Driffield News

Elise’s stunning image wins RSPCA photography award

Amazed and speechless is how Elise Thomas described feeling after winning the accolade of becoming RSPCA Young Photographer of the Year 2021 in her age category.

The Year 11 student from Driffield School & Sixth Form was named winner in the competition’s 12-15 years category with her stunning photograph of a roe deer in the golden light of early morning.

Elise, now 16, from Sledmere, only took up photography in March 2020 as a way to occupy her time during the first lockdown.

Her first subject was a pair of hares boxing in the spring and her interest in wildlife, coupled with her new-found passion for photography, led her to capture some stunning shots of the native animals and birds around her home village.

The winning image Golden Glow.

She told the Wolds Weekly: “I first started taking photographs in March 2020 during the first lockdown.

“I live on a farm, so there are lots of animals around and one day when I was out walking, I saw a pair of hares boxing and I thought I would set myself a challenge to try to capture the scene on a photograph.

“After a few days I managed to photograph them and it is actually one of my favourite photographs I have taken.

“I really enjoyed it and so I thought I would see what else I could see and that is where it all started.”

Elise first heard about the RSPCA Young Photographer of the Year through her GCSE Photography teachers, Miss Bramley and Mr Woodhead.

Elise’s photo of a male and female deer.

She said: “Our teachers at school recommended to our photography class that we should enter the competition.

“We could submit a number of photographs and so I entered a few of my favourites and I couldn’t believe it when I found out I had won my age category.

“I was speechless, there were so many fantastic photographs entered and it is such an amazing feeling to have won.”

Elise’s winning photograph, entitled ‘Golden Glow’, beat off competition from more than 6,500 entries.

She added: “I got up at about 4am on the day I took that photo.

“I had seen a fox and I thought I would wait to see if anything else came along and then the deer just waded into view.

A barn owl perched on an old fence.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity; the light was just right and I think I was just in the right place at the right time.

“A lot of people had commented to me on that photograph and so I knew it was definitely one I wanted to enter for the competition.”

Elise now wants to expand her hobby and is hoping to try out motorsport photography, with a trip to the British Grand Prix planned for this year.

A very curious hare.

“I would love to pursue photography as a career,” she said.

“My next step is to try out motorsport photography and hopefully I will enjoy that just as much as I do taking photos of wildlife.”

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