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Dumfries Camera Club marks platinum year with festival exhibition while Gracefield hosts Britain’s best nature photos

Dumfries Camera Club is celebrating the start of its 70th anniversary year – during which it will stage a special exhibition as part of the Wildlife Film Festival Scotland.

At the same time preparations are underway at Gracefield Arts Centre to host the British Wildlife Photography Award (BWPA) exhibition, also as part of the festival.

Rod Wheelans, a long-time DCC member, will be this year’s club president and he too is 70 this year.

Rod said: “We are really looking forward to taking part in the festival and our exhibition, Creatures of the Nith, will be a great showcase of some of the superb pictures taken by our members and a celebration of the fantastic wildlife of our region.

“Our club is always up there amongst the best in competitions – out of more than 1,000 across Britain we are very much in the top 10. This has a lot to do with the friendliness of the club and the encouragement people give each other to help them achieve superb results.”

Other celebratory events and activities are being planned for the platinum anniversary and DCC, which currently has around 60 photographers, says it warmly welcomes new members.

The BWPA exhibition, which starts at Gracefield on 4 March and continues to 15 April. The winning image for 2016 is an underwater picture of a jellyfish taken in Scotland and among the other pictures on display is one of a sparrowhawk catching a bird on the wing, taken by outgoing DCC president Mick Durham.

Each year the BWPA attracts thousands of entries and the winners, along with the others displayed in its travelling exhibition include some of the most impressive, and often startling, wildlife photography around.

Dawn Henderby, Arts Officer based at Gracefield, said: “It’s fantastic that we will be the first gallery in Scotland to host the 2016 BWPA exhibition.

“It’s such an exciting collection, so we are expecting lots of interest. We’re obviously especially pleased that one of the pictures comes from a Dumfries photographer.

“Gracefield is also delighted to be playing a leading role as one of the key venues for the Wild Film Festival Scotland – which looks set to be a really impressive new attraction for the region.”

Sid Ambrose, WFFS Manager, added: “These two exhibitions will include some of the very best and most inspiring wildlife photography you could wish to see – and will reflect the astonishing amount of photographic talent we have in Dumfries and Galloway.

“It’s a real coup for us to bring the BWPA exhibition to Dumfries, and having that alongside Creatures of the Nith, will be give people a lot to look forward to. Even better is that club members will be giving talks and presentation, and even leading walks along the river, as part of the festival.”

WFFS takes place is a celebration of the natural world through film, photography, topical discussion, music and and more.

It takes place from 24-26 March and its central themes will be Amazing Journeys, Wild Places and Rewilding. Some 30 films are being screened, many of them winners of coveted Wildscreen Panda Awards (the wildlife Oscars).

Naturalists and broadcasters Simon King (Big Cat Diary) and Iolo Williams (Springwatch) will be among the 20 speakers along with Sacha Dench “the human swan” who flew a motorised paraglider 4,500 miles from the Arctic to the UK with migrating Bewick’s swans.

Key supporters of the festival include the Dumfries and Galloway, Scottish Government and the European Union – LEADER 2014-2020 programme.

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