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Arts / Lerwick photographer delighted with awarding-winning shot

Austin Taylor's award winning shot of a bearded seal at the Hamnavoe marina. Photo: Austin Tayler

LOCAL photographer Austin Taylor says he is chuffed and feels honoured after winning the portrait category at the Scottish Nature Photography awards with a splendid shot of a bearded seal looking at its mirror image at the Hamnavoe marina.

The 2020 winners of the prestigious awards were announced online on Tuesday.

Taylor said the bearded seal was not the one which took up temporary residency at Victoria Pier in summer of 2018, but a cousin that visited the marina at Hamnavoe, in Burra, for a few days in November the following year.

“It was spotted there on a Friday afternoon and I was only able to go over on the Saturday, and stayed for hours until I was the last person there watching the animal,” Taylor said when contacted by Shetland News earlier today.

“It was towards the end that I got this photo because the water went really nice and still, and he or she happens to look over the edge and I thought ‘that’s a great shot’.”

Judges agreed and declared his photograph the winner from a total of 26 on the shortlist in the category.

Taylor said: “I am thoroughly delighted, as this is recognition by your peers who have an eye for these things that you are taking a good photograph.

“I have won some minor awards in the past, but this is a fairly significant national award, so I feel happy and it’s great news.”

Now over a decade old, the contest has established itself as Scotland’s premier nature photography competition.