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Club Competitions

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Important Documents and Forms

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2016-2017 Honours

Brit Award - Photographer of the Year

  • 1st - Tanya Elson
  • 2nd - John Hefford
  • 3rd - Clive Elson

Vern Napier Cameras Award - Pictorial Photographer of the Year

  • 1st - Andree Thorpe
  • 2nd - Tanya Elson
  • 3rd - Clive Elson

Dorothy Benson Trophy - Nature Photographer of the Year

  • 1st - Dennis Bally
  • 2nd - Shawna Froese 
  • 3rd - Bryan Williams

Camera Kingston Award - Print Maker of the Year

  • 1st - John Hefford
  • 2nd - Ken Fuller
  • 2nd - Mike Pope
  • 3rd - Ron Pettitt

Bruce Gunion Award - Top First Year Photographer

  • 1st - Tanya Elson
  • 2nd - Clive Elson
  • 3rd - Mike Pope

CAPA Medal - Print of the Year

  • "Original Capital" - Mike Pope

CAPA Medal - Digital Image of the Year

  • "Misty Morning in Port" - Tanya Elson

Henry's Award of Excellence - Online Competition

  • 1st - Lauren Bally
  • 2nd - Jennifer Shoniker
  • 3rd - Leslie Milbury

Harrison Burbidge Memorial Award - Creative/Experimental Photographer of the Year

  • 1st - Janice Nicholson
  • 2nd - Wayne Turcotte
(The CAPA medals are available to CAPA clubs, like the KPC, to award to their members. Ed Fletcher, on behalf of the club, requested the award for the top print and digital image of the year. The print award was chosen from the three top scoring prints in each of the three competition rounds. The top digital image was chosen from the three top scoring images from the Pictorial, creative/Experimental and Nature divisions in each of the three competitions. The judges were from Kingston and had not judged a competition this year.)

Main Club Competitions 2016-2017

November 2016
Top Results (Doc) or (PDF)
January 2017
Top Results (Doc) or (PDF)
March 2017
Top Results (Doc) or (PDF)
Slideshow

2015-2016 Honours

Brit Trophy - Photographer of the Year

  • 1st - Andree Thorp
  • 2nd - John Hefford
  • 3rd - James Sherk

Vern Napiers Cameras Award - Pictorial Photographer of the Year

  • 1st - Mary Ann Wamboldt
  • 2nd - Irene Marie Dorey
  • 3rd = Janice Nicholson
  • 3rd = Mariana Osaki

Dorothy Benson Trophy - Nature Photographer of the Year

  • 1st - Andree Thorpe
  • 2nd - Shawna Froese 
  • 3rd - James Sherk

Camera Kingston Award - Print Maker of the Year

  • 1st - John Hefford
  • 2nd - Ron Pettitt
  • 3rd - Roger Monahan

Bruce Gunion Award - Top First Year Photographer

  • 1st - Shawna Froese
  • 2nd - Mariana Osaki
  • 3rd - Paula Leroux

CAPA Medal - Print of the Year

  • "Four-Six-Zero" - John Hefford

CAPA Medal - Digital Image of the Year

  • "Abstract Sunflower" - Paula Leroux

Henry's Award of Excellence - Online Competition

  • 1st - Cathy Burrell
  • 2nd - Dennis Bally
  • 3rd - Wayne Turcotte

Harrison Burbidge Memorial Award - Creative/Experimental Photographer of the Year

  • 1st - Wayne Turcotte
  • 2nd - Don Rogers
  • 3rd - Gail Douglas
(The CAPA medals are available to CAPA clubs, like the KPC, to award to their members. Our CAPA representative, Bruce Gunion, requested the award for the top print and slide of the year. The print award was chosen from the three top scoring prints in the B&W and Colour division in each of the two competitions. The top slide was chosen from the three top scoring images from the Pictorial and Nature division in each of the two competitions. The judges were from Kingston and had not judged a competition this year.)

Main Club Competitions 2015-2016

November 2015
(doc here) and (PDF here)
Slideshow 
January 2016
Pending
March 2016
Slideshow

2014-2015 Honours

Brit Trophy - Photographer of the Year

  • 1st - Roger Monahan
  • = 2nd - Janice Nicholson
  • = 2nd - Nicole Couture-Lord
  • 3rd - Irene Marie Dorey

Vern Napiers Cameras Award - Pictorial Photographer of the Year

  • 1st - Janice Nicholson
  • 2nd = Irene Marie Dorey
  • 2nd = Andrée Thorpe
  • 3rd - Roger Monahan

Dorothy Benson Trophy - Nature Photographer of the Year

  • 1st = Janis Grant
  • 1st = James Sherk 
  • 2nd - Donald R MacGregor
  • 3rd - Bruce Millen

Camera Kingston Award - Print Maker of the Year

  • 1st - Roger Monahan
  • 2nd - Ken Fuller
  • 3rd - Bryan Williams

Limestone City Award - Top First Year Photographer

  • Roger Monahan

CAPA Medal - Print of the Year

  • "Misty Morning Encounter" - Dennis Bally

CAPA Medal - Digital Image of the Year

  • "Melk Abbey Staircase" - Bruce Gunion

Henry's Award of Excellence - Online Competition

  • 1st - Roger Monahan
  • 2nd - Dennis Bally
  • 3rd - Paul Fenton
(The CAPA medals are available to CAPA clubs, like the KPC, to award to their members. Our CAPA representative, Bruce Gunion, requested the award for the top print and slide of the year. The print award was chosen from the three top scoring prints in the B&W and Colour division in each of the two competitions. The top slide was chosen from the three top scoring images from the Pictorial and Nature division in each of the two competitions. The judges were from Kingston and had not judged a competition this year.)

