Scotland’s Protected Places

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The Scotland’s Protected Places award.


The Scotland’s Protected Places Award is a special award category for the best image of one of Scotland’s Protected Places. Sponsored by Historic Environment Scotland, this award has been put together to encourage photographers to discover these new places, to explore and photograph them.

You can visit these places during the time the competition is open which is currently during the best of the autumn season, or you may already have an image you have taken previously. (within 6 years).

To help you, a special website is available that lists all of Scotland’s natural and historic protected places. You can browse the interactive map and learn more about each place to plan your visit or identify images you already have.

To view Historic Environment Scotland properties go to:

All of the info on Scotland’s protected places can be found at

Please note: There are no additional fees for this award. If your standard entry includes image(s) of a Historic Environment Scotland property, they will be automatically entered into this Protected Places category.

The Historic Environment Scotland Award
One Winner will receive a 3 day visitor family pass to any of Scotland’s Historic sites (HES)

The winners of this award will be chosen by Historic Environment Scotland (HES)

The image below of Balvaird Castle by Simon Swales was commended in the 2014 competition.Balvaird Castle is one of Scotland’s historic protected places.

Balvaird Castle

Acceptable media

Both film and digital images are allowed but your submissions should be in digital jpg format only via the competition website. Film images may be submitted from scans of colour transparency, black and white or colour negatives. Film images should be processed as per “digital adjustments and processing” section.

Digital Adjustments and Processing

Digital adjustments are allowed and there are no limits but you should try to keep these within reason and should not alter or affect the integrity of the image.

The following digital adjustments are acceptable:

  • Dust spot removal
  • Curves & levels, Highlights/Shadows
  • Contrast
  • Sharpening
  • Converting to black and white acceptable
  • Cropping – cropped image must be acceptable quality at A4 without interpolation (digital upscaling)
  • White balance correction
  • Colour balance changes
  • Digital ND grads
  • Exposure changes
  • Global and local saturation
  • Dodging and burning
  • Stitch panoramas
  • Multiple exposures – images must be taken at same time and place
  • HDR allowed
  • Blending images from a bracket sequence allowed

Unacceptable digital adjustments

  • Adding, moving or removing elements from your image. e.g cloning in clouds, trees etc
  • Composites and montages of more than one image
  • Blending multiple images from different times of the day
  • Focus stacking


Respecting the landscape.

We respectfully ask that when taking your images you show care for the environment and respect the interests of others. When out and about taking your photographs for the competition, we ask that you abide by the Scottish Country Access Code. Links to the Country Code are listed below.

Country Code Summary

Country Code in Full