This will be quite a short post and unusually for me just contain a single image. I will post a more 'normal' blog post in a couple of days.
Every year I enter 2-3 photography competitions. It is always a difficult job selecting the images and many wildlife competitions these days are looks for photos from unusual angles, with interesting or amazing lighting conditions or just showing the animal undertaking some unusual behaviour. I always find competitions to have a large element of luck as much of the success depends on the judge sifting through the photos and their mood on the day. For example I have entered a photograph in one competition where it has found its way to the trash pile only to have it win another. Having been one of the long-listing judges in the BBC Countryfile photo competition for several years I know it is no easy task sifting through 1000s of photos to select the best. However, what is the best in your opinion may also differ widely from someone else viewing the same set of images. Beauty as the say is in the eye of the beholder.
One element that I often think is missing from some competitions, particularly where the panel of judges are not wildlife photographers is that they have little concept on the technical difficulties and effort required to achieving some photos that are casually tossed into the also entered pile. My personal view is that wildlife photo competitions should be judged based on aesthetic quality, interest factor and also technical achievement.
This year I entered three competitions and despite submitting, what I considered to be some strong, unusual images of difficult to photograph animals and birds, I completely failed in the first two.. Fortunately the third competition, run by Bird Watching magazine, produced a very good result with one of my images winning the 'Bird of Britain' category and the overall competition. The winning photograph of a Dartford Warbler is shown below and can also be found in the October issue of the magazine.