Main Club Competitiions 2014-2015

November 2014
(doc here) and (PDF here)
Slideshow 
January 2015
(doc here) and (PDF here)
Slideshow
February 2015
(doc here) and (pdf here)
Slideshow

2013-2014 Honours

Brit Trophy - Photographer of the Year

  • 1st - Heather Bashow
  • = 2nd - Irene Marie Dorey
  • = 2nd - Paul Fenton
  • 4th - Ken Fuller

Vern Napiers Cameras Award - Colour Slide Photographer of the Year

  • 1st - Paul Fenton
  • 2nd - Irene Marie Dorey
  • 3rd - Mary Ann Wamboldt

Dorothy Benson Trophy - Nature Photographer of the Year

  • 1st - Bruce Gunion
  • 2nd - Dennis Bally
  • 3rd - Janis Grant

Camera Kingston Award - Print Maker of the Year

  • 1st - Heather Bashow
  • 2nd - Ken Fuller
  • 3rd - John Hefford

Limestone City Award - Top First Year Photographer

  • Irene Marie Dorey

CAPA Medal - Print of the Year

  • "Ken" - Heather Bashow

CAPA Medal - Digital Image of the Year

  • "The Fly-By" - Janice Nicholson

Henry's Award of Excellence - Online Competition

  • 1st - Ken  Fuller
  • = 2nd - Janice Nicholson
  • = 2nd - Dennis Bally
  • 4th - Sharon Gagne
(The CAPA medals are available to CAPA clubs, like the KPC, to award to their members. Our CAPA representative, Bruce Gunion, requested the award for the top print and slide of the year. The print award was chosen from the three top scoring prints in the B&W and Colour division in each of the two competitions. The top slide was chosen from the three top scoring images from the Pictorial and Nature division in each of the two competitions. The judges were from Kingston and had not judged a competition this year.)

Competitions 2013-2014

March 2014

Slideshow
Prints - B&W and Colour -  Entries 21   Nature -  Entries 20
1st Jay Display Heather Bashow   1st The Fly By Janice Nicholson
2nd Ken Again Heather Bashow   2nd Paper Kite on White Flower Nicole Couture-Lord
3rd Contemplative Gerry Heather Bashow   3rd Male Red-Breasted Merganser Janis Grant



   HM Did Someone Say Bugs Dennis Bally
Pictorial -  Entries 68        
1st Orchids Paul Fenton        
2nd St Linus Catholic Church Franz Moeslinger        
3rd Summit Lake Paul Fenton        
Judges: Philippe Baud, Larry Brazil, Stephen Wild

January 2014

Slideshow
Prints - B&W and Colour -  Entries 28   Nature -  Entries 19
1st Everett Park Sunset Ken Fuller   1st Half a Toony Dennis Bally
2nd Lisl and Alano Heather Bashow   2nd Tremblant Moon Bill McNamara
3rd Perspective John Hefford   3rd Herb Robert Bruce Gunion
HM Courtshiip Heather Bashow         
Pictorial -  Entries 83        
1st Writing on Stone Paul Fenton        
2nd Snowhorse Mary Ann Wamboldt        
3rd Sneaking a Peek Marie Dorey        
Judges: Don Gillespie, Guest Judges Wayne Hiebert, David Bell

November 2013

Slideshow
Prints -  Entries 31   Nature -  Entries 26
1st Ken Heather Bashow   1st Dandelion Seeds Nicole Couture-Lord
2nd Mia in Light and Shadow Franz Moeslinger   2nd Osprey in Tree Bruce Gunion
3rd Rower Wanted Dennis Bally   3rd One for u one for me Dennis Bally
        HM Bumble Bee Michael East
Pictorial -  Entries 61        
1st Alone in the Mist Mary Ann Wamboldt        
2nd The Leaf Elizabeth Bourgeois        
3rd Red Light Janice Nicholson        
HM Female Ruby Throat James Sherk        
HM Guardians Paul Fenton
Judges: Rose-Marie Burke, Guest Judges Spencer Bardell, Edmund Smith

