Wildlife prize for Haltwhistle photographer's brown bear picture

Haltwhistle photographer Steve Wrightson's striking shot has won a Scottish Seabird Centre Nature photography award

© Steve Wrightson Evening Bear by Steve Wrightson, from Northumberland
Evening Bear by Steve Wrightson, from Northumberland

A Northumberland photographer’s striking image of a bear has landed him a prestigious international award.

Steve Wrightson, from Haltwhistle, has won one of the Scottish Seabird Centre Nature Photography Awards for his shot Evening Bear, with it judged one of the best from a field of over 400 images from all over the world.

Steve, who only took up photography five years ago, has spoken of his delight at receiving the accolade.

The 53 year old, who lives at Meadow Grange, took up photography as a hobby and makes annual trips to the Isle of Mull to shoot.

In 2012, Steve travelled to Finland to photograph golden eagles and returned to take pictures of brown bears in 2013.

He entered the ninth annual Scottish Seabird Centre Nature Photography Awards for which 435 images of wildlife, plant life, the environment and landscapes were submitted by amateur photographers from around the world.

The Journal reported in December how three of his efforts - showing brown bears and a swooping eagle - had been shortlisted in the competition’s Worldwide Wildlife category, one of eight.

Visitors to the visitor attraction and conservation charity in North Berwick voted for the 200 finalists from November, with a poll also held online. A panel of judges would also pick their favourites in each category.

© Steve Wrightson Bear Family by Steve Wrightson, from Northumberland
Bear Family by Steve Wrightson, from Northumberland

Evening Bear has now been picked by judges as the winner of the Worldwide Wildlife category while Bear Family, one of his other shortlisted entries, came second in the public vote.

Steve said: “When I saw the shortlisted entries in all the sections I was immediately struck by the high standard and thought the judges are going to have a tough time selecting a winner from each of those.

“I am so chuffed that mine was one of winners and would like to thank not only the judges but everyone at the Scottish Seabird Centre who have worked to put together such an impressive competition.”

Steve wins a range of prizes including a trip to the Isle of May National Nature Reserve with Lorne Gill - award-winning official photographer from Scottish Natural Heritage, memberships for the Scottish Seabird Centre and Scottish Wildlife Trust, vouchers for Northshots Photography and day-long wildlife trips courtesy of Isle of Mull Wildlife Expeditions.

© Steve Wrightson Eagle Fight by Steve Wrightson, from Northumberland
Eagle Fight by Steve Wrightson, from Northumberland

Evening Bear will also be on show in an exhibition of the winning photographs at the Scottish Seabird Centre until late March.

Lorne said: “Choosing winners from the hundreds of images we receive is never easy, but the level of creativity and the diversity of photographs makes it such a pleasure. Congratulations to Steve.

“So many of the images are thought-provoking and inspiring.”

Caroline Vevers, events and exhibitions officer at the Scottish Seabird Centre, added: “As a conservation and education charity, we focus on making people aware of the beauty of wildlife and the natural environment around us, and the importance of preserving it.

“Seeing an appreciation of that world reflected in these striking photographs is very heartening and we’re so impressed with the quality of entries received this year. Well done to all the winners.”

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer