Poppy Fields, Leamington Spa, 2021

The Leamington Spa poppy field sprung up in June 2021.  At the time I was just so happy that the field was near to home.  I remember going to the field one barmy summer’s evening to take photographs.  The light was beautiful and the field was so colourful with the poppies swaying in the gentle breeze.  I stayed there late into the evening well after sunset taking many pictures.  I wrote a blog about my time there.  One of my pictures was of several poppies standing proud against the colourful sky.  One picture from that evening at Leamington Spa became a slow burner.  I had two requests from charitable organisations wishing to use the picture to advertise their remembrance day activities.   In 2023, I decided to enter the International Garden Photographer of the Year (IGPOTY) award.  Many of my poppy field photographs were appropriate for the Wildflower Landscapes category.  I entered pictures from my visits to Worcestershire last year and with one entry to complete, I selected the Leamington Spa poppy field picture.  I was surprised and pleased that this was the picture that was shortlisted.  Then I was more pleased that the picture was highly commended in the final judging. This slow burner of a picture had done well and is now included in my slowly increasing portfolio of competition successes.

Well done to the winners and all the other entrants. This link opens up the Wildflower landscape awards section of the competition.

Reflections on my success.  

I can remember taking this picture and the composition was different to my normal views of wildflowers. I had deliberately taken a low down viewpoint and used an onboard flash to pick out the flowers. Initially I was unsure of the picture and almost disowned the view. However, common sense prevailed and I posted the picture on my blog and social media accounts.  I was taken aback that I had requests from different charitable organisations that wished to use the picture in promoting remembrance day events.  When the time came to enter IGPOTY, I chose to add this picture to my portfolio.  Even though the picture was taken two years ago, I thought it may catch the eye of the judges. The picture received a highly commendation award and I received many good wishes from friends about the picture.  What can I say about providing advice about your photographic work.  Never give up on your work. Most of my pictures are taken for personal enjoyment. I also enjoy the feedback from family and friends who enjoy seeing my pictures. Also remember that what you may think is not ideal may strongly resonate with other people.  Finally think differently. By all means take the pictures that look like they are from a postcard but they do not necessarily win competitions. Something quirky or a scene that has not been photographed before will generate interest. Such pictures are more difficult to find but if you keep looking you will find them!

This is my original post from the poppy field in Leamington Spa. A special evening.

Poppy Fields in Leamington Spa

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I am very pleased as one of my pictures featured in the wexmondays shortlist (January 21st 2020). This weekly competition requires you to tweet just one image that was taken in the previous seven days. You need to use the #wexmondays hashtag.

I have been attempting to get onto the shortlist for the last 3 years with little success. My image was neither a milky long exposure nor was it a spectacular landscape photograph. I quietly dispaired that I would ever reach the dizzy heights of being shortlisted. In my line of work, I know that you have to have lots of perseverance and keep putting the work in and perfecting your photographs. It is not easy and many times I have thought of giving up. Therefore today I am very happy to be shortlisted for #wexmondays and will bask in the glory for a couple of days. However I know that you are only as good as your last photograph and so I will try again to see if I can get on the coveted shortlist. I hope you enjoy the photograph as well.

I am so pleased as when the email came through I found out that not only did I win first place in the Birmingham Canal Navigations photo competition but I also came third! After entering so many competitions and being both long and short listed, it is a lovely feeling to have won one at long last. My prize was presented at a large gala at the Birmingham Council House celebrating 250 years of the Birmingham Canal Navigations. Included in the prize for first and third was £200 in camera vouchers plus a canvas print of my winning photograph. I have included the press release below together with the 1st and 3rd pictures. I was delighted to see that my picture featured on the front of the programme that was printed out and placed on all the tables for the evening. A night to remember!

!st Prize – Running under Snow Hill Station
3rd prize – Sunrise over Brindley Place


21 November 2019

Winners of Birmingham Canal Navigations photo competition announced

The charity, Canal & River Trust, working in partnership with the Birmingham Canal Navigations Society, has picked the winners of a photo competition which celebrates the 250th birthday of Birmingham’s canals.

Over 300 photos were submitted as part of the competition which aimed to capture the unique beauty of the historic waterways across Birmingham and the Black Country. Budding photographers were encouraged to snap a wide variety of waterway images such as colourful boats, waterway wildlife, historic canal architecture or pictures of people enjoying spending time on their local canal.

The winners are:

  • 1st place: Damien Walmsley with his picture titled ‘Running under Snow Hill station’
  • 2nd place: Michael Landelle with his picture titled ‘Lazy Sunday afternoon’
  • 3rd place: Damien Walmsley with his picture titled ‘Sunrise over Brindleyplace’

As part of the prize the winners were invited to a special VIP celebration event at the Council House in Birmingham where they were presented with their prize by The Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands, Mr John Crabtree OBE and Allan Leighton, chairman at Canal & River Trust.

Adnan Saif, director of West Midlands at the Canal & River Trust, said: “It’s wonderful that so many people took part in this photo competition. The pictures really showed how lovely the canals in Birmingham and the Black Country are and how lucky we are to have this wonderful network of canals right on our doorstep.

“I hope these pictures will encourage more people to come and discover their local canal as research shows being by water makes us happier and healthier.”

Michael Smith-Keary, from the Birmingham Canal Navigations Society, said: “It was great seeing so many wonderful pictures of the Birmingham Canal Navigations. There was a real mixture of photos from beautiful rural canal scenes, wildlife, boats and pictures that highlighted our urban waterways.

“All of the photos highlighted just how popular our canals are with local people and that nowadays they are being used for boating and so much more. Now they are very much about creating green spaces that are used for leisure and living – playing a vital role in our society for another 250 years.”

For more information on the work of the Canal & River Trust including how you can volunteer or donate money to support our work visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk


For further media requests please contact: Sarah Rudy at Canal & River Trust on sarah.rudy@canalrivertrust.org.uk or call 01908 302 584 / 07788 691 219 

Notes to Editors

The Canal & River Trust cares for and brings to life 2,000 miles of canals and rivers across England & Wales.  We believe waterways have the power to make a difference to people’s lives and that spending time by water can make us all healthier and happier. By bringing communities together to make a difference to their local waterway, we are creating places and spaces that can be used and enjoyed by everyone, every day.