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Picture of the week: Embracing the unpredictable elements

By Staff Reporter

In a misty, murky forest in the heart of Co Down, two walkers in raincoats are captured on camera deep in conversation.

Beautifully framed by tall trees and overhead hanging branches, the atmospheric black and white photograph depicts two friends, Joe Tate (left) and Christopher Connolly, embracing the moment on a rain-soaked summer's day.

The snapshot, which was taken by Mark Oliver, sums up perfectly the theme of this year's Belfast Telegraph photographic competition – and went on to win the adult category.

Saturday, August 2, the day of the province-wide One Summer's Day competition, was marked by dismal weather – rain, rumbles of thunder and grey skies.

But the elements didn't deter our would-be photographers from grabbing their cameras and snapping the people, places and moments that evoked a special summer's day memory for them.

Mark's winning picture, Embracing the Day, was taken in Tollymore Forest Park, one of the many stunning locations across Northern Ireland used as a location backdrop for cult television series Game of Thrones.

But as Mark explains, the picture nearly didn't happen.

"On Saturday morning our church's monthly walking group was about to be cancelled due to persistent heavy rain," he says.

"However, five of our group decided to persevere, opting for a more sheltered walk in Tollymore Forest Park.

"We set off from the car park at around 9.45am and had a lovely 10km walk through the park, along winding rivers and lush green forests.

"Of course it didn't stop raining until we returned to our cars – just in time for our picnic lunch."

Given Northern Ireland's unpredictable summer weather, Mark knew there was no point waiting for the rain to ease off and conditions to improve before he brought out his camera. So he captured the moment, there and then.

"The reason this picture is so special to me is because I think it says that if we embrace each day, whatever the weather, and make the most of the beauty around us, then we'll never be disappointed," he says.

"As Chris said on the day 'There is no bad weather, just bad clothing'."

Belfast Telegraph picture editor Peter Rainey said Mark's stand-out picture had all the right elements of an award-winner.

"I liked everything about Mark's picture – lovely black and white tones really added to it," he says.

"It's very evocative and atmospheric and shows a good use of imagination as well."

All the entries in this year's Belfast Telegraph One Summer's Day competition, in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, will be showcased in a 16-page supplement, published on October 15.

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