PUBLISHED: 10:58 12 November 2014 | UPDATED: 13:07 30 August 2017

Professional photographer and competition judge David Noton, offers top tips for taking magical images for the Amateur Photographer of the Year Awards

There's still time for keen amateur and professional photographers to enter their 'Eureka Moment' images of the South West Coast Path - until December 31st 2014 - into the SWCP Photographic Competition.

Here David Noton, our professional judge, tells entrants his top tips for taking magical images and we provide inspiration from the Dawn and Dusk category of the Amateur Photographer of the Year Awards to encourage more photographers to apply.

We have already received hundreds of entries and are still looking for other shots to make up the 12 final images for the 2016 South West Coast Path calendar as part of this competition.

First prize includes the winner's image on the front cover and a luxury spa stay at the Carbis Bay Hotel in Cornwall.

Find out how it’s done

There is still time to enter this year’s South West Coast Path photographic competition. We recommend that keen photographers feast their eyes on the superb coastal images, entered in the Amateur Photographer of the Year Competition, Round 5, Dusk and Dawn category, for renewed inspiration

Photographers who are looking for practical guidance, to conjure up their own magic, can look to our Professional Judge, David Noton, to point them in the right direction. David sets out his top tips for taking landscape photographs on the coast to our competition entrants.

David says: “You can read about the technique until the cows come home, but what really is the key to taking stunning images is learning the tried and tested method of scouting a location, pre-visualising the light, planning a shoot and finally returning again and again until the conditions are perfect to create an award winning image that will have your friends and family frothing at the mouth. It sounds obvious but isn’t.”

Taking photographs of the South West coastline during the autumn and as then into winter, prise a subtle quality from the landscape. Include a touch of early dawn mist or evening cloud mellowness to capture a magical moment.

Last year the winning photographer, Peter Edwards, was an amateur himself and again this year professional and amateur photographers are invited to enter who want to see their night time vigils and deep winter adventures rewarded with a winning image in this year’s competition.

David adds: “When a photographer first achieves a great image it really is a Eureka moment. Life, and your photography, will never be the same again.

The key to constant improvement is innovation, practise, imagination, persistence and crucially, learning from your mistakes. Believe me at least two times out of three it just doesn’t come together. Don’t beat yourself up about it, learn from it, analyse why a shoot isn’t working and plan accordingly. But above all, enjoy the dawn and dusk vigils and stick at it.”

This year's top 12 photos will feature in the 2016 South West Coast Path Calendar, with the 1stprize winning image on the front page.Each copy sold will raise a minimum of 25p for the South West Coast Path Association for path improvements. There are some superb prizes including a One Night Luxury Spa Break at The Carbis Bay Hotel, Cornwall. The competition closes on 31st December 2014.

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