2012-2013 Honours

Brit Trophy - Photographer of the Year

  • 1st - Janice Nicholson
  • 2nd - James Sherk
  • 3rd - Hung Mai

Vern Napiers Cameras Award - Colour Slide Photographer of the Year

  • 1st - Janis Grant
  • 2nd - Elizabeth Bourgeois
  • 3rd - Hung Mai

Dorothy Benson Trophy - Nature Photographer of the Year

  • 1st - Janice Nicholson
  • 2nd - James Sherk
  • 3rd - Bruce Millen

Camera Kingston Award - Print Maker of the Year

  • 1st - Ron Pettitt
  • 2nd - Judi McFarlane

Limestone City Award - Top First Year Photographer

  • Hung Mai

CAPA Medal - Print of the Year

  • "Bowfiddle Rock" - Ron Pettitt

CAPA Medal - Digital Image of the Year

  • "Architectural Detail" - Franz Moeslinger
awards night
(The CAPA award is available to CAPA clubs, like the KPC, to award to their members. Our CAPA representative, Bruce Gunion, requested the award for the top print and slide of the year. The print award was chosen from the three top scoring prints in the B&W and Colour division in each of the two competitions. The top slide was chosen from the three top scoring images from the Pictorial and Nature division in each of the two competitions. The judges were from Kingston and had not judged a competition this year.)

Competitions 2012-2013

March 2013

Slideshow
Prints 13 Entries   Nature 16 Entries
1st Rocky Shoreline Judi McFarlane   1st Ruby Throat James Sherk
2nd Through the Arched Window Judi McFarlane   2nd Eagle Eye Janice Nicholson
3rd Highland Cow Ron Pettitt   3rd The Mouse Whisperer Janice Nicholson
HM Purple Beauty Louise Day        
Pictorial - 38 Entries        
1st Lost Freedom Liz Bourgeoise        
2nd Ephemeral Hung Mai        
3rd The Rat Temple Janis Grant        
Judges: Rose-Marie Burke, Spencer Bardell, Jonathan Sugarman

January 2013

Slideshow
Prints 17 Entries   Nature 21 Entries
1st My Colours Ken Fuller   1st Bald Eagle in Kingston Janice Nicholson
2nd Bowfiddle Rock Ron Pettitt   2nd A Winter Walk Janice Nicholson
3rd Elgin Cathedral Ron Pettitt   3rd Springtime in Presquille Janice Nicholson
             
Pictorial - 56 Entries        
1st Architectural Detail Franz Moeslinger        
2nd Scottish Hike Janis Grant        
3rd Watch the World Go By Hung Mai        
HM Limestone Architecture Bruce Gunion        
HM Happy Landing Janis Grant        
HM Railroad Paul Fenton        
Judges: Bernard Clark, Don Gillespie, David Bell
 

November 2012

Slideshow
Prints -  Entries   Nature -  Entries
1st Windows & Shutters Ron Pettitt   1st Flame Walk James Sherk
2nd Oblivion Awaits Hung Mai   2nd The Fawn Twins Janice Nicholson
3rd Doocot in the Field Judi McFarlane   3rd Stare Down James Sherk
             
Pictorial -  Entries        
1st Hold On Hung Mai        
2nd Summer Evening Paul Fenton        
3rd Adrift Hung Mai        
HM Three Lines Nicole Couture-Lord        
HM Tadoussac Bay Ken Fuller        
HM Concentration Elizabeth Bourgeois        
HM First Frost Elena Saez        
HM Approaching Storm Rose-Marie Burke        
Judges: Chris Minner, Edmund Smith, Larry Brazil
 

2011-2012 Honours

Kingston Photographic Club Trophy - Photographer of the Year

  • 1st - Heather Bashow
  • 2nd - James Sherk
  • 3rd - Marilyn Gibbins

Vern Napiers Cameras Award - Colour Slide Photographer of the Year

  • 1st - Tom Rutledge
  • 2nd - Marilyn Gibbins
  • 3rd - Adam Hodge

Dorothy Benson Trophy - Nature Photographer of the Year

  • 1st - Michel Soucy
  • 2nd - James Sherk
  • 3rd - Janice Nicholson

Camera Kingston Award - Print Maker of the Year

  • 1st - Heather Bashow
  • 2nd - Ron Pettitt
  • 3rd - Judi McFarlane

Henry's Trophy - Photo Essay of the Year

  • Tom Rutledge and Adam Rushton

CAPA Medal - Print of the Year

  • Heather Bashow - "Pas de Deux"

CAPA Medal - Slide of the Year

  • Michel Soucy - "Snowy Owl at Sunrise"
(The CAPA award is available to CAPA clubs, like the KPC, to award to their members. Our CAPA representative, Bruce Gunion, requested the award for the top print and slide of the year. The print award was chosen from the three top scoring prints in the B&W and Colour division in each of the two competitions. The top slide was chosen from the three top scoring images from the Pictorial and Nature division in each of the two competitions. The judges were from Kingston and had not judged a competition this year.)

