Stunning picture shot by Cosham man recognised in South Downs National Park's annual competition

A STUNNING photo of a colourful heathland scene has come runner-up in a competition.

Thursday, 9th January 2020, 1:47 pm
Updated Thursday, 9th January 2020, 1:48 pm
Cosham resident, Mark Couper, with his runner-up photograph of Stedham Common at sunrise.

Mark Couper's picture competed with 170 entries to take the £100 runner-up prize in the South Downs National Park’s annual competition.

His colourful capture of Stedham Common basking in the early morning sun in West Sussex captivated judges.

Mark said: ‘The South Downs National Park is such a large, beautiful and diverse place and there are so many stunning photos being taken each year by people living within the area or visiting it.

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Runner up in the wildlife category, a water vole leaving his burrow in the Meon Valley.

‘To have captured something that judges have enjoyed, and shows off the area, really feels quite special.’

Judge Rachael Talibart said: ‘It’s absolutely stunning and I would have that on my wall. It’s a very accomplished composition.’

Nick Heasman, countryside policy manager for the park, added: ‘It’s a natural experience, but the amazing thing about the photograph is the almost supernatural feel.

‘It offers a bit of escapism and I think that’s what the South Downs National Park is all about.’

Into The Mistic - winner of the South Downs National Park’s annual photo competition.

First place went to Andrew Gambling, for his mystical image of a lone jogger running into the mist covered hills. The Into The Mistic composition was shot near Amberley Mount.

Andrew, who received £250 for his prize winning picture, said: ‘The sun had risen but was diffused by the mist, creating a ‘jaw’ around the sun for a few seconds, displaying the different levels of mist in the valley.

‘At the same time a runner ran down the South Downs Way to disappear into it. I’m incredibly honoured and slightly humbled to have won. There’s nothing better to be out in the South Downs National Park as it wakes from its slumber on a misty morning.’

The theme for the competition was Experiencing the Natural World, with judges feeling that Andrew’s photograph ‘met the brief perfectly’.

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The competition was dedicated to one of the judges, Steve Watkins, who recently died.

Third place went to Lloyd Lane, from Brighton, for his Take Flight composition which captured birds soaring through the watery dawn sun across Steyning Bowl.

The competition included a separate category for best wildlife image. Adam Huttly took first prize after photographing a hare in a flower meadow while second place went to Dick Hawkes for his delightful picture of a surprised water vole emerging from its Meon Valley burrow.

The winning images will be joined by five other highly commended photographs to go before the people’s choice with the winning photographer receiving a further £100. To vote for your favourite go to