A Highland nature photographer says he is “humbled” after beating off stiff competition to win the award for favourite Scottish Nature photography book for a second time.
Andy Howard’s images of the majestic landscape of the Cairngorms has long captivated audiences.
And they proved every bit as popular with those who cast votes in the 2020 Scottish Nature Photography Awards.
The competition celebrates nature, wildlife and landscape photography and Mr Howard fought off stiff competition from ten fellow photographers to secure the award for Favourite Scottish Nature Photography Book.
His book, The Secret Life of the Cairngorms, depicts his intimate relationship with the area, having embraced the landscape in childhood and continuing to explore its hidden places and wildlife ever since.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to have won this award and humbled to have won for the second time, especially considering the high standard of books on the shortlist,” Mr Howard said.
“I’d like to thank everyone who voted.”
Second time’s the charm
It’s the second time the nature photographer has taken the top spot, following the success of his debut book, The Secret Life of the Mountain Hare, in 2018.
Ahead of moving to Fortrose on the Black Isle in 1980, aged just 10, his love for nature and wildlife blossomed.
Family holidays in the Eastern Cairngorms, on the Isle of Skye or at the family home on Mull had the greatest influence.
Mr Howard added: “I’m privileged to do what I do for a living.
“To spend time in the company of wildlife and then to photograph and write about these encounters is a joy.
“My job is simple. To record and share the beauty of the wildlife found in Scotland.
“I’ve cherished every moment I’ve spent in the Cairngorms photographing the rich and diverse range of wildlife.
“From the spectacular spectacle of an Osprey grabbing a trout from a lochan to spending time on the high plateau with a dozing Dotterel, each and every one encounter is magical and will stay with me forever.”
Shortlist of talented photographers
A total of 11 books were shortlisted for the 2020 Award, highlighting different aspects of Scottish nature and landscape with visual storytelling through stunning photography.
Runner-up in the 2020 competition was Naturally Orkney – Coastline, produced by Raymond Besant and published by The Orcadian.
Meanwhile Helen Webster and Paul Webster took home third place for their book Scottish Island Bagging: The WalkHighlands guide to the islands of Scotland, published by Vertebrate Publishing.
Robert Davidson, managing director at Sandstone Press, publishers of 2020’s award winner, congratulated Mr Howard on his success.
He said: “At Sandstone Press we are enormously proud of being the publishers of Andy Howard’s beautiful Secret Lives series.
“It is quite tremendous that the first two books in what will be a trilogy have been recognised by this prestigious award.
“We are most grateful to Andy’s readers for taking the time to vote for The Secret Life of the Cairngorms.
“Andy brilliantly visualises Scotland’s wildlife and landscapes, recontextualising them for a world in which wild things grow ever more rare and precious.”
Awards organiser Niall Irvine added: “In the last year, books have taken us out of the limitations of lockdown and given us a view of nature we might not otherwise have seen.
“Now is a great time to celebrate that and this shortlist did just that.”