Competitions 2011-2012

March 2012

Slideshow
Prints -  Entries   Nature -  Entries
1st Full Flight Heather Bashow   1st Chickadee James Sherk
2nd If Rembrandt Photographed Sheep Heather Bashow   2nd Chickadee Fly Away James Sherk
3rd Less Fortunate Heather Bashow   3rd Barred Owl Looking James Sherk
        HM Angry Bird Janis Grant
Pictorial -  Entries        
1st Marine Museum Tom Rutledge        
2nd Lots of Bubbles Nicole Couture-Lord        
3rd The Long Whiskers Liz Bourgeois        
Judges: Richard Webb, Wayne Hiebert, Rose-Marie Burke
 

January 2012

Slideshow
Prints - 14 Entries   Nature - 24 Entries
1st Vacancy at Westport Heather Bashow   1st Snowy Owl at Sunrise Michel Soucy
2nd Pas de Deux Heather Bashow   2nd Blending in with the Bark James Sherk
3rd Cardinal Courtship Heather Bashow   3rd Sunrise Buck Michel Soucy
        HM Peregrine Falcon Michel Soucy
        HM Barred Owl in Spruce Tree Janice Nicholson
Pictorial - 62 Entries        
1st Hawk in Flight Tom Rutledge        
2nd Windows Adam Rushton        
3rd Richardsons Adam Rushton        
HM New York Reflections Franz Moeslinger        
HM Tough Nut to Crack Nicole Couture-Lord        
Judges: Spencer Bardell, Edmund Smith, Phillippe Baud
 

November 2011

Slideshow
Prints - 17 Entries   Nature - 24 Entries
1st Monarch and Shadow Heather Bashow   1st Nuthatch James Sherk
2nd Concentration Heather Bashow   2nd Great Blue Heron Michel Soucy
3rd Sedona Ron Pettitt   3rd Spotted Fawn Michel Soucy
             
Pictorial - 72 Entries        
1st Morning Mist Janis Grant        
2nd It's all in the Details Sharon Buffett        
3rd Indigo Blue Janice Nicholson        
             
Judges: Larry Brazil, Tana Gordanier, Preston Schiedel


2010-2011 Honours

Kingston Photographic Club Trophy - Photographer of the Year

  • 1st - Ron Pettitt
  • 2nd - Rose-Marie Burke
  • 3rd - Tied - Marilyn Gibbins and Adam Hodge

Vern Napiers Cameras Award - Colour Slide Photographer of the Year

  • 1st - Adam Rushton
  • 2nd - Nicole Couture-Lord
  • 3rd= - Adam Hodge
  • 3rd= - Tom Rutledge

Dorothy Benson Trophy - Nature Photographer of the Year

  • 1st - Michel Soucy
  • 2nd - Marilyn Gibbins
  • 3rd - Rose-Marie Burke

Camera Kingston Award - Print Maker of the Year

  • 1st - Ron Pettitt
  • 2nd - Geoff Chalcraft
  • 3rd - Judi McFarlane

Limestone City Award - Top First Year Photographer

  • Marilyn Gibbins and Adam Hodge

CAPA Medal - Print of the Year

  • Ron Pettitt - "Breaching Whale"

CAPA Medal - Slide of the Year

  • Rose-Marie Burke - "Pondhawk Dragonfly"
(The CAPA award is available to CAPA clubs, like the KPC, to award to their members. Our CAPA representative, Bruce Gunion, requested the award for the top print and slide of the year. The print award was chosen from the three top scoring prints in the B&W and Colour division in each of the two competitions. The top slide was chosen from the three top scoring images from the Pictorial and Nature division in each of the two competitions. The judges were from Kingston and had not judged a competition this year.)

Competitions 2010-2011

November 2010

Slideshow
Prints - 20 Entries   Nature Slides - 33 Entries
1st Rusty Bow Reflection Ron Pettitt   1st Dragon Fly on Purple Raspberries Rose-Marie Burke
2nd Remembering Donald R MacGregor   2nd Liccinum Fungi Bruce Gunion
3rd Breaching Whale Ron Pettitt   3rd Mushrooms and Leaves Janis Grant
        HM American Butterfly Rose-Marie Burke
Pictorial Slides - 101 Entries   HM Bee on Flower Marilyn Gibbins
1st Barn and Hay Rolls Tom Rutledge        
2nd Milky Way Rose-Marie Burke        
3rd 40s Car and White Shed Tom Rutledge        
HM Misty Morning Sharon Buffett        
HM That's Close Enough Bruce Gunion        
HM Muscari Armeniacum Nicole Couture-Lord        
HM After Summer Storm Adam Rushton        
             
Judges: Geoff Chalcraft, Don Gillespie, Richard Gold
 

January 2011

Slideshow
Prints - 16 Entries   Nature Slides - 33 Entries
1st 51 Years Ron Pettitt   1st Owl on Branch Michael Soucy
2nd Barred Owl Judi McFarlane   2nd Wild Tropical Lily Pad Marilyn Gibbins
3rd PEI Sunset Geoff Chalcraft   3rd Wintering Female Cardinal Michael Soucy
             
Pictorial Slides - 101 Entries        
1st Just Hangin' Around Elizabeth Macdonald-Pratt        
2nd Wharf Reflections Adam Hodge        
3rd Tasker Farm at Sunset Tom Rutledge        
HM Primary Canoes Adam Hodge        
HM Docking in Kingston Tom Rutledge        
             
