AN IN-DEMAND Largs photographer has revealed the secret behind a stunning image of the aurora borealis above the Pencil monument at the weekend.

Ian Rutherford is well known in social media 'camera club' groups across the west of Scotland for his night-time photography.

And when forecasters predicted a special display of the 'Northern Lights' over the UK on Friday night and the early hours of Saturday, Ian couldn't resist the opportunity to get out and capture the scene on camera.

Ian works as a barista at Nardini at the Moorings - and admitted he only dashed to the Pencil, rather than venturing further afield, as he had to be at work early the following morning.

He caught the display at its height between 10pm and 11pm on Friday evening - and his photo earned plenty of well-deserved praise on social media.

But the talented snapper, 52, was quick to point out that many other locals had captured fantastic pictures of the phenomenon in the clear skies above Largs on what many photographers described as an "unforgettable" night.

Largs and Millport Weekly News: Full focus: Keen athlete Ian Rutherford is a previous ambassador of North Ayrshire Athletics ClubFull focus: Keen athlete Ian Rutherford is a previous ambassador of North Ayrshire Athletics Club (Image: Ian Rutherford)

Ian said: "I spotted the alert on the Largs and Millport News Facebook page and thought I'd best get out to see if I can catch it.

"I have seen the aurora before locally but only quite dimly so this was a really unique occasion and a spectacular one-off.

"The last major eletromagnetic storm was in 2003 and as we know with the Scottish weather, you are far from guaranteed seeing anything.

"Thankfully everything aligned on Friday night, and I was with other local amateur photographers Peter Ribbeck and former GP Douglas Soutter for company.

"Everyone took terrific photos."

Ian's night-time photography has also been used by the University of Stirling and Falkirk Council, while his work has won praise from classical composer and Largs resident Sir James McMillan.

Largs and Millport Weekly News: Pencil Point: Ian Rutherford's iconic photoPencil Point: Ian Rutherford's iconic photo (Image: Ian Rutherford)

Ian said: "I really enjoy night-time photography across the west coast of Scotland, including the likes of the Cotton Mills in Paisley and James Watt Dock in Greenock.

"As I was up early at 7am the next morning for work, I didn't want to go too far, and The Pencil lit up by the aurora was just wonderful to see."

Ian used a Canon EOS 2000D camera for the iconic shot.

He added: "Everyone was looking north for the aurora, but a message from a fellow photographer, Peter Watkins, pointed out that it seemed to be coming in a westerly direction, so that was how I set up my camera.

"The magical colours were coming from a westerly southerly direction. It was a sight I never thought I would ever see so vibrantly locally.

"It was quite a rarity, and I count myself very lucky to have seen Mother Nature put on an incredible display."

Largs and Millport Weekly News: Anotehr classic shot of Largs after dark Anotehr classic shot of Largs after dark (Image: Ian Rutherford)

Ian's interest in photography blossomed when he joined the Blue Kiwi Photography Club with James McKinlay, and later a Largs Camera Club, where he honed his skills alongside other keen local photographers such as Rowan McIntyre.