Nature photographers get out there and get shooting

Phil McLean' prize winning photograph of a hawkweed seedhead
Phil McLean' prize winning photograph of a hawkweed seedhead

Young Borders photographers keen on nature are invited to follow in the footsteps of Phil McLean from Berwickshire who won one of the Scottish Nature Photography Awards last year.

The Scottish Nature Photography Awards celebrate the country’s nature, wildlife and landscape, and have a number of categories including the junior section open to young people up to the age of 18.

Organisers, image and design company, Perspectives’ Niall and Jacqueline Irvine, are particularly encouraging youngsters to take part and send up to five images taken in Scotland.

The winner’s prize includes a one-day masterclass with Scottish Natural Heritage photographer Lorne Gill, who is also one of the judges. And winning images will be part of a touring exhibition next year and will appear in a portfolio yearbook.

The awards also include eight adult categories competition open to professional and amateur photographers, including wildlife portrait, wildlife behaviour, land, sea and coast, urban greenspace, botanical, natural abstract, environmental and the winners from each category the compete for the title of ‘Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year 2014’. There is also a student category.

Berwickshire-based photographer Phil McLean, who lives in Berwickshire won the Scottish Botanical Category last year.

Phil said: “I was very pleased. It was a last minute decision to enter this particular image and I’m obviously rather glad that I did.

“I believe it to be a hawkweed seedhead, photographed while I was walking my springer spaniel, Ollie, at Edington, Berwickshire.”

Phil moved to Berwickshire in 2011 and has made quite an impact in photographic circles since, winning a number of awards; his pictures are used by agencies and can be seen in books, calendars and magazines.

Phil’s love of the countryside began as a child growing up in Hampshire and in his words he now works as a “semi-professional”.

Recognition of his work is a bonus but for Phil just being out in the countryside with his camera is what it is all about.

“First and foremost I just want to be ‘out there’,with a camera,” he said.

“Now most of my pictures are taken in the beautiful countryside around where I live, near Berwick, and I just wish I had a lot more time to do it than I have.”

The Scottish Nature Photography Awards Photographic Competition was launched in 2010 to celebrate Scotland as a key destination for nature photographers and to mark the excellence of the photographic work undertaken in the country through awarding the title of ‘Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year’.

Judges this year are award-winning Scottish Natural Heritage photographer, Lorne Gill, co-organiser of the awards and photographer, Niall Irvine, award-winning wildlife and landscape photographer Neil McIntyre and renowned landscape photographer Colin Prior.

Entries close on November 30. For an entry form go to www.scottishnaturephotographyawards.com