Judges: Rose-Marie Burke, Ted Smith, Bernard Clark
 

March 2011

Slideshow
Prints -  19 Entries   Nature Slides - 36 Entries
1st The Esplanade Ron Pettitt   1st BlueJay #2 James Sherk
2nd Bay Bridge Ron Pettitt   2nd I Feel Pretty Heather Bashow
3rd Fort Henry Walk James Sherk   3rd Pondhawk Dragonfly Rose-Marie Burke
HM By the Dawn's Early Light Geoff Chalcraft   HM Red Tail Hawk and Prey Janice Nicholson
        HM Monkey Portrait Mike Soucy
Pictorial Slides - 79 Entries   HM Monarch on Thistle Flower Marilyn Gibbins
1st The Last Pear Sharon Buffett        
2nd Miqa Julia McKay        
3rd Happy Valentine's Adam Rushton        
HM Winter at RMC Nicole Couture-Lord        
HM Rainy Night Ubah Kayleeye        
HM Time for a Change Adam Rushton        
Judges: Don Sleath, Bruce Millen, Spencer Bardell


2009-2010 Honours

Kingston Photographic Club Trophy - Photographer of the Year

  • 1st - Geoff Chalcraft
  • 2nd - Rose-Marie Burke
  • 3rd - Elizabeth MacDonald-Pratt

Vern Napiers Cameras Award - Colour Slide Photographer of the Year

  • 1st - Elizabeth MacDonald-Pratt
  • 2nd= Rose-Marie Burke
  • 2nd= Liz McNaughton
  • 2nd= James Sherk

Dorothy Benson Trophy - Nature Photographer of the Year

  • 1st - Rose-Marie Burke
  • 2nd - Janis Grant
  • 3rd - Sarah Larz

Camera Kingston Award - Print Maker of the Year

  • 1st - Geoff Chalcraft
  • 2nd - Bonita Lalonde
  • 3rd - Wilf Kordts

Limestone City Award - Top First Year Photographer

  • Elizabeth MacDonald-Pratt

CAPA Medal - Print of the Year

  • Nicole Couture-Lord - "Grain Silos"

CAPA Medal - Slide of the Year

  • Rose-Marie Burke - "Hepaticas"
(The CAPA award is available to CAPA clubs, like the KPC, to award to their members. Our CAPA representative, Bruce Gunion, requested the award for the top print and slide of the year. The print award was chosen from the three top scoring prints in the B&W and Colour division in each of the two competitions. The top slide was chosen from the three top scoring images from the Pictorial and Nature division in each of the two competitions. The judges were from Kingston and had not judged a competition this year.)

Competitions 2009-2010

November 2009

Slideshow
Black and White Prints - 14 Entries Pictorial Slides - 74 Entries
1st Fun at the Park Nicole Couture-Lord 1st Faded Denim Anne Blanchard
2nd Casting Shadows Bonita Lalonde 2nd Flume Gorge James Sherk
3rd Curiosity Wilf Kordts 3rd Solitude Elizabeth Macdonald-Pratt
      HM Reflection of a Raceboat James Sherk
Colour Prints - 38 Entries HM Sandbanks Sunset Elizabeth Macdonald-Pratt
1st Fading Fizz Geoff Chalcraft HM Seagulls in a Row Elizabeth Macdonald-Pratt
2nd Neills Harbour Geoff Chalcraft HM Falconer Rose-Marie Burke
3rd Las Vegas Bonita Lalonde HM Traditional Dancer Vicky Laforge
HM Forest Corridor Donald R MacGregor      
HM Captured Sarah Larz Nature Slides - 30 Entries
HM Stratosphere at Night Wilf Kordts 1st Butterfly w/ Red/Black Stripe Sarah Larz
      2nd Herons' Nest Rose-Marie Burke
      3rd Blue Damselfly with Mites Rose-Marie Burke
Judges: Preston Schiedel; Janice Van Dijk; Jonathan Sugarman
 

March 2010

Slideshow
Black and White Prints - 7 Entries Pictorial Slides
1st Captured by Fog Donald R MacGregor 1st Vermillion Lake Liz McNaughton
2nd Lighthouse in Layer Ron Pettitt 2nd Fall with Ivy Leaves George Clark
3rd Grain Silos Nicole Couture-Lord 3rd Icy Wave Janis Grant
 
Colour Prints - 33 Entries Nature Slides
1st Nova Scotia Lake Geoff Chalcraft 1st Crabeater Seal sunbathing Janis Grant
2nd Misty Rideau Geoff Chalcraft 2nd Hepaticas Rose-Marie Burke
3rd Poppies Geoff Chalcraft 3rd Vermillion Lake Don McNaughton
Judges: Mieke Van Geest; Robert Taylor; Richard Webb


Competition Entries

Use the 2010-2011 Entry Form (a 'fillable' PDF) (link at bottom of page)
Note also the Revised Competition Rules for 2010 (Doc and PDF)(link at bottom of this page)

