South Devon AONB Photo Competition

Blog - Phil-osophy on Landscape Photography > South Devon AONB Photo Competition
24/10/2013 - 10:51




Finding out that I was a finalist recently for the South Devon AONB’s  2013 Photo Competition , was great news indeed. I was invited along to their opening night for an Exhibition of the shortlisted photographs, made within the ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’, at Harbour House gallery in Kingsbridge. They would be revealing the prize winners that evening...



The collection of shortlisted images were wonderful to look at - to get a sense of what locations, people and activities with the AONB appealed to the various photographers. The range of images was diverse: farming, fishing, rolling hills, wild coastlines, kite surfers, wooded rivers and many more themes. My two young children were with me at the event and they are already big fans of the coast and ‘the great outdoors’, so they were very excited to see so many different photos of places they had spent happy times in, within this beautiful and protected landscape.



Jonathan Dimbleby, who is the patron of the South Devon AONB gave a fine speech which was imbued with his reverence for the AONB, he talked of its current charms and the concerns for future developments within and bordering the area (in particular the worry of wind turbines and solar energy arrays, taking up entire fields, being a great temptation to farmers to boost their income – to the possible detriment of the areas charm). It was a speech of celebration and a hope that it’s future was a bright and sustainable one – he acknowledged that all the photographers exhibited works showed that we all cared for the area’s ‘outstanding natural beauty’.



I was most delighted shortly after to be invited up to the front to collect a framed print of my ‘Aeon Flux’ panoramic photo of the afterglow light at Wembury Reef as 2nd Prize for the ‘Wild in the AONB’ competition. I was asked how the photo came about and said I remembered having seen the sun set behind the bank of low clouds on the horizon as several jaded photographers were walking away from the reef looking rather disappointed. Then, I mentioned that I'd had a hope that the high altitude clouds may catch some of the ‘afterglow’ light, after waiting ten minutes or so the sky and the reef lit up in an amazing fiery glow - with just enough time for me to make this panorama and one other ‘portrait format image’.



Talking to professional photographer Martyn Norsworthy later on (who made the photographs of the prize winners for the South Devon AONB Team,) he said that he was glad to see my photograph and to find that I, like him, enjoyed the optimistic idea of waiting for ‘afterglow’ light, “it is so often not considered by photographers out for an evening and yet, on many occasions, is more beautiful light than the actual sunset itself!” he noted.


The ‘Wild in the AONB’ category was won by Ian Morris – with his black & white photograph ‘River of Light’, made near Diptford on the timeless River Avon, great depth in that for sure!



A few minutes later I was back up at the front collecting a 1st Prize for the ‘Living & Working in the AONB’ category for my ‘Divison’ photograph – a panoramic view of two crabbing boats, ‘Charlotte’ and ‘Alora’, at Inner Hope Cove. This photo was made just before sunset, after a picnic down at the beach with my children – the way the boats were moored seemed quite unusual with the bows facing out towards the incoming tide, which seemed to suggest that their owners were keen to be out at sea at the first opportunity. That deep passion for ‘time afloat’ that the fisherman had was confirmed the day before the exhibition, by the niece of the owner the boat ‘Alora’. My prize was £100 of vouchers, generously donated by Mole Valley Farmers, which I have since spent on a pair of excellent hiking boots – many thanks to them for that.



Congratulations to the Overall Winner, Steve Drinkwater  –  for his photograph of a trio of kite surfers called ‘Making Waves’. Congratulations to all the runners up, also to the Under 18 winners: Paige Middleton (overall winner) – ‘Winter's evening, Bantham beach’ and to Harry Cook (runner up) – ‘ Sunset over Hope Cove’.




If you are local to the South Devon AONB, or in the area on holiday then check out some of the many activities and events that they put on – lots to do for all ages and a way to get to know the place a bit better.







24/10/2013 - 14:13
Superb photographs! Well-deserved and 'Congratulations!'
Patsy Hall
24/10/2013 - 16:06
Congratulations, Phil! I, too, am a great believer in catching the sunset's afterglow. I'm very pleased for you that you're achieving success in this area. Well done!
Phil Hemsley
24/10/2013 - 19:17
Many thanks to Sophie-Margaret! I really enjoyed making these photographs, spending time in the beautiful South Devon AONB gives me plenty of inspiration! :)
Phil Hemsley
24/10/2013 - 19:21
Thank you ever so much Patsy! Great to hear from you. I bet you get some amazing afterglow light up in the clean air of the West coast of Scotland :) I keep telling my children of the enchanting beauty of the Highlands and coast of Scotland, I am keen to take them up there someday soon so they can see it for themselves.

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