A stunning image of an orca taken by an Orcadian wildlife photographer has been selected by the Royal Mail as part of a new stamp collection.
Wildlife photographer and tour guide Hugh Harrop has described seeing one of his photos of orcas being used on a new series of wildlife stamps as “one of the proudest moments in his career”.
Royal Mail unveiled the new series of 10 first-class stamps this week, with each stamp featuring one of the diverse creatures which can be found around Britain’s coasts.
Scotland’s wild coasts
Mr Harrop has been taking photos and video footage of the various pods of orcas around the Orkney and Shetland Isles for many years, but said it was “something special” to know that his image would be used on letters around the country.
“I have had thousands of images published over the years, including photos commissioned by Coca-Cola for a marketing initiative, but this is the biggest accolade yet,” Mr Harrop said.
Truly delighted to have my spy-hopping #Orca photographed off Sumburgh Head, #Shetland selected for the @RoyalMailStamps 'Wild Coasts' collection due for release on July 22 2021. pic.twitter.com/2JiTCMpY9h
— Hugh Harrop Wildlife (@HughHarrop) July 14, 2021
Though he spends much of his time filming whales and dolphins off the coast of Orkney and Shetland, it is only thanks to the many local people who contribute to the Orca sighting Facebook page that he has been able to closely follow the animals.
On this occasion, he said, it was thanks to fisherman Alan Pottinger from Sandwick who alerted him to a pod of killer whales off Noness.
“We followed them all day. The photo chosen for the stamp was taken at Sumburgh. It is male number 196 of the Scottish killer whale catalogue, part of pod number 65,” Mr Harrop said.
Royal stamp of approval
The rest of the stamps in the collection feature detailed pictures of other marine habitats and creatures including fish, birds, molluscs and cold-water coral reefs.
An additional four stamps showcase the marine food chain in a miniature fact sheet.
Mr Harrop said the magnitude of the commission only hit home when he learned that it was Her Majesty The Queen who had the ultimate say in approving the images that are being used.
The stamp collection will be available to buy from July 22.
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