Battleby : fitting focal point for photography festival

When a great occasion finds a great venue the results can be spectacular. That’s what happened this September when the Scottish Nature Photography Festival settled on SNH’s Battleby conference centre for their eagerly awaited event. A wonderful setting, wonderful subject matter and talented photographers made for a heady mix.

Red squirrel - (c) Edwin Kats

Red squirrel – (c) Edwin Kats

For 21 years the Scottish Nature Photography Festival (SNPF) has been a highlight of the photography year and on a bright autumnal morning in September, this year’s show kicked off at Battleby to maintain that long tradition.

With a new owner (The Wild Media Company) there were bound to be changes and changes there were, but the informality and sense of fun that has always been SNPF’s trademark, was still very much intact.

Old Man of Storr - (c) Marcus McAdam

Old Man of Storr – (c) Marcus McAdam

Hosted by nature photographer Peter Cairns (who played a major role in the popular 2020Vision project), the audience were treated to dazzling presentations by some of the best working photographers around. Marcus McAdam spoke about working close to his home on Skye; young photographer Bertie Gregory, a rising star, told the story of our urban wildlife; Dutch photographer Edwin Kats, showed his innovative approach to photographing red squirrels, wild boar and red deer. Nick Cobbing, a photo-journalist who works for Greenpeace, showed us the power of story-telling; Mark Hamblin, well known to the audience from several previous appearances at SNPF, took us through the pain and the glory of long-term project work and Estonian Sven Zacek rounded off the day with a stunning portrayal of his native land and the charismatic creatures with whom he shares his time.

Peregrine in front of Union Jack - Bertie Gregory

Peregrine in front of Union Jack – (c) Bertie Gregory

It was fitting that the event returned after a one year absence in time for Year of Natural Scotland, and fitting too that SNH’s Battleby conference centre was the location for a prestige event that puts the environment sharply into focus.

The power of visual imagery and insightful story telling has historically been under-estimated in the conservation sector, according to SNPF’s compere Pete Cairns. Mainstream media now has a more significant ‘nature’ presence than ever before and with that exposure has come a new audience. According to Pete, most people’s relationship with the natural world is understandably emotional, and beyond the aesthetics, events like SNPF are valuable tools in engaging a wide audience at an emotional level and inspiring them to care just a little bit more. “If SNPF can do that, our job is done.” says Cairns.

Black grouse fighting at dawn

Two male black grouse fighting at dawn, Scotland, April – (C) Mark Hamblin

The seeds of a new era for SNPF have been sown and with exciting plans for further improvement, the event returns to Battleby in 2014. Put it in your diary: 13-14 September, a date for a healthy dose of inspiration.

Images copyright as follows:   Peregrine in front of Union Jack – Bertie Gregory, Red squirrel – Edwin Kats, Old Man of Storr – Marcus McAdam, Black grouse – Mark Hamblin


Just minutes from the A9, Battleby Conference Centre offers a unique setting for your next conference or business meeting. Ample on site parking, state of the art conference facilities, quality catering and a professional service are all enhanced by the historic woodland garden. Book your event now by completing a booking form on our website.

Battleby-D7034.jpgWe can host receptions, meetings, presentations, training sessions, product launches and exhibitions. Battleby offers fantastic grounds and outdoor space for team building exercises and demonstrations. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.


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