East Preston photographer wins top prize with stunning snap

Photo by Piers Fearick
Photo by Piers Fearick

An East Preston snapper has won top prize in his first ever photographic competition.

Piers Fearick came first in the South Downs National Park photo competition 2015-16 with his unusual shot of the famous cottages at Cuckmere Haven – which were recently seen on television in the BBC series Luther.

Dark Skies category winner in South Downs National Park Photo Competition - photo by Piers Fearick SUS-160701-140755001

Dark Skies category winner in South Downs National Park Photo Competition - photo by Piers Fearick SUS-160701-140755001

The 31-year-old also won the special Dark Skies award and a total prize of £350.

Second prize of £150 was awarded to Martin Offer from Pagham for his crisp and beautifully composed photo of sheep and woods in a hoar frost.

Third place and £50 went to Rhian White from Brighton for her brilliantly timed shot silhouetting a playful dog jumping in front of the setting sun.

The four winning pictures and a further four commended pictures will now go forward for the people’s vote at https://www.southdowns.gov.uk/photo-competition-winning-and-shortlisted-pictures/

Steve Watkins, editor of Outdoor Photography magazine and competition judge, said, “Piers’ photo is brilliantly put together and perfectly fits this year’s theme of ‘fresh perspectives’.

“I’ve seen many shots of those world-famous cottages but never from this angle. The details are so sharp and I’d be hard pressed to find a flaw in the composition.”

Piers decided to enter the competition after seeing details about it on judge Finn Hopson’s Facebook.

He said, “Having already taken photos of the cliffs and the beach, I slipped down the muddy river banks to find the tide exposing interesting waterways and managed to capture the last little bit of light before the weather rolled in.

“I feel very proud to have entered my first photography competition and then won it!”

Photographer Finn Hopson, who joined the judging panel for the first time this year, added, “We were all impressed with the level of talent on display but Piers’ photos were outstanding.

“I love the detail of his photo of Rottingdean windmill at night – the grass hinting at the start of the downland and the contrast of the night sky against the light pollution. It tells the story of why dark skies need protecting.”

Piers captured his dark-sky winning photo on the night of the total lunar eclipse in September 2015. As he waited for the blood moon to rise he noticed how the light pollution sandwiched the small hill but left the sky above the windmill in darkness.

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