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Autumn Loch Image Wins Scottish Nature Photography Awards 2017

An image depicting the details of the Scottish landscape has been crowned the winner of the Scottish Nature Photography Awards 2017.

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Autumnal Birches and Willows reflected among the Water Lilies of Polney Loch, Dunkeld, Perthshire

© Stephen Whitehorne - Scottish Nature Photography Awards

 

An image of sunlit autumn trees reflected in a loch at a location described by the photographer as 'an oasis of calm and tranquillity', has been awarded the top prize in the Scottish Nature Photography Awards 2017.

Stephen Whitehorne, a professional photographer from Duns in the Scottish Borders, was at one of his favourite locations, Polney Loch, when he took the photograph that has earned him the title Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year 2017.

Commenting on the image, Stephen said: "It was at the end of a glorious afternoon last October, with my camera pointing down at the water once more, that I became aware of an increased intensity to the glow of the surface reflections. The glancing, autumn sunlight illuminated the bankside trees opposite and rendered a perfectly reflected image among the lily pads. Up until that point, I had been captivated by what was happening on the surface but, for this moment at least, I could not ignore the bigger picture.

I knew I had captured a striking photograph but I was totally unprepared on receiving the call to tell me that the image had won not only the Scottish Landscape – the Land category but also the overall title of Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year 2017!"

The 8th annual Awards for nature photography shot in Scotland attracted entries from professional and amateur photographers from around the world and as well as the overall title, the competition included categories for juniors (under-18s) and for students undertaking a photography element in their course.

Winning the title of Junior Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year for a remarkable second year running is Andrew Bulloch (age 15) from Edinburgh.

 

Eriskay Football Stadium

© Andrew Bulloch - Scottish Nature Photography Awards

 

Commenting on his photograph, Andrew said: "This year's photo Eriskay Football Stadium was taken on a family holiday to North Uist in the summer of 2017. We drove south to Eriskay on a stormy day and I saw this little football pitch down below the road. We stopped so I could get a photo and then I just had to go and play football on it as well. Very recently I found out it was featured by FIFA as one of the eight most unique places to play football in the world!"

Judge Polly Pullar said: "We loved the light and shade and the sheer moodiness of Andrew’s image of the fabulous football pitch and its surrounds on the Isle of Eriskay, and feel he has captured the fickle nature of outdoor ball games on a remote windswept Hebridean island. It is an image that also highlights that a dark and threatening sky can be just as captivating and eye-catching as one of brilliant blue. Andrew’s picture is a worthy winner of this category."

Student Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year 2017 is Rebecca Witt, who is in the final year of her BA (Hons) Marine and Natural History Photography course at Falmouth University. Rebecca's portfolio of three images Cairngorms Woodland Wildlife featuring native animals in their natural environment was her interpretation of the student competition brief on the theme of 'Woods'.

 

Cairngorms Woodland Wildlife

© Rebecca Witt Scottish Nature Photography Awards

 

Judge Niall Irvine said: "Rebecca's portfolio is very well composed and has a good balance of the wildlife and the woodland habitat through the three images."

Rebecca added: "Nature has always been close to my heart, and from a young age I have had a great appreciation for Britain's wildlife. To have the opportunity to visit Scotland and spend a week in the Cairngorms National Park was truly magical, and an experience I shall never forget.”

This year the competition featured a category for short nature films, judged by wildlife cameraman Raymond Besant and organiser Niall Irvine. Andrew Macdonald, a freelance filmmaker from Biggar, Lanarkshire, won the Scottish Nature Video Award 2017 with Reforesting Planet Caledon. Captured with a 360-degree camera, "Little Planet" imagery offers a unique perspective of the reforesting efforts of Royal Society for Protection of Birds on their Abernethy reserve.

Winning images and videos will go on an exhibition tour from July 2018 and will be published along with the shortlisted images in a Portfolio Yearbook this summer.


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