Putting the Esk Valley in the picture

Aurora over Fisherrow Harbour by Ian Algie
Aurora over Fisherrow Harbour by Ian Algie

An atmospheric photo of the aurora at Musselburgh Harbour has scooped first prize in Esk Valley Trust’s photographic competition.

The trust invited amateur and professional photographers of all ages to submit photographs capturing the beauty and diversity of the Esk Valley from its source in the Pentland Hills (North Esk) and the Moorfoot Hills (South Esk) to the mouth of the River Esk on the Firth of Forth.

The winners, all from the local area, were announced at the trust’s recent annual general meeting in Dalkeith. They are: 1, Aurora over Fisherrow Harbour by Ian Algie (£100); 2, Old Mill Lade Remains by Alan Whyte (£75); 3, Loanhead Statue By Jim Mackie (£25). Highly commended were: Lady Victoria at Sunset by Fiona Horne, Heron at Musselburgh by Alan Whyte, and Snowdrops and Moss at Arniston House by Michael Kennedy.

Ian (35), who lives near Bonnyrigg, took the winning photo on March 6.

He explained: “I was aware of an incoming solar storm thanks to the Facebook group ‘Aurora Research Scotland’ of which I’m a member.

“I was also aware that I wanted to try and submit an aurora photo for the competition. Normally I head to North Berwick to get away from the glow of Edinburgh but I needed one from the Esk Valley area for the competition so I thought I would check out the harbour to try and get out from under the street lights.

“I was lucky enough to capture the photo in question. Later that night the aurora became much stronger and I captured a number of other images from Whitekirk and near Tantalon Castle. Unfortunately, they didn’t qualify for entry due to location.

“It still remains the best aurora display I’ve seen in the two or so years I’ve been aurora chasing.”

Ian, a storage consultant for Dell, describes himself as a hobbyist photographer.

“I’ve been interested in photography since my teens, something I picked up from my dad who always had a film SLR with him when we went on holidays,” he added.