Hobby photographer takes international shot

A self described hobby photographer, Doug Crowther has won the Lions Clubs International Environmental Photo contest.

Held at the Centennial Convention in Chicago, Doug’s award winning shot of two starlings in an aerial combat was selected by public vote from 61 finalists entered from countries around the world.

The Lions Clubs International Environmental Photo is an annual photo competition and each country sends their national winning photograph to Lions HQ in America.

The Tuakau Lions Club member has won the New Zealand competition for the last two years. However he had remained unplaced in the international contest. This win is a first for Doug, and also the first time that a New Zealand entry has won this prestigious competition.

Richard Simmons, Lions Club District Governor, contacted Doug advising him of his win.

“Well done Doug. You have made New Zealand a winner for the very first time in this competition,” he told Doug.

Tuakau Lions Club member, Bob Bell, also shared his congratulations, stating the win meant a lot to their club, and how very proud of Doug’s achievement they all were.

The first place signifies the many years Doug has been taking hundreds of photos.

“When you are taking the photo, you actually don’t know for certain what you are capturing, as you are witnessing the action through the lens. But the photo that I submitted was one I had been trying to capture for a long time.”

The image is of two juvenile starlings mid flight, in what can only be described as a ‘flying dance.’ However, Doug says the image is far from as graceful as the name would suggest.

“It is typical juvenile starling behaviour—they are actually quite aggressive.”

Doug says that he took up photography as a hobby after he retired, and says that he enjoys capturing action shots of birds.

“Birds sitting on a fence for me is boring. I have been studying the characteristics of starlings for quite some time, and have also been feeding them in hope of capturing that one shot.”

The award winning photo was taken on his property, through a 400m lens on his Canon EOS 70D. Other interesting shots that Doug has captured include an albino sparrow.

While Doug is ecstatic with the win, he says photography will always remain his favourite pass-time.

The award winning photo of two starlings in an aerial combat that Doug Crowther captured in his own backyard.

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