2017 title winners look back...

We asked the 2017 title winners to look back on winning their awards and to tell us a bit about their current projects.

Stephen Whitehorne

Stephen Whitehorne -
Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year 2017
Stephen said: "My long-held passion for Scotland’s native trees continually draws me to the woodlands and forests of Perthshire, Stirlingshire and beyond. So, having won the ‘Overall Winner’ award in last year’s Scottish Nature Photography Awards with a photograph depicting the unique beauty and eye-catching presence of a sunlit copse of lochside birch and willow in Atholl Forest, it felt like a wonderful endorsement for my efforts as a photographer of trees.

© Stephen Whitehorne
© Stephen Whitehorne -
Autumnal Birches and Willows reflected
among the Water Lilies of Polney Loch,
Dunkeld, Perthshir
"Whilst I can’t really say the award has helped me gain further assignments in my professional bread-and-butter work as a property photographer (ability and experience seem to count for little these days, in this sector) it has helped my credibility in other areas. I have had two or three big assignments this year to carry out photography on large, forested estates, contracts that were, I’m sure, secured from the kudos that has come from this award as well as one or two previous RHS awards for my photographs of Scotland’s trees and forests. Furthermore, having run my own photographic workshops for many years now, in 2018, for the first time, I was asked to tutor on a successful series of workshops ‘Photographing Trees’ at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.

"Perhaps most notably however, it seems the award has further enhanced my reputation as a photographic artist. Certainly, sales of my limited edition, gicleé ‘art’ prints at the White Fox Gallery (the art gallery in Coldstream for which I am co-founder and co-owner) have steadily increased this year. Apart for a few long-standing ‘customer-favourites’ on display at the gallery, framed prints of the image which secured me the accolade of Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year 2017 seem to sell within a day or two of going on the wall! Good to know, therefore, it’s a photograph with wide appeal.

"Photography, and teaching photography, has been my profession for the past 30 years and seems certain to be my future. I’ve come to accept now that I’m eminently unemployable for anything else! Let’s see where it goes from here!"

Rebecca Witt

Rebecca Witt -
Student Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year 2017
Rebecca said: "I can still remember the very moment when I found out that my portfolio was selected for Student Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year 2017. Whilst out on a shoot for my Red Squirrel conservation project, I could hardly contain my excitement when I read the email. Winning the competition really spurred me on to complete my final year university project; a book titled ‘Saving Britain’s Native Squirrel’.

© Rebecca Witt - Cairngorms Woodland Wildlife Portfolio
© Rebecca Witt -
mage from Cairngorms Woodland Wildlife Portfolio
"Since completing university I have moved back to my home in Dorset and continued to photograph the wonderful wildlife and landscapes of the south-west. Looking to the future I hope to document many more conservation stories and bring awareness to other important issues."

Andrew Bulloch

Andrew Bulloch -
Junior Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year 2017

Andrew said: "This is my second year as a winner in the Scottish Nature Photography Awards and it’s been no less busy as the first one! It was lovely to receive the trophy again and the yearbook is looking really good – it’s always a great Christmas present for my grannies!

© Andrew Bulloch - Eriskay Football Pitch
© Andrew Bulloch -
Eriskay Football Pitch
"I’ve been out taking more photographs as well. As my National 5 exams were over very quickly, we took a trip up to the north-west of Scotland in the spring and canoed in to the middle of Assynt with all the camping and camera gear. The weather wasn’t brilliant but we climbed the iconic mountain Suilven early in the morning, and spent a couple of days camping in the area while most of my classmates were still in their exams.
"In May I spent a morning with Ron McCombe at his wildlife hide in the Borders, which was my prize for winning the award. Ron was really helpful and gave me lots of advice on photographing birds close up. I had to borrow a huge 400mm lens especially for the day, and it was so massive I could hardly hold it up! Later that afternoon we headed out to the Berwickshire coast with it to look for some sea birds but the haar was so thick we couldn’t see a thing at first. Luckily, just as we reached the end of our walk, the mist lifted and we got some stunning views out over the sea.
"In the summer I was invited to attend a preview of the World Press Photo Awards in the Scottish Parliament and then the owners of a local country house commissioned me to photograph some of the activities that happen on their estate, which even involved me hanging off the back of a quad bike while photographing the other bikes driving behind us. So it’s been quite a varied year in terms of photography!
"Then on the way up to Pitlochry to see the Enchanted Forest, I finally managed to visit the SNPA exhibition, literally half an hour before it closed and was taken down! However it was great to see all the winning photographs framed and on the walls of SNH’s Battleby Centre. I am also just about to head down again to London for the UK Landscape Photographer of the Year awards, as I was lucky to have another photograph win in their Urban View Category, taken when the snow and blizzards hit Edinburgh earlier in the year. The awards are a great opportunity to meet lots of other photographers and a few famous people too!
"Since last year we have also got a new website and have started selling a few prints through it. I even sold a framed photo of one of my winning images to a lady from America who was very complimentary about it. It’s strange to think one of my photos is now taking pride of place on someone’s wall on the other side of the world!

Thanks again to the SNPA for their support and helping me get so many amazing opportunities. I hope everyone gets their photos in for this year's awards!"


Andrew Macdonald

Andrew Macdonald -
Winner Scottish Nature Video Award 2017
Andrew said: "As fellow SNPA photographer Mr P. McMenemy says...'this is the only competition I enter', so winning (woop) the Scottish Nature Video Award and seeing my Abernethy images spinning round on Twitter, Facebook and BBC News was really quite special, providing a heartwarming boost to my new journey into 360 degree camera work.

© Andrew Macdonald - Still from Planet Caledon
© Andrew Macdonald -
Still from Reforesting Planet Caledon
"I am looking forward to sitting down for a weekend very soon and making some entries for this year's competition. I really love this challenge. Through work, throughout the year I shoot a lot of footage with nature and landscape as the subject. The SNVA is a great new excuse to have some fun, experiment a bit and to try to use some of the footage I have gathered differently, to try to make some extra wee useful films, as entries.
"I spent the start of the summer filming wild and iconic locations around Scotland for a suite of 360 degree experiences I am beginning to offer for relaxation, entertainment and promoting Scotland. One user at the National Museum of Scotland recently commented that my work is, 'at the innovative forefront of back in time travel'. Another said, 'absolutely the best tour of Scotland I could have taken without going to the actual places... now I want to come back to visit them for real!'
"The later part of the summer I spent geeking out, learning while working with fascinating, fun scientists from the James Hutton Institute, making 360 content showcasing their remote work investigating peatland restoration as a climate change mitigation measure. This content was launched at the recent IUCN Peatland conference, has been touring the country and will soon be an exhibit in the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.
"The SNVA and photography awards are great competitions because they give people passionate about Nature and Scotland a chance to share a message, locally and to the world, that all nature is valuable. Like John Muir said, 'People need beauty, as well as bread'."


The 2018 Scottish Nature Photography Awards are open to 30th November 2018. Find out how to enter the photography competition here or enter the video competition here.