Posted 5th Aug 2016
At last the waiting is over, we reveal the 12 finalists and our overall winner of this year’s photographic competition whose images will appear in our 2017 calendar
We love to see your photos of the Great British countryside, its wildlife, fauna, flora and this year your pets and nature still life shots, and we were overwhelmed with the high standard and amount of entries for this year’s LandLove photographic competition. Our judges, Anna-Lisa De’Ath - Editor-in-Chief of LandLove and Ian Savage - Head of Jessops Academy, had a really tough time choosing our 12 finalists this year as the categories were all so strong. But after some long deliberations we are delighted to reveal our final 12 photographs to appear in the LandLove calendar, and explain why our judges chose them as the very best in their category, while each photographer tells us the story behind their winning shot.
Heritage and History
Jessica tells us ‘After moving to Scotland last year, my boyfriend and I took a road trip to the Isle of Skye. It was during that trip that I visited Eilean Donan Castle and took this photo, with February’s moody lighting providing the perfect atmosphere. For 200 years this castle sat in ruins until it was restored in the early 1900s. For me, that is what makes this photo so special and representative of the United Kingdom’s rich heritage and history, that, after almost 800 years, Eilean Donan Castle continues its legacy as one of Scotland’s most iconic castles.’ Our judges felt this image was intriguing and had good foreground detail, while the photographer shows a good understanding of the rule of thirds.
Water, Water Everywhere
John explains ‘Dartmoor is a wild place and remains a popular National Park to visit but there are many ‘secret’ places. Out of Venford Reservoir, near Holne, flows Venford Brook on its journey to join the River Dart. It is a hidden location cutting its way down a steep valley. This picture was taken mid-August 2015. The natural framing by the rocks in the foreground, the fallen tree across the brook and the grotto effect of the falls epitomises to me the folklore and magic of such a place. You can imagine water fairies and pixies playing in the water and enjoying the sounds, air and solitude of this beautiful place.’ Our judges loved the rich green colours captured in this photograph and its natural framing.
Down on the Farm
Lara tells us ‘I work in Dorchester and always take the slightly longer, scenic route which takes me through Upwey and then Martinstown, where this photo was taken. It’s such a pretty route as you are surrounded by countryside. Usually the cows are in the fields but on this particular day I couldn’t believe it when I saw them coming down the snake-like path. I managed to stop quickly in the lay-by and get the shot. They were moving so quickly I just had to point and shoot before it was all over.’ Our judges thought this image showed fantastic composition skills and loved that the photographer actually stopped on her way to work to get the shot.
Your Pets in the Countryside
Rebecca tells us ‘I took this photo during spring, when friends asked me if I would consider taking some pictures of their pet cat, Tigger. I knew it would be a challenge after hearing how very shy he is. Once outside in the sunshine he relaxed a little and chose to sit amongst the large spread of flowers in the garden. This gave me the opportunity to capture more natural pictures of him. I felt the setting was lovely with the natural light and the fresh colours of the plants which surrounded Tigger, creating a nice frame.’ Our judges were impressed that the cat looked straight into the camera at the right time, and agree it is beautifully framed by the spring flowers.
Tim explains ‘Taken on our family farm in Surrey, the foxes den was situated beneath a fallen tree and surrounded by brambles and old barbed wire. We had been watching the den since the day we noticed the first cub in the undergrowth. After a few days watching, on a lovely spring morning, the mum and babies came out through the brambles and into the adjoining field. Mum laid down in the sun and let the cubs get on with playing. Every now and then the cubs would stop and check that I hadn’t moved and was not a threat. My patience and their trust paid off.’ The judges thought this image was a great example of being patient and waiting for the right moment.
Sara-Lee tells us ‘I was taking my son to a friend’s house and, the last time I took him I saw an unusual bird of prey so had my camera with me. I had no idea the poppy field was there. I turned a corner and it was lit up in all its glory, bathed in sunshine. I insisted on stopping the car to take a photo. My delight was doubled when I realised there was an artist there also. He very kindly gave me permission to photograph him. It was the right place at the right time with the right weather. ’ Our judges felt this image showed powerful use of colour, nice foreground detail and is overall a well thought out shot.
Tony tells us ‘This picture was taken a few years ago at Naturescape in Langar, Nottingham. This is a native wild flower farm where they grow and pack the seeds you see in your local garden centre. Every year there is the most beautiful display of British wild flowers. Field upon field of nature’s colours on display. With the blue sky and white clouds, the contrast of colour on this particular day was amazing. I was trying to capture not only the colours but from a low vantage point the differing heights of the flowers reaching up into the bright sky.’ Our judges thought this image really celebrated our wonderful wild flower meadows.
It’s a Bug’s Life
Paula explains ‘I went out in late spring to photograph the sunset across a local barley field in The Brecks, Norfolk. While watching the sun setting behind the pine trees I decided to include the cow parsley along the edge of the field. I had been watching this ladybird for some time before trying to capture a shot with it in. I had to contest with the wind and the quick movement of the ladybird but luckily got a few shots. This was my favourite image with the ladybird silhouetted against the sun setting.’ Our judges thought the subject was beautifully framed and the photographer had really thought about the lighting and background detail.
Changing of the Seasons
Julia tells us ‘This image was taken on an evening walk at Avebury Stone Circle. Walking along I became fascinated by the meadow grasses swaying in the breeze. Whilst watching them, the late evening sun appeared from behind the clouds, making the grasses luminous and turning them to gold. I spent 20 minutes lying on my stomach in the meadow, playing cat and mouse with the sun which kept disappearing behind the clouds.’ Our judges thought this image showed a good use of back and rim lighting.
Birds of a Feather
Dennis explains ‘My inspiration in trying to capture this shot was from Andy Rouse, a professional wildlife photographer who specialises in little owls. In order to get close to the birds I had to set up a portable hide close to where I knew most of the activity occurred. It was just a case of sitting and waiting in hope that the day I attempted the shot it would all come into place.’ Our judges liked that the owl was captured in a way we would not normally expect, and shows great skill in anticipation.
November - OVERALL WINNER
Saad tells us ‘This photo was taken last year in the Lake District at the end of a long day hiking outside of Keswick. It had been raining all day but all of a sudden there was a break in the rain. Everything cleared up in a moment and a ray of hopeful sun peeped over the hill and shone on the lake.’ Our judges loved the shaft of light in this image and felt it really made the photo stand out.
Saad wins an Olympus PEN-F Mirrorless Camera courtesy of Jessops, worth £1,099. Each of our category winners will receive copies of Digital Photography Month by Month by Tom Ang (RRP £20) and The Bee Book (RRP £16.99), both published by DK; an RSPB porthole window feeder (RRP £26.22); a copy of the 2017 calendar and a year’s subscription to LandLove.
Whatever the Weather
Adam explains ‘Having passed this location on a few occasions I felt compelled to capture the tree on its own in the snow. I could see the potential of a really dynamic shot. I wanted to create a feeling of cold, stark loneliness. I chose to shoot in black and white as I felt the monochrome lent itself to the composition best. This tree changes with the seasons, but to me the most dramatic time is in the coldness of winter.’ Our judges loved the simple yet stunning composition of this shot and felt it really sends a shiver down the viewer’s spine when they look at it.
If you would like to pre-order a copy of the LandLove 2017 calendar, you can click here for more details.