Thank you to everyone who emailed or posted on Facebook their nominations - I've had to change a few around due to various rules that limit entries - such as images of captive animals / birds not being accepted - and have eventually entered a total of 11 images (out of a maximum of 20 allowed).
Here's a list of the photographs that made the "final cut" and been entered:
- Behaviour - Birds - "Nuthatch" and "Hungry Mallard"
- Animal Portrait - "Robin", "Cheeky Robin", "White beauty", and "Moan Squirrel"
- Urban Wildlife - "keep out you say?"
- Animals in their environment - "Curled Up" and "SquirrelImpossible"
- Nature in B&W - "Insect"
- Botanical Realms - "sunshine"
Do I fancy my odds? The competition arguably attracts the attention of thousands of photographers from amateurs to semi-professionals and all the way to experienced professionals. So if you think that each contestant can enter a maximum of 20 images that works out at a lot of entries! There are 15 judges looking at 15 categories.
So I'd love to say "yes, I do rate my chances" but for me the purpose of this year's contest is more to do with getting used to submitting entries to this type of competitions and measure where I am now. You never know how good or bad you really are until you measure your skill against others. And as David Taylor rightly says in his wonderful book "The Naked Leader", the secret of success, in any field or endeavour is to follow these 4 simple steps:
- Know where you want to go
- Know where you are now
- Know what you have to do to get to where you want to go.
- Do it!
On the flip side, photography is a very subjective field, and often just because a photograph has won an award it doesn't necessarily mean that it was also the best. It just means that the judges liked it best. So, although many of us photographers love nothing more than being able to say we've won such and such award, for me, my customers' satisfaction and my own enjoyment of the work matter a lot more than the trophy on the mantelpiece, as they say.
This is a chance to experience competition in my field and maybe, if one of the images makes it some way towards the short-list, that will also help boost my confidence. So, am I nervous? No, I am not. If none of my images make it, that is just fine.
Ronald Reagan was rejected for the lead role in "The Best Man" in 1964 because they thought he didn't look enough like a president.
William Orton, Western Union, turned down and dismissed Alexander Bell's offer for the exclusive patents to the telephone saying: "What use can this company make of an electronic toy!"
"Groups with guitars are on the way out" - Decca man Dick Rowe, turning down The Beatles.
So, if you thought I'd be disheartened if none of the images made it very far in this competition, read the last three paragraphs and...think again!