Shropshire Star

Amateur photographer snaps up title in national competition with amazing kingfisher picture

A Shropshire photographer's mesmerising photo of a kingfisher diving into the water has won a national competition.

Jonny Mo's award winning Kingfisher shot

Amateur photographer Jonny Morris, better known as Jonny Mo, took the top place in the Amateur Photographer of the Year action category for 2023.

The accolade followed another of his kingfisher photos being shortlisted in the wildlife category.

He says is is overwhelmed by the award and is only sad that his father, who passed away earlier this year, is not able to see his success.

Jonny, from Cockshutt, who works as a consultant payment specialist, became interested in photography about 20 years ago.

Amatuer photographer Jonny Mo

"I had a point and shoot camera and didn't progress to a DSLR until 2007," he said.

"But is was only about seven years ago that I really started getting serious about photography and that was become I wanted to get decent photos of kingfishers.

"They are my absolute favourite bird, although they were elusive to me for years. When I did see that blue flash go past me I then knew I wanted to capture an image."

But he said he then began to realise just how hard that would be.

"I have to thank Rob Johnston, a friend, who helped elevate my work and also Shropshire photographer Mike Dunlevy."

Although Jonny travels across the UK for his wildlife photography, including trips to Scotland for ospreys he said it is the Shropshire kingfishers that will always be his favourites.

"It is the peace and quiet of anticipating, of waiting for the birds, it empties your head," he said.

Jonny Mo's award winning Kingfisher shot

He took his prize-winning and unusual shot in September.

"The whole premise was to rekindle the electric blue line - that blue flash you see as it dives into the water." he said.

"It took three days to get the shot I wanted."

With the shutter speed on a tenth of a second, Jonny captured three beats of the Kingfisher's wings so fast was the bird.

The photographer is passing on the skills he has learned through his online Facebook group Photosoup52 Week Challenge, a group that grew from his encouragement to people to use photography to relieve the boredom of lockdown during the Covid pandemic.

Started in January 2021, the group of enthusiasts from not just across Shropshire but from many parts of the UK and Ireland are set a task every week with their camera that introduces new skills and tips.

"Its amazing to be part of a group of such like-minded, encouraging and positive people," he said.