Ten photos capture the UK in 2014

Phil Coomes
Picture editor


As we reach the end of 2014, Milica Lamb, picture editor at the Press Association (PA), selects some of the best shots captured by the news agency's photographers across the UK.

"PA produced close to a quarter of a million images in 2014, so, as always, being tasked with selecting an editor's choice for the year has proved incredibly hard - there are just too many amazing images I have had to leave out," says Lamb.

"This year proved to be an eventful year, and with the general election, Rugby World Cup and the appearance of a new royal baby to look forward to, I expect next year to be even more exciting."

Here is Milica Lamb's selection with comments from the photographers.

Jonathan Brady

Summer weather - Millennium Bridge, London

image copyrightJonathan Brady/pa

That particular weekend the UK was catching the back-end of Hurricane Bertha, and we were under pressure to capture a great weather image from London.

I knew from experience that you can get a lovely symmetrical view of the Millennium Bridge with St Paul's Cathedral directly behind.

Despite the initial warm weather, I looked upstream along the Thames to notice that the squally nature of the tail end of the hurricane was sending a band of rain our way.

I braced myself against the bridge for the oncoming soaking, but the people in the shot had no idea what was coming.

Their shock and desperation to get somewhere dry when the rain finally arrived is what produced a memorable image.

The image was used on the front of the Guardian, Times and Express, plus it hit the inside pages of all of the other national newspapers shortly after too.

Nick Ansell

Tour de France - Stage Three, Finchingfield, Essex

image copyrightNick Ansell/pa

Shooting this scene involved a 16-hour shift, sleeping in my car, washing in the toilets and then positioning myself on a ladder from 06:00.

I even received applause from the crowd after using some garden shears from the landlord of the Fox and Hound to cut down some rather unruly weeds blocking my view.

I used to live in this village, which added to what was a fantastic day; despite the fact I was clearly running on empty.

I was definitely carried along by the excitement of the day and the carnival atmosphere.

Even though when the breakaway and peloton arrived it was over in a matter of moments, I considered it a job well done and a great free sporting event to witness on home soil.

The picture was used extensively online and in most nationals, including the red tops.

Ben Birchall

Winter weather - Porthcawl Harbour, Bridgend

image copyrightBen Birchall/pa

I made a special effort to travel to the Porthcawl area because I wanted to see how dramatic the effects of the storm hitting the UK would be at high tide.

The feeling of capturing such a spectacular wave in the early morning light was awesome.

I knew I had the shot immediately as the large wave crashed in front of the crowds of onlookers.

It was used on almost all the front pages of the national newspapers the following day to illustrate the terrible weather across the UK.

I feel it really summed up the floods and wintry weather of 2013 and 2014.

Andrew Milligan

Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond, kicks a ball during a Street Soccer Scotland photocall

image copyrightAndrew Milligan/pa

This picture was taken at a photocall ahead of a Scottish cabinet meeting in Rutherglen, Lanarkshire, and before the historic independence referendum vote.

Alex Salmond struck the ball with the outside of his shoe and in doing so his body position made for an interesting picture.

The image was soon mocked up in a series of internet spoofs, which went viral on social media.

In fact, some of these mock-ups included sketches from Fawlty Towers.

The image was widely used the next day and even Salmond tweeted a reference to the "ministry of silly walks".

Gareth Fuller

UKIP's leader, Nigel Farage

image copyrightGareth Fuller /pa

This picture was taken as UKIP leader Nigel Farage arrived to cast his vote in the local and European elections, at a primary school near his home in Kent.

There was a large media pack as he arrived to vote and being the character he is, Farage allowed photographers to capture some good snaps.

The archway and the polling station sign next to it lent itself to a nice shape and a good pose.

John Stillwell

Prince George's first birthday

image copyrightJohn Stillwell/pa

I was surprised that Prince George was walking, but Prince William told me he had been for a couple of weeks.

The duchess added that he was very quick on his feet and very determined to carry on.

It really is a privilege to photograph the Royal family and a huge responsibility in equal measure.

This image was one of a selection which they chose to release, and it proved very successful hitting publications around the world.

Andrew Matthews

Winter weather - Labour's Ed Miliband

image copyrightAndrew Matthews/pa

Back in February I was in Purley-on-Thames to cover Ed Miliband's visit to the flooding.

He was shown around by Labour's parliamentary candidate for Reading West, so I knew I wanted to get a picture of both of them in the same frame.

I captured this just before the rest of the press pack caught up.

It wasn't until I was made aware of Buzzfeed using a cut out of the image in their post 15 Pictures Of Ed Miliband Staring At Things that I realised it had become quite an iconic shot of politicians visiting the floods.

Yui Mok

Aftermath of Glastonbury Festival

image copyrightYui Mok/pa

The great Glastonbury clean-up operation begins on the Monday morning and bears witness to one of the festival's most startling sights… and smells.

Parts of the site resemble a cross between a landfill and a warzone.

As thousands of tired and spent revellers make their way home, it seemed to have all got too much for this chap. Either that or it was the only moment of peace and quiet he found all weekend.

Owen Humphreys

Starlings in the Scottish Borders

image copyrightOwen Humphreys/pa

The starling murmurations is an annual event I cover. I have driven many hundreds of miles to the Borders to try and get the perfect combination of light and shapes that the starlings form.

Last year's pictures were amazing and I honestly didn't think that I could top those - particularly as I produced a great set that was tweeted all around the world… including by Elton John.

After three visits to the Borders this year I changed the location of the shot and I managed to get the perfect combination of amazing shapes and fantastic light to produce this image.

John Stillwell

World War One Centenary - Blood-Swept Lands and Seas of Red by ceramic artist Paul Cummins at the Tower of London

image copyrightJohn Stillwell/pa

This was a very moving event to attend and a wonderful spectacle. The royals were clearly as moved as I was, and the millions of other visitors to the Tower of London.

The scale of the installation is incredible but it is also very simplistic - both of which add to the display. And this was when there were only 125,000 poppies in place!

The lovely sunny weather brought out the colour of the poppies and helped make a great set of pictures.

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