Midlands photographer scoops national CLA Countryside Matters photo competition

01 February 2019













Heather Ross from Warwickshire has been crowned overall champion in the CLA Countryside Matters Photo Competition with her stunning farm sunset, Power Dust.

Over the last year, the CLA has received hundreds of stunning images showcasing the iconic landscapes, flora and fauna of England and Wales and telling the stories of the people who live and work in the countryside.

After an incredibly difficult judging process, the CLA’s panel chose a series of champions from regions across England and Wales, as well as an under 18s winner and the best photo of people working in the countryside.

Commenting on her win, Heather said: "I am absolutely shocked and really excited to have won the competition,   I love taking photos on my family farm in Warwickshire where I live and work and I am so delighted that my farming photo has been chosen as the overall winner"  

CLA Midlands Regional Director Mark Riches said: “Given the unrivalled beauty of our countryside we expected to see some great photographs, but the entries exceeded all our expectations. It is particularly pleasing to how people who live and work in the countryside actually enhance its visual appeal, as well as contributing to a vibrant rural economy.

CLA President and competition judge Tim Breitmeyer said: “The entries we received have shown the most wonderful display of rural life and the countryside. There is an immense wealth of talent here and in particular some of our younger entrants are just as accomplished as their elder counterparts.”

CLA Director General Sarah Hendry said: “Judging the entries was like opening a vast sack of sweets. Each one was a pleasure to discover. The range and diversity of the photos submitted celebrates the endless variety, beauty and interest that we find in our countryside and rural communities.”

The CLA Photo Competition judging panel

The CLA would like to thank Tanners Wines for supporting the CLA Photo Competition throughout the last 12 months www.tanners-wines.co.uk

See the winning entries at https://www.cla.org.uk/photowinners2018 

Twitter #CLAPhotoComp @CLAtweets Instagram @countryland&business

You can see more of Heather's photos on her Twitter account at @Hevvyr



Winner – Overall best entry & best Midlands entry

CLA Winner Heather Ross

Power Dust by Heather Ross from Birmingham. She wins £1,000 and a fun morning or afternoon using drones with professional photographer Ed Shepherd, as well as selection of gifts from White Heron Drinks

Judge’s comment: “With a farmer working late, the sunset creates a perfect silhouette which draws the eye to the subject. The photographer has to be perfectly placed and plan the shot to achieve this. Sunsets are notoriously tricky to capture as they look so good to the eye but can fail in the lens. I like the fact we can't place it as it is a silhouette, but the people who know the farmer can forever treasure this. A modern classic that won't date in a hurry.” – Ed Shepherd


Winner – People working in the countryside

John the Tractor Mechanic by Matthew Thomas from West Sussex. Matthew wins an overnight stay at Combermere Abbey’s luxurious award-winning North Wing. www.combermereabbey.co.uk

Judges’ comments:

“There is little or no photoshop used and so much old school British story and heritage in one image.” – Matthew Seed

“I love the real connection this photo achieves between John and the viewer – capturing that humorous, self-deprecating glint in his eye. The ancient clutter is wonderful and you can explore it for ages, there’s always something new to spot – it appeals to the ‘shed’ instinct in all of us. And last but most important, it celebrates the essential but largely hidden army of modest individuals who really make the countryside work.” – Sarah Hendry


Best under 18 entry

Pheasant portrait by Katy Read from Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Katy wins £100

Judge’s comment: “The under 18 category had one clear winner in Katy Read. She could easily be an overall winner. It is a beautiful studio shot of a pheasant. This is outstanding and the colour and sharpness shows very professional ability. I would buy a good size print if she is selling them.” – Ed Shepherd



South East England – best entry

Two Common Blues at Sundown by Alison Finch from Kent. Alison wins a mixed case of Great Minds Drink Alike wines from Chapel Down. www.chapeldown.com

South West England – best entry

Sheep Crossing the Road by Alison Davies from Bristol. Alison wins a £100 voucher to shop at Roxtons. www.roxtons.co.uk

East of England – best entry

Untitled photograph by Lee Cocker in East Sussex. Lee wins a midweek round of 18 holes of golf for four players at Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf & Spa www.stokebynayland.com

North of England – best entry

A Keeper on Scargill Grouse Moor by Annie Robinson from North Yorkshire. Annie wins a Yorkshire Food Lovers hamper from Fodder www.fodder.co.uk

Wales – best entry

Untitled photograph by Jac Williams from Denbighshire. Jac wins a hamper from the Rhug Estate Farm Shop www.rhug.co.uk