozen moment
On Boxing Day 2009, it was so cold in Scotland (-17°C /1°F) that the birds were desperate for food. A rowan tree at the bottom of Fergus's garden in Perthshire became a magnet for thrushes - five of the six British species - song thrushes, mistle thrushes, blackbirds, redwings and a flock of about 15 fieldfares, all frantically picking the berries.
Fergus wanted to capture the freezing feel of the day while showing the character of fieldfares in action, some of which were hovering to pluck berries. His biggest challenge (other than the cold itself) was to isolate a fieldfare against a clear background, and the only way to get the angle was to stand on his frozen pond. Risking a high ISO setting as well as the ice, he caught both the moment and the delicacy of colour he was after.
Nikon D300 + 500mm f4 lens; 1/500 sec at f4; ISO 800; Manfrotto 680B monopod + 293 tripod head.
Wolfhill, Scotland, UK
Fergus Gill, United Kingdom
Fergus started taking photographs at the age of nine, carrying a camera around to record nature near his home in rural Scotland. At 14, he won first prize in his age category in this competition, and in 2009 was awarded the young grand title. He concentrates on photographing the wildlife near his home.