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PART OF THE Beyond Borders ISSUE

My first tentative steps into wildlife photography came from visiting a local pond and taking photographs of waterfowl. It was here the momentum began that would combine my established love of wildlife with my new enthusiasm for photography.

Kevin Morgans celebrates the iconic Atlantic puffin in this new photo book, Puffins, capturing the ‘clowns of the sea’ – one of the country’s best loved seabirds. View some of his brilliant photography below, alongside a small introduction to the book, exclusively at Books from Scotland.

 

Puffins: Life on the Atlantic Edge
By Kevin Morgans
Published by Sandstone Press

 

Growing up in northern England, my childhood and teenage years were spent exploring the endless coastline of the Wirral peninsula, my days filled with climbing and playing on the beaches. Sitting on the rocks, gazing out to sea, a flash of white or a blaze of brown in the sky would often capture my attention. As they disappeared over the horizon, I would wonder what adventures these birds must have and what hardships they must face. It was moments like these that sparked my fascination with seabirds.

Ever since, I have been drawn to the coastal regions of our islands: the ragged edges of Shetland, beautiful Pembrokeshire in Wales and, of course, my homeland the Wirral. These coasts are where I live, work and find solitude, and mean everything to me for the childhood memories they evoke and the opportunities they provide. My interest in photography though, began many years later.

On leaving university I travelled across British Columbia and the Rocky Mountains with a small compact camera but no real idea how to use it. I did my best to capture the stunning vistas of lakes, mountains, and wildlife but, ultimately, the images weredisappointing. Sadly, I had not done justice to the beauty of this wonderful place. Determined to improve, I bought my first entry-level DSLR, not realising at that time where it might lead. Countless hours followed reading books, magazines, and searching the internet as I taught myself the basics of photography. What I loved about my new fascination was not only the technical knowledge required, but also how it took me deeper into the natural world. My first tentative steps into wildlife photography came from visiting a local pond and taking photographs of waterfowl. It was here the momentum began that would combine my established love of wildlife with my new enthusiasm for photography.

 


A North Atlantic sunset from Fair Isle.

 

Puffin plumage appears at first sight to be perfectly black and white. Closer examination reveals an array of shades from a light ash-grey on their faces to pitch black. Facial patterns vary between individuals.

 

If you hear a growling from underground, sounding like a muted chainsaw, don’t be alarmed. It is only a puffin calling from its burrow. In contrast, at sea they remain perfectly silent.

 


Over the years, Fair Isle has become best known for its knitwear and its association with the shipping forecast, but it is also home to at least 10,000 pairs of puffins, who nest on its steep grassy slopes and rocky outcrops. This one is seen against the iconic backdrop of Sheep Rock.

 

Puffins: Life on the Atlantic Edge by Kevin Morgans is published by Sandstone Press, priced £29.99.

 

 

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