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Physical geography student photo competition

student photo competition - Zoe Cripwell

Photo by Zoe Cripwell from Monmouth School for Girls. First prize winner in the 11-14 category in 2019 with ‘Power and Time’ taken in Feshiebridge, Cairngorms National Park.

Physical geography student competition 2024

Following the success of previous competitions, the Physical Geography Student Photo Competition returned for a ninth year with our sponsor, the British Society for Geomorphology (BSG).

Please note competition entries close on Monday 30 September 2024.


The theme of the competition is ‘The power of physical geography’. 

This year’s competition challenges you to discover evidence of the power of physical geography. When out and about, capture it in a photograph, explain why, and how your example illustrates the power of physical geography in an accompanying title and caption (up to 250 words).

It is easy to think that ‘big’ or ‘mighty’ are the only expressions of the power of physical geography.  But when you realise that power is the ability to create changes by exerting a force, then it is easy to recognise power operating at different scales of magnitude and time.

For example, it becomes possible to understand how weathering of ‘solid’ rock breaking down into fragments (and, depending on the process, these might be microscopic grains or massive boulders) is an illustration of the power of physical geography – the surface of the Earth is changed.

Good evidence of this sort of the power of physical geography can be found as easily in local or urban settings as in more grand and distant locations.

When you see a mighty mountain chain you are looking at the power of physical geography, but to demonstrate this you would need to find some evidence that illustrates how it was lifted up, e.g. crumpled, folded and stacked strata.

These are just two of many examples that you could discover to show the power of physical geography and explain how it shapes the character of the land and shifts waves, winds, and water in the oceans and atmosphere.

The photograph needs to be accompanied with its (precise) location, a title and a caption of up to 250 words that ‘show and tell’ the physical geography, describing the focus of your example and explaining how it shows the power of physical geography. The entry form has a template created for you to do this.

Anyone can take photos  – here are a few tips to help you capture the image you want:

  1. Photos tend to be better composed in landscape orientation.
  2. Clean the lens. Over time the lens can collect dust, which can make your photos blurred – just wipe it with a clean (dry) cloth.
  3. Lighting can ‘make or break’ a photo, so consider the weather and the time of day to make sure your feature can be seen or is highlighted by the conditions.
  4. Consider the framing of your photo, i.e. everything that is in it. Try to avoid having the focus of your photo in the middle (Google search ‘rule of thirds’).
  5. Pay attention to a horizon or background line and try to keep your photo level and straight.
  6. Look high and low, big and small, close and far for your ideas.
  7. Do a little research on the feature in your photo so you can be reasonably confident in describing its physical geography accurately.
  8. The judges will not necessarily be expecting a ‘perfect’ entry, but they will be looking for balance of an interesting, well-composed photograph and a description that shows you recognise your subject and outlines how it relates to the power of physical geography.

Examples entries:

  1. A symptom and symbol of power
  2. Something in the air
  3. The boulder burial

We hope you have fun discovering exciting evidence of the power of physical geography!

Entry information and forms

The competition prizes consist of top grade outdoor ‘kit’ by Paramo Clothing, supplied by the outdoor shop, Foothills (Sheffield).

  • 1st prize: Ventura windproof jacket
  • 2nd prize: Fuera smock and cambia neck tube 
  • 3rd prize: Fuera smock

Please note that depending on availability the exact prizes may vary from the above.

If you are in years 7-9, please complete and submit the parental consent form along with your entry form.

Entries will be judged on the photograph together with the quality of the explanation.

Download and fill in the entry form

View the competition terms and conditions.

The closing date is 30 September 2024.

We look forward to seeing a new range of fantastic images of the world around us, alongside clear and accurate descriptions of the physical processes taking place!

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