A photo competition based in the country of Scotland has today announced its winners of the annual Scottish Nature Photography Awards 2022. Some of the winning images have been captured by photographers as young as 12 years old
63-year-old retired photographer, Frank Urban, has won the prestigious title of Scottish Nature Photographer of the year, as well as the Scottish Wildlife Portrait award for his superb image of a neon green spider.
An image of a tiny green spider has won Frank Urban not only the Scottish Wildlife Portrait category, but he has also been selected as the overall winner of the prestigious Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year 2022.
Speaking of his image, Frank shared that, “I am sixty-three and retired from work around five years ago. I happily fill my days with walking and photography, and find that my local area, which includes the Campsie Fells and the Forth and Clyde Canal is ideal for both. For this photograph though, I had been working in the garden when I noticed this colorful spider on the handle of a garden tool."
He continues, "I knew this was called a Cucumber Green Spider from a previous sighting and thought I would try to photograph it. I was really delighted how well it turned out. I used a blade of grass to move it to a safer spot in the garden."
Judges of the competition included photographers Dougie Cunningham, James Roddie and Niall Irvine, who each saw the potential in Frank's image. Irvine has stated that "Frank's image draws you into the miniature world of the spider. It's an excellent example of awareness of the proximity of nature in our immediate environment and an appreciation of its beauty.”
• Take a look at last year's awesome winning image from the Scottish NPA 2021 of a muirburn mountain fire trail!
The winner of the Junior Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year 2022 (under-18s) was Jessie Morris from Durham. Jessie is just 13 years old, and her winning image titled 'Rush Hour' features a mass amount of gulls arriving at the same time to roost.
Jessie shares that she has been particularly interested in bird photography since the age of eight, and said she was shocked that the judging panel chose her image. “Hidden away on moorland north of Berwick, we waited at the edge of a loch for pink-footed geese to arrive" She explained.
"It turned out, however, that the shot of the day was gulls roosting on the water. A low exposure captured them settling down for the night. The busyness of the shot as they squabbled for the best positions reminded me of the hustle and bustle of the evening rush hour.”
Another winner of the competition was Maria Christidi, awarded with the title of Student Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year 2022. Maria is a Fine Arts student at the University of Dundee studying for her BA qualification, and her series of abstract images titled 'Physis' is what earned her the prestigious title.
The series explores the relationship between humans and nature, and features a portfolio of three submitted images to the competition, working together as a collection. She has shared that, “We view nature at the periphery of our everyday life, maybe walking through parks or nature reserves when the toll of our modern hyper-urbanized lifestyle is too much. As a result, nature tends to be viewed as a foreign object that acts to us as a form of escapism."
"By taking close-up shots which emphasize the unruly characteristics of natural subjects, the viewer can question their relationship with nature more closely and view it in its true fragility rather than it being solely a source of entertainment."
The full gallery of winners for this year's competition can be viewed on the Scottish Nature Photography Awards website, as well as the short nature film by Andy S Hayes that won the Scottish Nature Video Award, among the other runners-up.
The image collection will tour as an exhibition later this year, and will be published along with the shortlisted entries in a Portfolio Yearbook to be released this summer.
• Take a look at our guide to the best lenses for bird photography and wildlife, as well as the best trail cameras and the best cellular trail cameras to capture the more easily spooked or timid subjects.