Meet the judges

We’ve enlisted the help of three amazing photographers this year to judge the competition.

Find out more about each of our judges, what the Coast Path means to them and what they’ll be looking for. They’ve also given us some top tips to help you get that perfect shot.

Quintin Lake

Instagram: @quintinlake

About

I’m a photographer inspired by the serenity of elemental wilderness landscapes travelled on foot. I undertake multi-day walks alone, carrying a tent, which helps me discover unexpected features of the landscape and allows the spirit of the place to get under my skin. Walking becomes integral to the creative process. My photographic expeditions have taken me to 70 countries with a special emphasis on environments such as jungles, deserts and the arctic.

In more recent years my main area of interest has been the British Landscape. A walk from the source of the Thames to London led to walks along the Ridgeway, a 20 day journey across the mountains of Wales and then to a walk from the source of the Severn to the sea. From 2015-2020 I undertook a 11,000km walk around the coast of mainland Britain called The Perimeter www.theperimeter.uk.  

The South West Coast path is very close to my heart as I first walked part of it after my GCSE's on my first ever backpacking trip in 1991 with a friend where I remember the feeling that the endless ups and downs would never end. There's more daily ascent and descent on parts of the SWCP than anywhere else on the British coast and this intricate and undulating landscape, while uniquely dramatic and exciting to experience first-hand can make photography difficult as it's hard to convey the nature of the terrain at ground level when the cliffs are rising and falling around you. I found a telephoto lens used at a distance often conveyed the scale better than wide angle and that special consideration had to be given to sun angle as the rugged landscape is often hard to read in a photo if it's in shadow or in flat light.

Examples of Quintin's work taken on the South West Coast Path

What Quintin will be looking for

I'm looking for images that both relates to the competition theme and shows me something I haven't seen before. As a secondary criteria I'll be looking for processing and composition choices that enhance the subject matter.

Quintin's tips

  1. Consider building up a series of images on a single theme that interests you over a number of days and then picking the best to enter in the competition.
  2. Don't fall into the trap that a good photo needs good weather. Pack your camera even if rain is forecast: you might be surprised!

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Clare James

Instagram: @clarejamesphotography

About

I first picked up a camera whilst working as a dive guide in Mexico. I fell in love with the challenge of capturing the natural world both underwater and topside, becoming infatuated with the way that light works. My work ranges from surf, in-water, sports, landscape and conservation photography to interiors and lifestyle. My main aim however, is to raise awareness of environmental issues and inspire people through my work to love, care for and protect our natural world. 

The Coast Path is where I go to escape the computer screen and the pressure of work; hiking, cold water swimming and surfing out of the hidden coves. Living in Newquay means I can often pop out and enjoy the Coast Path to explore beautiful bays and hidden spots along the Path. Although I have been exploring it for the last ten years, I feel like it has endless surprises to offer. It’s home to so much incredible wildlife and vegetation, the diversity of which is amazing, depending on where you are on the Path. It holds a quiet solitude, which I miss when I have been away too long. 

L-R: Jellyfish at Porthscatho, SWCP Hikers, Place Ferry. Photographer Clare James

What Clare will be looking for

I will be looking for an image that conveys the wild beauty of the South West Coast Path, whilst inspiring others to care for it and realise its importance to the communities and wellbeing of the nation.

Clare's tips

  1. When photographing landscapes, I try and put them into perspective by having a human or animal in shot even if it is in the distance. This often makes that landscape look bigger and more dramatic as we can relate to ourselves being in the shot.
  2. You can edit a photo as much as you want but you can't recreate the beauty of natural light. I try to do very little editing and take the shot when the light is right, capturing the moment and not altering the shot too much during post-processing. This is something I will look for when judging too as I’m not into heavily edited photos. 

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Ben McConnon

Instagram: @devonflair

About

I grew up in Tavistock before moving to Plymouth for secondary school, so I’ve always been close to the coast. Beach trips and coastal walks were a staple during school holidays, so you could say I’ve been getting to know the South West Coast Path most of my life.

As a keen amateur photographer and inquisitive adventurer, I feel lucky in the South West to not be land-locked; we’re free to explore inland but also venture out toward the water, be it dramatic waves or flat calm. To have the South West Coast Path wind its way past our towns and cities is a true blessing; no two days are ever the same, which offers unending inspiration for both my photography and local hikes alike. This diversity is one of the real draws with coastal photography – its predictable lunar regularity yet seeming randomness means you need to think on your feet and adapt quickly to the changing conditions.

L-R: Thurlestone, Bedruthan Steps and Westcombe Milky Way. Photographer Ben McConnon

What Ben will be looking for

Whilst editing style is a personal choice, I LOVE the process of editing my images. My style and technical abilities have evolved and improved over time, but there’s always something new to learn, so I’ll never be ‘done’. I’m looking forward to seeing all kinds of edits so long as they’re not pushing too far and breaking certain parts of the image!

Ben's tips

  1. Whilst it’s great to accidentally happen upon the perfect conditions, everyone knows that’s not usually the way it goes! I like to give myself the best odds possible by referencing multiple weather apps and checking tide times before heading out. My two favourite apps are Windy for a wealth of weather charts and PhotoPills for astro-photography specific information.
  2. Invest in a sturdy tripod and good quality ball-head – they’ll last you years (unless you leave them up a mountain and only realise when you get to the bottom…). It’s tempting to buy cheaper, generic ball-heads – I did the same – but the difference is night and day, so I can’t recommend them enough.

SWCP Photographer 2021

Competition opening Spring/Summer.

Check back soon!

Last year's winnner

SWCP Photographer of the Year 2019 - Nick Shepherd

Click here to read the judges comments and about how Nick captured this amazing shot of a blizzard between Slapton and Blackpool Sands in South Devon. 

Other shortlisted entries

2019 Runner up - Ian Lewis with 'Stormy at Gwithian, Cornwall'

2019 Runner Up - Holly Auchincloss with 'Long exposure of evening light at the Crown mines'

Our first ever winner

2010 Winner - Chris Parker with 'Christmas Eve at Saunton Sands, Devon'

Contact Us

If you have any questions about the compeition, please contact us at [email protected]