Forth Bridge

Photography Competition


World Heritage Nomination


The Forth Bridge

A proposal to nominate The Forth Bridge as a World Heritage Site is to be submitted to UNESCO by Forth Bridges Forum in early-2014, with a decision expected in 2015.

As part of the consultation exercise, leading up to the nomination, Forth Bridges Forum created a Forth Bridge World Heritage web site in which they announced a photography competition.


The Competition Winners

The two winners were announced on 28 November 2013.  Their photographs will be used in the submission seeking World Heritage status for the bridge.  Transport Minister, Keith Brown awarded to each winner:

-  a copy of the book 'Forth Bridge: Restoring an Icon' and

-  a voucher for a 'VIP Tour of the Bridge'

Please keep scrolling down this page to see the winning photos and photographers.

 Historic Photos

1st Prize

Billy Steven
Bathgate, West Lothian

Steam Train passing over the Forth Bridge (1948)

Forth Bridge Photography Competition, 2013 - Historical Section - 1st Place Photo amd Camera

©  Billy Steven, Bathgate, West Lothian                                                            Photo taken1948


Billy added:

"Luckily, I'd taken along my father's pocket camera and I managed to get a close-up of the steam train crossing the bridge.

The photo still brings back many fond memories of that time and I am delighted to have won the competition, especially as my prize of a VIP tour will allow me to get back on to the bridge and see it up close again."

Billy, now aged 81, brought to the Prizegiving Ceremony the Kodak 127 Vest Pocket camera, that he used to take his winning photo.  Here it is,  above, standing in front of his winning photo.


 Contemporary Photos

1st Prize

Grant Ritchie


Forth Bridge at Night  from Dalmeny Station Platform

Forth Bridge Photography Forth Bridge Photography Competition, 2013 - Contemporary Photo Section - 1st Place Photo

©  Grant Ritchie, Edinburgh                                                Photo taken 27 February 2013


Grant added:

"I tried to achieve a unique view of the iconic structure.  The fact that my image will now be used in the bid to secure World Heritage status gives me an enormous sense of pride and achievement."

More of Grant's photos, some of the Forth Bridge, some of other subjects mainly in and around Edinburgh can be seen on his Real Edinburgh web site and Facebook page.



Judges Comments

on the photos entered in the competition

Thank You

Thank you to Historic Scotland and Transport Scotland, and whoever else has been involved in making the arrangements for this competition.  Thank you, also, to all the entrants for your photos.


‘Best Historical Photograph’


There were only nine entries in the ‘Best Historical’ competition and the quality of some of these was disappointing.   However, we were please to be able to select three winners:


Historical Photos

1st Place was awarded to a photo of a steam train crossing the bridge.  This was taken with a Kodak Vest Pocket camera in 1948 when a group of scouts from an International Scout Jamboree at Blair Atholl was given permission to walk across the bridge.

2nd Place was awarded for a colour view of the bridge at night, lit for the Forth Bridge Centenary Celebrations in 1990.  It was taken with an Olympus FE 4010 camera.

3rd Place was awarded to a black and white view taken in 2000 by the same photographer, using the same camera. It shows the bridge in a rural setting looking across a harvested hay field at Duloch, Fife, towards the bridge.



‘Best Contemporary Photograph’


There were over 240 entries in the ‘Best Contemporary’ competition.  It was very satisfying to see the wide variety of the photos submitted and the overall very high quality of the entries.  Equipment used ranged from iphones (12% of the entries) to Canon (35%), Nikon (25%) and other cameras (28%).


A small proportion of the entries fell down on being very low resolution, out of focus or not featuring the bridge sufficiently prominently in the scene, but the vast majority fitted the brief well.  They were technically high quality and included some striking images.  A small number of photographers included their name within the picture, which seemed inappropriate as the identity of the photographers was not otherwise known to the judges.


Visitors to some photographic exhibitions in recent years have been unhappy to see many contrived and heavily manipulated images, created by computer software.  However, in this competition, The Forth Bridge has shown that it is clearly able to provide a wide variety of stunning images without the help of any computer manipulation.


Where computer software has been used in this competition, it has been mainly:

-  to create black + white images by removing the colour from photos

-  to create panoramas by stitching several photos together, and

-  to merge photos with different exposures into a single image using HDR software.


Some of the photos emphasized the huge scale, ambition and engineering achievement of the bridge, showing it towering over and dwarfing its surroundings.  In other photos, it was the classic design of the bridge that caught the imagination, with the mass of ironwork in the cantilevers looking surprisingly delicate, almost like lace.


About 150 of the photos were taken from the south shore of the Forth, 70 from the north shore, 10 from the bridge, 9 from the Forth and 4 from the air.   The two most distant views were taken from the west, from Culross on the north side of the Forth and from Blackness Castle on the south side.


Against strong competition, three winners were selected:


Contemporary Photos

1st Place was awarded to a night-time view of the bridge, taken with a long lens from the end of the west platform at Dalmeny station - a photo with immediate impact.  It’s not a typical photo of the bridge showing its cantilevers stretching across the Firth of Forth, but it certainly captures the grandeur and iconic nature of the bridge, and does so in stunning lighting.

 2nd Place was awarded to a photo taken from Hawes Pier, Queensferry, setting the bridge off against a tower on the pier in the foreground.  It used a long exposure to create a calmer mood in the water and was another photo with immediate impact!

 3rd Place was awarded to an atmospheric shot taken from near the north end of the Forth Road Bridge, capturing clouds over the Forth Bridge and mist passing over the Firth of Forth.



24 Certificates of Merit

All three of the winning images were taken in 2013, the first two with Nikon digital SLR cameras and the third with an iphone 4.


In view of the high quality of the entries and the wide range of images, all showing different aspects of the bridge and its setting, we decided that Certificates of Merit should also be awarded.  So we nominated a further 24 prints, each being deemed worthy of receiving a Certificate of Merit.


It is hoped that it will be possible to arrange for an exhibition to be staged in the coming months to include all the Prize-winning images and those receiving Certificates of Merit.

The judges for this competition were:

-  Peter Stubbs FRPS (Head Judge)

-  Alastair Fife (Transport Scotland and World Heritage Group Chair)

-  Miles Oglethorpe (Historic Scotland)

-  Mary Finlayson (North Queensferry Community Council

-  Diane Brown (Queensferry Ambition)


More Photos


Edinburgh Evening News, yesterday, published an article about the competition.  It reproduces the two photos above together with the photos in 2nd and 3rd place for Contemporary photos.

Edinburgh Evening News, Nov 28, 2013, pp.22-23.

TV News

The BBC News Scotland web site, today, has a link titled:

 'In pictures: collection of images capturing different views of the Forth Bridge.'

Clicking on this In pictures link will take you to a page that includes the six winning photographs - 1st, 2nd and 3rd in each section of the competition.

BBC News Scotland web site:  November 29. 2013

Forth Bridge World Heritage Web Site

Forth Bridge World Heritage web site displays more photos, including:

-  1st, 2nd and 3rd (Historic)

-  1st, 2nd and 3rd (Contemporary)

-  the 24 photos awarded Certificates of Merit (Contemporary).

- a photo of the winners, Billy Stevens and Grant Ritchie, with Transport Minister, Keith Brian.

It also has further information about the competition and about the World Heritage nomination.