A highland cow stands majestic in the Punchbowl just as the sun sets behind the ridge, flooding the sky with red and orange.

This was the scene skilfully captured by Clare Bent, winning her first prize in the Black Down and Hindhead National Trust Supporters group 2022 photographic competition.

Clare Bent's 'Highland cow in a Punchbowl sunset' won first prize in the adult category of this year's Black Down and Hindhead photo competition. Judges said of her prize-winning snap: "A simple but very effective composition whose moving elements (the sun and the highland cow) were probably only in this configuration for a brief period of time, so well done to the photographer for capturing them. The image is in focus throughout and the exposure has retained detail in the highlights as well as the dark foliage of the valley. An unmistakeable location - maintained for us by the National Trust."
Clare Bent's 'Highland cow in a Punchbowl sunset' won first prize in the adult category of this year's Black Down and Hindhead photo competition. Judges said of her prize-winning snap: "A simple but very effective composition whose moving elements (the sun and the highland cow) were probably only in this configuration for a brief period of time, so well done to the photographer for capturing them. The image is in focus throughout and the exposure has retained detail in the highlights as well as the dark foliage of the valley. An unmistakeable location - maintained for us by the National Trust." (Clare Bent )

The dramatic image captures the essence of many of the National Trust’s magnificent nature reserves in the Haslemere area.

It was one of many photographs submitted to the competition last year, giving the judges a challenging job selecting the four very best.

Dr Clinton Blackman, chairman of Haslemere Camera Club (www.haslemerecameraclub.com), led the judging panel and his comments below on the winning photos provide the reasoning behind their selection.

On Saturday, January 21, Bob Daniels, committee chairman of the Black Down and Hindhead Supporters, addressed the group who had assembled in Haslemere’s Raymond Reid Photo, long-term sponsors of the competition.

Brian Simmonds presented the prizes of vouchers and framed photos to Clare Bent, winner of the adult category, and Louisa Vassallo, winner of the juniors. At just ten years old, Louisa composed a tranquil scene of reflections in one of Black Down’s beautiful wildlife ponds.

Junior First Prize-winning entry ‘Reflections on a Black Down pond’ by Louisa Vassallo, aged 10. Judges said: “An excellent picture that would have also done very well in the adult section. The sweeping arc of the pond bank provides a natural lead-in to the varied and interesting trees and their reflections, all capped off by an exciting summer sky.”
Junior First Prize-winning entry ‘Reflections on a Black Down pond’ by Louisa Vassallo, aged 10. Judges said: “An excellent picture that would have also done very well in the adult section. The sweeping arc of the pond bank provides a natural lead-in to the varied and interesting trees and their reflections, all capped off by an exciting summer sky.” (Louisa Vassallo )

The National Trust owns significant areas of beautiful countryside around Haslemere, managing them for their internationally significant wildlife species and natural habitats.

The Black Down & Hindhead Supporters is a membership group which helps the National Trust to enhance these special areas locally, working with the staff who manage the National Trust landholdings around the Hindhead and Black Down area.

In addition to the annual photo competition, the group organises a range of talks and events throughout the year, offered free or at a reduced rate to members. Anyone interested in signing up should visit: www.haslemere-nt.com

For more prize-winning photos of Black Down and Hindhead, pick up a copy of this Thursday's Haslemere Herald...