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Surrey Life Readers’ Photography Exhibition 2017 – Beautiful Surrey

PUBLISHED: 16:19 20 January 2017 | UPDATED: 16:20 20 January 2017

January to June (details)

January to June (details)


The standard of entries for this year’s Surrey Life readers’ photography competition was once again spectacular, and our judging team was hard-pressed to choose the 12 final images for our 2017 calendar. With our exhibition now on the horizon at Denbies, here each photographer explains how their image came about...

July to December (details)July to December (details)

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine December 2016



This year’s Surrey Life readers’ photography exhibition will take place at Denbies Wine Estate, Dorking, from Monday January 23 until Sunday February 5. Entry is free and all the 12 calendar images will be featured as well as a selection of our other favourite images from this year. There will be 30 images of Beautiful Surrey in all.


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“This photo was taken on my first ever visit to Polesden Lacey,” says Andrew. “Focusing on a glass globe balanced on the garden steps and using a hand-held Nikon DSLR camera, it’s a slightly unusual take on an iconic building. My wife and I have recently joined the National Trust and have been making the most of our membership, visiting their properties throughout the summer this year.”

JUDGES’ VERDICT: We loved this image’s unique take on an iconic National Trust property. It’s a beautifully-framed, creative picture and makes Andrew Varney fully deserving of this year’s Surrey Life Photographer of the Year title.


“I’d been waiting for a crisp wintery morning to pop up to Newlands Corner to get this shot,” says Matthew. “For such a popular spot, it was amazing to be the only one on the hillside waiting for the sun to appear over the horizon. One of the important things for this shot was to make sure there was some foreground interest and this discarded branch covered in morning frost offered a perfect balance against the rest of the more distant view. I also wanted to get a starburst effect of the sun, so set the camera up accordingly to capture that. Having taken a few shots as the sun rose, it was exciting to see the idea come to life on the screen.”


“The main building at Royal Holloway University, in Egham, was built in 1881, in the style of a grand French chateau,” says Stephen. “In the heart of the north quadrangle stands a monument to Queen Victoria, who officially opened the building in 1886. This year’s Heritage Open Days event gave me the opportunity to visit this stunning building, which can usually only be glimpsed while travelling along the A30 in Egham.”


“I was privileged to have Gatton Park, near Reigate, all to myself recently whilst doing a recce for a charity art fun day that I was organising there,” says Bogdan. “It was a bright sunny day and, with no people about, I took the opportunity to take some hand-held landscape photographs. This was the first time I’d visited Gatton Park and I was blown away by the colours and vibrancy of the newly-grown foliage. The spectacular Japanese Garden grabbed my attention in particular, with the pond’s reflection enhancing the colours of the surrounding bushes. I made the weather-worn granite lantern my focal point with the Japanese-style tea house in the background giving the garden an extra authenticity.”


“I took this picture of the Gothic Tower at Painshill, in Cobham, and processed it in a way to try and capture the moment that my wife and I first walked round the corner and saw it,” says Kelvin. “When I got home, I tried to create an image complimenting the building’s glory and also to give it a mystical feel as well.”


“This was just a chance-shot,” says Julian. “My wife Jenny and I were on our way to Petersham Nurseries, near Richmond, and thought we’d stop off for lunch at The New Inn pub on Ham Common and these lovely cottages and gardens were right next door.

“It was a lovely sunny day and, as usual, my camera was with me, so it would have been criminal to walk on by and not capture this delightful scene!”


“I only recently discovered the wonders of Leith Hill, and this was only my second visit to the area,” says Marie. “It’s such a beautiful place, and I love the way the sun hits the tower in the late afternoon. In this shot, I particularly like the long shadows cast by the tree and the way I was able to use the tree itself to frame the tower.”


“I read about the 200th anniversary celebrations of the Wey & Arun Canal in Surrey Life and took a walk down to St Catherine’s Lock, near Guildford, hoping to see a small flotilla of boats coming up-river,” says Peter. “After a bit of a wait, they duly arrived in bunting-decked finery and good spirits! Other boats had moored up and people were having cream teas – all very British!”


“This photo was taken not long after opening at Painshill’s Crystal Grotto,” says Graham. “While waiting for visitors to arrive, I noticed that the sky above the end of the lake had cleared of earlier clouds and took the opportunity to take a photograph.

It’s a view I’ve photographed many times but I consider this to be one of the best, if not the best, due to the light and the reflections in the lake.”


“I like photographing the deer in Richmond Park for its wild landscape,” says Stephen. “On this morning, I had arrived early to give myself time to locate the stags before the sun rose over the horizon. This stag at the top of Queen’s Ride was constantly moving and bellowing to drive away any rival stags from the large group of hinds he had gathered. And from a distance, I was mirroring his movement to try and keep him from blending into the dark trees. He was crossing the top of the ride when he stopped to bellow in my direction, and I managed to grab this shot. It’s the light in the window of White Lodge that really makes this image for me.”


“I have a soft spot for the English rivers and canals, particularly the historic bridges, cottages and locks,” says Leigh. “During a trip along the River Wey Navigation on a bitterly cold January afternoon, the sun was bright and the skies clear. I find there is something very special about sunsets during the winter season and I couldn’t have been happier when I finally reached Stoke Lock, the sun dipping between the tree while the scenery was glowing orange.”


“I had been wanting to get an early morning/sunrise picture of Newark Priory in the winter for some time,” says Justin. “It was a beautifully clear, but very cold, morning – I ended up taking a series of images as the sun rose over the Priory, and felt that this was probably the best one. The colours in the sky, combined with the hard frost on the ground, helped to capture the wintry image that I had been looking to take.”

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