Look through the pictures that awed the judges in the 2022 Landscape Photographer Of The Year awards and you’ll see the UK at its most earth-shatteringly beautiful.
The standard is sky-high year after year, and this year is no exception, with awe-inspiring photographs that celebrate ‘all that is great about the British landscape’ receiving accolades. ‘The competition showcases the work of many talented photographers, inspiring visitors to experience the joys of the British landscape first hand,’ says the awards.
Surpassing the rest, Will Davies has been handed the coveted title of Landscape Photographer Of The Year – and the £10,000 grand prize – for his atmospheric shot taken in Wales of snow-dusted Brecon Beacons mountains.
To get a closer look at the masterful photography that caught the judges’ attention, an exhibition of winning and commended entries will premiere on October 31 at London’s Paddington Station.
A coffee-table book – Landscape Photographer of the Year Collection 15 by Ilex – that’s filled cover to cover with gorgeous prints of the winning and commended entries will be on sale from October 27.
Below is a selection of breathtaking photographs that feature in the awards – scroll down to the end to see the picture that takes the top prize.
This beautiful shot impressed the judges enough to bag the gold medal in the Classic View category. It shows a rainbow sweeping over Dragon’s Back – the ridges of Chrome Hill and Parkhouse Hill – in the Peak District. On the day he took the picture, Demi Oral knew that thunderstorms were forecast and so headed to the site – one of his favourite locations – in the hopes of seeing a rainbow appear. He says: ‘Whilst I wasn’t surprised when it did, I still could not believe what unfolded in front of me. The apparition of the rainbow was wonderful, but the light sweeping across the Dragon’s Back was just sensational.’ He adds: ‘It was a thrilling afternoon I’ll never forget’
The hill of the Quiraing on the Isle of Skye is the subject of this enchanting photograph by Fiona Campbell, which is commended in the Classic View category. Campbell recalls: ‘There was a weather warning set for the Isle of Skye overnight and the forecast was to be sunny and cloudy the next day, so I drove four and a half hours to get to the Quiraing in the hopes of some magical light in the morning.’ She wasn’t disappointed. ‘It was a morning that was just jaw-dropping. The light and mist and atmosphere were all I’d hoped for,’ she reveals
This otherworldly scene, in a photo that’s highly commended in the Classic View category, was snared shortly after sunrise on a foggy morning in London’s Richmond Park. Photographer Andrew Robertson reveals that he waded into the brook to capture the perfect shot. ‘Living in London, I found it particularly gratifying to find a landscape image I was so fond of close to home,’ he adds
Photographer Edward Allistone was behind the lens for this vibrant shot of Glastonbury Tor in Somerset. He recalls: ‘I took this image on one of those mornings when you wake up, look out of the window, and wonder if you should go back to bed. Up until the sun peeked from behind the clouds, it looked like it might be a foggy grey day. But when the clouds started catching fire, I was jumping with excitement.’ The photograph is highly commended in the Classic View category
A magical 180-degree rainbow appears over Wastwater, a lake in the Lake District’s Wasdale Valley, at the end of a rainy afternoon in this captivating shot by Stu Meech, which is commended in the Classic View category
A gale was blowing when photographer Peter Nickols snared this photograph of Chrome Hill and Parkhouse Hill, captured from the summit of Hitter Hill, in the Peak District. While it’s a breathtaking picture, it’s not the exact shot that Nickols had set out to capture. ‘I had hoped for the setting sun to reflect off the distant clouds but the sun got covered by more cloud on the horizon at just the wrong time,’ he admits. The picture, which was taken last December, is commended in the Classic View category
This ethereal photograph, captured by Rob Scamp, shows a horse and its rider trotting through a trail in ‘beautiful, soft, misty light’ in Bircher Common, Herefordshire. Scamp says: ‘It’s a strange sensation when you can hear the deep breathing of a large beast nearby and you know it is going to come out of the mist. The imagination runs riot and creates all sorts of scenarios! In the end, it was just a horse.’ The picture is commended in the Classic View category
