Photographer John's passion is picture perfect

John Holden and his wife Fiona
John Holden and his wife Fiona
A yellow tailed moth caterpillar in the rain at the Raven.
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John Holden and his wife Fiona.
LEFT: a Northern Gannet returning to his mate with an offering of freshly-harvested Sea Campion.ABOVE: a Hawthorn Shield bug in the Raven.
A puffin coming in to land at the Great Saltee Island.
The gannet colony on the Saltee Islands.
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A razorbill with sand eels.

Award-winning Wexford wildlife photographer John Holden has two passions in his life - wildlife and photography.

He modestly says he's still on a learning curve when it comes to his photography, but some of his incredible images already put him up there among the best.

A Waterford city native, John came to Rosslare Harbour in 1984 to work in the ferry industry and never left.

Married to Fiona, the couple have a daughter, Sarah, aged 19, and a son, Danny aged 14.

'I still work in the ferry industry as a duty manager with Stena Line in Rosslare Harbour. Wildlife Photography is carried out in my spare time,' said John, who has always been interested in nature and wildlife, and has always had an interest in photography.

'A few short years ago I decided it was time to get a decent camera and learn how to use it properly. Landscapes were my initial interest, but the more time spent in the Wexford countryside, the more I began to appreciate what a great variety of wildlife was on offer,' he said.

John said some would say that Wildlife Photography is one of the harder pursuits within photography.

'You have to find a willing subject, without them spotting you. You need to get close enough (even with zoom lens) to get a sharp shot, the light has to be coming from the right direction, a leaf or a branch in the wrong place can destroy a shot.

'Then you have to compose your shot and consider your settings. Sometimes all of this needs to happen in a matter of seconds. If the challenges are a greater, so too is the payback. A good shot in difficult conditions brings great satisfaction,' he said.

'I'm on a learning curve when it comes to both wildlife and photography and that's great because there isn't a week goes by that I don't learn something new.'

John said we are spoiled in County Wexford with our beautiful countryside.

'We have The Saltee Islands, off Kilmore Quay, The Raven Forest, Carnsore Point, Tacumshane Lake... the list goes on, we are surrounded with natural beauty and wildlife,' he said.

John said that his recent win as Biodiversity Photographer 2017 was a great honour and something of a surprise.

`As a bonus, my winning picture also won the People's Choice vote, which was voted on by members of the public via Irish Environmental Network's Facebook Page,' he said.

John said it's a case of two passions meeting for him, a great love and interest in local flora and fauna combined with a love of photography and the ability to create a beautiful and interesting image.

'Social Media has given many photographers a shot in the arm. The ability to instantly have your work accessed, appreciated and critiqued by the public quickly makes you quickly raise your game.

'I see photography as an art rather than a technical past time, although there is obviously a huge technical aspect to it,' he said.

More of John's great wildlife pictures can be seen at his Wild about Wexford Facebook page. Go to www.facebook.com/ WildAboutWexford/.

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