As part of our commitment to showcase Scottish nature, wildlife and landscape photography, the Scottish Nature Photography Awards include an award that recognises the merits of photographic books through our biennial public vote to find the Favourite Scottish Nature Photography Book. The eleven books shortlisted for the sixth biennial award highlighted different aspects of Scottish nature and landscape with stunning photography. Each is a credit to the work of the photographers, with visual storytelling which is the culmination of their commitment and creativity. The award is also an acknowledgement of the role of the publishers in helping to bring these works to fruition. Informative, inspirational and entertaining, these books offer something to everyone who loves Scottish nature and the art of photography.

The winner of the Scottish Nature Photography Awards Favourite Scottish Nature Photography Book 2020 is:

Winner: The Secret Life of the Cairngorms
Author: Andy Howard
Publisher: Sandstone Press Ltd.

Robert Davidson, Publisher and Managing Director at Sandstone Press said: "At Sandstone Press we are enormously proud of being the publishers of Andy Howard’s beautiful Secret Lives series. It is quite tremendous that the first two books in what will be a trilogy have been recognised by this prestigious award.

"We are most grateful to Andy’s readers for taking the time to vote for
The Secret Life of the Cairngorms. Andy brilliantly visualises Scotland’s wildlife and landscapes, recontextualising them for a world in which wild things grow ever more rare and precious."

Andy Howard said: "I’m absolutely thrilled to have won this award and humbled to have won for the second time, especially considering the high standard of books on the shortlist. I’d like to thank everyone who voted.

"I’m privileged to do what I do for a living, to spend time in the company of wildlife, to photograph and then write about these encounters is a joy.

"My job is simple, to record and share the beauty of the wildlife found in Scotland. I’ve cherished every moment I’ve spent in the Cairngorms photographing the rich and diverse range of wildlife, from the spectacular spectacle of an Osprey grabbing a trout from a lochan to spending time on the high plateau with a dozing Dotterel, each and every one encounter is magical and will stay with me forever."

2nd Place: Naturally Orkney - Coastline
by Raymond Besant
Publisher: The Orcadian

Craig MacInnes, General Manager at The Orcadian said: "I am delighted that Raymond’s photography, gentle words and skilled portrayal of Orkney’s coastlines through the changing seasons – light, twilight, tranquillity and theatre – and his ability to bring them together so successfully, have been recognised once again by all those that voted in The Scottish Nature Photography Awards. He is a masterful photographer and naturalist, able to capture and communicate detail and behaviour so vividly, that it appears instantaneous and effortless. Naturally Orkney – Coastline is an absolute gem and thoroughly deserving of this accolade."

Raymond Besant said: "It's really lovely to see my second book receive a placing in the awards. It's in some very good quality company and I own many of the books it was up against! It's a pleasure to be able to photograph what is essentially my back yard and then share those stories and images with people. This hopefully then helps foster an appreciation of the wildlife we have here and what we can help do to maintain it for future generations."

3rd Place: Scottish Island Bagging: The Walkhighlands guide to the islands of Scotland
by Helen Webster and Paul Webster
Publisher: Vertebrate Publishing

Jon Barton, Managing Director at Vertebrate Publishing said: "This is a great honour, Helen and Paul from Walkhighlands have produced a stunning book showcasing the best that Scotland has to offer. The Scottish Islands are on everybody’s bucket list and this book tells you exactly why. Delighted to have got on to the podium amongst some tremendous books published recently.

Helen and Paul Webster said: "Many congratulations to Andy on his thoroughly deserved win. We were thrilled to make it onto a shortlist that demonstrates the breadth of great books and photography about Scotland's outdoors."

Everyone who participated in the online vote was entered into our free prize draw for one lucky winner to win the entire shortlist of books. Our thanks go to the publishers for their kind donations of books for the prize draw.

The lucky winner is....

Yvonne Crook

Congratulations Yvonne. Happy browsing!

