The winners of a popular photography competition launched in a partnership between The Sill and award-winning wildlife photographer and film maker Cain Scrimgeour, have been announced.
In a bid to encourage people to explore the stunning Northumberland countryside all year round, the beauty of the National Park and its surrounding areas were captured in a series of emotive images at the hands of aspiring photographers from across the region.
Almost a hundred entries were submitted to the competition with the overall winner announced as Martin Ellis, from Gateshead, with his entry entitled Usway Burn.
First place winner Martin Ellis with his image, 'Usway Burn'.
The runners up were Philip Whittaker and Anita Nicholson who, along with the winner, will receive a framed photograph and an opportunity for their work to be put forward for an exhibition at The Sill as well as being entered into a draw to win an annual family pass for English Heritage properties in Northumberland.
Runner up Philip Whittaker came in second place with his image 'Mysterious tree at Black Cart', above. Below, Anita Nicholson came in third place with her image entitled 'Little tree on Hadrian's Wall near Caw Gap'.
Established photographer Cain, 23 from Whitley Bay, called on people to venture out into the breath-taking Northumberland scenery, from the stunning Cheviots, North Pennines and Northumberland Coast, to the rugged landscape of Hadrian's Wall country, to capture pictures that really encapsulate the beauty of the winter months. A range of images were submitted featuring everything from the lush landscapes in Kielder to a roe deer in a frost-covered field, leaving the panel of eight judges with the challenge of picking their top three entries.
Sitting on the panel alongside photographer Cain was Nigel Walsh, from Northumberland County Council, Jude Leitch, from Northumberland Tourism, Noel Hibbert, from Photography Monthly, Janet Blair, from Living North, Mel Whewell, from Northumberland National Park Authority, Chris France, also from Northumberland National Park Authority, and Hannah Knox-Hewson, from YHA.
Cain, who worked on Robson Green's ITV1 series Tales from Northumberland, said: "This competition has provided people with the opportunity to explore what Northumberland National Park has to offer, an experience that will be greatly heightened with the addition of The Sill which aims to open up the landscape to people.
"It was inspiring to see the entries spanning across Northumberland, from dawn to dusk and into the night, in all weathers, capturing the beauty of our stunning county. I am so proud to be involved in a project like this and I have been overwhelmed at the quality of images submitted which are to a very high standard.
"The winning photographers have really taken on board the essence of the competition brief and have immersed themselves in the rare beauty that Northumberland has to offer. It was so difficult to select the winners as each and every one of the entries was worthy of credit and all those who entered should be very proud of the stunning images they have produced."
Winner Martinwill now be able to pick up tips from Cain as he has been awarded the money can't buy prize of a one-to-one photography workshop with Cain. Martin, 52, said: "I am really pleased that my photograph has been picked as the winner out of all the many wonderful images submitted. I do love this part of Northumberland, it never fails to put a smile on my face even when it's raining or blowing a gale, as it so often does.
"Seeing Batailshiel Haugh and the Usway Burn bathed in the late evening sun was something special, just a brief moment. Thanks to The Sill photography competition, I'm really pleased for the opportunity to show how beautiful Northumberland is."
Stuart Evans, The Sill Project Director, said: "Due to the success of this competition and the generosity of our sponsors we are making this an ongoing competition that will offer photographers the opportunity to submit pictures for each season. With spring already upon us I'd urge all of you to get out and about in Northumberland National Park to capture the joy that this season has to offer. All the images submitted throughout the entirety of the competition will be used to raise the profile of The Sill and will help us on our journey to raise £3.7m of funding to help make the project a reality."
Photographers are now being asked to submit their spring-inspired images for the next phase of the competition, which is open to all ages and experience levels. Photographs are welcomed to capture the essence of Northumberland National Park and other special Northumbrian landscapes in relation to one of three themes; environments (including lakes and rivers, crags, hills, iron age hillforts and traditional buildings etc), flora and fauna (all forms of wildlife from cattle to forests) and activities (including everything from people working on the land, children's bike rides to rock climbing and astrology). The best entries will be uploaded to The Sill's social media profiles so anyone interested in seeing contributions from budding photographers of the North East should search 'The Sill' on Facebook and follow the project on Twitter, @thesillproject.
Entries can be uploaded to Facebook, Twitter or submitted by email to email@example.com . Images need to be at least 300dpi and a maximum file size of 10MB.
Images will remain the property of the photographer; however The Sill project team reserves the right to use images in any way they see fit for the purposes of publicising the competition. Attempts will always be made to credit the photographer. In entering the competition, photographers agree to these terms and conditions. The competition is ongoing and the judging panel will determine winners on a quarterly basis.
You can view a selection of entries submitted at our online gallery, click here.