Derbyshire supermarket boss wins photo award with stunning Peak District image

A Derbyshire Tesco store manager has scooped a top international photography award with this breathtaking image of a Peak District sunset.

Friday, 11th February 2022, 9:22 am

Lee Howdle, 35, fought off competition from some of the world's most luxurious locations to land first prize with his stunning snap of the Derbyshire beauty spot.

The atmospheric photo shows the low mist forming over the hills with bright purple heather growing in the foreground, while dark grey and orange skies form above.

Lee entered the image, taken at Bamford Edge, into the Breathing Spaces category of the 2021 International Garden Photographer of The Year competition.

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The winning photo, a sunset at Bamford Edge

And the part-time snapper was left "ecstatic and overwhelmed" when he was named the winner from thousands of entries globally.

It's the first time in eight years that a photo from England has won the title - with previous winners including scenes from Italy, America, Iceland and New Zealand.

Lee, from Langley Mill, said: "It has been amazing. Thousands and thousands of people enter it and luckily, mine won.

"I just couldn't believe it. It was a mind-blowing moment. I'm not a professional photographer. I'm just Lee from Langley Mill.

'Dawn Of The Dragon' which captured a frosty morning at Chrome Hill, was also shortlisted.

"When I captured the image I knew it was special but never thought it would lead to this.

"When I came across the scene. It was one of those wow moments I will remember forever.

"There was a lot to take in, the firey sunset sky, low-hanging mist, the wall leading to Ladybower Reservoir and the heather in bloom.

"I went to Kew Gardens in London last Friday for a presentation - it has been brilliant.

Lee Howdle snapped the amazing photos

"The photo is kept by Kew Gardens but will go on tour around the country and then onto Germany and Portugal. It will be at Cambridge University next. It really is fantastic."

Another one of Lee's photos taken at Winnats Pass was also recognised in the competition, as well as a snap of a frosty morning in Chrome Hill.

Lee used a Canon 5D Mark 4 camera as well as a weather app to help pick the best conditions for his pictures.

He also used a glass filter on top of the camera’s lens to help the image match what a human could see with their own eyes.

'Winnats Fire', a photograph of a colourful sunrise on Winnats Pass, was also recognised in the competition.

Lee added: "I have to do a lot of planning too. Apps on my phone help me with what time of the day are the best conditions."

Lee started first became interested in photography about 15 years ago, using his mobile phone to take pictures of landscapes.

But despite his photo bagging first prize at international photography competition, Lee says he has no plans to pursue photography full-time.

Lee said: "Photography and specifically the Peak District helped me get through a lot of things.

"I fell in love with the Peaks. I can wander through the valleys, meet people, enjoy sunrises and sunsets and forget about life.

"But photography is a hobby for me. I am a store manager for a Tesco first and foremost and do the photography on the side.

"I love my job at Tesco. I don't have any plans to leave.”