Biodiversity-Week-2010-Nature-Photography-competition-2nd-prize-winner-Lee-Howell-The-Old-Fisherman-of-Leith-1A free exhibition featuring 30 spectacular images of Scotland’s wild places and animals, taken by Scotland’s people, takes place from 18 to 30 August at the Edinburgh Zoo Gallery as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The photos are the top images from this spring’s Nature Photography Competition, run as part of Scottish Biodiversity Week in May and co-ordinated by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). The photo exhibition will also tour key venues in Scotland during autumn and winter 2010 and throughout 2011.

The fourth annual competition asked for pictures showcasing animals, plants or landscapes across Scotland. This year’s theme was emotions. The contest aimed to find out more about what nature and biodiversity mean to people in Scotland. Examples of biodiversity are all around us – from earthworms to golden eagles, from the smallest blade of grass to the tallest tree, and from the flowers in the window box in a Scottish city to the vast Cairngorm plateau. The organisers hope that people who live in Scotland will go and see the exhibition but it will also be a good introduction for Festival visitors from further afield to nature in Scotland.

Scottish Biodiversity Week organiser, Zeshan Akhter, said:

“People are becoming more and more removed from nature, so we wanted to know what it means to them when they are able to get out and capture some of the natural beauty around them. To me, this exhibition shows that we are still strongly connected – and feel so many emotions – when we’re out enjoying the stunning beauty of the countryside. I think these images may mean even more to us nowadays, as they remind us why nature and biodiversity are so important to us still, despite many of us feeling more and more disconnected from nature.

Biodiversity-Week-2010-Nature-Photography-Competition-1st-Place-Winner-Paul-Cook-Barn-Owl-1

“Whether it’s that special place we love to go or the time we had a chance glimpse of a wild animal, these moments remind us that we live within nature, not separate from it.”