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3 photos of perfect moments with nature - and the stories behind them

Vote for your favourite and you could win a €20 Centra voucher.

THIS YEAR, MORE than a thousand people submitted photos of themselves and their families seizing special moments as part of Centra’s #LiveToday photo competition.

Twelve images have been shortlisted for the €1,000 prize, and you can vote for your favourite here.

In this article, we’ve picked three of the images that capture a perfect moment with nature.

We asked the finalists to tell us why this moment was important to them, and how they made the most of it. We also spoke to photographer Barry McCall – who helped compile the shortlist – about what made each photo stand out.

1. Turtle photobomb – Elaine Houlihan

Source: Elaine Houlihan

Elaine Houlihan told us why the moment was special:

“Myself and my boyfriend Graham spent eight months travelling. We went away in September and Ecuador was our first stop, with a week in the Galapagos islands. That’s where the photo was taken.

“The wildlife was incredible. There were turtles everywhere. Sealions. Iguanas in the middle of the road. Sharks. Giant tortoises.

“For me the photo really represents the wonderful adventure that we went on. We were both working for a couple of years, to save up the money. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And we absolutely adored every second. “

Competition judge Barry McCall said:

This stood out a mile. How many chances in your lifetime do you get to swim with a giant turtle? The people look so happy, and the turtle looks so chilled.

2. Dawn over Errigal – Stephen McPhilemy

Source: Stephen McPhilemy

Stephen McPhilemy told us why the moment was special:

“It was the highest mountain in Donegal, at the end of May, me and two friends. A friend was going to America, a childhood friend, and we weren’t sure when we would see him again. So we did something special to mark the occasion.

“We were up at about 4am, and got to the top for 5.30, for the sunrise. It didn’t cost us a penny.

“It was about living in the moment and not taking it for granted. It’s the most memorable thing I’ve done all year.”

Competition judge Barry McCall said:

Look at the shape of the cloud – it mirrors the shape of Errigal, with the people smack in the middle. Composition-wise, everything is leading to those three friends, and they’re being backlit by the sun. Beautiful.

3. Silhouettes on the beach – Rachel Upton

Source: Rachel Upton

Rachel Upton told us why the moment was special:

“It was captured the first time I took my horse Henry – an ex-racer – to the beach. My friend Anna was helping me get Henry into the water.

“It’s just such a special photo for me, as it really captures what living is: out in the fresh air doing something I love. And just the freedom of it.

“It’s a photo I treasure too, as my horse Henry has recently retired from riding and is living his days out in a field with his friends getting fat.”

Competition judge Barry McCall said:

It’s beautiful, it’s emotive, it’s a beautifully executed image with the silhouettes. There’s an elegance to this, a freedom. It’s just gorgeous.

All of these #LiveToday photos are special, but we want you to help choose the winner of the €1,000 grand prize! When you’ve picked your favourite, click here to vote. Every voter has the chance to win one of 5 Centra €20 gift vouchers. The nationwide competition marks the launch of Centra’s new brand position, Live Every Day, which encourages people to live in the moment and make the most of every day.

More: 3 photos of special family moments – and the stories behind them>

More: 3 photos of shared moments in Ireland – and the stories behind them>

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