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Borders photographer scoops top prize in competition

Stephen Whitehorne has been named Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year 2017.

Winner: This image was captured by Stephen Whiteworne.
Winner: This image was captured by Stephen Whiteworne. Scottish Nature Photography Awards 2017

A photographer from the Borders has scooped the top prize in the Scottish Nature Photography Awards 2017.

Stephen Whitehorne, from Duns, captured an image of sunlit autumn trees at a loch, which he described as "an oasis of calm and tranquility".

Initially concentrating his efforts on abstractions through the reflections on the water, he became aware of something special developing in the quality of the light.

Mr Whitehorne 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 increasing 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.

"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!"

Junior: Andrew Bulloch won Junior Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year.
Junior: Andrew Bulloch won Junior Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year. Scottish Nature Photography Awards 2017

Judges Andy Hall, Niall Irvine and Polly Pullar selected winners from eight categories covering environmental, botanical, abstract, wildlife and landscape subjects.

Describing the appeal of the overall winner, Mr Hall said: "The strength of this image is in its dramatic lighting. It evokes a sense of serenity which is compelling in its autumnal colour and balanced composition."

The 8th annual Awards for nature photography shot in Scotland attracted entries from professional and amateur photographers from around the world and 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 15-year-old Andrew Bulloch from Edinburgh.

Mr Bulloch 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!"

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