Puffin catches the judges’ eye to win Northumberland photo contest

Puffin with his eyes closed, by Chris Orange.
Puffin with his eyes closed, by Chris Orange.

A photo taken by a visitor to the Farne Islands has been chosen as the front-cover image for next year’s Northumberland Coast Visitor Guide.

Chris Orange, from Surrey, snapped a shot of the puffin with its eyes closed during the summer and it has now been chosen as the winner of the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership’s competition and will feature on the cover of 50,000 visitor guides in 2017.

The front cover of next year's Visitor Guide.

The front cover of next year's Visitor Guide.

Chris said: “This photo was taken while on Staple Island during the summer of 2016. After several hours in different locations watching the puffins as they continually flew on and off the Island to catch fish, I began to get into the rhythm of photographing their activity, which was a pleasure to witness.

“As I photographed this particular puffin, I took a couple of frames and noticed that on the second shot his eyes had closed in the same split-second that I closed the shutter on my camera. I did wonder if he was winking at me! A really wonderful moment to capture.

“I am thrilled that my photograph, Puffin with his eyes closed, has won the Northumberland AONB photography competition and it will be an honour to see it on the front cover of the 2017/18 visitor guide. Northumberland has always been a very special place to me, both for its beauty and its fantastic heritage.”

The competition was judged by Coun John Woodman, chairman of the AONB Partnership; Ken Stait, who runs Stait Photo in Morpeth and Hexham and who also sponsored the competition; and our very own image manager, Jane Coltman. As well as featuring on the front cover of the 2017 Visitor Guide, Chris will also receive a £150 voucher for Stait Photo in Morpeth.

The guide will be published next April. Businesses wishing to advertise in the guide should contact Mike Jones at Command Print on 01665 713899 or email hello@dapdudes.co.uk

The judges also chose a runner-up and two highly commended entries – highly commended: Bamburgh Castle at Sunset, by Alan Leightley, from

Seahouses; Bamburgh Castle in Flower, by Elaine Holden, from Benton, Newcastle; and runner-up: Haybales, taken immediately north of Dunstanburgh Castle, by Bob Fogerty, from Pegswood.