Win Green, the summit of Wiltshire’s Win Green Down, is evocatively captured in this picture by Jack Lodge, which is commended in the Classic View category. Lodge describes walking around thick fog and ‘patches of magical hoar frost’ in the area, before laying eyes on the frosty clump of trees at Win Green. ‘Ever since starting landscape photography, I have never witnessed such magical conditions. All the branches were left frozen in time,’ he says. Lodge notes that the ‘soft golden glow’ from the rising sun contrasts with the ‘cold blues hiding in the shadows’ in the image, making for a ‘real battle between cold and warm’
Photographer Mik Dogherty was out getting some exercise during the Covid lockdown when he spied the opportunity for this picture at Slufters Inclosure, a woodland area in southern England’s New Forest National Park. ‘I noticed the light streaming through the trees and mist,’ he says, adding that he ‘couldn’t resist’ taking a photograph. The picture is commended in the Classic View category
Commended in the Classic View section, this bucolic shot by Peter Jeffreys shows the view across West Yorkshire’s Luddenden Valley towards Oats Royd Mill, a 19th-century woollen mill that has been turned into a holiday apartment complex
This spectacular picture portrays the sun setting over Tryfan, a mountain in the Ogwen Valley, in Wales’ Snowdonia National Park. Photographer Aled Lewis reveals: ‘I had to scramble up as fast as I could to this spot to catch the light before it disappeared!’ The image is commended in the Classic View category
LEFT: Photographer Bruce Little reveals that this glorious shot, highly commended in the Classic View category, was taken from the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire one autumn morning shortly after sunrise. It shows the village of Welland ’emerging from the mist’ in the early morning light. RIGHT: Photographer Vincent Campbell positioned himself above the small Scottish village of Tarbet in Argyll and Bute to capture this epic picture of Loch Lomond. Campbell describes the loch and the Arrochar Alps (pictured right) as ‘wonderful spectacles’. The photograph is commended in the Classic View category
The Trossachs National Park in Stirling, Scotland, was the setting for this striking photograph, which is commended in the Classic Views category. Photographer Stephen Ball, who was behind the lens, notes that there was ‘low mist and heavy frost’ on the day he took the picture, with ‘lovely reflections’ visible on the water’s surface
It’s southern England at its finest. This gorgeous photograph – commended in the Classic View category – looks across ‘a slice of East Sussex countryside’ towards Firle Beacon, a hill in the South Downs. Photographer Lloyd Lane recalls it being a ‘wonderful morning’ when he took the shot, with light slowly creeping across the landscape
Lane was also behind the lens for this powerful shot of a storm at Newhaven harbour in East Sussex, which is a runner-up in the Black and White category. Lane, who captured the shot from a safe location close to a wall, says that ‘the sun came out and illuminated the crashing waves’. He adds that in the picture, Newhaven Lighthouse looks smaller than usual and ‘even more vulnerable to the onslaught’
Above is another spellbinding shot by Lane, this time commended in the Black and White category. ‘A murmuration [when hundreds or thousands of birds fly as a coordinated unit] of starlings flew close to where I was standing at Brighton’s Palace Pier. I was surprised by how close they flew to me,’ the photographer recalls, noting that the birds ‘mirror’ the shape of Brighton’s West Pier in the background
A jogger and his dog run over the ridge of a peak in the Cairngorms in Scotland’s eastern Highlands in this awe-inspiring photograph. Commended in the Black and White category, it’s the handiwork of photographer Graham Niven. When Niven took the shot, the wind was blowing ‘fresh snow around the plateau, which can catch the light, creating a dramatic scene’. He sums the experience up as ‘an epic day in the hills’
Cath Gothard snared this ghostly scene – in a shot commended in the Black and White category – during a ‘beautiful, misty dawn’ in London’s Richmond Park. ‘The lockdown winter had taken its toll on the river banks – a combination of very wet weather and heavy footfall had left the ground bare and trampled,’ Gothard says, though she notes that thankfully, the river banks that feature in the picture were revitalised with ‘pretty’ long grasses and wildflowers replacing the bare muddy ground. ‘Sadly, the willow tree on the left succumbed to the elements in November of last year,’ Gothard reveals
