Well it seems like the competition season is upon us. There are a whole plethora of wildlife/landscape/nature competitions that have opened and closed for entries during autumn.
I decided to have a punt in a couple of competitions this year. But honestly speaking I don't take competitions too seriously. I think the process of looking at, and reviewing your images is a good and productive exercise. However, it is always really difficult to know how a panel of judges is going to perceive your work especially when entering into any specific category. The other major issue with competitions is that you are always up against other great photographers.
One competition I did focus on was Outdoor Photographer of The Year. I am a subscriber to the magazine and without doubt it is my favourite photographic publication. It is so well put together and so relevant. I think for me this was the competition that my photography resonates the most with.
I submitted in 3 categories, and you could submit up to 8 images in each category: Light on the Land, Wildlife Insights and Small World. I am happy to say that I had 8 images shortlisted across 2 of the categories; Wildlife Insight and Small World. I didn't get any images shortlisted in Light on the Land Category (note to self: must work harder on landscapes in 2017!). I had 5 of my 8 submissions shortlisted in the Wildlife Insights category. This was very pleasing given so much of my focus the last 3-4 years has been on Wildlife photography.
Alas my competition journey was to end there as I didn't get the follow up email to notify me I'd made the final round. That part was slightly disappointing, but when you put it in context that you have wildlife photographers such as David Lloyd submitting, and Landscape Photographers such as Thomas Heaton...then getting 8 images shortlisted is an achievement in itself...
It's an achievement, because in todays world of social media, where we are bombarded by images, where people take only a few minutes even seconds to view an image, I managed to submitted images that were judged worthy of a second look. That I think is something to feel satisfied about.
Below are the screen shots of the images that were shortlisted:
Wildlife Insights Category
Small World Category
I will finish this blog with one anecdote. For the small world category I had 7 images. I was missing 1. As you pay per entry it seemed a shame I didn't have 1 more image to complete the submission. So a few days before the deadline I went out to my local woodland and scoured the woodland floor for anything that was small. I found some tiny mushooms/fungi. Armed with a macro lens, and a light, I spent about 1 hour shooting around a dozen images. After the hour, I returned home from the cold for a hot drink and a Lightroom session. I made my selection and completed my submission. Amazingly the image was shortlisted.
Now, if I'd even had tried this 1 year ago, I don't think I would have been able to pull it off. But the fact I went out within 1 hour and came back with an image worthy of a shortlisting tells another story as to how far my photography has come. And I think this is another good example of why from time to time competitions are worth a punt. They say you have to be "in it to win it" but I would say you will learn a lot about yourself as a photographer by taking part.
Until next time!