Stephen Rodger Gulls In The Clouds
31 March 2020

Photography Student Stephen Captures Award Success

An Edinburgh College student has beaten off competition from across the country to capture award success at the tenth anniversary of an annual photography competition.  

HND Professional Photography student Stephen Rodger won Student Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year 2019 for a collection of images titled Gulls in the Clouds.

The Scottish Nature Photography Awards launched in 2009 to celebrate nature, wildlife and landscape photography in Scotland. The awards are open to professional or amateur photographers from around the world, and aims to give a platform to emerging talent.

Stephen said: “Having never won a photographic competition before we can rest assured that being named Student Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year 2019 is a very exciting moment for me.

“Visual shapes of all varieties have always appealed, and so the theme of Patterns for this category was immediately attractive. As part of my college work, I was shooting an environmental series over a number of months and watching it develop. I was initially focused on the oil refinery at Grangemouth and while I was there I noticed over time that the gulls would use the hot air thermals above the site to gain altitude before flying out over the Forth Estuary. Canny birds. On cold mornings the water vapour from the cooling towers would condense quickly into intense swirling clouds, side lit, high in the sky.”

Judge Ron McCombe said: “The judges were impressed with this fine portfolio. Simple yet effective, a collection of cloud formations with the added interest of seagulls flying in each image. The composition works very well in black and white which makes this collection a very strong portfolio.”

Edinburgh College Broadcast Media and Photography lecturer Graham McGirk said: “We are delighted that Stephen has been so successful in the Scottish Nature Photography Awards. Stephen came to us as a mature student and enthusiastically threw himself into all aspects of the coursework. He has always been a most receptive student and an inspirational member of our student community. Nature photography is his passion and that it clearly shown in the excellent quality of his work.”

Edinburgh College Broadcast Media and Photography curriculum manager Marjory Crooks said: “We’re thrilled that Stephen has won this award, and would like to congratulate him on his success. Our photography department has a strong record of award success which is a testament to the breadth of talent studying here, as well as the hard work and dedication of our lecturing staff.”