Swailing amongst the flames in Dartmoor National Park

Selected for Environmental Photographer of the Year Exhibition

This image has been selected for the Environmental Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Royal Geographical Society. Sixty three entries were selected from over 10,000 images entered from around the world. I arrived at the exhibition to find my image had been used for the publicity posters and exhibition programme.

For a landscape photographer it doesn’t get any more dramatic than when the landscape is on fire! This image was taken during the swailing on Dartmoor in May 2016. Swailing is the controlled burning of gorse and bracken in order to maintain the moorland landscape. I don’t think the crazy world of risk assessments and health and safety have reached Dartmoor yet.

For the uninitiated, swailing is a dramatic experience with heat and smoke filling the air. Hopefully my image captures a little of this. The defining element of this landscape photograph is the curling of the flames around the edge of the frame. This combined with the size of the figure make for dramatic effect. It was taken on a 35mm lens so I suspect I wasn’t too far from the action.

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