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Photography award for Paul

Tuesday 6th March 2018, 10:04am

The Mamores. Sgor nam Fiannaidh, above Glen Coe. A dance of light and shade and shifting mists illuminated the Mamores ridge, with a mist-shrouded Ben Nevis behind. Copyright Paul Webster

Photographer Paul Webster has been announced as this year’s winner of the prestigious Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year Award.

Cromdale-based Paul came top against strong competition from thousands of entries submitted by photographers from across the globe. His winning portfolio comprised three magnificently evocative images shot in the mountains of the Lochaber Geopark and Glen Affric with his Fujifilm digital camera. They included ‘Dreams and Nightmares’, a shot of light breaking through to light up Aonach Eagach whilst two ravens circled overhead; ‘The Mamores’, capturing the mists shifting past Sgor nam Fiannaidh, above Glen Coe; and ‘Wild Affric’, a tranquil shot of the landscape and the magnificent Caledonian pines that surround Loch Affric, dusted by the first snows of the winter.

‘Wild Affric’, also received one of 10 awards sponsored by the John Muir Trust.

Paul said: “When I got the telephone call, I was honestly just astonished to be told I'd won. There are so many landscape photographers I really admire that enter this competition, and to have come out on top is just unbelievable - I'm thrilled.”

Grimsby-born Paul (43) is no stranger to the Highlands, having moved to Scotland 11 years ago with his wife Helen, where they set up the hugely popular ‘Walkhighlands' website. It was Paul’s love of Scotland’s landscapes that came first, later leading to his interest in photography to enable him to share with others, and he has since written 14 guidebooks on walking.

In addition to the overall title, the Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year competition consists of eleven other categories, including a range of awards sponsored by supporting organisations that include AcademyClass, Formatt Hitech, Fotospeed, The Isle of Harris Distillery, Loxley Colour, Caledonian MacBrayne, Historic Scotland and the John Muir Trust.

One of the new awards introduced for this year’s competition was the “Scottish Weather” award, judged by BBC weather presenter and news anchor Anne Lundon.

The competition, now in its fourth year, is the brainchild of Perthshire-based landscape photographer Stuart Low who put it together to promote and inspire photographers of all levels to explore Scotland’s landscapes, and to promote Scotland’s natural, cultural and historic heritage to an international audience. Winning entries will be published in a series of public exhibitions across Scotland and in a special edition book that will be launched on 27th March 2018.

Stuart Low, head judge of the competition, said: “The competition is now firmly established, not only in the UK but right across the globe. It has evolved and diversified too. This year, we’ve seen more photographers shooting on traditional film and some have even submitted entries using historical photographic processes, like ‘Cyanotypes’ which date back to the 1790s, so it’s been very interesting to judge. 

“The competition does a lot of good too. The images that the photographers capture of our iconic, and even unseen places, promote tourism and the book that showcases the winning images adds to that. Acting as a brochure for Scotland’s amazing places, it inspires visitors to follow in the footsteps of the photographers so they can experience the views for themselves. Even the exhibitions play their part, boosting numbers to galleries, small cafes and bookshops. The photographers benefit too, with some going on to win commissions, sell prints and produce their own books, and we’re all the richer for more choice of talent to hang on our walls. I’m genuinely thrilled for all concerned and looking forward to this year once again.”

Find out more at the SLPOTY website.

Dreams and Nightmares. Aonach Eagach, above Glen Coe. A bright and crisp sunny day had been forecast, but any initial disappointment about the dark clouds evaporated when this view along the ridge was suddenly revealed, with two ravens circling the summit and Glen Coe appearing as a black pit on the right. Copyright Paul Webster.

Wild Affric. The native Caledonian pinewoods have helped Affric secure its reputation as Scotland's most beautiful glen. Here the An Tudar ridge rises above the still waters of Loch Affric on a cold day at the start of winter. Copyright Paul Webster.