Watch the birdie!

A CUMBERNAULD clergyman with a lifelong interest in photography is the only Scottish winner in a nationwide competition, and he won on his first photo shoot with his new upgraded lens.

Reverend Derek Corner (65), of Lime Crescent in Abronhill, will be known to some of our readers as the former minister of Cumbernauld Congregational Church and is now minister at the United Reformed Church in Hamilton – but that is not the only string to his bow.

For Derek’s picture of this pheasant with attitude has landed him second prize in the Waterstones photography competition. And his prize includes a year’s membership to the Royal Photographic Society, and the book and DVD of the upcoming BBC Series Africa.

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A statement from the judging panel said: “The pheasant is quirky, looks inquisitive and, as with the Starling, is focussed against a simple, unfussy backdrop that complements the whole composition. A good fun shot not about the technicalities of photography more about capturing the moment and humour.’’

The married dad-of-three makes fundraising calendars and greetings for his church but isn’t content to rest on his laurels as he’s done a number of wildife photography courses.

Derek, also who taught for many years at Balfron High School, said: “I had just added a 400mm telephone lens to my kit, last year, when I went to the RSPB reserve at Leighton Moss near Carnforth. Amongst the first photographs I took with the new lens was that of a pheasant.

“On the last shot he tilted his head as if to say, ‘what are you looking at?’. That is what got me second prize. I think I owe that bird some grain next time I visit!” he added.

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