An image of a young osprey has been named the overall winner of the Scottish Nature Photography Awards 2016.
Gordon Rae, from Lockerbie, in Dumfries and Galloway, took the photograph at Rothiemurchus, near Aviemore, in the Cairngorms. The photographer gave his picture the title Undercover Osprey because it looked as if the juvenile bird of prey was in stealth mode.
Mr Rae 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. 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.”
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 seventh annual awards drew entries from professional and amateur photographers from all over the world. There were also awards for junior photographers – under 18s – and for portfolios from students undertaking a photography element in their studies.
Andrew Bulloch, from Edinburgh, won the Junior Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year Award. He was 14 when he took his image Cape Wrath Storm near Smoo Cave in Sutherland while on a trip last summer. 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.”
Student Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year winner was Edgaras Borotinskas, who produced a portfolio of water drops, which he described as a “Nature’s tears”. The HND photography student at Forth Valley College 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.”
The winning images from all 10 categories will tour Scotland from July 2017 and will be published along with the shortlisted images in a yearbook in the summer.