This haunting picture, by Richard Franklin, snaps up a highly commended accolade in the Black and White category. It portrays the ruins of the 19th-century Cwmorthin Chapel to the west of the Welsh town of Blaenau Ffestiniog. It was taken on a summer’s morning when mist was forecast, but when Franklin – keen to capture a misty picture – first trekked up the steep path to the chapel, there was no mist in sight, so he turned back to his car. However, on the descent, he saw a ‘huge blanket of mist, steadily creeping towards me into the valley’, so he ‘scurried’ back to the chapel to capture this ‘atmospheric’ shot
The ferocity of Storm Barra, a hurricane-force cyclone that wreaked havoc in the UK last December, is captured in this picture. Phil Cooke took the shot in his hometown of Lower Largo, a fishing village in Fife, Scotland. ‘We were bracing ourselves for Storm Barra coming ashore,’ he reveals, adding that when the storm finally hit, he ventured out to take pictures. ‘I could hardly stand up in the strong wind and was hit by the occasional wave,’ he says. Cooke found that he was only able to hold up his camera by pressing himself against some railings, but successfully managed to photograph the stormy scene. ‘Hopefully, my image shows how dramatic it was,’ he adds
‘This is a very poignant and personal image.’ So says photographer Paul Killeen of this transfixing picture, captured near the village of Stranocum in County Antrim. Sharing the story behind the photograph, Killeen explains: ‘A good friend of my wife sadly passed away in 2021. Lynsey was diagnosed with a brain tumour in October 2015. When diagnosed, she was informed that she would be lucky to see Christmas that same year. However, Lynsey bravely battled the cancer for five and a half years before she passed on April 11, 2021.’ Killeen says that this photograph was taken on April 14, the morning of Lynsey’s funeral. ‘As soon as I saw the two birds fly into my frame I was immediately reminded of Lynsey and her husband Simon,’ the photographer says. The picture, titled ‘Souls Tied’, evidently moved the judges, who have awarded it the gold medal in the Black and White category
This is another remarkable shot by Killeen, this time showing a river near the village of Templepatrick in Antrim. ‘This location is always beautiful to shoot,’ he reveals, adding that it was ‘just a gorgeous morning to be out down by the river’. The image is commended in the Your View category
Topping the podium in the Landscapes at Night category is this extraordinary photograph of the Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire during a ‘fierce lightning storm’. Armed with his camera, photographer Melvin Nicholson arrived at the site at 1am, and positioned himself inside the back of his van to shelter from the storm and the rain. This picture was taken less than an hour later, at ‘perhaps the height of the storm’. Nicholson says: ‘Lightning was flashing in every direction and in quick succession too. The power and intensity of a full-blown lightning storm is exhilarating and humbling, as everything around you illuminates incredibly brightly. It felt amazing to be experiencing it first-hand… it certainly makes you feel alive, yet small in the presence of something so powerful’
This bewitching picture, taken at Loch Creran, in Argyll, Scotland, earns Natasha Burns the title of Young Landscape Photographer of the Year. Describing the moments leading up to the photograph, Burns, who lives near the sea loch, reveals: ‘It was early and the loch looked magical, shrouded in mist and completely still. I heard the sound of oars and saw the boat, which was backlit with golden light.’ The awards founder, Charlie Waite, heaps praise on the picture, remarking: ‘[Natasha] has created a sublimely beautiful atmosphere that transports the viewer to enter into a dream world of mystery and wonder, and leaves the audience unable to depart from the place where she has taken them to’
Scooping the gold medal in the Youth Classic View category is this beautifully layered photograph of Loch Leven by the Glencoe valley in the Scottish Highlands. ‘Whilst climbing… I noticed this blue haze in the distance, shrouding the landscape in mystery,’ photographer Jian Hui Mo recalls
