Outcome of my photography salon (competition) entries – Month of March 2015

The month of March was a quiet month when it comes to entering photography salons. I was so busy with all the other admin issues that I’ve decided not to enter all the international salons on offer. I’ve entered only one international salon – a personal favourite of mine because I won my first ever medal in this Germany based circuit way back in 2012. I still remembered the moment when I received the good news – we were in Kieliekrankie wilderness camp in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park on top of the highest dune in the area. I got some cellphone reception for a few minutes and I received the e-mail informing me that I’ve won a medal in this international salon. I had to read the message three times before I was able to understand what it was all about. At that stage I’ve just started to enter international salons in order to get points for promotion in our local camera club. So, what a surprise!

Therefor, during the month of March I was only supporting the local photography clubs in South Africa by trying to enter all their categories for which I do have photos.

The details of the salons are as follows:

Total number of salons entered:

4 (1 international salons & 3 national salons).

Overall outcome:

International: 3 acceptances from 12 photos entered = 25% acceptance rate

National: 28 acceptances from 64 photos entered = 44% acceptance rate (slight increase from 43% last month)

Medals: 1

COMs: 6

Now for the individual salons:

A. International salons

  1. German International DVF cup circuit 2015 (Germany)

This was a 3-salon circuit

Photos entered: 4 photos entered in the Nature section = 12 entries

Acceptance: 3 acceptances (25% acceptance rate)

Comments: Not a very successful salon outcome but I was trying out some new images. At least ALL EARS received acceptances in 2 of the 3 salons. The photo was taken from the squirrel hide during our trip to Norway. It is a typical European wildlife image.

All ears


Flatlander, Norway


  1. National Salons
  1. 1st Special theme salon Kathu 2015 (South Africa)

Photos entered: 4 photos each entered in the Windows and Doors, Flowers, Transport, colour explosion, Scapes sunrise/sunset sections = 20 entries

Acceptance: 8 acceptances (40%)

Being a nature and wildlife photographer, this was really a challenging salon to enter. At the end of the day I’ve put some images together and I was able to enter 4 images in 5 of the 6 sections. These sections are not really the normal sections to be found in a photography salon – not even in a international salon. I would love to see the statistics regarding the number of entries for this salon vs. the number of entries for a salon with the normal type of sections. STRAWBERRY AND CREAM is an old image of mine taken in our garage while my wife was experimenting with new photography techniques. Like I said – I had to dig deep into my archives to get some images to enter in this salon.

 Strawberry and cream


Bloemfontein, South Africa


  1. 5th Sandton National Digital Salon 2015 (South Africa)


Photos entered: 4 photos each entered in the Wildlife, Sport, Scapes, People monochrome, Open colour and Open monochrome sections = 24 entries

Acceptance: 3 COM & 7 acceptances (42 %)

Now we are back to normal – with the salon sections to be entered I mean. SEA EAGLE LUNCH received its first COM award with its first entry. We were very lucky to get some images of these white tailed sea eagles taking some fish from the sea in good winter light. It was very difficult shooting from a small fishing type of boat on the sea standing on one’s knees while hand-held a 200-400mm and even at one stage a 600mm lens.

Sea eagle catch


Flatlander, Norwee


  1. 1st Northern Natal National Digital Salon 2015 (South Africa)


Photos entered: 4 photos each entered in the Wildlife, PJ, Scapes, People, and Pictorial colour sections = 20 entries

Acceptance: 1 medal, 3 COM & 6 acceptances (50 %)

To my surprise, it was one of my landscape images that won a medal in the Scapes section. TREE ABOVE was taken during our trip to Magoebaskloof in the northern part of South Africa. What is more satisfactory to me, is the fact that my wife and I played around with the composition of this image for a while and eventually I decided on this final composition – all by ourselves. Just to think that 2-3 years ago I was so frustrated in Namibia because I did not know what a proper landscape image was all about. I did not even know what to look for. Thanks Hougaard and Shem!!!

Tree above 1024 72k 300d sRGB W


Magoebaskloof, South Africa


Message to take home:

The last salon outcome (my medal in the Scapes section) made me think about my initial frustration with landscape photography and how we did go about it in my early photography years. Luckily, and with the guidance of Hougaard Malan, we came to our senses.

My main message is that any landscape photography needs proper planning. No arriving at a scene with some running around looking for a composition when everything is perfect. One must visit the area before a possible shoot – even if it is in the middle of the day, Look carefully and critically at the scenery and possible shots. Take a few images and review them on your computer afterwards. You can even go back a few times and reconsider your options. You need to plan ahead and consider possible compositions.

Only after proper planning and with conditions perfect – then you can pull the trigger. However, you must arrive well before the golden hour and make sure about your pre-select set-up. Consider all the factors and make sure you ready and your camera settings are appropriate for the conditions. What was appropriate for yesterday, would not be appropriate for this shoot. A few practice shots would be helpful just to be sure for example the composition. Then comes the wait for the right moment and you can take the shot.

I would also recommend that you go back to a place of interest at different times of year – just to get another perspective on how the scene might change with different light, clouds and so on. Do not think: “I already visited that place in the past and got the image – why should I go back?” Does it make your think?

Until next month, keep on shooting

  1. #1 by michaelsingletonhaworth on May 3, 2015 - 4:17 pm

    Willem, great advice on landscape photography. It is deceptively difficult to get top images. I admire your competitive tenacity and really enjoy your take home messages.

  2. #2 by photographytricksandtips on May 3, 2015 - 6:29 pm

    Voorspoed verder Willem

  3. #3 by ziggibson on May 4, 2015 - 6:32 am

    Absolutely beautiful pictures, Willem – love the scene in the Magoebaskloof forest – want to be there! (-:

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