International exposure for Illawarra photographer

The  photo that was chosen for a showing in Washington. WILLIAM PATINO

The photo that was chosen for a showing in Washington. WILLIAM PATINO

A last minute, spur-of-the-moment snap has landed Illawarra photographer William Patino a place in one of the world's most prestigious museums.

His stunning photograph of Yosemite National Park in California has been selected as an honourable mention in the American Wilderness Forever competition. As a result, Patino's photo will soon be displayed in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC.

"The photo was from a trip to America last year. I was photographing the Yosemite valley at sunrise and was almost ready to leave, when I saw this scene," he said.

William Patino hams it up with his dog, Milo. The Illawarra photographer hopes to see the exhibition himself. SYLVIA LIBER

William Patino hams it up with his dog, Milo. The Illawarra photographer hopes to see the exhibition himself. SYLVIA LIBER

"I didn't think much of it at the time but I put it online and it was well received on social media, which made me realise what a special photo it was."

The Wilderness Forever competition was held to mark 50 years of the US Wilderness Act, which today protects 45 million hectares of wilderness across the US.

Patino's photo will be hung alongside a select few winners from around the world, displayed to an audience of millions who visit the Smithsonian each year.

"I am completely humbled to be part of an exhibit in that museum and have my image hung with world-famous photographers that I look up to myself for inspiration," he said.

Patino, who recently returned from a trip to Canada to photograph the northern lights, said he would be looking to raise funds to travel to Washington DC and see the exhibition for himself when it opened in September.

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