The online polls have closed and the photograph chosen by readers to feature on the 2018 Shetland Times calendar is this striking entry from Gordon Siegel.
From nearly 100 submissions staff in The Shetland Times newsroom whittled the entries down to a shortlist of 12 before placing the final decision in the readers’ hands via a poll on our website.
Nearly 1,500 votes were cast in all with Gordon’s image striking the right chord with most readers. His photograph of Shetland ponies, one of which (called Dante) almost appears to be posing for the camera, secured 587 votes – just shy of 40 per cent of the total and over twice that of his nearest rival.
Speaking after the poll closed on Tuesday Gordon said: “I’m just overwhelmed with everybody voting for the ponies, obviously it’s been a big hit.”
He said that he was surprised to hear that he had topped the poll having only turned his longtime interest in photography into a serious hobby after receiving a camera as a Christmas present last year.
After spending the year learning from YouTube tutorials, books and magazines Gordon was inspired to make prints and book a stall at the craft fair which took place at Clickimin at the weekend.
The stall had been successful, Gordon said, adding that it was “a surreal feeling have people buying your photographs to put in their homes”. And now, after winning the calendar competition, his photo is set to grace the walls of many more homes and offices throughout the isles for 12 months. A further print of the image will also be up for auction as part of BBC Radio Shetland’s Children in Need broadcast.
The photo, Gordon explained, was taken in March as he drove back from Scalloway to his home in Quarff. The skies were clearing after a downpour and the photographer spotted the ponies huddled together by the fence. After approaching armed with his camera he started speaking to the ponies, which were all looking at the ground, causing one to “pop its head up” giving the appearance that the animal was posing for the snap.
Gordon also praised the “absolutely fantastic” quality of entries into the competition and said that he wanted “thank everybody for voting”.
The top three was rounded out by photos from Andrew Simpson (19 per cent of the vote) and Kareen Hunter (14 per cent).
A free calendar featuring Gordon’s image will be included in a festive edition of The Shetland Times.