Talented Edinburgh photographer Craig Newton, from Willowbrae, impressed the judge for an online photography competition to win first place.
To celebrate puffin season, conservation and education charity, the Scottish Seabird Centre, at North Berwick, launched a puffin photo Facebook competition. They secured the expertise of award-winning photographer, Tom Langlands, to judge the entries. A different winner was selected each week, with 150 images submitted over the four-week competition.
Craig Newton said: “I took the picture on the Isle of May, a place I love to visit to see the puffins up close. After several visits to the island I scouted out a few quiet spots, without many visitors, where I could lie down and wait for the puffins to emerge from their burrows.
“I couldn’t believe my luck when a puffin appeared right in front of me. The light was very soft, so I opened up the aperture on my camera to throw the foreground and background out of focus in order to isolate the bird and get the best picture possible. After a few minutes of not doing very much at all, the puffin opened its wings for a stretch and I was able to get the winning shot.”
Judge Tom Langlands said: “Puffins are a ‘red status’ bird in terms of conservation – this means that they are of greatest concern with numbers having declined rapidly in recent decades. It is therefore wonderful to see so many amazing images of these ‘clowns of the sea’ – not just because all the contestants took great puffin pictures but mainly because they got out there and saw the birds in their natural habitat.
“Craig’s image is beautifully composed with nice soft textures and delicate colours that both compliment the bird and at the same time allow it to stand out from its surroundings. The depth of field used has isolated the bird and the low camera angle draws me into the world that the puffin inhabits. I could imagine this image as a wall hanging or canvas print – nicely done.”
Tom Brock OBE, chief executive of the Scottish Seabird Centre, added: “As a conservation and education charity, we focus on encouraging people to engage with nature in a fun yet sustainable way. Our visitors are able to control the interactive live cameras to see puffins in their natural habitat, with a further chance to see them on one of our boat trips. Notably, the Isle of May is the biggest puffin colony on the east coast of Britain with around 90,000 on the island.
“Congratulations to Craig. Seeing his and everyone’s stunning images has really reinforced how popular puffins really are and how important it is that we look after this threatened species for future generations.”
For details on all the winners: https://www.seabird.org/visit/what’s-on/puffin-season/10/23/217