LEFT: Photographer Fergus Veitch reveals that he captured this wintry scene from Bell’s Brae, a bridge that crosses the Water of Leith river in Edinburgh. Veitch says that a ‘number of things’ attracted him to the scene – he was taken by the reflection of the Rhema Christian Centre Church and liked ‘how the bare branches… framed the church’. His image is a runner-up in the Youth Black and White category. RIGHT: Commended in the Urban Life category, this photograph shows the Tap and Stile pub by the Gas Street Basin, where the Worcester and Birmingham Canals meet in Birmingham. Photographer Grant Bulloch, who shot this ‘delightful’ scene, notes that the water has created ‘perfect reflections’
Sharing the story behind this eye-catching picture, photographer Toby Hawkes explains: ‘Snow is rare in central London, so as soon as it started snowing I was out and about, exploring along the Thames.’ The picture, taken during the peak of the snowfall, shows a cluster of houseboats with Tower Bridge and the City of London in the background. Hawkes notes that the shot, commended in the Urban Life category, has a ‘painterly look’
Reigning supreme in the Urban Life category is this fascinating picture by photographer Kevin Williams. Titled ‘Fully Loaded’, it shows giant ship loaders at the Port of Felixstowe, the UK’s busiest container port, on the Suffolk coast
The Jacobite Steam Train trundles over the 21-arch Glenfinnan Viaduct in the Highlands of Scotland in this stunning autumnal photograph by Jon Brook. ‘It was one of those “sunshine and showers” days. If the train had been on time, the whole scene would have been in the shadow of a cloud. As it happened the viaduct was lit up just as the train crossed. I was lucky,’ Brook says. The shot is commended in the Lines in the Landscape category
This shot of the Ribblehead Viaduct in North Yorkshire was captured on a ‘rather atmospheric afternoon’, photographer Matthew James Turner reveals. He says that the picture shows the steam locomotive 34046 ‘Braunton’ on its maiden run along the Settle-Carlisle Railway, hauling ‘The Fellsman’ rail tour northbound. ‘The sky overhead was extremely dramatic,’ Turner recalls, adding: ‘There was also a very impressive exhaust from the locomotive that added extra drama and contrasted perfectly against the moody mountains.’ He notes that the temperamental weather conditions ‘accentuate the magic of the setting’
Commended in the Historic Britain category, this photo shows the sun rising over a ‘frost-flecked’ Stonehenge in Wiltshire. Photographer Chris Gorman said that he was initially hoping to photograph the prehistoric monument in the mist, but the day was clearer than expected. He reveals: ‘A crystal clear sunrise over Stonehenge soon made up for it. I’ve always been aware that the shadows of the stones could one day with the right conditions make a picture all of their own’
LEFT: This fascinating photograph shows what remains of Anglesey Barracks, a series of houses for quarry workers at the Dinorwic slate quarry in Snowdonia, Wales. Photographer Sam Binding, who took the shot on a ‘wet and windy day’, describes Anglesey Barracks as a ‘stunning but brutal place’. ‘[Who] knows what it must have been like to live and work in those mountains,’ he adds. The picture is commended in the Historic Britain category. RIGHT: This is the magnificent photograph that has earned Will Davies the title of Landscape Photographer of the Year. It shows the vista towards the west of the Brecon Beacons in south Wales from the Pen y Crug hillfort. ‘I love this area in winter – the mountains somehow feel and look grander and wilder in the snow. The weather was not looking promising as I hiked up in the dark, but luckily the sun broke through right at sunrise, just long enough to get this shot,’ the photographer says, adding that it was a ‘huge honour’ to be named the overall winner in the awards. ‘I have followed Landscape Photographer of the Year for a long time, without previously believing I had photos good enough to enter, so it was a wonderful surprise,’ he says
Landscape Photographer of the Year Collection 15, by Ilex Press, is on sale from October 27 for £35. The cover photograph of Dorset’s Durdle Door, captured by Callum White, is commended in the Landscapes at Night category. White set out to shoot the arch of the Milky Way in the night sky when suddenly, people with bright phone lights appeared on the beach below. The photographer was worried they were going to spoil his shot, but they ended up starting a fire that ‘transformed the scene’. ‘It was an amazing night of photography and I thoroughly enjoyed spending a night under the stars,’ he says, adding: ‘If you look closely, you can also see Jupiter and Saturn, the two bright stars near the horizon to the left-hand side of the shot’