7 October 2022

Judged by photographers Kevin Maslin, Margaret Beardsmore, Derek Pratt and Alan Stopher.

We were delighted to receive over 300 entries to this year’s photography competition! Amateur and professional photographers alike took part, and we received some fantastic photographs featuring Britain’s canals and rivers. Some photographs were taken using digital cameras whereas others used mobile phones. Significant advancements in technology have made photography a lot more accessible, which is good as it allows people from all walks of life to participate in competitions such as ours.

Photographs were submitted to the following four categories.

Photography competition categories

Heritage details

The details that tell a story about our waterways – from old waterways signage and rope grooves caused by horse drawn boats.


British waterscapes

From enchanting views of navigable waterways throughout the seasons to the 500 miles of waterways that could be usefully restored.


Old meets new

From old warehouses to new developments; let’s get a picture of the creative, refreshing spaces our waterside environment is.


Living waterways

The vibrancy of our inland waterways – from a family enjoying a boat trip or a group of paddleboarders to the variety of wildlife or culture they hold.

Our judging panel consisted of four exceptional waterways photographers including both Derek Pratt and Kevin Maslin who judged the competition last year. Derek is the author of several books and articles on canal and river photography, and has a library of over 80,000 photos taken over a period of 45 years. Kevin runs photography walks along the canal and his work has featured in BBC Wildlife and Waterways World magazines, as well as in the popular Geo Projects maps. Derek and Kevin are joined by Margaret Beardsmore; a Staffordshire-based photographer and canal-enthusiast. Margaret has been volunteering with IWA for over 25 years, being both a committee member and a leader of local work parties. Margaret is a Licentiate with the Royal Photographic Society and enjoys capturing landscapes, nature and people. She also held a Waterways Webinar on the art of waterways photography in 2020. Alan Stopher completes the judging panel as a guest judge. He won last year’s photography competition with his photograph of boaters waving at a train crossing the River Ouse in York. Alan is also a member of his local photography society in Huddersfield. ​

Congratulations to each of the category winners who will all receive £25 to spend in our online shop, plus IWA goodies. Please also join us in congratulating the overall photography competition winner: Nicola Turner, who will receive a print of their photo. A massive thank you to our judges: Kevin Maslin, Margaret Beardsmore, Derek Pratt and Alan Stopher, for judging the competition – and to everyone who entered. We hope you will enjoy seeing your photographs if they are used in our marketing materials, and that you are looking forward to our 2023 Photography Competition next year!

British Waterscapes – overall Photography competition winner

Landscape photography is all about capturing the light, and this wonderful image portrays that in spades. Nicola Turner was the early bird who caught the worm and her superb morning study of the Peak Forest Canal ticks all the right boxes. The diagonal composition leads the viewer’s eye into the picture and the low Winter sun filtering through the skeletal trees and picking out the details of the moored boats adds that touch of magic. The fact that this shot was taken on a camera phone reinforces my belief that it’s the photographer’s skill and not the equipment which makes a successful photograph.

– Kevin Maslin

Photography Competition 2022 - Winner
Marple, Peak Forest Canal – Nicola Turner

Old Meets New

Photography Competition 2022 - Old Meets New Category Winner
River Severn at Upton upon Severn – Teresa Fuller  

This is an excellent image, well composed and with good exposure. The attractive boats in the foreground give interest and colour. The curve of the modern bridge provides the ‘new’ part of the brief, while there are several references to the ‘old’ element.

The couple standing on the bridge looking down at the river encourage us to look into the distance to see the traditional boat heavily laden with aggregate coming towards us.

But the ‘pièce de résistance’ is the modern lorry on the bridge carrying old steam engines. A very attractive image, well seen and well executed. Congratulations to Teresa.

– Margaret Beardsmore LRPS

Living Waterways

Digital photography has made everyone a photographer regardless of whether you’re using a digital camera or a mobile phone. This was particularly true for the Living Waterways category where the quality of photographs submitted was so great that I found it difficult choose the best one.

This photo of a boat crossing an aqueduct fits the bill as Roger has used diagonals to lead the eye to a focal point which is the boat.

Derek Pratt 

Photography Competition 2022 - Living Waterways Category Winner
Iron trunk Aqueduct – Roger Agnew
Photography Competition 2022 - Heritage Details Category Winner
Rochdale Canal Milepost at the entrance to Bottomley lock, S is for Sowerby Bridge – Gillie Rhodes   

Heritage Details

Gillie’s image fully satisfies the requirement for portraying a heritage detail but in doing so gets so many other things right. The lighting is good in that it avoids harsh shadows, the viewer can see the texture of all the stone from which it is fashioned as well as that of the wall which gives context to the scene. I loved the way that the milestone was shown off-centre and balanced by the grasses to make an effective composition and the colour palette is easy on the eye. Well done!

– Alan Stopher