Some hints for more success

1. Edit ruthlessly for best results

It’s all too easy to become emotionally attached to certain images, and this is when people tend to enter ‘almost’ shots. Resist this temptation. Just because a picture shows an endangered species that was taken on your once-in-a-lifetime holiday to the other side of the world, in the first light at 4am, while you were waist-deep in mud and being bitten by malaria-carrying mosquitoes, or up to your bottom in crocodiles, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s any good. The fact is that mediocre shots won’t win. Be hard on yourself. Is the image pin-sharp or is it slightly soft? Is the light subtle and beautiful or harsh and contrasty? Have you captured a perfect moment or have you just missed it? Is the background clean and simple or is it spoilt by unwanted branches and other distractions? Is there an interesting symmetry to the picture or does it feel uncomfortable? These are some of the probing questions you must ask yourself.
Use of digital editing software.... so many mixed messages abound on whether you should manipulate your image or not. Where do we draw the line? I think it's fair to say that, unless the competition calls for it, digital manipulation should never be immediately noticeable to a non-photographer..... Yes, as we get more experience ourselves we begin to spot a picture that has had some strong editing done, but sometimes it's necessary. So we draw the (still fairly blurred) line on digital editing by asking ourselves how obvious the editing has been. One thing for sure.... the less manipulation or editing you can do, the better the result.
Sometimes people enter two similar pictures shot a frame apart, but you shouldn't – it's not for the judges to choose which is the better shot. Don't be afraid to throw out second best – be decisive in your selection.
Carefully consider the categories in the competition, and try to fit that particular theme closely. Shoot images specifically for a particular theme or category, if there is one, because it will likely make them of stronger relevance, which is often an important criterion. When submitting multiple entries, cover more ground with diverse images – send in completely different images, so that if one image is rejected, the other images won't so easily be rejected too.
When submitting a photo to a photography competition, it’s tempting to select a photo you’re particularly proud of, or one that shows off a vast amount of different things at once. But remember that you’re trying to a) stand out from the masses of other photos and b) tell a story, catch a 'moment'. Photography is very much about telling stories, and while you are using a visual medium to do so, you still need to be a good storyteller, and have an eye for what appeals to people.

2. Be original – avoid clichés

Successful photographers work hard at their craft. They get down low, climb high, move backwards, crawl forwards, creep from side to side, think laterally, get up early and stay out late. If they're professional (or an amateur with time), they wait patiently for hours, days or even weeks for exactly the right light or the magic moment when the animal they are photographing yawns, stretches, sneezes, runs or jumps, or when the landscape shows that drama or majesty.
Think hard about what will make your work stand out from thousands of others both conceptually and aesthetically. Choose your subject wisely. Ensure it is fresh, think about what it is you are trying to say and how you can best convey this through your work.
If there is a theme, try to think a little laterally. Judges will usually like a clever interpretation.
Look at how others photograph the famous sights and see if you can do something out of the ordinary. That’s one way to surprise judges. A slant on the subject that’s unusual, a funny angle, or a touch of humour can work wonders to a scene. We have so many wonderful pictures of well-known subjects, we are at the point that the less-obvious is preferable. We know what elephants look like now and what they do. So now quite an abstract shot of an elephant makes it to the top. Indeed, that may now be the only kind of elephant shot that will not be passed over by judges. Same with a mountain, flower, river, Loon etc.
There are a lot of fantastic photos out there, and a myriad of tutorials for how you can recreate them, but that’s only half the story: you have to take something and make it your own. Think of it as cooking a new dish: do you follow the recipe perfectly, or are you confident enough in the kitchen to use it as a base, and remove some things, and add others? If you’re doing the latter, then you’re probably doing the right thing.

3. Get organised

Reading the rules – and following them – is an obvious first step. Reading the category descriptions, if any, is just as important. Also, and this may seem like stating the obvious, but you’ve got to be in it to win it. Many people never get round to entering, or panic the night before the deadline and spend the early hours rummaging through their images. Plan enough time to select your entries.

4. Try to consider your process

Think carefully about how to approach your subject, the type of camera you use, be it digital or film, your choice of lighting – natural or artificial, your composition, use of colour or if shooting black and white, your use of texture – all these choices and considerations are the things that make the difference between a good snapshot and a truly captivating photograph. Think about composition but don't get tied down by it.... look for lines, shapes, points of interest.... think how the viewer's eye may travel around the image.

5. Ask for opinions

To make a Strong edit try to show your pictures to as many people as possible (and non-photographers are great – they see things with a completely 'innocent' eye) and take their (non-technical) opinions into account when making your crop. Remember all those hints and tips given at our Image Cliniques (maybe that should be Cliniques d'Image). Photographers are often their worst critics so it is important to get outside advice. Technical points, though, can easily be discussed with other members - I'm sure the 'old-hands' will be able to give advice at any time, so don't just wait for those Image Cliniques or try to keep your images secret unnecessarily. This is a club - I would expect all members to give their advice when asked.... that's part of our 'mission', as stated on the home page.

