Young photographers have been celebrated at an awards ceremony for their incredible pictures of Sussex landscapes.

Thousands entered the Landscape Photographer of the Year competition to share their perspective of the country through the lens.

College students Lucy O'Mahony and Ellis Skelton were highly commended for their work, which captured the beauty of the coast and South Downs.

"I always make sure to have my camera on me"

The two images Ellis entered into the competition were both highly commended by the judges.

The 17-year-old from Eastbourne said: "Photography lets me relax from everything else that is going on and admire the amazing things in our world.

"Not everyone gets to see the common scenes that we walk past every day, so I like to capture that with my camera."

The Argus: Ellis taking pictures in the Lake DistrictEllis taking pictures in the Lake District (Image: Ellis Skelton)

Ellis is studying for A-Levels at Seaford Head sixth form, where he is taking photography among other subjects.

"I started around lockdown but only really got into it about two years ago and I decided I was going to do landscapes as my main field just to keep me occupied," he said.

"It is great being able to do two things I really enjoy - being outside and exploring places and then being able to capture it.

"That's why I always make sure to have my camera on me.

"I think that my age changes the way I take pictures. We are always being taught about how our climate is being so badly affected and I want to capture that while I still can and show people what we are losing."

Ellis's photography teacher Tammy Stevens said: "I immediately knew when I met Ellis on the open day and he shared his photography skills just how passionate and talented he is.

"He naturally embraces all aspects of photography way beyond the classroom and this is refreshing to see.

"He is thriving at Seaford Head and at times I struggle to see the difference between his own photography and professional photography, which is a huge complement to this budding young, talented photographer."

The Argus: Ellis Skelton's murmuration pictureEllis Skelton's murmuration picture (Image: Ellis Skelton / Landscape Photographer of the Year)

His vibrant picture of a starling murmuration over Eastbourne Pier amazed judges with its clever reflection and colours.

Ellis said persistence paid off to get the shot: "It was during the blue hour when almost all of the other photographers had gone and that's when the sky turned all of these amazing colours.

"I really like how the murmuration was echoed in the reflection of the sand."

The Argus: Ellis's picture of a snowy South Downs blending into the skyEllis's picture of a snowy South Downs blending into the sky (Image: Ellis Skelton / Landscape Photographer of the Year)

Ellis also made the most of a snow day at school to get up early and capture the South Downs covered in white, with the orange sunrise sky overhead.

He said: "It was a very early start, around sunrise, to make sure the snow was completely untouched.

"It was particularly lucky that school got cancelled that day, otherwise I wouldn't have taken the photo at all."

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The young entrepreneur sells his prints online and at markets in Eastbourne and has even organised an exhibition with his images.

"I sell local landscapes and I want to keep trying until I get the perfect shot of each amazing location." he said.

"In the future I hope to keep on pursuing that and photographing beautiful locations."

The Argus: Ellis with brother Jaden, dad Charly, Mum Sarah and pet dog KyloEllis with brother Jaden, dad Charly, Mum Sarah and pet dog Kylo (Image: Ellis Skelton)

He celebrated the recognition at the awards with a breakfast with his family, who often join him on his photo expeditions.

His mother Sarah said: "It's just incredible. I'm immensely proud considering how far I've seen Ellis come, from a shy character at secondary school to him coming out of his shell through photography."

"It's the chase with photography that I love"

The Argus: Lucy's serene picture of a surfskier paddling off Brighton beachLucy's serene picture of a surfskier paddling off Brighton beach (Image: Lucy O'Mahony / Landscape Photographer of the Year)

Lucy O'Mahony, also 17, entered two images into the competition's coastal view category, which were commended and highly commended.

Lucy, from Hove, said: "I spend so much time on the beach swimming, surfing and lifeguarding. It's where I love to be so that is what most of my images are of."

Her photographs show the variety of forms the sea can take, from crashing waves to calm waters.

The Argus: Lucy taking pictures in DevonLucy taking pictures in Devon (Image: Lucy O'Mahony)

She said: "One of my A-Level photography projects is looking at how humans interact with the coast and what a dynamic landscape it is."

Her first image, of a man on a surf ski paddling towards the sunset was highly commended by judges.

She said: "I was out for a walk on the seafront last December trying to get some sort of composition, trying things with the beach and different points of interest.

"Nothing was really happening, so I carried on walking until this surf ski just glided in. I lined the picture up and waited for it to come across my frame.

"It was an amazing sunset. The winter sunsets are always the best sunsets."

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Lucy is studying photography at Bhasvic in Hove and has hopes to go to Falmouth University in Cornwall to do a degree in marine and natural history photography - but not without taking a gap year to travel the Americas.

"I really enjoy studying photography. It's the chase with photography that I love," she said.

William Baldwin, principal of Bhasvic, said: "We congratulate Lucy on her photographs being highly commended in the coastal view category of this year’s Landscape Photographer of the Year 2023.

"Her talent and passion for the subject matter is clear in the images she created and we’re extremely proud of her and excited for what the future holds."

The Argus: Lucy's picture of surfers riding waves in CornwallLucy's picture of surfers riding waves in Cornwall (Image: Lucy O'Mahony / Landscape Photographer of the Year)

Lucy's action image of surfers taking on waves in Fistral Beach in Cornwall was commended by judges.

She said: "We do the same surf trip to Newquay every year and after a long day of surfing we went into a cafe on Fistral beach. 

"The evening sun was glowing and the waves were picking up the light. I saw one guy about to get one, so I took a snap and realised there was another guy right behind on another wave."

Lucy said Brighton helps foster her creativity. She said: "It's a very photographed place and there is a large photography community here - but we've got the sea, we've got the Downs, we've got the city, so there are still so many opportunities for photography.

"I'm so lucky to live here."