During 2023 I have participated in a monthly challenge organised by Charlotte Bellamy for the poeple in her creative group - those who have been on her workshops or have been mentoring by her. Given my ambivalent attitidue to competitions, I wasnt sure whether to continue, but having decided I would, I managed to submit an image every month in response to the prompt set. Overall, I failed to catch the eye of the judges, apart from one surprise late in the year that made up for all the other disappointments (well, almost!!). Here are my submissions for the year:
February: Bleak and Wild:
March: Light and Dark:
May: Complimentary Colours:
June: Long Exposure: 9th place
July: Lines and Angles: Charlotte's pick of the month! She said:
"The colours of this ICM are super. I love the intricacy of this image - the longer you look at it the more you see. The diagonal lines, triangles and flow of the image are super and the ICM gives it a veil of mystery".
September: Reflections: 9th place. Charlie commented:
"This one I picked for my top 10 as its a really interesting interpretation of reflections. I love that it is the wet paving slabs that are offering the surface on which to capture the reflective element for this challenge. The ICM adds a softness and almost dulls the otherwise wet and busy feeling that being out in the rain brings. It makes me think of the song 'dancing in the rain' as the movement seems fluid and almost floating. The pop of the colour has lifted this whole image".
"This one really caught my eye immediately. Great control of light, without going overboard with movement (a fine balance to make!!). The colours pop, framing it to the top of the image helps hold it in and the light being caught on (whatever was in the cathedral/church) sets the image even more. While I presume that it is all one capture, the shapes made by this golden 'thing' make it look like other movements were done. Well done. Love it!!"
November: Autumn Colours
And what did I learn about my photography by doing this project? That I can produce a photo in response to a prompt; I can tackle a wide range of genres (nature, landscape, street, seascape, architecture; still life); I can use a range of ICM and ME techniques; that I need to improve my post-processing and allow sufficient time to create an image of competition quality each month.
But also I have to have an opinion about my own photography and to be happy with my choices for submission. I have selected them because they sang to me, perhaps I had tried something new, had experimented, or there was a strong emotional response to the place. Or I had achieved an effect that I was after, such as in the Autumn colour image. I had wanted an abstract with a contrast between the straight lines of colour in the trees and the random movement of the fast-flowing river. It didn't catch the judges eye, possibly not enough variety in the colour for the brief but I still rate it as one of my best in a year of experimentation. And that, in the end, is what matters, isn't it?
And will I continue next year? Maybe!!