Hares fight for victory

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A PAIR of boxing brown hares caught on camera by Leitholm photographer Ron McCombe have made the shortlist from 278 entries in the Scottish Seabird Centre Nature Photography Awards.

Paxton’s award winning nature photographer Laurie Campbell was one of the judges, alongside Innerleithen freelance photographer Graham Riddell, and they were overwhelmed by the standard of images submitted from across the UK,Germany and Spain.

Laurie said: “Graham and I had a tough job this year – we spent hours deliberating and debating the best of the submissions. We are really excited about the images that we have selected and applaud everyone who has taken the time to make a submission. Well done to all!”

Tom Brock, chief executive of competition organisers the Scottish Seabird Centre, said: “The level of talent in this year’s submissions is quite outstanding and it’s fantastic to see how much these annual awards capture the imagination of amateur photographers. The exhibition of over 100 shortlisted entries forms a stunning display of wildlife photography which is well worth seeing.”

This year’s competition has attracted more entries than any year since they started running it six years ago and the top 105 photographs have just been unveiled in the award-winning Discovery Centre, where the public are invited to vote for their favourite until January 2012.

Ron McCombe, whose photograph is shortlisted in both the world wildlife and Scottish wildlife sections, said: “Photography is very important to me and when I saw details of this year’s Nature Photography Awards I knew I had to enter. To be recognised by two of the country’s top photographers is really fantastic and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the final decision. I hope Berwickshire residents visit the Scottish Seabird Centre and vote for me!”

This has been a particularly successful year for Ron as the accolades for his pictures just keep on rolling in.

His picture of a grouse taken when Berwickshire was under a blanket of snow, was highly commended at the internationally recognised Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition which attracted 41,000 entries from photographers across the globe.

While many of us were taking refuge indoors from the heavy snow last winter and the one before, Ron was out and about with his camera, grateful for the lack of cars and people up in the hills.

One of the shots he took was the one of the grouse, named ‘Extreme Foraging’, which was chosen as one of the top 100 images in the Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

Following on from wins in competitions ranging from Scottish Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Wildlife Scotland and Seabirds of Scotland, 2011 couldn’t really get even better still for Ron, who’s only been entering pictures seriously for the last six years.

He’s also made the final of British Wildlife Photographer of the year,

The prizes for this year’s Scottish Seabird Centre Nature Photography Awards are a family membership for the Scottish Wildlife Trust, a daytrip with Speyside Wildlife, a two-day Highland tour with Rabbies, a tour with Wild About Orkney, items from Wildlife Watching Supplies, plus an exclusive guided tour of the famous Bass Rock with Laurie Campbell.

The winners will be unveiled at an awards ceremony at the Scottish Seabird Centre in February 2012. For more information on the awards visit www.seabird.org.

The photography competition will return in 2012, and the deadline for entries is October 31, 2012.