The February theme was Green, another topic open to interpretation with entries ranging from some lovely green fields, to a windfarm complete with skein of geese.
There was one image that stood out for all of us, this incredible photo of a nesting shag on the Farne Islands NNR taken by Kim Gallagher who says the bird kept "a beady emerald eye on me at all times". It's that emerald eye that really draws you into the beautifully clear photo, with the grassy tussocks in the foreground highlighting the brightness and colour of the watching eye.
The January theme was Seasons, which seemed most appropriate for a new year. As ever we had some fabulous entries and it was lovely on a cold, damp day to be looking at your images of high summer. But it was a winter view that ended up winning this month.
Winner: Winter in the Lakes by Sam Feaster
This incredible photo of "Winter in the Lakes", taken on the top Crag Hill by Sam Feaster.
There was 'just something about' this one that caught every one's eye. The person silhouetted on the edge of the plateau gives the image perspective whilst the billowing cloud in the valley below gives it an otherworldly feel. Capturing the glittering, coldness of snow, especially in bright sunshine without flattening or bleaching the photo takes practice and Sam's managed this and kept the blue, high pressure, winter's sky.
Runner up: Storm Warning by Adrian Button
this shot by Adrian Button of the waves battering Seaham Lighthouse in the early spring gales would have been our winner this month but we felt that it wasn't quite as sharp Sam's Lakes photo. Katie said, "The slight fuzziness does enhance the ferociousness of the storm". We all agreed it was a highly evocative image, and almost (but not quite) our clear winner so we've given second place and a runner's prize to Adrian.
The December theme was 'tools of the trade' which is one of the categories that is more open to interpretation and the photos of the tools you use were all great images capturing work in the countryside. Once again it was another tricky decision but we all agreed the wonderful landscape of Glen Affric complete with tree planting tools by Sandy Davidson was our favourite, as Carla says, "it certainly beats the average office environment".
Sandy says: "The photo was taken in a remote part of Glen Affric where I was working as part of a team planting new native woodland. Typically, winter is the season for tree planting but, by using cell-grown stock, the season can be extended into the summer months. Working on high ground with poor soils we look for 'micro sites' in which to plant appropriate species and ensure that the right tree goes in the right place. This often means we plant in clumps and scattered groups, following patches of better soil, and avoiding areas of deep peat. The result is a more natural-looking woodland such as can be seen on the hillside on the left hand side of the image. The image shows the basic tools required for the job - a planting bag for carrying trees, and a trusty spade for planting them."
Runner up: Standard path building tools by Mark O'Brien
Although we were unanimous in our choice of winner we had to give special mention to this photo from Mark O'Brien who says: "while on the Isle of Tamera on the North West coast of Scotland, I was working on some path building work around one of the old buildings and started my day assessing the tools". It made us all smile - after all a sense of humour is one of the most important 'tools' for anyone planning a careers in the great outdoors!
Mossy stump by Darren Towers
See the full size image here.
The stump is near Loch Ness, Scotland; Darren says: "I thought this looked like a cheeky forest creature with a full head of mossy hair and a subtle face staring out at visitors in the woods!"
The CJS Team agreed with him with Carla saying "When I glanced at it I saw a ‘little bears face’ in the middle and now I can’t not see it!!"
We liked the vibrant colours, the myriad of greens working together to keep it a cool, calm image with great depth.
Red stag walking up a river by Val Gall.
CJS: The red stag is a beautifully balanced, perfectly composed and in focus image. Every hair is visible, the texture of the antlers and the spikiness of the gorse, even the water running down the lifted stepping foreleg which together with the disrupted reflection in the water below all come together to create a sense of movement in what is a quite serene image.
Here to Help by Olivia Masi.
CJS says: Here to Help is the caption Olivia gave her photo of the seal, it's quite easy to believe that is what the BDMLR medic is saying to the seal whose head tilt gives the impression that they're deep in conversation. This is another perfectly focused, nicely composed image with both medic and seal centre stage but neither overshadowing the other.
Ducklings on the Lancaster Canal by John Jones.
The CJS Team say this is a simply a beautiful scene; the depth of this image really appealed to all of us, noticing the duck and ducklings in the foreground before being drawn deeper through the arch of the bridge and on to the water beyond. The bright sunshine illuminating the brilliant greens of the verdant plant life and creating the reflection of the mother duck on the water and highlighting the ripples the little flotilla are making in the otherwise still water. All creating a very pleasing image where the more you look, the more there is to see.
Bothy at Harris on Isle of Rum. The grassland ar Harris glen kept grazed by highland cattle, rum ponies and feral goats, encouraging a variety flowers and plants, such as marsh orchid and pillwort. by Isabelle Miles.
CJS: We liked the contrast of the green machair with the bright blue sky; the shadows of the clouds on the distant hills create a sense of movement. The white walled bothy creates a bright spot drawing your focus which is then led towards the water by the drystone wall. The grazing ponies give the image a hint of the land management being carried out on the Island.
Katie sums it up best: "It’s a simple and yet stunning photo of a beautiful landscape."
Photographer: Laura Hartshorn (18)
Hoverfly : I took this image during a very warm, sunny day while playing with my dog in my garden in Shaw Mills.
CJS: We picked this photo because it's a lovely, in focus, close up of the fly where every hair is visible. The main subject stands out well aginst the flat green background and the yellow flower reflects the insect's colouring all together making a nicely composed image.
Thetford Forest by Tracey Ketteringham
CJS: The sunbeams flooding through the trunks of the pines draw your eye into this image. The golden rays illuminate the subject without detracting from the whole or flattening the overall colour palate.
How to enter
Simply email your photo (jpegs please) to firstname.lastname@example.org along with your name and any information you want to include about your photo: what it shows, where it was taken and a caption for a funny one would be welcome too.
There is no limit on the number of entries, however, each image can only be entered once.
NB all photos are copyright of the named photographers