Summary of my 2012 salon awards

A reflection of 1 year in (what I consider as) the real world of photography – entering salons/competitions.

I came to realise that it has been a few months since I’ve posted my monthly results of the salon competitions. Currently I am consolidating my salon results for 2012 and I’ve realised that I entered my first ever salon competition exactly 1 year ago (November 2011). It was our own camera club’s (Bloemfontein Camera Club) salon and my wife convinced me to enter. I thought I wasn’t ready yet as I just completed my beginners’ course with Prof Gert Lamprecht. So, I was really still a novice in photography. And the outcome of that first salon was evidence thereof. I’ve entered 16 photos and only two photos were accepted.  But I decided not to give up so easily – so let us have a look at the results from the nearly 100 national and international salons I’ve entered since Nov 2011 until November 2012

The difference between national (South Africa) and international salons, you might ask? Well, my personal opinion and experience are that the standard is higher in the international salons meaning it is much more difficult to get an acceptance in these international salons. There are also many more participants in international salons and they are from different countries.  For example there could be around 10 000 photos entered in an international salon while a national salon will only receive around 4 000 photos. And the acceptance rate for a salon is around 10-30%, so if you achieve an acceptance rate of 10-30%, you can consider yourself on par. Also take note – only a few photos will be presented with a “Certificate of merit (COM)” award (about 5-10 photos in international salons and 10-15 photos in national salons).

Just to summarise – I’ve entered 98 salons in 2012 and in only 5 salons didn’t I achieve any success meaning not one of my photos receive an acceptance. All five were international salons. I’ve used over 150 of my photos to enter. In the beginning I’ve used one photo in several salons (up to 10 salons irrespective of the outcome of the salon) but as I got use to process of entering salons, I decided to put a photo on hold when I got 3 salon acceptances for that specific photo.

Relax, I am not going to present all 150+ photos in this post. So right, let us look at some of the photos entered in international salons that received a medal or a COM award:

 Hippo run

1)            Hippo run: Chobe River, Botswana

PSA silver medal: DVF Photocup German international 2102 (Germany)

My first ever medal in a salon – I still remember when I received the result. I was in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and I had a few seconds Internet reception – just enough for me to download the results and I couldn’t believe my eyes. Once again, thanks Lou Coetzer for making it possible for me to get shots like these from your boat on the Chobe River.

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 Grey headed gull with fish 1 200

2.            Grey headed gull with fish 1: Chobe River, Botswana

PSA silver medal: 2nd Agens Digital Photo Salon 2012 (Hungary)

COM: 1st Witbank Photographic Society Digital Salon 2012 (South Africa)

Another product from Lou’s boat on the Chobe River – this time with his son Henri as our guide. Thanks Henri

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 The vulture and the jackal

3.            Vulture and the jackal: Giants Castle, South Africa

Medal judge’s choice: Hoylake International photographic exhibition (England)

This time a product of a trip organised by a dear friend of ours (Margaret) and my wife. And what a surprise, challenge and privilege to shoot a shot like this

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 Sunrise in Deadvlei 2

4.            Sunrise Dead Vlei: Sossous Vlei, Namibia

Medal: Best landscape: Northstar International circuit (TCACCC section)(USA)

This time, thanks to C4 Images & Safaris and Hougaard Malan to provided us with the opportunities to get shots like these in Namibia.

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Elephant tired

5.            Elephant baby tired: Mashatu nature reserve, Botswana

Medal: Minneapolis St Paul 79th International Circuit (St Paul Salon (USA)

Another photo taken during trip to Mashatu, Botswana and C4 Images & Safaris.

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Cheetah lipstick

6.            Cheetah lipstick: Mashatu nature reserve, Botswana

Honourable mention: Oxford International Salon (England)

Another photo taken during trip to Mashatu, Botswana and C4 Images & Safaris. Thanks to Isak Pretorius for your guidance and fresh look at nature photography.

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 Kite landing 1

7.            Kite landing: Kgalagadi Trans-frontier Park

Honourable mention: Minneapolis St Paul 79th International Circuit (St Paul Salon (USA)

We anticipated that the Black shouldered Kite will return to this specific spot on top of the tree. So kept my focus on that spot and I got lucky.

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Play time saturation

8.            Play time: Duba Plains, Botswana

COM: 9th Photolovers International Digital Circuit (Vidisha salon) (India)

This photo was taken during our trip to Duba Plains, Botswana organised by my wife. What a surprise and lovely trip.

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Next up, some of the photos entered in national salons and that received a medal or a COM award:

Coming for lunch

1.            Coming for lunch: Chobe River, Botswana

Silver medal – Best image Nature: Emfuleni National Circuit salon 2012 (Vanderbijlpark salon) (South Africa)

Silver medal – Runner up Nature: Emfuleni National Circuit salon 2012 (Vereeniging salon) (South Africa)

Gold medal – Runner up Nature: 1st Pretoria Super Circuit (NPC salon) (South Africa)

Judge’s choice: 1st Pretoria Super Circuit (VSS salon) (South Africa)

COM: 1st Pretoria Super Circuit (VSS salon) (South Africa)

COM: 1st Pretoria Super Circuit (PCCC salon) (South Africa)

One of my earlier success stories, a photo taken on my first (and it was not my last) trip on Lou’s boat. I did use this photo in several salons because I just love it. One of my favourite photos so far.

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 Elephant trunk

2.            Elephant trunk and water: Elephant hide, Mashatu, Botswana

Medal Runner up Nature: 1st Klerksdorp Photography Club monochrome salon (South Africa)

Black and White photos are definitely not my strong point but sometimes one gets it right.

