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Community | 30th June 2021

Mr Grumpy wins for Sharon


A LANGHHOLM amateur photographer has won the top prize in a regional competition as part of the Royal Highland Showcase 2021.

Sharon Tolson’s photo of Mr Grumpy, the town’s pet heron, was the overall best photo in Dumfries & Galloway Unlimited’s (DGU) Photography Spotlight.

Sharon, who works at the E&L Advertiser, said: “That’s made my week. I love to snap images on my camera phone and share them to promote the area where I live.

“I’ve been an amateur photographer for the past couple of years but, since the pandemic and time to get out and about walking, I really took time to appreciate the nature on my doorstep.”

The best photo in the under 26 year group was won by another Langholm photographer Kirsty Graham for her portrait of a  Blue Tit.

Kirsty said “I was born and raised in Langholm. This might seem cliched but it’s a small town where everyone knows everyone.

“Langholm is surrounded by many hills and walks which are very popular, even to people who aren’t from Langholm.

“This is something I recently highlighted in my photography project for university. I can’t wait to share this news with everyone from my community.”
Each year the Royal Highland ASS invites a different region to act as host, allowing it to highlight the best of its rural economy.

This year it was Dumfries and Galloway’s turn and there is much to inspire photographers.

When it comes to culture and creativity, the region is renowned for communities full of unique characters, artists, makers, storytellers and creative practitioners who all contribute to a varied, vibrant exhibition, festival and events scene.

Kim Ayres, the featured photographer, generously shared some of his photography insights by giving feedback and advice to each of the selected photographers.

He is a narrative and portrait photographer in Castle Douglas, with a love for theatrical and cinematic visual storytelling.

Kim said of Sharon’s photo: “I love the layering hills, river, reflection, heron and stones and use of the bridge in the foreground to frame the scene.”

Kim’s verdict on Kirsty’s entry: “A wonderful sense of depth, texture and life, with a colour palette of spring starting to emerge but where the coolness of winter hasn’t yet lost its grip.”

To view the exhibition go to

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