Canadian Armed Forces Photography Contest

I won the CAF third place price for environmental photography!

I don’t often submit my work into competitions.

Firstly, I am super scared of rejection (isn’t everyone?). Secondly, I don’t often think that anything I do is good enough to compete, so I don’t bother and third, it feels a bit boastful.

All of these things are issues that I need to work on.

When I came across the CAF  Photography Contest I was really skeptical.  I didn’t want to enter but The Canadian and a good friend in Kingston (Ontario) encouraged me. I decided to do it and challenge my first reservation. I didn’t mind if I didn’t win, in fact, it would provide me with the opportunity to learn. There were so many people competing that I truly believed that I didn’t stand a chance. I love my own images, they’re so exciting to me, that it didn’t matter if anyone else felt the same way. So, I entered, reluctantly, two hours before the deadline.

I struggled to think of titles for all of my images, except this one.

picture of a red barn in a yellow field against a gloomy dull sky

As soon as I finished editing this one, I realised it summed up my feelings about our last posting in Alberta. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the people I met and the memories I made there, but Alberta was isolating for me. It was also the place I experienced culture shock and the whole ‘fish out of water’ thing. It wasn’t ‘our’ posting, it was The Canadian’s and I felt trapped. In the end, I settled on the title “An Isolated Posting”. It just seemed to fit.

I’m glad that the emotion in this image was conveyed clearly and that someone felt it worthy enough to win third place. I cannot even express how happy I am about that alone, nor how inspired it has made me feel to continue practicing. Over the summer, my confidence with photo taking was knocked pretty hard, so this was a much needed pick me up.

Here are some of the others that I submitted:

A Cold Day on a Windy Beach

Bokeh Lights and traffic on a wet night

I took a lot away from entering this competition. I had to backtrack through my archives and figure out which photographs I would submit. While I was doing this, I rearranged my photographs and images (it was long overdue!). I also watched my progress with photography and my growth and knowledge with not only my camera but with photography concepts as well. All of a sudden I seemed to understand white balance, composition and the power of black and white images. I also noticed how my post-production techniques improved gradually over time as well.

Cat in a Box

It was a rewarding experience to sift through my images and re-examine my photographs. It made me feel proud and it inspired me to keep trying. That alone boosted my confidence after my little set back.

I have always liked my own images. And that’s the point. I don’t think I would continue to take photographs if I felt I was completely rubbish, nor would I continue if I felt that I didn’t have anything more to learn. My pleasure of the recognition doesn’t come from winning third place, nor does it come from being perceived as better (or worse – I guess) than anyone else. My pleasure comes from the fact that someone, somewhere thought one of my images was ok. That someone who wasn’t related, married or friendly to me and who had nothing to lose by saying otherwise thought that something I created was alright. And, that makes me feel positive. It makes me think that maybe my self-taught skills are on the right track, that maybe I’m able to connect with people through the images I create and that maybe someday I’ll be able to enter competitions as more than a ‘novice’. It inspires me to continue because it just confirms that I took the right path in March 2012.


Cat stares into camera with intrigue

Lake Louise Alberta Slow melt

Personally, my favourite is the bottom landscape image, which is yours? Have you ever entered a photography competition? What markers indicate your progression toward hobbies and goals?

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