6. Don’t imitate other photographers

Don't be too influenced by what won last time, often there is a totally different panel of judges for each competition.
It’s useful to learn from previous years what wins, but that’s not the same as sending in a very similar shot for next year’s competition. For our Club Competition, that's been running a few years, it’s worth looking at the past winners so you can work out what quality is expected – but not what subject.
A photographer should be encouraged and inspired by other people's work, but should not copy directly. If you've been inspired by something you've seen, go out and try to take it further down the evolutionary path of photography. Competition judges can be put off by pictures which directly copy the style of a well known photographer, because more often than not it is a poor imitation. Explore new ideas, and try to be innovative. Set yourself the task of capturing your own experience. If you are photographing cold weather, for example, think about ways of making the photograph induce a feeling of coldness in the viewer. Judges are always looking for fresh ideas well executed. If you go on holiday to the same location year after year and come back with the same pictures – perhaps technically better each time – most judges will automatically check their visual memory bank and think, “Oh, I've seen that before”.

7. Get the details right

It also goes without saying that the technical quality of what you send in should be tops. You don't necessarily need an expensive DSLR to make the shot. I don’t mean they have to be perfectly sharp. But they have to look as if you’re in complete control of the image: if it’s meant to be blurred, it should be blurred by just the right amount. If the horizon is on a slant, it should be convincingly so, enough to make it look deliberate. If anything is not focused perfectly, it should be for a reason that enhances the visual message. And finally, do not over-sharpen or over-saturate your images. With modern cameras it should not be necessary to add much, if any, sharpening. And it should not be necessary to pump up colours by much, if any. Worse problems can arise from burnt-out highlights and totally black shadows. Your pictures could lose out when the judges scrutinise it up-close. JPEG artifacts, banding, noise, poor resolution, and careless post-production could all affect the chances of your images going far in the judging process.

8. Evoke emotion

Winning pictures generally evoke some kind of emotion. A picture that sends a tingle down the spine is a successful one. If the shot is about people, their eyes are important as eye contact often helps the viewer connect. If we can somehow relate to the experience of the human (or animal) in the shot, then the picture will have a lasting effect. Humour is tremendously popular in photography, but with wildlife photography it should be done sensitively and not in a way that demeans the animals.

9. Always try again

The world is awash with 'failures' who have gone on to reach spectacular heights of achievement (look at me – I left skool at 15 and now I'm the KPC President!). If you don't win, let that inspire you and remind yourself that nobody, bar his brother, recognised the talent of Van Gogh during his lifetime. Go out and try again, and seek new photographic opportunities and set yourself high goals. Don't let the personal taste of judges discourage you, but do be ruthlessly self critical and be prepared to learn from your own mistakes.

10. Make it powerful

If an image has a human element people can identify with, the story is far stronger. That’s why newspapers after a disaster will tell the story of Mr and Mrs Smith and their individual tragedy, rather than the much drier fact that 300 people died. We need to be able to feel that the people involved are related (or at least relevant) to us in one way or another. The best photographs, in my opinion, do the same thing. It doesn’t have to be a tabloid story of murder, deceit, or deception, but if you manage to get an emotion in there somehow, you’re onto something.
If there's no human element involved, try to find the shot with some drama – typical postcard shots will hardly interest the judges.

11. Some of those Photographic 'Rules' - and how to fight (the good fight) against them.

For the first 150 years of the existence of camera clubs, photography was more of a science - chemistry - than an art from. The leaders of most of the early camera clubs were the most scientific, the most technical - and almost definitely not the most artistic. However, they laid down simple but rigid guidelines to the members so that, in assuming them to be just as non-artistic, they could all 'talk the same language'  As these early club leaders were the local 'experts' in all things photographic (often coming from the ranks of professional portrait photographers) they'd look silly if they didn't exert some sort of control of the pictures, so they came up with some very objective graphic rules. These rules - being semi-scientific - required no interpretation, just a straightforward 'check in the box' set of instructions on how to record and display an image. The general membership, being keen to do well, followed those rules. Camera Clubs 'battled' each other with competitions - and those rigid rules were spread like a virus until the 'camera club style' became the norm. Other forms of art need no such rules, being (almost) never designed to be competitive. Photographic works are  criticised ('critiqued') prior to selection for show.... most other artistic work is shown first and 'critiqued' later.
We need to break free from those "camera club rules".... some of the 'rules' which we traditionally depend on to create our competitive works. I’ll limit myself to naming just a few of them, without explanation, because most of you know them all already:
  • 1. The "Rule of Thirds"
  • 2. Placing the horizon away from the vertical mid-point of an image.
  • 3. Using leading lines to point to the centre of interest.
  • 4. Having a single centre of interest.
  • 5. Avoidance of symmetry – especially bilateral symmetry.
  • 6. Making the brightest part of a picture coincide with the centre of interest.
  • 7. Making the composition manipulate the interest of the observer.
  • 8. Not allowing the frame to cut off body parts – such as heads or feet, or whatever.
  • 9. Not losing the sense of the complete, or confusing the subject, by overlapping figures. 
Many of these rules, and others like them, have worked well to improve images, when used as a guide. Used as strict rules, however, they can be far too rigid and restrict the growth of free thinking and creativity. The Dalai Lama said "Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly."
Whatever their apparent value, rules haven’t improved all images. The "improvements," when they do occur, may come at a cost. It has also been suggested that the rules were popularized not necessarily to serve our individual wishes, but, rather, the needs of commerce. In competitions, the need to grasp the attention of the judge may have stimulated our use of the visual language and style of advertising, where the ability to grab the attention of the viewer is paramount. Alternately, the judges, themselves, may have been influenced by the advertising style and may have created an atmosphere that calls for these 'tricks'.
How often have you been told that this or that picture has no "snap"? What is "snap," anyway, other than a means of seizing the attention of the viewer. And what does "pop" mean? Is "pop" different than snap? If I get "snap," and "pop" how long will it be before I’m told my picture has no "crackle"? The trouble with these photographic tricks is that they can hide the real point of the photograph; for all practical purposes they border on being mere eye-candy.
Photography may be in danger of becoming infected with "snap" - we watch colours become ever more saturated, see one photo after another take off in a blaze of red, and some judges eat it all up. That’s not to say that advertising style photographs are not appreciated. In their context they can be quite exciting, but for us their style tends to sway judges and crowd out other serious and more subtle work. They defeat the purpose of the contest by influencing the results and rewarding the loudest contenders.