The 2020 Shortlist:

Fragile: Birds, Eggs & Habitats
by Colin Prior

Published by Merrell Publishers Ltd.
ISBN: 978-1-8589-4688-7

Publisher's description: Birds’ eggs are among the most delicate and ephemeral wonders of nature, but birds’ habitats are becoming increasingly fragile too. This stunning new book by renowned landscape photographer Colin Prior reveals, in extraordinary detail, the unique beauty of birds’ eggs, but also serves as a powerful reminder to protect the environment and its wildlife. Fragile is the culmination of ten years of painstaking work. The book presents remarkable images of birds’ eggs displayed in diptychs with awe-inspiring photographs of the birds’ habitats. The habitats have been specially photographed at a time of year when the colours of the landscape most closely resemble those of the eggs. Grouped into chapters ranging from Mountain and Moorland to Coniferous Forest, and Sea Cliffs and Rocky Islands, the results are breathtaking – the astonishing diversity and fragility of the eggs a perfect match for the drama and majesty of their surroundings.

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Hirta: A Portrait of St Kilda
by Alex Boyd

Published by Luath Press Limited
ISBN: 978-1-913025-05-2

Publisher's description: This collection is born from a project undertaken by photographer Alex Boyd over the course of many return visits to St Kilda over several years. The collection aims to give a complete and well-rounded portrayal of the islands, avoiding over-romanticising St Kilda and its inhabitants. Appearing here in full colour, Boyd’s photography captures the rugged beauty and the narrative of these fascinating islands.

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Isle of Rust: A Portrait of Lewis and Harris by Alex Boyd, Jonathan Meades, Dan Hicks

Published by Luath Press Limited
ISBN: 978-1-913025-00-7

Publisher's description: Here, at the north-westernmost periphery of Europe is what feels like a presage of the future, the distant future, the furthest future, after which there’ll be no future at all. This is the Isle of Rust – known, too, as Lewis and Harris. It is a blueprint, a working model of the day which will have no tomorrow. Jonathan Meades. Isle of Rust not only refers to the countless corroding tractors, weaving sheds and other visible signs of human settlement but also to the colours of the land: the reds of deergrass and the purple moor grass which make up so much of the moorland. It is a place of great contrast in both light and land, from the largely flat peatlands of Lewis, where the majority of islanders make their home, to the mountains of Harris. Alex Boyd. It’d be easy to mistake these landscapes for ruins. Rust is not ruin. There is in Meades-Boyd some kind of shared attention to the detritus of human life. They open their eyes to the humanity that inheres in what outlasts people’s lives. Dan Hicks.

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Lewis and Harris by Vianca Reinig and Philipp Schmidt and Donald S. Murray

Published by Kerber Verlag
ISBN: 978-3-7356-0643-3

Publisher's description: For their new book, photographers Vianca Reinig (*1989) and Philipp Schmidt (*1983) travelled to Scotland and captured the beauty of the northernmost isle of the Outer Hebrides: Lewis and Harris. In stark contrast to the local architecture, the ancient landscape almost becomes tangible in all its craggy shapes and rough colors. With alternating perspectives, sudden cuts between panoramatic shots and minute details, this intricately designed artist book is arranged in a chronologically and filmic sequence of images, poetically bringing to life the vibrant experience of their travels on the remote isle.

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Naturally Orkney - Coastline
by Raymond Besant

Published by The Orcadian
ISBN: 9781912889068

Publisher's description: Raymond Besant’s first book, Naturally Orkney, received widespread acclaim, and supported the publisher’s belief that “he has an instinctive knack of finding and photographing Orkney nature as few have seen it”. In this second book of the series, the Orcadian photographer focuses his camera more specifically on the islands' coastline and reveals what can be discovered there. The high quality of his photography is self-evident, and his commentary gives readers an insight into what they may have missed during a coastal stroll, and the trials and tribulations of photographing nature.

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Pockets of Pretty - An Instagrammer's Edinburgh by Shawna Law

Published by Black & White Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-78530-262-6

Publisher's description: A love letter to Edinburgh, in words and photos. Seen through the distinctive lens of leading instagrammer Shawna Law, Pockets of Pretty showcases the majestic and secluded gems that make the city special. This gorgeous book takes the reader on a stroll through Edinburgh’s many distinct ‘villages’. From the Georgian grandeur of the New Town to the fishmarket squares of historic Leith . . . With a local as your guide, these walks spotlight wonderful photo opportunities – ranging from iconic landmarks to hidden treasures – and include fabulous places to enjoy a coffee, browse a bookstore or visit a boutique florist. For each ‘village’ Shawna talks to artists, business owners and characters, who give their insight on the area, sharing their favourite spots to unwind, relax or have fun. Edinburgh’s unique mix of history, atmosphere, landscape and architecture delights millions of visitors a year. Shawna’s love for her adopted city and passion for photography combine to offer a stunning view of how Edinburgh can be explored afresh, whether on foot or planning your trip from afar.

