2014 FSC UK Photo Competition Results

In 2014 we asked you to submit your FSC photos to one of 6 categories: Terrific Trees, Woodland Wildlife, Flora & Fungi, Working in the Woods, Places for People or Lovely Labels. 

We received hundreds of entries, and we'd like to thank our judging panel for making the hard decisions which led to the final twelve. Our judges were: Edward Parker, Environmental Photographer; Ray Hawes, Head of Forestry at The National Trust and Greg Armfield, Head of Photography, WWF UK. 

Trees and woods mean different things to different people and this is perfectly illustrated by the many wonderful and varied photographs submitted for the competition. It is very difficult to judge the merits of one photograph against another but as somebody who spends a lot of his professional and personal time in woods I have made my decisions on which ones I think best show the many values of woodlands and have a certain “wow” factor. - Ray Hawes

Terrific Trees

1st place. Marion Sidebottom.

Terrific Trees. Marion Sidebottom.The quality of the tree photographs in this year’s competition was very high but this beautiful black and white image of an ancient pollarded hornbeam really stood out. The clever cropping means that the tree dominates the frame whilst still observing the “rule of thirds” in its composition. Also the use of a wide angle lens has given an almost looming feel to the tree distorting the natural perspective - making the closer branches appear closer than they really are and the trunk taper noticeably whilst the repeated shapes of hornbeams in background appear distant. The silvery tones and the fabulous texture of the ancient bark give the image an almost ghostly feel. - Edward Parker

2nd place. Gabriel Hemery.

Terrific Trees. Gabriel Hemery.This a great image of a tree in its location and is brilliant example of the use of colours to enhance an image. Scots pines have a natural pinky/purple tint to their bark and this with the wonderful counterpoint of golden highlights from a low sun all against a deep blue sky makes this image. The composition is great with the main trunk set off centre to fall on one of the imaginary “third/third” lines making it instantly picked up as the eye scans the image. There is good foreground and an even better background where the tree is beautifully located through the repetition of similar trees. The use of a low angle of view and a wide angle lens helps add drama to the composition too. - Edward Parker

Woodland Wildlife

1st place. Nicola Wearmouth

Woodland Wildlife. Nicola Wearmouth.In macro photography one of the critical techniques to master is where exactly to focus. The focus in this image is perfect having the head of the insect in sharp focus with a pleasing dreamy, blurry background – a few millimetres either way and the image could have been lost. The exposure is also critical and the image has the perfect balance between the very right yellows in the background and the more subtle tones of the insect. - Edward Parker

2nd place. Sally Norcliffe

Woodland Wildlife. Sally NorcliffeAn excellent wildlife shot of a robin which appears simple at first but on closer inspection has a combination of components which help make it a great image. The focus is critical and the head of the bird is nice and sharp. Also waiting until the robin turned its head slightly has made for a much more pleasing shape than head on might have been. The diffuse light through clouds have lit the robin and background evenly allowing for every subtle tone and detail to be captured on the sensor. The high soft light has also made for a very pleasing “catch light” in the bird’s eye. The background works really well to place the bird in a woodland situation. - Edward Parker

Working in the Woods

1st place. Christine Davies.

Working in the Woods. Christine Davies.A classic landscape image showing all the hallmarks of a great composition and the use of foreground and background to both lead the eye to the subject and also to locate it. The truck and logs fall close to one of the imaginary “third/third” lines whilst the trees on the bottom left and the winding track at the bottom help give perspective and lead the eye to the logging activity. The overcast lighting helps the sensor record all the subtle hues and tones of the heather and the various greens of the foliage. Sometimes in brilliant sunlight the subtlety of greens can be lost in deep shadows and bright highlights as the sensor can struggle to cope with a wide ranges of bright and dark. - Edward Parker

2nd place. Carol Miller.

Working in the Woods. Carol Miller.Great action shot with the composition taking the eye to the machine first and then travelling down the arm to the suspended logs. Use of a slight wide angle lens has worked well to emphasise the logs in the foreground. The image is beautifully framed with the autumnal branches on either side. A potentially difficult exposure with a large amount of white sky in the frame has been handled well allowing the true colours to be punchy even though it is taken on an overcast day. - Edward Parker

Flora & Fungi

1st place. Martin Jones.

Flora & Fungi. Martin Jones.A really great image of a fungus. I really like the way it’s taken from ground level which shows the distinctive gill pattern. The fungus really fills the frame nicely and has a small but essential bit of foreground and then a background of beautiful blurry greens, yellows and white. Close-up images can be made or lost by where the focus is. Here the focus is right on the button actually tricking the viewers that more of the fungus is in focus than it actually is. Another image where the exposure could have been tricky with the underside in shade but which was perfectly handled. Not only a very beautiful photograph but also one which would be ideal in a guide book or for identification. - Edward Parker

2nd place. Christine Davies.

Flora & Fungi. Christine Davies.A nice image of a fern herd. Good focus and nicely blurred background. The soft lighting helps show the texture and detail. - Edward Parker

Places for People

1st place. Ceri Jones.

Places for People. Ceri Jones.A magnificent and evocative image. A superb use of “backlighting” enables the shafts of sunlight to be seen wonderfully against the darker background. Great composition with the main trunk behind which then sun is cleverly hidden fall on one of the imaginary “third/third lines. The person and dog not only work as foreground and main subject but also provides another visual clue for the viewer as scale. - Edward Parker

2nd place. James Dickenson.

Places for People. James Dickenson.Lovely image of children taken on an overcast days which helps the sensor record all the detail and subtle colours. - Edward Parker

Lovely Labels

1st place. Joanna Sedgwick

Lovely Labels. Joanna SedgwickA great studio-style image. Bold composition makes the viewer see the label clearly and the soft angled light from high on the left hand side provides the gentle highlights and shadows which enables the viewer to not only make sense of the three dimensional shapes but also brings out the text beautifully. I am not sure about the vertical line of the tile in the background but this is a small observation to what is a very fine photograph. - Edward Parker

2nd place. Colin Reekie

Lovely Labels. Colin ReekieThis is a really good use of differential focus. The label is in sharp focus and the wonderful blurred background has enough detail to be recognisable but also slightly dreamy. The bold sunlight form the left of the image provides good light on the label and a pleasing warm highlight on the child in the background. A very good interpretation of the brief. - Edward Parker

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