Sometimes you just have to have a go !

I recently decided to enter a couple of ‘biggish’ photography competitions here in New Zealand. Yesterday after a lot of back and forth trying to pick the images I wanted to enter, I finally registered and entered 11 images in the New Zealand Geographic Photographer of the Year 2014 competition.

I know…reaching for the sky here. But one of the reasons I like this competition is that they are pretty strict on you submitting natural untouched images.

This was after a lot of help from friends narrowing it down. The thing with competitions like these are that they are so subjective depending on the judge/s.

I loved last year’s winners, however the year before I was left stunned at at least one of the choices. Not because it wasn’t a great photo, or that it didn’t perfectly fit the category, but because there were so many better entries.

I am curious.

For those of you who read this blog, and who enter a competition or two, what helps you to make your choice/s about what images you decide on ?

  • Do you go with your gut ?
  • Do you ask for other opinions ?
  • Do you check out the judges and see what their body of work is all about ?
  • Do you look at past winners of the competition ?

There are four categories in this competition. I went all out and entered the lot. I was allowed five entries in to three categories.

These are the images I picked in the end.

  • Wildlife

IMG_8883.4 copyIMG_7493

  • Landscape

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  • Society & Culture

IMG_4995.1 copy IMG_0641.1 copy

And then there was the category Photostory. For this you were allowed to tell a story in six images. Boy did that do my head in. Last year’s winner really nailed it. Not sure I have, but I gave it my best shot. This is my Photostory about ANZAC Day.

I am sure some of you will disagree with some of my choices. I would [as always] love to hear your opinion. Now it is time to get busy on the next lot of entries…due on the 13th of this month.

Oh…completely off base. I started a photography course online. I don’t know if you have heard of the MOOC List.

“MOOC List” is an aggregator (directory) of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) from different providers.

There are some big institutions offering free courses in a huge range. You don’t always get a certificate…some you do. But you learn from some of the best institutions in the world for free. I am doing a month long course that is offered through Open Universities Australia. Wish me luck.



        1. It would be awesome.I would be honoured just to get picked as a finalist Al. I just have to hope that what I sent in is along the lines of what they are looking for this year.


  1. These are a great choice of images, I wish you the best of luck. Congratulations on taking the plunge and I’d be interested I hearing how you get on with the photography course, something I had perhaps considered (time is always a big problem though!). All the best. 🙂


    1. Thanks Katie. Will keep you informed on the course. It is only a month, and not too arduous. Started two days ago and am enjoying the whole thing so far.


    1. Thank you Genevieve. The water was just so clear and the swans kept sticking their heads under. It was very cool to watch. I picked that one because it is a bit different to other images…hoping that being unusual helps. It is what they say they look for…something different. Glad the photostory was clear to you.


  2. Good luck Jo and yes you can never win unless you try 😉
    I love your choices… the bird one was a favourite when you posted them not to long ago. Maybe you should have entered the one with the bird eating that bug too. That was a powerful image.
    I have posted pics on line for the blog and only entered one photo competition just recently. It was hard for me to ask for opinions since I was on a short timeline. I am always surprised when people do comment on things. I figure this is my best shot, but people often pick something I didn’t consider as great. I guess I have a different eye, or taste. After all it is SO subjective!


    1. The trouble with the bird eating the bug is the size of it. All entries have to be able to be delivered [if you are lucky enough to get picked] with at least one side having a dimension of 3000 pixels. To have that with the bird…as I was a fair way away even with the telephoto lens made the bird too tiny. It lost its oomph. I sent out three different folders of images for three different photostories to friends, asking that they tell me which story they liked best and why, and what 6 images they liked best and why. It was interesting getting their feedback. Some images just drew them all in, while they disagreed entirely on others.


  3. I’ve never entered anything, Jo, but I think “gut” must always be our guiding principle, don’t you? Our own aesthetic and vision are what we stand for, what our art is, don’t you think? That seagull shot of yours is sublime, and the poor swan, just missing its meal is too too gorgeous! Good luck dear 🙂


    1. I think you are right Meredith. I did ask for input on the photostory from friends. But truthfully while I took on board a lot of what they said, and it clarified some points for me…in the end it was what made the story right for me. I think that is for example why I chose ‘the swan’ image. It is such a simple image but for some reason it tugs at me every time I see it…I think because it is not the usual ‘wildlife’ shot and therefore me being me…well I am drawn to it. Other people might have thought something more dramatic was the way to go…but I had to send that one in.


  4. What can I say, they are all fantastic photos. The one with the swan’s neck under the water is outstanding because it tells it’s own little story – something we keen photographers are always told to look out for when taking photos. The Anzac collection does the same, but it also stirs the emotions – another good quality.
    I think you will do well Jo, and wish you all the best in the competition. Let us know how it goes.


    1. Thanks Barbara. That swan image is a particular favourite of mine. Maybe because it isn’t the usual dramatic photo, but just a serene moment in the swan’s life…not sure, but I just never thought of not sending it in.


  5. Great choices…good luck!
    I have entered a couple of competitions and getting ready on another one. I go with my gut, but I do check previous year’s winners to see what the judges seem to like.


    1. The problem with this one is they tell you who the judges are…grrrrrr…which can change every year. So I went back over the last few years. They seem to go with images that are a bit ‘out of the box’, so…here is hoping I got it right.


  6. You know some of my choices, already, but I especially like the seagull at the top and the landscape. Those made me catch my breath they are so beautiful! Keeping my fingers and toes crossed for you. 🙂 I hope you win! xox


  7. Darn … everyone has pretty much said what I think. They’re all SUPER great.
    The elephant in the wildlife category is WOW … I know I could elaborate but that covers it. : )

    I think that gut should be your way of deciding. Too much thinking stifles the natural creativity in us. That’s where, I think, writer ing and creative blocks come in.

    As a former Art Show judge for Art Show awards, I can honestly say that … It is all subjective.

    Despite what the judges think, you’re a winner for having faith in yourself.

    May your positive energy reach out to those who will view your photos and come back to you with heart warming news.
    ❤ hugs ❤


    1. Elephant ??? Now you have me curious…what elephant ???

      Thank you Issy for all you positive comments and great vibes, and most especially the ❤ hugs ❤


  8. Congratulations – nice pics (& picks). I think you need to be guided by your heart – what speaks to you probably speaks to others as well, and I think it is all about what moves you. I entered a shot a couple of years ago, and it is definitely a buzz. :-). The standard is awesome, and just to enter is an achievement. I’ll keep an eye out for you in the finalists 🙂


    1. Thank you for the lovely comment. Yes the standard is awesome. So I am pleased with myself that I took the chance to enter. I will be hoping to see you seeing me in the finalists.


  9. Superb shots, Jo – and good luck!

    It’s always a hard call choosing photos for a competition or exhibition, but I say go with your gut. I guess it never harms to have a look at the winners from past years, though if the judges change then it really is only a guide, (or it might even give you some new ideas!).

    Sometimes I’ve asked for the opinions of others and I’m often surprised by their choices, and why!

    At the end of the day, only YOU can decide – but once you’ve made your choice, don’t hesitate – just be very VERY PROUD of being the great photographer you already are.

    Very well done – you clever girl, you. 🙂


    1. Thanks Marianne. You are right on all levels. Although I did take on board what people said, in the end it still had to be my decision. Hoping I got it right.


  10. You have so many fabulous images, I can imagine how hard it must have been to shortlist these few. But you chose well Jo. The bird shots are some of the best I have seen anywhere.


There are two things I know for certain. One: Bert and Ernie are gay. Two: I want to hear your opinion.

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