AN ALLOA photographer has defied a career-breaking injury to scoop gold and bronze awards in a prestigious international competition.

Richard Harvey MBE, a former Royal Navy snapper, comes from a traditional analogue-film background, but had to give up on his profession when he got hurt.

However, after picking a small portable digital camera up, he managed to capture some spectacular images from all around Scotland to go on and win the long-exposure category at the ND Photography Awards 2017 with his series of five black and white images.

He also scooped a bronze award with one image in the bridges category.

Richard, 56, used to spend long hours in the darkroom to get the perfect pictures during his tasks around the world; however, the Clacks man is unable to carry around the heavy equipment required for his favourite medium-format cameras.

He recently reinvigorated his passion for photography and the outdoors. And thanks to the tools offered by modern technology, he is again able to do what he loves with a mirror-less digital camera that is small enough to fit in his pockets.

And while the novelty of being able to take a picture is long gone, Richard can still beat the competition with his traditional training, planning, patience and dark room skills which he can transfer into digital image-making.

While no chemicals are involved anymore, the principles remain the same for Richard, who served in the navy for 28 years and is used to capturing high-profile events using just 12 frames.

Richard told the Advertiser: "Everyone today has the capability to capture an image, usually on their mobile phone, so it isn't a novelty.

"Capturing a quality image, where you can spend your time planning and preparing for that image, getting it correct on camera with an idea of what the final outcome is going to be before you even press the shutter – I think that part has been lost."

Since retiring from military service, he went into a civil job, working with imagery, but not as a photographer.

It was during this time he read a book by black and white fine art photographer Michael Levin, and explained: "I saw his images, it took me straight back to what it was like for me when I used to shoot the Hasselblad square negatives and my black and white dark room days."

Richard added: "And that gave me a real longing just to get back in and do black and white fine art photography for me, rather than a customer."

Not long after, he was leaving a shop with a Fujifilm X100T digital camera, which allows a square crop, and a couple of filters, including the grey neutral density filter that allows for four to six minute exposure times in daylight to give that creamy look on water and the clouds.

It was important for Richard that his pictures had a film-like look, and so he always focuses on getting the mid-tones right before layering and masking more under- or overexposed versions where necessary, working towards a final image just like he did in the darkroom all those years ago.

Before he decided to enter the awards, Richard set himself a target to create 12 fine images he likes in a year.

He said: "I was surprised, but quietly pleased, because I had set out over 12 months to get 12 images that would please me, whereas I see people coming out and shooting hundreds of images a day and come back and maybe keep a few.

"The idea is just to go to one place, take your time, plan it, watch the light, wait for the shot. If the light is not right, you don't take the shot and come back [later]."

An added element to Richard's photography is his love for fresh air, while he needs to go to places that are fairly accessible with a motor, he enjoys being out there and waiting for the perfect conditions for that quality image.