Duchess of Cambridge quizzes young Highgate photographer on camera lenses at Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards

When an 11-year-old Highgate schoolboy leapt out of a swimming pool to capture a striking dragon-like iguana on camera, he had no clue the snap would class him among the best young photographers in the world.

Will Jenkins, a pupil at Highgate School in North Road, was a prizewinner at the glittering 50th Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards ceremony at the National History Museum last week, where he was the only youngster to meet the Duchess of Cambridge.

His shot of the iguana’s beady stare won him the title of finalist in the 11-14 category for Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

However, it was for a short film partly shot on Hampstead Heath and a series of mobile phone photos of trees which crowned him the first ever winner of a new category, Wild 1, for photographers aged 17 and under using mobile devices to “capture a story”.

Will, of Highbury New Park, Highbury, told the Ham&High: “The reasons why I took photos of trees was that one, trees don’t move, and the second is that animals and us wouldn’t be here without the trees, so it made sense to focus on them. I always like to have a camera nearby because you never know when you’ll get an opportunity. I could see myself being a professional photographer or doing something involving wildlife.”

Will took his striking image of the scaly iguana, entitled Green Dragon, while on a family holiday in Costa Rica.

Spying the lizard from the hotel swimming pool, he jumped out of the water and grabbed his mother’s DSLR camera.

Most Read

“The colour was pretty striking,” said Will, who was also a runner-up at the 2010 Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards. “I had never seen an iguana before. The eye was very interesting, it had a lot of different lines and markings.’’

Will’s prize included a day of photography workshops and a behind-the-scenes look at the National History Museum.

The Duchess of Cambridge quizzed Will on his work and which camera lenses he used at the ceremony on Tuesday last week, where he rubbed shoulders with broadcasting legend Sir David Attenborough.

Will, who first picked up a camera at the age of seven, described the meeting as “amazing”.

His mother, Whittington Hospital radiologist Dr Sarah Howling, said: “We feel extremely proud to know one of his photos is in the top 200 of the world and seeing him so proud of himself in front of his own photo was wonderful.”