BRAVING a blizzard paid handsome dividends for amateur photographer Alastair Marsh after his stunning shot of a red deer helped him snap up a top award.

Alastair, from Ripon, was voted runner up in the Mammal Society’s Mammal photographer of the Year competition beating some of the country’s most talented amateur wildlife photographers.

Mr Marsh said: “Just after Christmas 2017, and with an amber weather warning for snow, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to photograph local red deer.

“My luck with the weather was in and the blizzard conditions were perfect first thing in the morning.

“The deer were grouped together so trying to get a photo of one on their own was a challenge - not to mention getting the camera to focus through the blizzard - but they obliged eventually.”

Judge Derek Crawley said: “This photograph really shows the majestic beast in all its glory, wonderfully framed by the trees and the snow. Alastair has been very successful in taking a great picture with challenging light conditions.”

Fiona Mathews, chair of the Mammal Society and one of the judging team, said: “We are always enormously excited about the prospect of viewing the entries for the Mammal Photographer of the Year competition. The standard has consistently been very high and this year was no exception.

"This event is one of the most important in our calendar as it helps us show the country’s mammals at their finest and enables us to continue with our efforts to conserve Britain’s mammals."