About this site

What's this all about?

Well, it all started with John and Chris, Father and Son in law, keen on photography, also having just bought nice new SLR Nikon cameras, decided to start a friendly, fun monthly photo-competition after talking to a few people and establishing interest. This site started hosting monthly competitions in January 2007, so far we've not missed a month.

John (Father [-in law]) is based in Cheshire, UK. Chris (Son [-in law]) is based in Ahuroa, New Zealand. The majority of entrants within the competitions are personal friends of John or Chris, but you don't need to know us directly to join in.

So, who can play?

Anyone can. There's no registration, no fees etc, just follow the instructions below to join in.

If we don't know who you are already, when you sign up to the Mailing List, drop us a little note about yourself, what interests you about photography, how long you've been keen, what you do for a living, where you're based etc..

What kind of competitions do you run?

We have two main kinds of competitions here; monthly, themed competitions and longer term ones. The long term ones are generally year long ones and might be harder to capture at a given time of year etc; they might be more opportunistic in nature, or simply harder to plan for.

The monthly themes are picked from a list of ideas which we maintain and people are free to contribute towards. If you have any ideas, be sure to share them.

What if I don't have a 'flash' camera?

Well, we often find that the more important side of things is the creative thought that goes into taking a photo, there's only a small number of things which you can't do with a smaller, less expensive compact style of digital camera. Our themes are generally ones which anyone could do. (There might be the odd theme which is more challenging with a compact camera).

Besides, start off small, get into it, have some fun, and who knows, you might be encouraged to make more of this as a hobby.

How long have you been doing this?

We started doing this on this site in Jan 2007.

Does it matter if I've not joined in until now?

No, each competition is voted for on its own merits, with no handicapping or penalties etc being carried over from previous rounds. The scoring tables currently summarise wins etc from the start, but will soon be modified to be a 'rolling' scoring system summarising the last 6 months of competitions. A lot of the scores are averaged for people who have entered more than 3 competitions, which enables new commers to compete and compare with the old-timers.

Ok, so, how do I enter?

Well, the first thing to do is to take a look around and get used to things, view the list of competitions using the navigation at the top of the site, find this month's competition, read the theme details, the rules for that month etc. Then go away for a while and think / plan what you might do for your photo entry. Take your time and spend some decent time thinking and planning what you're going to do. This is where a lot of the competitions are won / lost - it's in the planning.

Take your photos and preview them on your computer. When it comes down to fine judging between two photos; points like focus, framing, light balance etc will all come into play, so if you notice something with your photo that you could improve consider going back for a second set.

Once you're happy, go back to the competition page, scroll to the bottom, browse for your photo, enter your other details, including your photo caption then upload the photo to the server. - You won't see your photo immediately, but you should see your name confirming that your entry has been received correctly.

We don't show anyone the previous entries until the voting opens, this is to save your good original ideas for yourself and to prevent someone from taking them, working them through and coming up with a better version. :)

At the end of the month, the competition will change it's 'mode', entries will close, and voting will open. - Voting lasts for 10 days. Then the voting closes and a winner is anounced. - It's simple really.

What do I win?

Nothing, pride, honour, fame?...

What else should I know?

Sign the Mailing List, you'll get notifications of new competitions by email, as well as anouncements of winners etc. - It's how we all stay in touch.

Your photos are not electronically protected in any way, we can't prevent people from downloading and using them, we can only do this through copyright notices etc. In short, if you're a professional, and are worried about theft of your copyrighted works, you might not want to upload it here, we cannot be held responsible for other internet user's mis-use of your work.

Check out the general competition rules under 'Others...' above.

Can you recommend a camera?

You don't need anything really expensive or flashy to win here. - I know, I just won a competition with Stel's very compact digital (point and shoot) camera. ;)

If you're looking for a current, good, affordable and excellent value and quality model, then John, Doreen, Stella and I (Chris) can all recommend a 'Panasonic, Lumix DMC-TZ15': Outside of Asia this is known as the TZ5 - We purchased two of these in NZ over XMas 2008 for around NZ$500 / UKĀ£185 each. This took the 'Not Cricket' photo in the Wildlife competition for Feb 2009. It has an EXCELLENT Macro mode which can capture full frame photos from 5cm away. It also has a x10 optical zoom, which when we compared it to the Nikon D80's zooms was comparable to roughly a ~300mm lens.

If you want to spend a lot more, and have a lot more stuff to carry around, then look towards the SLR ranges, as ultimately you can't substitute the level of control you have with a full SLR... In which case we'd obviously be biased towards the Nikon DXX range of cameras. A good intro camera is the D40, a second hand D70 will give very pleasing results, a D80 is a wonderfully versatile full digital SLR, and there are newer and more expensive models too...

When buying a full SLR, the additional expense comes in the lens selection you need to buy to accompany the body. You can easily spend as much on a decent lens as you do on the body. This adds to the size and weight of the bag you have to carry around... Ultimately there's quite a commitment to buying and owning this gear, you might well get more easy bang for your buck by getting hold of one of the Panasonic's we listed above. :)

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