Winners of the Alfred Vowles Photographic Competition were presented with their prizes recently at The Exmoor Society’s Resource Centre in Dulverton. “Alfred Vowles was born in 1882 and was a well-known local photographer who, for over 30 years until the late 1940s, devoted his life to recording the landscape, life and people of Exmoor,” said Rachel Thomas, Exmoor Society Chairman.

“He immersed himself in the established styles and processes of the day and for many years ran a thriving business selling postcards of his work from a shop in Minehead, having earlier worked for Kodak in London. His legacy is a most valuable document of the Exmoor of the period, which is why we named the competition after him.”

The competition, which is sponsored and run by The Exmoor Society, occurs every two years and invites amateur photographers to submit images of Exmoor under three categories: Scenery, Wildlife and Heritage. The three judges, Caroline Tonson-Rye, Exmoor Society Trustee, Barry Hitchcox, of Barry Hitchcox Photography, and Jack Clegg of Minehead Photography, were impressed by the high standard of entries.

Keith Hann won first prize in the Wildlife category with a wonderfully observed shot of a wheatear, taken in Ember Combe. This is not an easy bird to capture and the judges liked the shallow depth of field and iconic Exmoor sprig of heather so much that Keith was also awarded the Alfred Vowles Trophy, donated by Vowles’ family, for the Overall Winner 2017-18. First prize in the Scenery category was awarded to Madeline Taylor for her very original view of Tarr Steps, the bold composition and good lighting particularly appreciated. Both winners received a cheque for £50.

Congratulations go to the following Highly Commended entries:

Wildlife Category – Madeline Taylor: Exmoor pony mare and foal crossing the road near Webber’s Post; Keith Hann: Young stags in Thurley Combe.

Landscape Category – Sharon Bailey: Tarr Steps after the flood, November 2016; Keith Hann: Freezing fog in the Quarme Valley.

The judges were disappointed by the low number of entries in the Heritage category. Sadly, none of these was up to the standard they were hoping for, and they were unable to reach a decision on a winner. Competition judge and Trustee Caroline Tonson-Rye said: “The Exmoor Society would like to encourage everyone to discover and enjoy all that Exmoor National Park has to offer, and to capture it on camera. The closing date for the next Alfred Vowles Competition is not until 31 December 2020, so there is plenty of time to take that winning shot. Advice and tips can be found on the website under Competitions and Awards at Good luck!”

A display of all the winning photographs and a selection of the other entries can be seen at The Exmoor Society Resource Centre in Dulverton, open weekdays 10am to 4pm.