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Scotland: Highlands, Islands, Lochs & Legends by Claudia Martin

Publisher: Amber Books Ltd.
ISBN: 978-1-78274-773-4

Publisher's description: Where in the world do passenger planes land on the beach each day? Where might you search for the world’s most famous underwater monster? Where would you find a capital city with more listed buildings than anywhere else in the world? Yes, in Scotland of course. The airport runway on the island of Barra is, simply, the beach. People still flock to Loch Ness in the hope of seeing the Loch Ness Monster. And Edinburgh has more listed buildings than any other capital city. Scotland is a fascinating exploration of the most beautiful country of the British Isles. From the prettyGeorgian streets of Edinburgh’s New Town to the Victorian grandeur and Art Deco delights of Glasgow, from the remote islands in the Hebrides to the bustle of the Edinburgh Festival, from Europe’s oldest tree (a 3,000-year old twisted yew) to the majesty of Glenfinnan viaduct – made even more famous by the Harry Potter films – the book is packed with 200 spectacular colour photographs.

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Scotland the Braw
by Alan McCredie

Publisher: Luath Press Ltd.
ISBN: 9781913025489

adjective SCOTTISH

fine or fine-looking, excellent.

This book is a celebration of all that is braw, from the warmth of a Scottish pub to the beauty of the Highland hills, from sunbathing on a dual carriageway to weathering the Beast from the East. Dive into braw Scotland.

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Scotland's Islands
by Allan Wright

Publisher: Allan Wright Photographic
ISBN: 978-1-905683-95-6

Award-winning photographer Allan Wright is no stranger to Scotland's dramatic seaboard having spent 30 years as a professional landscape photographer, passionate in his quest to discover and explore his own country onshore and off. Scotland s Islands features spellbinding photography, further enhanced by the elegant writing of leading Herald and Guardian journalist and columnist Marianne Taylor. Marianne shares her own intimate experience of exploring many of Allan's featured islands, adding a refreshing dimension to this beautiful book truly a document of our time. Lovers of nature and wildlife, walkers, historians, climbers, sailors, visitors to Scotland and armchair travellers wherever they may be, will all find something very special to savour and to enjoy within these pages.

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Scottish Island Bagging: The Walkhighlands guide to the islands of Scotland by Helen Webster and Paul Webster

Publisher: Vertebrate Publishing
ISBN: 9781912560301

Scottish Island Bagging by Helen and Paul Webster, founders of Walkhighlands, is a guide to the magical islands of Scotland. Focusing on the ninety-five islands that have regular trips or means of access for visitors, plus forty-two other islands which have no regular transport but are still of significant size or interest, the authors have described the best ways to experience each one. Of the islands featured, many are household names – Skye, Lewis, Bute – while some, such as the isolated St Kilda archipelago and the remote Sula Sgeir, will be unknown to all but a hardcore few. When it comes to things to see and do, the islands of Scotland have it all. Wildlife enthusiasts can watch out for otters, orcas and basking sharks, while birdwatchers in particular are spoilt: look out for the rare corncrake on Islay, sea eagles on Mull, or sight puffins, gannets, storm petrels and many other seabirds on any number of islands – although beware thedivebombing bonxies.

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The Secret Life of the Cairngorms
by Andy Howard

Publisher: Sandstone Press Limited
ISBN: 9781912240807

Cairngorm National Park is a massive area of mountains and passes, rivers and forests, settlements and wild land, located in the heart of Scotland in every sense. A unique environment, it is home to many species of animals and birds, some permanently resident and others seasonal migrants. It is a place of special interest to walkers and climbers, but also to mountain runners and bikers. In 2019 it received a whole year’s attention from the BBC. Its scenery is glorious. Andy Howard has enjoyed an intimate relationship with the area since childhood, exploring its most hidden places and developing a close understanding of its wildlife. His photography displays the deep empathy that makes him a unique and sensitive guide.

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Favourite Scottish Nature Photography Book 2020
Favourite Scottish Nature Photography Book 2022