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 Hippo yawn 1

3.            Hippo yawn 1: Chobe River, Botswana

Medal PPS Runner up: 80th PPS Anniversary Digital Salon (South Africa)

COM: 1st Tygerberg Digital Salon (South Africa)

Just to show how important light (the golden hours of the early morning and late afternoon) is, thanks to Lou and his boat.

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 Sunset of a different kind

4.            Sunset of a different kind: Fish River canyon, Namibia

COM:  4th AFO digital salon 2012 (South Africa)

COM: 1st Tygerberg Digital Salon (South Africa)

Another challenge for me – altered realty but thanks to Prof Gert Lamprecht I came up with this image. Not everybody like it but the results are telling a story.

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 Grey headed gull dropping fish

5.            Grey headed gull dropping fish: Chobe River, Botswana

COM: Bluff Camera Club Digital Salon 2012

COM: 7th Krugersdorp Camera Club National Digital salon (South Africa)

Under the guidance of Henri on Lou’s boat, we had the opportunity to shoot this kind of action on the river (which is not artificial – no feeding of the birds from the boat)

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Little egret flying

6.            Little egret flying: Chobe River, Botswana

COM: Bluff Camera Club Digital Salon 2012 (South Africa)

COM: 80th PPS Anniversary Digital Salon (South Africa)

Taken during my second trip on Lou’s boat, the background and the late afternoon light did it for me.

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 Side way

7.            Side ways: Prof Gert Lamprecht studio, Bloemfontein

COM: Bluff Camera Club Digital Salon 2012 (South Africa)

COM: 3rd Pietersburg Photography Club digital salon (South Africa)

COM: 1st Tygerberg Digital Salon (South Africa)

I’ve tried something different with the photo and at that stage I did not even know what high-key or low-key means. Never too old to learn. Photo taken only during our third practical session of our beginners’ course with the assistance of Prof Gert.

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Red dunes

8.            Drifters lodge afternoon: Namib Rand reserve, Namibia

COM: 5th Emfuleni National Circuit salon 2012 (Vanderbijlpark salon) (South Africa)

I was very frustrated this specific afternoon as I was struggling with landscape photography and to see the picture/photo in my mind. Thanks to Hougaard Malan, Shem Chompion and my wife I survived and nowadays I am looking for landscape photos even in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier park. I am sure Hougaard would be proud of me.

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Juvenile goshawk take off

9.            Juvenile goshawk taking off: Kgalagadi Trans-frontier Park

COM: 5th Emfuleni National Circuit salon 2012 (Vereeniging salon) (South Africa)

Back to reality and my passion in photography – birds in flight (BIF). As one can see – no additional comments.

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 Dead tree in the clouds

10.          Dead tree in the clouds: Namib Rand reserve, Namibia

COM: 1st Klerksdorp Photography Club monochrome salon (South Africa)

Here we go again – black and white, another COM and I do really have feeling for B&W photos. But hey, let’s give it another try even though my acceptance rate in the B&W salons is very low (for this category).

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Fish eagle landing ground

11.          Fish eagle landing ground: Chobe River, Botswana

COM: 3rd Pietersburg photography Club digital salon (South Africa)

Another winner from Lou’s boat – always keep following the birds with your camera to see if you can get an additional shot or two. This was such a case where I did not expect any more action from the bird but I kept my focus on the bird and I got an extra shot.

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 Hippo yawn 3

12.          Hippo yawn 2: Chobe River, Botswana

COM: 3rd Pietersburg photography Club digital salon (South Africa)

Another unexpected action shot from Lou’s boat and it looks like a winner even though cropping was needed.

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 Grass on dune

13.          Grass on dune 1: Namib Rand reserve, Namibia

COM: 3rd Pietersburg Photography Club digital salon (South Africa)

Judge’s choice: Pietersburg Photography Club digital salon (South Africa)

With the assistance from Hougaard, another winner for me.

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 Ghost rain Namibia

14.          Ghost rain Namibia: Namib Rand reserve, Namibia

COM: 3rd Pietersburg Photography Club digital salon (South Africa)

And patience paid off as we were instructed by Hougaard to wait for about 1 hour for the sun to set while staying in position to get a shot like this. And I thought one needs patience in wildlife photography only!

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 Windy Namibia

15.          Windy Namibia: Sossous Vlei, Namibia

COM: 80th PPS Anniversary Digital Salon (South Africa)

Never let bad weather have a negative influence on your photography. During our drive to Sossous Vlei, my wife and I decided to stop when we saw this windstorm and dust. You can have your own opinion about taking photo in really bad weather but do not miss opportunities like these.

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Bulbul my seat 800

16.          Bulbul My seat: Elephant hide, Mashatu, Botswana

COM: 1st Tygerberg Digital Salon (South Africa)

Currently my second favourite photo so far, therefore no additional comments.

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Strawberry and cream

17.          Strawberry and cream: Own backyard, Bloemfontein

COM: 1st Witbank Photographic Society Digital Salon 2012 (South Africa)

I’ve tried my hand at macro photography and with the idea and assistance of my wife, I’ve got this product. I took us about the entire Saturday afternoon to get one useable photo. Not really my favourite but an interesting concept and outcome.

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Message to take home:

See some of the comments in the text below the photos. Just thought I want to share some of my personal experience and photos with you.

Until next year’s salon entries and results, keep on shooting!!!

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