AN EAGLE-EYED photographer was delighted to be shortlisted among thousands of entries for the final of a prestigious competition.

Mick Ryan, who lives in Nutgrove, was named runner-up in the National Geographic Traveller Photographer of the Year.

He was shortlisted for the category after submitting a selection of pictures he had taken while in Marrakesh.

Mick, a former cricket coach and sports development officer, who snapped his knee ligaments during an accident, decided to get into photography.

"I started taking it seriously about 10 years ago," said Mick, 52.

"I exceeded my expectations, the only other competition I've ever entered was the Rainford village fayre.

"Everyone knows national Geographic and the over all winner is a renowned travel photographer.

"They have a few different categories in the competition, most are single image ones.

"I wanted to enter the portfolio section which is between five and 10 images with a narrative running through them.

"I went to Marrakesh last January and decided to take some photos of the local people which is easier said than done.

"I spent about four days and whittled it down from 20 that I had to eight in the end. My stuff was in an exhibition and I saw it on the wall and it looked pretty strong."

Mick has also travelled to places including Sofia and Bethlehem to take pictures, and has also had work featured by Channel 4.

"I achieved what I set out to do, it is a really hard sector to break into."