APOY 2011 Round Five Creative Wildlife

Your chance to enter the UK?s most prestigious competition for amateur photographers

Please visit the APOY11 home page to find all the rules for entry, terms and conditions, the APOY entry email address, and the disclaimers that must be copied and pasted into an email entry.

Entries must be received by 5pm on 24 June 2011

We are now five rounds into this year?s Amateur Photographer of the Year competition and things are hotting up. If you haven?t entered yet, don?t worry, as there?s still time to be in with a chance of winning the coveted Amateur Photographer of the Year 2011 title and £5,000-worth of Canon camera equipment as the overall prize.

Round five?s theme is Creative wildlife, and we?re looking for breathtaking images of British or foreign animals. From portraits to documentary-style shots of animals in the wild, this month?s theme offers enormous scope. We are looking for original images that are well conceived, technically excellent and explore the subject in an imaginative way. Points will be awarded for creativity, technical ability and interpretation of the theme. The winner of round five will receive a Canon EOS 600D with an EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II lens, which is an ideal camera and lens combination for taking wildlife shots.

photo by Damien Demolder

Below you?ll find advice on how to photograph wildlife plus a table outlining the themes for future rounds, the closing dates and the issues in which the results will be published. The closing date for round 5 is 24 June 2011. The top three winners from this round will each receive a fantastic Canon camera and the top 30 highest scoring images will be published in AP 30 July 2011. The scores from the top 50 images will be published on our website.

For a chance to win the prestigious Amateur Photographer of the Year 2011 title and £5,000 worth of Canon equipment as the overall prize, send your entry to us now. The information explaining how to enter can be found on the APOY homepage. Remember to use your full name as the file name and don?t forget to paste the disclaimer into the body of your email if you are sending your entry to us electronically (also found on the APOY homepage). You?ll also need to include a couple of sentences explaining where and how you took your image, plus the camera and lens you used. Most importantly don?t forget to include a daytime telephone number and your full postal address so we can contact you in the event that you win.

Creative wildlife, the theme for round 5, is one that can be done in the comfort of your own back garden. However, you might also like to explore your local park or woodland, or visit a wildlife centre. Try to go beyond conventional wildlife images. You could try using a slow shutter speed and pan with the animal or bird, or photograph multiple animals, making a feature of pattern and shape.

Once you have decided what animal you are going to photograph, think about when and where you are going to take your image. What is the best time of day to photograph the animal? What kind of lens will you need? Remember, the animal?s wellbeing is paramount and it is never acceptable to put any creature at risk for the sake of a photograph. Before you set out, take time to research your chosen location. An understanding of your subject is also important. Try to anticipate the animal?s behaviour and spend as much time as you can observing its behavioural patterns. There are numerous wildlife images online and in books, on greetings cards, posters, calendars that you could use for inspiration, but remember, we are looking for images with that extra creative edge.

Viewpoint and framing

No matter how strong your subject, if you don?t consider how to frame your shot to make the most of what you are photographing you risk producing images that are cluttered or lack impact. Choice of viewpoint is crucial and shooting from eye level isn?t the only option available. Consider how choosing a lower or higher viewpoint could make a subject come alive. When framing your shot, think about what you want to include and what could be left out. Also, try to frame your image to create a ?clean? background.

photo by Richard Sibley


Whether your subject is still or moving, where and how you focus your image is one of the most important things to consider. Modern DSLR cameras usually have multiple focusing points, so spend time practising using these. If you are photographing birds in flight or animals moving at great speed, autofocus may be the best option, but it isn?t always the case. Sometimes focusing your image manually will allow you the control you need for a particular subject.

photo by Damien Demolder

Choice of lens

Lens choice is hugely important in wildlife photography. Using the correct lens for a subject, depending on what you want to convey, can make the shot while choosing a less suitable lens could prevent you from capturing a dramatic or meaningful image. For subjects that are a considerable distance away you may need to use a long telephoto lens such as 300mm, 400mm or longer, if you have one. Alternatively, you may like to try using a wideangle lens to show the animal in its environment. Zoom lenses will allow you the freedom to change your focal length quickly and easily.

photo by Damien Demolder

1st prize

The winner of round five will receive Canon?s latest DSLR, the 18-million-pixel EOS 600D, complete with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II lens, plus a PIXMA MG8150 Wi-Fi all-in-one inkjet printer. This prize package is worth a total of £1,098. The EOS 600D offers full HD 1080p video recording, up to 3.7fps continuous shooting and a 3in, 1.04-million-dot vari-angle LCD screen.

Meanwhile, the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II lens is an ideal general-purpose standard zoom. Its 4-stop Image Stabilizer provides great performance in low-light conditions. Finally, the PIXMA MG8150 Wi-Fi all-in-one inkjet printer with 4800dpi CCD scanner is capable of scanning 35mm film and produces photolab-quality greyscale and colour prints.

2nd prize

Our second-placed winner will receive Canon?s 10-million-pixel PowerShot S95 and SELPHY CP800 printer worth a total of £498. With its HS system and f/2 lens, the S95 excels in low-light conditions.

Other features include 720p HD movie capability, raw capture and 7.5cm (3in) LCD screen. The SELPHY CP800 is an ultra-compact photo printer with 2.5in tilt LCD that can print from a memory card, camera or USB stick.

3rd prize

Our third-placed winner will receive Canon?s IXUS 310 HS digital compact camera and SELPHY CP800 printer worth a total of £398.

Boasting a large touchscreen, high-speed functions and full HD movies, the IXUS 310 HS has a bright 24mm f/2.0 ultra-wide lens, enabling the user to capture incredible shots, day or night. Meanwhile, the SELPHY CP800 photo printer can produce postcard and credit-card-sized prints in super-quick time.

Please visit the APOY11 home page to find all the rules for entry, terms and conditions, the APOY entry email address, and the disclaimers that must be copied and pasted into an email entry.

Entries must be received by 5pm on 24 June 2011

In association with Canon