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Amateur photographer Alister Kemp's fantastic photos thrill social media followers as he captures the Moray Firth's majestic bottlenose dolphins leaping near Chanonry Point

By Alasdair Fraser

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An amateur photographer has captured the hearts of thousands of social media followers with a series of stunning shots of Moray Firth bottlenose dolphins.

Alister Kemp’s patience paid off as the beautiful beasts breached waters near Chanonry Point on the Black Isle, leaping majestically in the sunlight.

The 55-year-old from Evanton, who works at Invergordon Distillery, was left toasting some magical moments.

“They were some of the best shots I’ve managed to capture for a while and they seem to have gone down well on Facebook,” Mr Kemp admitted.

A keen snapper of wildlife since 2008, his love for the local dolphin population was kindled in younger years living in Avoch.

“I used to work at the salmon fishing station at Rosemarkie where I’d always see the dolphins,” he said. “Once I started taking photos of them, I began to branch out into a lot of other wildlife, everything from ptarmigan and puffins to mountain hare.

“You do need a bit of patience with the dolphins and to time it right with the tide. I always go when the tide is coming in, just about an hour after low tide, and then spend a few hours there. Mostly, at this time of year, they will show, but it is only a few times out of every 50 sightings where they start jumping like they did in these pictures.”

Over the years, some of the majestic mammals have become individually recognisable to Mr Kemp.

“I grew familiar with some of the dolphins over the years, but some of them seem to have left or passed away. Some have been spotted off the coast of Holland and west of Ireland not so long ago. They do a bit of travelling!” he said. “Sometimes they will go away for two or three years and then come back. They seem to be spread all the way around the east coast down to Northumberland. They’re not as concentrated in the Moray Firth as they used to be.”

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