Battling elements all part of job, says award winning photographer Paul Kingston
A DALE photographer’s image has won over weather watchers across the country to scoop a major award.
Whorlton photographer Paul Kingston, who has worked for press agency North News for 15 years,
won the ‘Public’s Favourite’ category of the Weather Photographer of the Year competition.
The contest, run by the Royal Meteorological Society, was entered by 800 photographers worldwide.
Mr Kingston’s winning image captured gigantic waves engulfing Whitehaven Harbour as gale-force winds caused havoc in Cumbria in December 2013. He said: “It means a lot that this was the public choice award.
“It is a really nice thought that people would take time out of their day to go through the process of voting for me, just because they liked my picture.
“When I went to pick up my award I had a really big cheesy grin on my face and I was just totally taken aback.
“It wasn’t until I got to the train station afterwards that it started to hit me – I honestly am so touched by it because I have never won anything like this before.
“I don’t feel like my picture was the best one on display – there were plenty that were better than mine, but as soon as I put it on social media it blew up with re-tweets and the promotion by my followers was immense.”
Out of the thousands of votes that were registered, the 36-year-old amassed almost 25 per cent in the final count.
Mr Kingston regularly fills the pages of the national newspapers with his unique weather photographs – which include colourful sun-down backdrops and stunning fell peaks.
He added: “I love doing weather photography because I have a real interest in weather, I love taking photos, and I get paid to do so – I am lucky that I can marry all three together really.
“On the day that I took that picture I was supposed to be going to a different place called Allonby about 20 miles away, because I knew that it was an easy place to get a good weather picture.
“At the last minute I changed my mind and decided to go for a risk and head to Whitehaven where I had never been before.
“I had to climb about half way up a cliff to fit the rest of Whitehaven in the picture, but I like doing that because facing the elements is all part of the challenge.
“It was like the perfect storm – the water levels were perfect and the wind was blowing the right way, it just worked.
“It is such an invigorating thing when the temperatures drop and you have to try and keep fit to stay warm.
“I just love to battle the elements."
The skilled snapper is also well known for his proficiency as a news photographer, and has worked on a number of high-profile stories over the years.
North News and Pictures managing director Ted Ditchburn said: “Since we started in 1984 the agency has been known for the quality of our photography.
“Paul Kingston is an exceptional talent and perhaps should be more well known within the region.
“He has done so many other great pictures of County Durham, Cumbria, Northumberland and North Yorkshire that could easily have been selected as well.
“Paul genuinely loves what he does and the obvious affinity he has for the moors, fells and countryside of the north, in all light and weathers, really comes through in his photographs.
“He has a lot of followers on Twitter and Facebook, who have all congratulated him – messages have also flooded in through the agency for us to pass on to him.
“He is well liked and well respected both professionally and personally by his colleges at North News, as well as by other professionals and people who just simply like his photographs.
“It’s very pleasing to see Paul get this well deserved recognition and also to know we have other top photographers working alongside him.”
Mr Kingston was shortlisted for The Guardian's ‘Agency Photographer of the Year’ award in 2014 with an autumnal picture that featured a steam train crossing the Glenfinnan Viaduct.