Blainslie photographer wins national prize with chance shot

Blainslie wildlife photographer Stuart Scott who was surprised but pleased at his win
Blainslie wildlife photographer Stuart Scott who was surprised but pleased at his win
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A wildlife photographer from near Lauder has been named The Mammal Society’s Mammal Photographer of the Year 2014.

Blainslie’s Stuart Scott won the accolade with a shot of a hare standing upright which he captured in the last few moments of a day when he was trying to shoot lizards.

He said: “I happened to come across it on the edge of Threepwood Moss whilst looking for lizards. I crawled behind a dry stone wall to where I estimated the hare to be on the other side, and peeped over. Typically, it had already heard me and was squashed down in the grass ... not a good photo!

“Then it sprinted away so again I thought that was it ... no photo. But it stopped, stood up and looked at me. I fired off a few frames and then it was gone. A few moments that I could never have predicted.”

The unpredictability of his chosen profession as well as seeking out things he would not normally see is the attraction for the dad-of-one, who is married to Karin.

Originally from Wales, Scott said: “I started taking photography seriously whilst doing a fine art degree more than 25 years ago. I began concentrating on wildlife and outdoors subjects when I moved out into the country (from London) where I had the chance to spend time exploring the natural world again.

“I’ve always loved the outdoors and wildlife from an early age. As a family we used to spend a lot of time on weekends caravanning around the Welsh countryside. I’d walk for miles exploring the landscape. I was just brought up to respect and enjoy wildlife.

“I get a kick out of photography because it makes me look for subjects or encounters I’d normally miss and walk by. Although I don’t always want to experience nature through the viewfinder of camera, it does force me stop and look at the world. I get more enjoyment spending a few hours looking through a small patch of woodland than going to some of the traditional hotspots wildlife photographers flock to.

He noticed it was the last day for entries to the competition: “I thought ‘that’s quite different’. It’s not as aesthetically pleasing as some, but I thought it’s quite a good behaviour shot.”

Past wins have included the Scottish Sea Bird Centre photo competitions and exhibitions and an SNH Scottish Biodiversity Week Photo competition with an exhibition in Edinburgh Zoo.

Stuart worked for more than 20 years in digital media, mostly 2D and 3D computer graphics, including computer games, but now is running his photography and design business, Stuart Scott Images, full time.

As well as selling photographic prints, doing talks and training, he also does commercial and product photography, design work and visualisations.

“In the future I’m hoping to get photographers coming to the Borders with courses and setting up hides for specific species,” he said.

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