In a year when our connection with nature has never felt more important, the annual Scottish Nature Photography Awards provided the judging panel, photographers Mhairi Law, Charlie Phillips and Niall Irvine, with a wealth of environmental, abstract, botanical, wildlife and landscape images to choose from.

Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year 2020 is Edinburgh based nature photographer Charles Everitt whose image, Taking Root, of Pink purslane rooted in the base of a tree won the Scottish Botanical category before being chosen by the judges as the overall winner. Charles, who has run his own photography business since 1998, finds much of the inspiration for his work in his local area and this image was no exception.

Taking Root Charles EverittTaking Root © Charles Everitt

Charles said: “The Water of Leith is a wonderful little river that starts in the Pentland Hills and flows through the city of Edinburgh. Well managed by its own Conservation Trust, the river has become a corridor for fauna and flora as it flows through both woodland and urban environments.

“While walking in a wooded area along the banks of the Water of Leith just outside Edinburgh, I noticed a pocket of Pink purslane rooted in the base of a tree beside the river. I returned the next day and was blessed with dappled sunlight so just needed to wait until the flowers became illuminated. Scotland has a wide range of wild flowers and I always enjoy the challenge to try to capture their beauty."

Judge Niall Irvine said: ”This image draws you in. The purslane is nestled in its own miniature landscape of the old tree roots, highlighted by that wonderful dappled light. It takes sensitive observation to see the potential in this plant growing wild. Charles has distilled its story into a quietly powerful image.

The winner of the Junior Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year 2020 (under-18s) is Max Eve (15), from Hexham.

Max Eve Coral Beach Applecross PeninsulaCoral Beach, Applecross Peninsula, ©Max Eve

Max said: “The awards help motivate and inspire me to go out and give my photographic interpretation of the natural environment. Unfortunately, I was unable to visit Scotland last year due to the Covid 19 restrictions. This image was taken the year before.

I wanted to create an image showing detail of a rocky outcrop in the sea, with the distant mountains of Raasay and Skye beyond. I chose a very long exposure to simplify the image, removing detail of clouds in the sky and waves in the water. The aim was to concentrate attention on the rocks and mountains beyond. The very light coloured coral sands beneath the water help the subject stand out. I was pleased with the result and very happy it has now been recognised.

Student Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year 2020 is Emily Cassidy, an Art and Design General Foundation student at the University of Dundee. Entrants were asked to submit a portfolio of three images on the theme of natural light and Emily's winning entry was Hazen Rays of Winter's Encroaching Grasp.

Emily Cassidy Hazen Rays Winters Encroaching GraspHazen Rays of Winter's Encroaching Grasp © Emily Cassidy

Emily said: "It was in that strange part of winter where the sun was already setting at 3pm and my sister and I went for a walk at Morton Lochs. A thick mist settled as the sun set, and we were privy to a gorgeous array of rays and beams of light emanating from behind the silhouettes of trees laid bare by winter. With nippy fingers on the camera (my gloves forgotten at home) it was assuredly not autumn any more...

"I feel incredibly lucky, firstly to simply have been able to witness and capture such beautiful natural light as it transpired before me and secondly to have been awarded Student Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year 2020. My heartfelt thanks to the judges for selecting this work, and recognising in it the beautiful interplay of nature and light I sought to capture. I greatly appreciate this honour, thank you!"

Judge Mhairi Law said: “It was a pleasure to judge the Student category. The responses to the theme of ‘natural light’ were creative and right on point. Emily’s portfolio stood out as a succinct body of work that had variation and interest. Her keen eye and technical grasp of her medium meant she created strong and balanced images of rich colour and subtle detail that unfolded itself the more I viewed them. One to watch!

Winner of the Scottish Nature Video Award 2020 for short nature films is Hare Today, Hare Tomorrow?,which the filmmaker, Paul Carpenter, describes as a 'video of hope' regarding the protection of mountain hares. Paul also won second place with his documentary film about life and nature in the pandemic, The Year The World Shut Down.

Winning images and videos will form an exhibition later in the year and will be published along with the shortlisted images in a Portfolio Yearbook in the summer. Details at 

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