This striking Eastbourne photo was recognised in the Landscape Photographer of the Year Awards

The breathtaking photo by Peter Brooks
The breathtaking photo by Peter Brooks

A striking shot of the Belle Tout lighthouse during a thunderstorm has been recognised in a national photography awards.

Local photographer Peter Brooks said he was ‘absolutely delighted’ and ‘ecstatic’ to have the breathtaking photo commended in the prestigious Landscape Photographer of the Year awards 2018.

One of Peter's photos from the stormy night

One of Peter's photos from the stormy night

He said, “It’s such an honour and I cannot wait to see it printed in the official awards book upon its release on Tuesday (October 16) and also then attend the awards ceremony in November!

“Having it shortlisted was already exciting and an honour, having followed the competition for years admiring the stunning photography.

“I have dreamt of one day having a photo of mine grace the pages, it has been one of those bucket list to do things that I was working towards and I am so proud to have achieved one of my photography dreams especially with it being the first time I have entered!”

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Peter at the Belle Tout

Peter at the Belle Tout

Peter explained how the photograph came about.

On the night of June 29 last year he was just about to head to bed when he saw a few flashes of lightning, and received a text from his brother, who lives on the seafront, saying there was some ‘pretty cool’ flashes of lightning starting up. He initially headed down to the pier, but said there was only a few small flashes so he wanted to go higher up to try and get a shot of the storm from further away.

Peter said, “As I got up onto the South Downs – BAM – I saw a massive fork of lightning come down.

“I thought Belle Tout Lighthouse could be the best place to be, the lightning was over the sea in that direction and it’s a stunning lighthouse.

'She said YES!' Peter proposed just after sunset with the Beachy Head lighthouse in the background

'She said YES!' Peter proposed just after sunset with the Beachy Head lighthouse in the background

“I knew keeping the camera still was going to be the biggest challenge, especially as now the wind had increased and at times was blowing the van rocking it all over the place.”

He said he stayed out until 2am trying to get the perfect shot, and found it was worth it.

The photo went viral online, spreading like wildfire on social media and news outlets alike.

But the commendation in a national awards ceremony was not the only good thing which came out of the photo.

Peter said following its popularity, the owner of the Belle Tout got in touch to have some prints done.

He was also offered a stay at the lighthouse, and Peter decided this would be the perfect moment to propose to his girlfriend, Bianca.

He said, “Luckily enough I was able to keep quiet (a minor miracle) get a ring and well to spare you the long version she said YES!

“We had an absolutely perfect night in the lighthouse and if you ever fancy staying somewhere a little different I cannot recommend it enough.”

The happy couple are getting hitched next summer.

Read Peter’s full story of how the photo came about at www.peterbrooksphotography.co.uk