SWCP Photographer of the Year revealed

Lee Searle, a photographer from Penzance has been named the South West Coast Path Photographer of the Year 2020 for a breath-taking scene snapped during a stormy winter’s day.

The winning photograph, taken on a section of the Coast Path overlooking Porthcurno beach beat tough competition from over 1,300 other entries from across the south west region. Lee takes home not only the title, but a £500 voucher thanks to sustainable kit provider Finisterre.

Judging the competition was a panel of professional photographers; Quintin Lake, Clare James and Ben McConnon. On the winning photo the judges said:

  • "A breath-taking scene, beautifully captured. The birds and waves' dynamic interplay makes for a captivating subject enhanced by a well-controlled tonal range and composition." Quintin Lake
  • “The energy, movement and wildness of this shot sums up the Coast Path for me and the way the birds are moving around the rock and waves.” Clare James
  • Water is a notoriously tricky subject, but Lee balanced things perfectly - freezing the birds in flight yet allowing the power and pace of the waves to come through.” Ben McConnon 

Lee Searle recounts how he captured the shot, This particular day it was very overcast with a hint of haze in the air, massive rolling waves crashing against the rock and howling winds. I noticed that when I looked through my lens, I could see a massive gathering of birds all flying around the coastline. All it took one was big wave to come through smash against the rocks, this sent the seagulls off in all directions. For me the birds really pull this shot together, they add a sense of calm to the storm, beauty to the beast.”


SPECIAL AWARD WINNER - Climate Crisis Capture Award. Storm Ellen at Lyme Regis Lyme Regis, Dorset Jurassic Coast (Exmouth to South Haven Point)  photo by James Loveridge

The Associaton also presented a special Climate Crisis Capture Award for the photo that best communicated important issues that are threatening the Coast Path such as; coastal erosion, pollution, rising sea levels, loss of biodiversity, loss of habits and extreme weather.

Dorset-based photographer James Loveridge for his dramatic photo taken in Lyme Regis during Storm Ellen. Matthew Pontin, Creative Director of Fotonow who judged the Award said, “There’s something really explosive about this image. I love how the nature of the rising wave sits alongside the building, making it look so fragile compared to the sea. The brooding sky above is a reminder that the climate crisis is hanging over us, demanding we take action.”

 Winner of the special award, James Loveridge said,Living on such a dynamic stretch of coastline as the Jurassic Coast, I've seen the changes over the last two or three decades in many of my favourite locations and the increasing intensity and frequency of storms that shape the beaches and cliffs.” 

The South West Coast Path Photographer of the Year competition will be back soon, please check for updates about when it will open for entries.

Published on: March 25, 2021