A picture of a water lily by an 11-year-old boy has won the Birmingham Post’s 2008 Photographic Competition.

Ravi Sodha beat more than 250 entries to scoop the prize in the annual contest which requires amateur photographers to submit photos taken in the grounds of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens & Glasshouses.

The Birmingham youngster’s victory is all the more impressive given he only visited the gardens to support his older sister Meera, 13 – a keen photographer whose entry came second in the junior section.

Ravi’s father Anup said: “We went down to have a day out with my daughter because she has an eye for pictures. At school her teacher said Meera should enter. Some of the pictures she submitted were very good. Ravi wanted to come along so he took his camera and took that picture. We are very proud of both of them.”

Ravi, a pupil at Solihull School, from Hall Green, said: “I was trying to get a picture of a fish in the pond. When I looked at it I thought it was really nice and I entered the competition. Even my mum said ‘that is a winning picture’.”

This year’s entries featured close-ups of a flower and cactus from the garden, a fern, a gate and a gargoyle in a water fountain.

But it was Ravi’s evocative picture that caught the eye of the judges.

Steve Murphy, head of images at Birmingham Post and Mail Media, said: “The colours are really strong. It has a graphic style to it. You have to look at it two or three times to see what it is. It is interesting and holds your eye because there is nice light on the lily and weird reflections in the top corner. It’s a very composed picture.”

As well as showing off the photographic skills of entrants, the competition is designed to highlight the visual delights of one of the city’s most cherished green spaces.

Photographs were judged in three categories – views and architecture, plant/nature studies and a section for juniors. Ravi was overall winner and winner of the junior division.

Mr Murphy said the standard of entries was exceptionally high and showed a impressive range of inventiveness and creativity. “What was good about a lot of them was that even the people at the Botanical Gardens had to look at the pictures twice to identify where they were taken. Great composition is the thing they all showed.”

Linda Keen, publicity manager for the Botanical Gardens in Edgbaston, said the grounds provided a visually stimulating environment.

“There is so much here because we are a Victorian establishment opened in 1832. Much of what was here then is still here, it is quite inspirational.”

Ms Keen added Ravi’s entry had impressed all the judges. “It stood out. It is a close-up that has come out really well.”

Ravi won a camera provided by Calumet Photographic which, along with the Birmingham Post, was a sponsor of the competition.

Gallery: the three winning entries and runners-up

More of Meera and Ravi’s eye-catching pictures are here