2016 Photo Competition Winner

Puffin pics wins Orkney Tourism Group competition.

A stunning image of a Westray puffin gathering material for its nest has won a special photographic competition organised by Orkney Tourism Group (OTG).

The picture, taken by Noel Donaldson from Wick, was chosen by OTG members from a shortlist of high quality images and scoops a £250 cash prize.

The winning image by Noel Donaldson

Aimed at gathering fresh, exciting and inspirational images of Orkney, the competition - themed ‘Orkney – Islands that stir the soul’ - was launched by OTG in June of this year, attracting hundreds of entries.

Retired journalist and keen photographer Noel, who used to work as a reporter with The Orcadian, took the winning shot while visiting Westray earlier this year.

He said he was delighted to have won the competition with his image, entitled Nothing quite like dry grass for lining a nice warm home for your offspring.

“I thought the membership might have gone for a dramatic landscape, although the puffin with the dried grass was a bit different,” he said. “Prior to getting the shot, I had tried in vain to get a pic of the puffins on top of a stack. I was using a tripod which was really too light for the job, particularly as there was a wind. One of my friends suggested another favourite spot for the puffin, in a wee geo further along the clifftop.

“The alternative site was perfect and there was a single puffin pecking away at the dried grass a few feet away on the same level and oblivious to my interest.The bird almost seemed to be posing, turning this way and that to give me alternative shots.”

Noel added that he’d taken his winning photo using a Nikon 7200 SLR camera with a 300mm VR lens.

His picture will appear in Orkney’s next tourism brochure and will be highlighted, along with other shortlisted images, across OTG’s social media feeds.

Kerry Wilson, project officer for Orkney Tourism Group, said: “The response to our competition was fantastic and we received some really outstanding images. The quality of the shortlisted photographs made the job of choosing a winner particularly hard for our members, but in the end it was Noel’s wonderful shot that really caught their attention. Puffins are such iconic Orkney birds, there couldn’t really be a more appropriate winner!”

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