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Awe-inspiring photography shines bright in National Park competition

Dramatic scenes of a winter wonderland, a bird of prey in full flight and a singing Robin Red Breast are among the winners of the South Downs National Park’s annual photography competition.

“Fire and Ice”, by Jamie Fielding, took the top spot in this year’s contest, impressing judges with a captivating photograph of a frosty, crystalline treescape shrouded in a pink morning mist.

The theme for 2021/2022 was “Nature Makes Me Happy”, celebrating the wonders of the natural world and its ability to fill us with joy and inspiration. This year’s competition tied in with the National Park’s ambitious nature recovery programme, called “ReNature”, and had well over 360 entries.

The runner-up was “A Sparkling Hunt”, by Richard Murray, who was able to capture a rare moment of a mother barn owl flying majestically back to her nest with her prey.

Third place was awarded to “Taking It In”, by Andy Flowerday, who photographed a walker gazing at the spectacle of a mist-filled valley at Devil’s Dyke, near Brighton.

The competition judges were award-winning photographers Finn Hopson, Carlotta Luke and Rachael Talibart, as well as Doug Jones, SDNPA Member.

About the winning image, Carlotta said: “I love the light and the feeling of the fog and all the layers in the photograph. I would be really happy standing there looking at this amazing scene in the South Downs.”

Finn said: “A lot of thought has gone into this photo. I absolutely love these kind of misty mornings in the South Downs when the sun is coming up and they make me very happy. I can just imagine being there.”

Rachael said: “I love the contrast of warmth and cold, the elegant and thoughtful composition and the subtle processing. A very classy photo.”

Jamie Fielding, from Angmering, West Sussex, picks up a £250 prize. He said: “Sometimes nature just makes you sit back and say ‘wow’. This was one such morning. There was a beautiful mist shrouding Chanctonbury Ring and, given the sub-zero temperatures, a stunning hoar frost was forming on the trees as well as the ground. As the sun started to rise, the mist began to glow, giving an ethereal, otherworldly feel to the scene. When conditions play out like this, and nature is one your side, it’s hard not to come back from a shoot without a smile on your face.

All the winning and commended images, as well as 16 other shortlisted images, will now be put forward to the People’s Choice.

People will be able to vote online from Monday, 10 January for their favourite photograph and the winning photographer will receive £100. The online poll closes at midnight on 31 January. Visit www.southdowns.gov.uk to cast your vote.

To find out more about the National Park’s nature recovery initiative ReNature visit www.southdowns.gov.uk/renature/

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