Earlier this year, more in hope than expectation, I entered a number of images in Landscape Photographer of the Year Competition run by Take-a-View. It really is the premier competition of its kind in this country. The quality of the entries and vision of the photographers, especially the winners, is outstanding and I do not envy the task that befalls those who judge the pictures.
About 3 months ago I was told that one of my pictures had been short-listed, so the long wait began. The cachet and the cash that goes with the overall winner is rather splendid but my hope did not extend beyond my image finding a place in the annual book of successful photographs.
Well on Saturday I received an e-mail from Take-a-View, this is what it said....
'We are pleased to tell you that one of your images has been Commended by the judges and has won a place in the Awards book and will be part of the London Waterloo exhibition. It was also the Judge's choice image of Charlie Waite and so wins a copy of the Awards book signed by Charlie'
Ok so it was not the winner, not even a runner-up but it is hard to put in to words just how thrilled and chuffed I am to receive such good news and especially fitting that Charlie Waite chose my image. He and David Noton are the two Landscape Photographers whose work has helped me improve and develop my work.
The winning images in this years competition are staggeringly impressive, the winner is an image by Mark Littlejohn. I congratulate all those who have won and been commended; the book - Landscape Photographer of the Year: Collection 8 is published today, 10th November.
The exhibition will be held on the Mezzanine level of London Waterloo and runs from 1st December until 31st January. Entry is free.
Now, the photograph.....
It was taken in January 2013 in Macclesfield Forest near Langley, Cheshire.
After a night of heavy snow I headed in to the Forest just after dawn, it was still snowing and was quite deep. I had the place to myself; silence, a lot of snow and only my footprints.
I took a number of pictures but at no time did I feel I had the picture I wanted. I plodded up a footpath through the Forest which headed towards Shutlingsloe when I came on an area that broadened out and I was immediately struck my the radiance of the dead grasses set against the pristine snow. This was the opportunity I was looking for. Setting up on my tripod I had to keep my camera free of snow so my trusty chamois leather was draped over it whilst I composed and took a number of shots, landscape & portrait, wide and tight. I was drawn by the small conifer in the centre of the image and used the grasses in the foreground to draw the view towards that conifer and then beyond in to the Forest. I had in mind a square composition, one which I tend to favour but anyway I was forced to edit the image in that format as a corner of my chamois had blown across the upper part of the composition.
It could have been cloned out during post-production but as I went for a square composition that was not relevant. The full portrait image showed some sky through the trees but my idea was to fill the frame with detail. When photographing the wider landscape the small details are often overlooked and I do try, as in this case, to concentrate on the more intimate part of a scene. It worked on this occasion and obviously attracted positive attention from the judges.
There is no intention for me to rest on my laurels and will continue to seek pleasing and enjoyable compositions, trying to find something just a little bit different.
The picture is available and it will be available later this week at the Arts Market in Spitalfields. It can be ordered in whatever square size is desired as well as output on various types of media. I think it would look particularly good as an acrylic.
Thank you for reading.