Retired railwayman Ray Clayfield has beaten professional photographers to claim top prize in the portfolio category of the Wanderlust Travel Photo of the Year competition.

Clayfield scooped a £5,000 cash prize in the contest which was run in association with the Independent newspaper.

Ray used a Nikon D70 digital SLR to document the people of the railway and mining communities in China.

Wanderlust magazine editor Lyn Hughes said: ‘The standard just keeps getting higher and higher. And it?s wonderful to see an amateur beating pros in the Portfolio category.’

Commenting on his pictures Ray said: ‘Following China’s successful bid to host the Olympic Games, Beijing decided steam locomotives no longer had a place in the modern image it wished to portray to the world. However, in the coal mining areas of Manchuria a few working engines remain.’

He added: ‘The images capture a glimpse of a world which, for better or for worse, will soon have disappeared forever.’

Ray’s success in the competition has inspired him to launch his own website at

The contest also featured four categories, exclusively for amateurs. Angus Stead won the Wildlife category; David Watts triumphed in the Travel Icon section; Jonathan Clay scooped the People category; and Maciej Duczynski clinched the Landscape category.

Shorlisted photographs from the 2008 awards will go on show at the Destinations Holiday & Travel Show at the Birmingham NEC from 27 February-1 March.

To view the winning images visit

Picture credit: Ray Clayfield

Wanderlust Travel Photo of the Year competition