APOY Round Nine – The Great Outdoors

**Entries must be received by 5pm on 26 October 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 9 of this year’s Amateur Photographer of the Year competition, sponsored by Samsung and Jessops, is The Great Outdoors (Forests and Woodlands). Landscapes come in all shapes and sizes, from the breathtaking vistas of British hills and valleys to our own back gardens. But in this round we want readers to apply those finely tuned photography skills to forests and woodlands. These spaces offer a variety of stunning images, and the opportunities that can be found in these mysterious and beautiful locations can lead to a series of breathtaking images. Pictures likely to catch the judges’ eye are those that are creative, skilfully composed and technically excellent. See below for some advice on what to look out for and see Richard Sibley’s article on pages 45-49 AP dated 6 October 2012.

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 9 is 26 October 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 images will be published in AP 24 November 2012, while the scores from the top 50 images will be posted on our website.

Photo by Tom Mackie

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 9 of APOY, we’re looking for eye-catching images of the great outdoors, but specifically forests and woodlands. For centuries, these areas have long held significance for artists, poets and musicians due to their mystery and ancient symbolism. Take a look through any retrospective of photography’s history or overview of contemporary photography and forests will be there somewhere. Of course, these places are so much more than fairy-tale playgrounds. They are also a great opportunity to expand the scope of what the term landscape can mean and create a stunning image full of life and colour. But while a strong panoramic image can do a location justice, it is easy to swap lenses and get in a little closer. Remember that forests and woodlands are the sum of their parts, and there is a wealth of colour and texture at every turn. Taking an image of a forest is in many ways a form of portraiture: you’re looking to convey the character of a place much like you would a human subject. Each location has its own personality and atmosphere, and it’s your job as a photographer to try to capture that. With this in mind, try experimenting. These places offer a great opportunity to find out what your camera and lens can do.

1st prize
The first-prize winner will receive a Samsung NX210 with 20-50mm f/3.5-5.6, Samsung 30mm f/2, Samsung 20mm f/2.8 and Samsung 16mm f/2.4 lenses, plus a 16GB SDHC Plus memory card, worth a total of £1,595.99. The NX210 is an advanced compact system camera with a 20.3-million-pixel, APS-C-sized CMOS sensor. It has 8fps continuous shooting, built-in Wi-Fi for email, social networking and transfer, and an ISO range of 100-12,800 that lets you take high-speed photos even in low light. 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 16GB 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 Dave Harris

Lens Choice
The first thing you’ll notice about a forest location is the
sheer diversity of patterns, lines and compositional elements. Knowing which
lens will best capture them is crucial. A wideangle optic will allow you to
come in close to the details right at your feet and sweep through into the
background. It will essentially give you a panoramic view. However, a telephoto
lens will help to eliminate a vast majority of the distracting elements in your
frame. As the field of view is more restricted than a wideangle, it means you
can home-in on the specific details of the forest environment. A telephoto lens
will also allow you to compress and centralise the scene, bringing many of the
elements forward into the frame.

Photo by Damien Demolder

Composing and Framing
When shooting a woodland, it can be tempting to show more of
the trees than the richly detailed ground. That means neglecting a whole area
of the forest. Try tilting your camera down to capture more of the ground-level
foliage. A feature that you’re likely to find within a forest is footpaths.
These can make interesting compositional details, although make sure you
experiment with their placement within the frame. Try to place them at an angle
rather than straight through the centre of your image. The forest is also home
to any number of framing devices, such as branches and foliage. These can be
used to draw interest to the subject that you want your viewer to focus on.

Photo by Polly Jedzjak

Get in Close
There are plenty of textures and details within a forest
setting, but many will be too small to capture using a wideangle or telephoto
lens. The forest is full of things such as the bark on trees, strange growths
and beautiful flowers. Using a macro lens, you can pick out these intricate
details and emphasise their beauty. However, if you’re using a macro lens then
it’s important to pick the appropriate aperture. Generally, when shooting up
close you’ll have a shallow depth of field to keep your background blurred.
This will help to make your subject stand out from its surroundings and reveal
its miniature details and colours. A macro is an endlessly fun lens to use in
this environment.

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 26 October 2012**

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

 In association with Samsung and Jessops