Belfast Telegraph

Northern Irish woman's Portrush Airshow photos shortlisted for global award

By Rebecca Black

A Newtownards woman is celebrating after two of her photographs were shortlisted in an international competition.

Donna Rowley is the only British or Irish contestant to be named in the Air & Space Magazine/Smithsonian Annual Photographic Contest.

Two of her shots, both taken at Portrush Airshow, were singled out. They are the only images in the contest to feature any aircraft or vehicle of the RAF, The Irish Coastguard or the RNLI.

One features four Red Arrows planes flying in close formation with their distinctive trails of red, white and blue smoke.

The second shows a person being winched from an RNLI boat to a helicopter, both appearing to be moving at speed.

Ms Rowley told the Belfast Telegraph that she was thrilled to have been shortlisted.

"I have had an interest in aviation photography for years and have spent many hours and countless pounds travelling to try to catch the best photos in the best locations," she added.

"It makes me very proud to see my photos in such amazing company on the Air & Space Magazine/Smithsonian website.

"The first photograph is my all-time favourite shot, and shows the Red Arrows performing their iconic manoeuvre, the gypo break. I have titled this Symmetry.

"I am a lifelong fan of the team and I have tried for years to get this exact shot, but was always out in my timing by a fraction of a second, or I wasn't in the right place on the display line to get them closing together.

"It finally all came together last year while in the Silver Wings Chalet at the Portrush Airshow.

"The second shot, Rescue, is of the Irish Coastguard helicopter performing a rescue demonstration with the Portrush RNLI lifeboat. I have long supported the RNLI and have total respect for what the crews do to keep us all safe when in and around the water.

"It was fantastic to be able to see such a dynamic and skilled demonstration happen in front of me at this year's Portrush Airshow."

The public vote is open until January 31, and all the photographs can be found at http://www.airspacemag.com/photocontest/detail/military/

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