Undercover Osprey reveals itself as an Award winner

A juvenile Osprey that appears to be in ‘stealth mode’ has been revealed as the overall winner of the Scottish Nature Photography Awards 2016. Photographer Gordon Rae, from Lockerbie in Dumfries and Galloway, took the shot at Rothiemurchus near Aviemore.

The judging panel – Andy Hall, Richard Shucksmith and Niall Irvine – chose Undercover Osprey as their overall winner from categories covering wildlife, landscape, environmental, botanical and abstract subjects, awarding Gordon the title Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year 2016.

Gordon said: “My winning image came by chance one morning when the light was in my favour really early on. This juvenile bird returning to the Highlands for the first time was having a real problem lifting clear of the water with such a huge fish and had sat back down to regain his composure.

Scottish Wildlife Portrait category and overall winning image: Undercover Osprey © Gordon Rae

“I had taken images in the past almost like this but never just quite right, so to find this one in the camera, well you can just imagine the smile on my face. Receiving the call to let me know that it had not only won the portrait section but also the overall title of Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year came as a huge and very pleasant surprise to me.”

Judge Richard Shucksmith said: “For me, there are so many images of Ospreys catching fish that it was great to see a different take on a subject that is photographed so much. The powerful arched wings, the detail in the feathers, the beautiful light and most of all seeing the bright yellow eye just above the front wing, draws my eye to the Osprey’s eye. A great capture and a deserved winner.”

The 7th annual Awards attracted entries from professional and amateur photographers from around the world. There were also Awards for junior photographers (under-18s) and for students undertaking a photography element in their course.

Junior Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year 2016 is Andrew Bulloch from Edinburgh who was 14 when he took his image Cape Wrath Storm near Smoo Cave in Sutherland while on a trip last summer.

Junior category winning image: Cape Wrath Storm © Andrew Bulloch

Andrew said: “I’d persuaded my mum to take me there so we could stay at Kearvaig bothy and we had hoped for sunny weather, but the clouds actually made for much more dramatic photos.”

Judge Andy Hall said: “When judging the excellent array of entries for the Junior competition, this image stood out as an outstanding example of Scottish landscape photography throughout the judging process.”

Student Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year 2016 is Edgaras Borotinskas, an HND Photography student at Forth Valley College.

Students were asked to submit three images on the theme of Water. Edgaras’s Portfolio is a depiction of water drops which he describes as Nature’s Tears. The judges liked that his images were beautifully composed and simplified down to the essence of the theme.

Student category image from winning portfolio: Nature’s Tears Portfolio © Edgaras Borotinskas

Edgaras said: “I am so happy and proud of this Award. Last year I entered the Student category and when I was shortlisted, it motivated me to improve. Passion, motivation and dedication helped to do that. Taking pictures makes me happy and when other people like my work it doubles that.”

There was success too for Walkhighlands’ own Paul Webster, who won the Scottish Landscape – The Land – Category. Paul said: “I was stunned to receive the phone call letting me know I’d won the Land category at this year’s awards. I’m very lucky in that I get to be out and about exploring Scotland’s landscapes on foot for the website, enabling me to share my passion for enjoying the outdoors in our beautiful country with a large audience. Prints of this image are available from the Walkhighlands’ photo shop.

Scottish Landscape – The Land Category Winner: Dreams and Nightmares © Paul Webster

“This particular day was forecast for blue skies and sunshine, so I’d headed up the Pap of Glencoe and onto the start of the Aonach Eagach with a few shots in mind that I wanted to capture. I never expected the dark clouds to roll in but the result was some absolutely amazing light conditions that made everything look magical and otherworldly. The Ravens circling around the ridge were just the icing on the cake for a day I won’t forget.”

The winning images from all ten categories will tour Scotland from July 2017 and will be published along with the shortlisted images in a Portfolio Yearbook in the summer. Details at www.scottishnaturephotographyawards.com

Want to improve your landscape and nature photography? Check out our listings for Scottish landscape, wildlife and nature photography workshops, hides and holidays.

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