Round One – Shooting Trees

Welcome to Amateur Photographer of the Year 2011 in association with Canon. This week we launch Round one, Shooting trees, where the first-prize winner will receive a fantastic Canon Canon EOS 60D with EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens. Whether you are a regular APOY entrant or have never entered before, now is your chance to submit an image and see if you can win one of Canon?s flagship cameras.

Photo by Mat Gallagher

To kickstart this year?s APOY competition, we have chosen a theme that provides myriad shooting opportunities: trees, forests and woodlands. No matter where you live, whether it be the remotest corner of the UK or in a bustling town, chances are there is a tree or trees nearby. Although you may prefer a hazy summer?s evening or misty autumn morning for a spot of arboreal photography, it is still possible to create striking images at this time of year.

Even without the bursting buds of spring, deciduous trees can look dramatic, while coniferous trees can form interesting shapes. A crisp winter?s day with a smattering of frost on foliage can be magical, likewise a moody sky just before or after it has rained may provide the perfect backdrop for a lone tree. Parks, local woodlands, formal gardens and even your own back garden are just a few places where you can find trees aplenty. Try photographing trees as a single subject or a group at different times of the day and in different weather conditions. Don?t forget that bark, buds, leaves and all associated brambles and bracken make great close-up studies.

Why not try…

Here we’ve included some tips and suggestions to help you get started

Shooting Angle

The angle you choose to photograph a subject from can radically alter the look of an image. Photographing trees is no different.

Try shooting upwards from ground level and see if you can create an abstract-looking image or photograph from the side through foliage.

Move your camera around your subject and see how framing it in different ways affects the composition.

You don?t always have to shoot from eye-level, either ? low and raised viewpoints can add impact.

Photo by Tim Coleman

Pattern and Shape

Patterns in nature are everywhere around us. From carefully planted rows of trees in the city to tree reflections in water, tangled branches or intricate leaf detail, there are lots of opportunities to explore pattern and shape in your compositions.

Sometimes a minimal approach is best, so you might like to try stripping back your compositions and concentrate on a few simple elements.

While patterns look great in colour, black & white can also work well. You could also try shooting silhouettes ? the possibilities are endless.

Photo by Damien Demolder

Photo by Tim Coleman

Getting Close

While photographing a cluser of trees from afar or a single tree in the landscape can lead to interesting compositions, photographing up close can also yield imaginative results. Dust off your macro lens and home in on textured bark, backlit leaves and spindly, dew-clad twigs ? you?ll be amazed at what you can find when you look close.

1st Prize

Our first-placed winner will receive AP’s Product of the Year 2011, the 18-million-pixel Canon EOS 60D with EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens worth £1,299.99. You can produce stunning stills or Full HD movies using the EOS 60D?s vari-angle LCD screen and advanced creative features that include toy camera effect or soft focus. And when light levels fall, the EOS 60D offers an ISO range of up to 6400 that is expandable to 12,800 for those environments where using flash is undesirable.

Meanwhile, the EF-S 18-135mm lens covers a 29-216 (35mm equivalent) range and offers a multi-purpose zoom range from wideangle to telephoto, featuring a 4-stop Image Stabilizer and six-blade circular aperture.

2nd Prize

Our second-placed winner will receive Canon?s 14.1-million-pixel PowerShot SX30 IS, worth £449. The SX30 IS has a huge focal range thanks to its 35x zoom, while the ultrasonic motor allows you to zoom fast, silently and accurately. Other features include 720p HD movie capability, a 4.5-stop optical Image Stabilizer and 6.8cm (2.7in) vari-angle LCD screen.

3rd prize

Our third-placed winner will receive Canon?s IXUS 210, worth £249. Combining a 24mm ultra-wideangle 5x zoom and advanced touchscreen, you can create stunning images at your fingertips. The 14.1-million-pixel IXUS 210 also features optical image stabilisation, 720p HD movie capability and shooting modes such as low light, fisheye and miniature.

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

This round closes 25 February 2011

In association with Canon