These were the five nominations for BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards Reader Photo of the Year 2017 category
1) Gannet glory by Ken Lewis, Bass Rock
Having paddled in a kayak at this very spot, I’ve seen the incredible speed with which the gannets hit the water and have felt the chaos of this feeding frenzy as the birds divebomb. I think Ken’s photograph has captured that excitement perfectly. It takes great skill to take such a clean shot while contending with so much action. Wonderful.
2) Light respite by Kai Dean, South Stack Lighthouse
To me, this photograph oozes serenity and calm. I love many aspects: how the footpath pleasingly leads your eye to the lighthouse; the gorgeous, tranquil colours of the sunset over the quiet sea; the relaxing sense of stillness around the lighthouse. Everything about this image makes me feel at peace.
3) Towering Storm by Nigel Hodson, Porthcawl
Seriously, wow. Just wow. What an astonishing moment to capture on camera. The drama in this picture is off the scale, as is the size of that crashing wave dwarfing the onlookers. The choice to use a monochrome print gives this picture an even more powerful and ominous feeling:
it is a really breathtaking shot.
4) Owl on the Prowl by Ron Baber, Heartwood Forest
Hats off to anyone who manages to photograph a bird in flight, in focus and framed this beautifully. To catch an owl slap bang in the middle of the shot with its fixed stare pin sharp, but the wings slightly blurred, mid-beat, illustrating the speed behind this hunt, is so impressive. The photographer had a split second to snap this thrilling moment, but Ron has totally nailed that tremendously tough task.
5) Steeped in rays by Tim Graham, Cheddar Gorge
If ever a photograph encapsulated the pure beauty of the British countryside, this is the one. The winding road weaving its way through the gorge under that magnificent sunset, and the rocks and wildflowers in the foreground both bring superb depth to this image. A photograph that really does a terrific job of showing off this glorious, scenic spot. Note to self, must revisit Cheddar Gorge again very soon!