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Blinking great puffin shot wins top accolade.

Byline: Tony Henderson Environment reporter jnl.news@ncjmedia.com

THE ever-popular puffin has won the competition to feature 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 a summer visit to the Farne Islands.

The image was chosen as the winner of the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership's photographic competition and will feature on the cover of 50,000 visitor guides in 2017.

Chris, who captured his winning shot on Staple Island, said: "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.

"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. It was a really wonderful moment to capture."

"I am thrilled that my photograph has won the competition, and it will be an honour to see it on the front cover of the visitor guide."

As well as featuring on the front cover of guide, Chris will receive a PS150 voucher for Stait Photo in Morpeth.

Competition judge John Woodman, chairman of the AONB Partnership, said: "I've always thought the sand eel is the secret ingredient powering the bird and seal life of the Farnes, which in turn embody the AONB. So I'm pleased our choice of cover picture next year shows that the puffins agree."

Ken Stait, who runs Stait Photo in Morpeth and Hexham, sponsored the competition and was also a judge.

He said: "It was, as ever, great fun to go on a photographic tour of the Northumberland Coast with the standard of this year's entries especially high. We all felt that the shot of the puffin captured the essence of the AONB and was a worthy winner".

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

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Chris Orange's puffin picture which is to feature on the cover of the Northumberland coast visitor guide for 2017 Chris Orange

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 25, 2016
Words:395
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