Look away now if you don’t like spiders! Frank Urban has been named the overall winner of the Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year 2022 competition for his image of a tiny spider in his garden. It’s further proof that you don’t need to head off to the wilds, or an exotic foreign destination, to do well in these kind of contests.

The shot, Cucumber Green, won the Scottish Wildlife Portrait category before being selected as the overall winner of the title.

“I’d been working in the garden when I noticed this colourful spider on the handle of a garden tool,’ Frank explains. “I knew this was called a cucumber green spider from a previous sighting and thought I would try to photograph it. I was really delighted how well it turned out. I used a blade of grass to move it to a safer spot in the garden.”

One of the judges, photographer Niall Irvine, added: “Frank’s image draws you into the miniature world of the spider. It’s an excellent example of awareness of the proximity of nature in our immediate environment and an appreciation of its beauty.”

The Scottish Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2022 winner

Picture credit Frank Urban

If Frank’s win has inspired you, check out our guide to wildlife photography, and how to photograph insects this spring

Another great image from photographers under 18
Moving on, the winner of the Junior Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year 2022 (under-18s) is Jessie Morris from Durham. Jessie, who was 13 when she took her winning image, Rush Hour, of gulls coming in to roost, has been particularly interested in bird photography since the age of eight.

The Scottish Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2022 Junior winner

Picture credit: Jessie Morris

“Hidden away on moorland north of Berwick, we waited at the edge of a loch for pink-footed geese to arrive,’ she explains. “It turned out, however, that the shot of the day was gulls roosting on the water. A low exposure captured them settling down for the night. The busyness of the shot as they squabbled for the best positions reminded me of the hustle and bustle of the evening rush hour.”

Student winner
An abstract series of images, Physis, exploring the human relationship with nature won Maria Christidi, a BA Fine Arts student at the University of Dundee, the title of Student Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year 2022.

The Student Scottish Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2022 winner

Picture credit: Maria Christidi

“We view nature at the periphery of our everyday life, maybe walking through parks or nature reserves when the toll of our modern hyper-urbanized lifestyle is too much,’ Maria explained. ‘As a result, nature tends to be viewed as a foreign object that acts to us as a form of escapism. By taking close-up shots which emphasize the unruly characteristics of natural subjects, the viewer can question their relationship with nature more closely and view it in its true fragility rather than it being solely a source of entertainment.”

”The Student category is a little different to the others in that we were looking for a portfolio of three images,’ said another of the judges, Dougie Cunningham. “Maria has taken a familiar subject and really left her own mark upon it. I think most nature photographers have taken our own pass at similar compositions, but Maria’s processing elevates the images beyond just being a simple study.

Combined with strong compositions that bring out different aspects and features in the wood, she has created a collection that works together beautifully. Taking something so familiar and creating something that both demands and holds our attention is no small feat.”

Winning images and videos will tour as an exhibition later in the year and will be published along with the shortlisted entries in a Portfolio Yearbook in the summer. Full details here.

Further reading
How to be an ethical wildlife photographer
Photograph wildlife by understanding animal behaviour
Get started with macro photography
Low-light wildlife photography tips