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Scottish Nature Photography Awards 2015

I'm delighted to announce that my image of the Bass Rock from Seacliff Beach won first prize in the Scottish Landscape - Sea & Coast category and that I was also awarded the overall title of Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year 2015

The Bass Rock from Seacliff beach: 1st place in the Sea & Coast category.

The Bass Rock from Seacliff beach: 1st place in the Sea & Coast category.

This was my fourth year entering this competition and one I have enjoyed some success with in the past including winning the Urban Greenspace category in 2014 - but nothing quite prepared me for the phone call to tell me I had won the overall prize this year and to hear the thoughts of judges like renowned Scottish landscape photographer Colin Prior, who said:

"David's winning photograph works on every level and is an image that will appeal to everyone. It ticks all the boxes – primarily, it has the simplest of compositions which leads the eye through the image from the bottom left, through the Bass Rock and out at the top left. It also shows sensitive processing with the result that David has retained the subtlety of this image – when someone looks at this photograph they know it’s real and not unlike something that they have witnessed at a previous time. There’s also the palette of colours which runs from deep purple to mauve, through pink and orange which has a broad appeal. Finally, I would say that what underlies the success of this image is the convergence of many elements, and the fact that it makes use of such ordinary and accessible subject matter over which many people will walk during the next twelve hours. Through his vision and lens, David has successfully transformed the ordinary into the extraordinary."

My winning image of the Bass Rock was taken at the end of a pleasant evening shooting the sunset over Tantallon Castle from Seacliff beach. It was taken nearly an hour after sunset and I was trying to make my way back along the beach to the car park before it got completely dark when I spotted the water formed shapes in the sand leading to the Bass Rock in the distance and had to stop for one last shot - and thankfully I did!

I was also awarded 3rd place in the Urban Greenspace category and had two further images shortlisted in the Sea & Coast and Land categories. The winning images will be published in a Portfolio Yearbook and also appear in a touring exhibition in 2016. 

You can see the full list of winners on the Scottish Nature Photography Awards website: www.scottishnaturephotographyawards.com

Ocean Terminal Walled Garden: 3rd place in the Urban Greenspace category.

Ocean Terminal Walled Garden: 3rd place in the Urban Greenspace category.

The Old Pier at North Berwick: Shortlisted in the Sea & Coast category.

The Old Pier at North Berwick: Shortlisted in the Sea & Coast category.

The Devil's Pulpit, Finnich Glen: Shortlisted in the Land category.

The Devil's Pulpit, Finnich Glen: Shortlisted in the Land category.

Edinburgh's Christmas 2015

Just before Christmas I made a trip through to Edinburgh to see the traditional Christmas market and festivities in Princess Street Gardens.

#WexMondays Competition 2015

For the last 12 months I've been taking part in a competition run by online photographic retailer Wex called #WexMondays. The challenge was to tweet an image every Monday that you had captured the previous week and post it with the hashtag #WexMondays. Points and Wex vouchers were awarded for first, second and third placed images every week with £1500 of Wex vouchers being awarded to the photographer with the most points at the end of the year. 

I'm pleased to say that I managed to stay the course and enter an image every week - this was actually quite a challenge as you could only submit images taken between midnight on a Sunday night and midnight the following Sunday. Some weeks were more productive than others and thankfully there were only a handful of weeks where I was in danger of not getting an image in time to enter. Overall I was pleased with most of my entries with the only disappointment being that I didn't do enough to impress the judges. It was apparent from a very early stage - probably as early as the end of February - that I wasn't going to score enough points to be in contention for the race to the title. In fact, as the weeks wore on, I feared that I wouldn't score any points at all, but I eventually achieved third place in weeks 31, 32 and 44 which meant I finished in joint 39th place overall with 30 points.  

Click here to see the final leaderboard and winning images from each week.

Congratulations to Matt for winning the title and for consistently producing images to such a high standard throughout the year, and to Mark and Lee who came 2nd and 3rd respectively.

I enjoyed taking part and I have met and made friends with a great group of photographers that also took part each week. However, I don't think I'll be entering in 2016 - at least not every week, as it really does require a strong commitment and a lot of time to enter an image of a high enough standard on a weekly basis to compete. Now that the competition has concluded for the year I've compiled a list of all my images and results for 2015:

Amateur Photographer of the Year 2015 Competition

This year I decided to enter the Amateur Photographer of the Year 2015 competition (APOY). The competition was staged over eight rounds between March and October with each round having a different set theme. The top 50 photographers in each round were awarded points with the overall winner for the year being the photographer accumulating the most points. I managed to enter all the rounds and finished in fifth place overall with a grand total of 153 points. Here are my entries and results from each round.

The Final Result

The Final Result

Concours of Elegance 2015

The 'Concours of Elegance' was held over the weekend of Sept 4-6 at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh and brought together 60 of the rarest cars from collections all over the world. The Concours of Elegance began at Windsor Castle in 2012, before moving to St James’s Palace in 2013, with the 2014 event taking place at Hampton Court Palace. 

I took along my Fuji X-E2 camera and couple of prime lenses that I had on test from Calumet for the weekend using the Fuji Test Drive offer they are currently running. Getting shots of complete cars at these sort of events is always difficult as they tend to be parked fairly close together and with lots of people looking around them it's hard to get a 'clean' shot of the car. In these situations I prefer to get in close and concentrate on all the interesting car details the older cars seem to have. With this in mind I choose the 35mm and 56mm prime lenses as they both offer wide aperture settings that enable you to throw the background out of focus and eliminate distracting background elements. In the end I ended up taking the majority of the images with the 35mm as I just felt it was letting me get that little bit closer to the subject.

Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year 2014 Awards Book

My commended images in the 2014 Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year competition have been published in the awards book and are also currently on display at the Smith Gallery in Stirling until 21st August. Details of other dates and venues can be found here: SLPOTY Exhibition Dates

You can also read an interview with me about my entries on the SLPOTY website here: Interview with David Queenan

SLPOTY 2014 Awards Book: Bo'ness Harbour

SLPOTY 2014 Awards Book: Bo'ness Harbour

SLPOTY 2014 Awards Book: The Kelpies

SLPOTY 2014 Awards Book: The Kelpies



Amateur Photographer Of The Year 2015: Round 3 - The Wider Perspective

Round 3 of the Amateur Photographer of the Year competition 2015 resulted in 4th place for my architectural image of the Ocean Point building in Leith. The theme for Round 3 was 'The Wider Perspective - Creative Wide Angle' and the top 50 images were published in the Amateur Photographer magazine in June. 

Judge's comment: "Here we see a fantastic use of a wideangle lens for architecture. Angling up has given the structure a domineering quality, further emphasised by the removal of colour".