Submissions for Competitions

Some observations from the Online Competition

Why do we have the competitions? Well, it's not for some huge trophy or even much glory, but there is a point..... it's to try to engage members in trying their hand at themes, genres, styles that they might not normally try unless pushed, to "step out of their comfort zones". So you could say that, if you want to learn about your photography, you should be trying your hand at different things. It's all good learning.
There have been some common and regular faults in some particular areas in nearly all pictures..... most of which can easily be straightened out with minimal software. Most improvements can be made by using the camera in a better way - better exposure, better focus, better composition. Don't forget there are lots of links to guides, presentations, videos etc on the Workshop page. Digital cameras are clever at many things but very dumb with others -
  • A Digital camera will Focus well (but you need to make sure it's focused on the right object - try focusing on your main subject, then half-depressing the shutter and recomposing, then 'click').
  • A Digital camera is reasonably good at Exposure, but don't forget that, whatever the scene, it will try to give you the equivalent of a perfect exposure - for Grey! So the extremes of shadows and highlights need to be considered - which do you want, or is there a way to get both? (Yes, there is... see Filters on the Workshop page).
  • A Digital camera knows nothing about good Composition.
1. In the Landscapes round, several pictures had horizons that sloped. In some cases, for added dynamism, that can work well, especially when it's clearly been intended - but in most cases a slope really looks like a mistake and lets down the picture.

2. Composition - Many submissions, in all rounds, could have been better composed - mainly because the photographer hasn't got close enough! But also because little care was taken to ensure that there's not a tree growing out of the subject's head, or that there wasn't a telephone cable running across the middle, or unintentionally sloping horizons. It's really worth getting the occasional photo magazine or a good photo book to try to see what good composition is and how it will improve our shots. Remember - Composition is made of Points, Lines and Shapes.
3. Focus properly and try to hold the camera steadily. For landscape shots you can't beat a tripod and considering the shot carefully, just as you would have done if you were taking pictures with expensive Kodachrome (for those who remember). This will lead to sharper shots - software can sharpen but you can guarantee that a sharp image from the camera beats any image sharpened in software. ("Silk purse - sow's ear".)
4. Exposure - perhaps the hardest part to learn but it's technical and therefore objective and 'learnable'. Don't forget - take a picture of a black cat in a coal hole at night - the camera will still want to turn the whole thing grey... conversely, a white rabbit in the snow - grey as well! Somewhere in between, there's a scene which has a wide range of luminance - learn your camera's exposure controls thoroughly and study the 'histogram' (if digital) and keep trying until you've got the right exposure - consider filters, exposure compensation etc.
5. Digital Noise - If you're forced to use the higher ISO ratings, those above ISO400, you are going to get digital noise. A couple of solutions...
  • use a tripod so you can either choose a higher (slower) shutter speed by keeping your ISO lower, or so that you can take three shots (with the same exposure values) and average them out in your editing software (a nifty technique).
  • Use Noise Reduction software
One problem area with technical quality that keeps popping up.... Under and Over exposure. The Workshop page has links to several aids to learning how to get exposure, and other important factors, right in-camera, but even the best intentions can get led astray by high dynamic (light) ranges in different areas of the scene. I've just added links to two good video tutorials for software methods to rectify exposure problems. The videos use Photoshop Elements but the same, or similar, techniques can be used with Paint Shop Pro, PhotoPlus and other editing programs. Also, take a look at a new PDF on the Workshop page concerning the Histogram and Levels Adjustments - your pictures will benefit from these - guaranteed!
Geoff

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