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Mary Braddock gets up early so you don’t have to.

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Budding nature photographer Mary, 60, has ventured as far afield as Hungary to capture these amazing shots, which are on display at Rainham Marshes this month – but says some of her best pictures come from trips near her home at the crack of dawn.

“I like to get up and go for a walk at 5am,” she told the Recorder. “That’s when nature’s about.

“You’ve got to be there to get the atmosphere, or the light’s gone.”

Hard-working Mary, who is a nurse practitioner by day, lives in Addlestone, Surrey, but speaks fondly of the Rainham nature reserve where her work is on show.

“It’s great,” she said. “It’s really developed over the years it’s been open.

“I like its variability, with the waterfalls and the insect life – it’s not just about birds.

“The way it encourages children is great – it helps them get closer to nature.

“Hopefully the pictures will do that too.

“I want people to look at them and think: ‘Gosh, is that nature?’”

Maybe, after seeing the pictures, you’ll want to be up at 5am after all.

Among Mary’s favourite shots are an early-morning photo of some red deer in Bushy Park, south-west London, and a one-in-a-million picture of some brightly coloured birds in Hungary.

“There were two bee-eaters on a stick,” she remembered. “Then two flew in just as the shutter went off, and I got all four of them in the picture at the same time.

“It was one of those ‘oh my god!’ moments.”

Mary and her husband Dave run the RSPB group in north-west Surrey in their spare time.

The exhibition, which features 22 photographs, runs in the nature reserve’s Purfleet hide until July 14.

Click on the photo gallery above to see more of the beautiful images.

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