APOY Round Eight – Wildlife at Home and Abroad

**Entries must be received by 5pm on 28 September 2012**

Please do not send your entries to the general AP email address

Please visit the APOY12 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.

Round 8 of this year’s Amateur Photographer of the Year competition, sponsored by Samsung and Jessops, is Wildlife at home or abroad. Of all the styles of photography that we feature in AP, wildlife is the one that could well be the most popular. It’s unsurprising, considering the sheer diversity of animal life we encounter in the wild, not just on our own shores but also abroad.

Photographing wildlife in a dynamic and engaging way is not an easy task. Something as simple as not getting the eyes of the subject in focus, or including distracting background elements, can ruin an otherwise perfectly good shot. Here we offer some advice on what to look out for. Images likely to catch the judges’ eye are those that are creative, skilfully composed and technically excellent.

Photo by Mat Gallagher

As always, we have thousands of pounds’ worth of fantastic camera equipment up for grabs, as well as the chance to be crowned Amateur Photographer of the Year 2012. The closing date for round 8 is 28 September 2012. The top two winners will each receive a fantastic Samsung camera, while the third-prize winner will receive a £250 Jessops voucher. The top 30 highest scoring photographs will be published in AP 27 October 2012, while the scores from the top 50 images will be posted on our website.

For information explaining how to enter can be found on the APOY 2012 home page. Please use your full name as the file name and paste the disclaimer into the body of your email if you are sending your entry electronically. We also need to know where and how you took your image, plus the camera and lens used with aperture and focal length details. Also, include a telephone number and your postal address so we can contact you if you win.

For Round 8 of APOY, we’re looking for eye-catching images of wildlife taken at home or on your travels. We live in a world populated by strange and fantastic creatures, and the ability to capture these subjects accurately through the lens of your camera is a great skill. Photographing wildlife subjects is often about more than just creating a beautiful image. It can also educate the viewer and introduce them to species they may not otherwise be able to see in their native environment. But that’s not to say that the wildlife found on your own doorstep should be ignored. Creatures as common as foxes and rabbits hold endless appeal to photographers and there’s no end to the ways they can be captured.

Remember that a creature is part of a bigger picture. Each animal lives in its own environment, and showing that animal within its immediate surroundings can not only help you to create exciting and engaging compositions, but also provide a level of context. That said, getting in close holds its own appeal. Take a look through some of the amazing macro work out there and you’ll see that photography can also reveal the beautiful array of feathers and fur that make up the animal world.

1st prize
The first-prize winner will receive a Samsung NX20 with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens, Samsung 50-200mm f/4-5.6 and Samsung 16mm f/2.4 Ultra Wide lenses, plus a 16GB SDHC Plus memory card, worth a total of £1,496.99. The NX20 is an advanced compact system camera with a 20.3-million-pixel, APS-C, CMOS sensor.

It has 8fps continuous shooting, built-in Wi-Fi for email, social networking and transfer, an ISO range of 100-12,800 and a top shutter speed of 1/8000sec. Samsung’s slender, all-purpose i-Function 16mm lens offers great versatility, with quick and easy one-touch access to all your camera’s manual settings.

2nd prize
The second-prize winner will receive a Samsung WB850F compact camera and a 16MB SDHC Plus memory card worth a total of £348.99. The WB850F travel compact has a 16-million-pixel, BSI (Back Side Illuminated) CMOS sensor to help reduce image noise and distortion, even in low-light conditions, and a 21x optical zoom lens (23-483mm equivalent). The Samsung WB850F also has built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, so users can email photos or share them on social network sites quickly and easily.

3rd prize
The third-prize winner will receive a £250 Jessops Gift Card. Jessops Gift Cards are only redeemable in store and not online. Overseas winners will be contacted by phone about how to claim their prize.


Here are some tips and suggestions to help you get started

Why not try…

Photo by Mat Gallagher

Focus and Angle

The first and most obvious tip that can be offered when dealing with wildlife is to ensure that your subject’s eyes are in sharp focus. The eyes will likely be the first thing that the viewer notices. We all communicate through our eyes and this is no different when we are dealing with wildlife subjects. Many shots have been lost by photographers neglecting to focus on the eyes. This leads us on to the next tip – getting down to same level as your subject. It is important to shoot at your subject’s eye level as this essentially brings you into the animal’s world. It allows you to see the world as they see it, and creates a visual bond between your subject and the viewer.

Photo by Keith Thain

Background and Environment
The first thing that many wildlife photographers learn is that the background is just as important as the subject. Having the wrong background can destroy an image. Something as simple as a white leaf is going to take the viewer’s eye away from the subject and serve as a wildly distracting element. With this in mind, it’s worth opening up the aperture and utilising one of the most neglected camera functions – the depth-of-field preview button – to see how the final image will look. Also bear in mind that the subject’s immediate environment should be treated almost as if it were a theatre stage. The subject is a part of that overall environment, and with those combined elements a story can be told.

Photo by Pat Sherron

Composing and Framing your Shot

It’s vital to have a good idea of where you want to place the subject within the composition and how you want the shot to be framed. A bad composition or frame is something that leads to many a wasted shot. The subject may be surrounded by things such as branches, leaves and grass, which are all great natural framing devices. Even empty space can be utilised. It’s also worth experimenting with where you want to place the animal within the frame. The subject can be positioned centrally, to the left, right or down low. Each position will say something different. Often the composition will be dictated by the environment, but sometimes previsualisation can be a great virtue.

Please visit the APOY12 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.

If you wish to enter by post please remember to include your entry form.

**Entries must be received by 5pm on 28 September 2012**

Please do not send your entries to the general AP email address.

 In association with Samsung and Jessops