Playing The Long Game: Outdoor Photography With Telezooms

There are aliens among us?


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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There are aliens among us…

27 Dec 2020 9:06AM   Views : 497 Unique : 354

When I joined various model-photographer websites, I decided to use my real name, as a matter of integrity – models could check that I existed in the ‘phone directory, and I wouldn’t just be a bloke who says he lives in Barnsley called Phil. But when I joined Ephotozine, I was much less sure of my ground, and everyone else seemed to be using nicknames, so I did the same.

At work, I was used to straightforward email addresses – the common format in local government was [email protected], but most private emails were shorter, and used some form of nickname. I had done the same with my first email address, and carried that into this website. Lots of other people have done the same, and it causes some confusion. Maybe it’s because people of my sort of age got email addresses before we learned to type terribly fast, and the appeal of [email protected] was considerable! (That lovely address ceased to exist when the BBC, in the interests of competition, was forced to stop providing an email service… I never understood that.)

Anyway, this tendency means that we don’t always recognise the quality of the photographers among us, because someone we know here as Fredthebrickie, for instance, may regularly win prizes under his real name, which none of us know. However, the subject comes up because one of the few among EPZ members who use their real name on the site has come fourth in the Amateur Photographer annual competition.

Let’s put this in perspective: it’s a competition that runs over several months, with specified topics each month. To win, you need to submit consistently excellent images in several different genres. You also need to recognise that there are some very energetic and focussed people in the mix, determined to make a reputation for themselves. And some of them are VERY good indeed. The competition is now run online, and while readers of the paper edition get one free entry in each round, anyone can buy additional entries. It’s therefore easier to win if you are either a superb editor of your own work, or can afford to send ten of your best images, as some winners clearly do. As I recall, I’ve once got an image into the top twenty – so Angie Wallace’s high overall placing and an outright win in one round is quite remarkably good work.
By chance, a couple of rounds ago, I recognised one of Stevetheroofer’s images in the competition… Ron Tear (another of the few using his own name) has won a lot of different things over the years, including a special award in this year’s Landscape Photographer of the Year contest, and he and John Tisbury have scored in a now-defunct erotic photography event. Quietly working away up north, hwatt conceals a photographer of stunning ability in his chosen genre, Scottish landscapes.

So let’s celebrate the diverse talents of our fellow-members, whether we know them or not – and also wish them well for 2021. In this company, best that I don’t post any pictures…

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dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
27 Dec 2020 9:12AM
The very nature of the subject means that I definitely don't know how distinguished some of you are: feel free to confess. Or dob in a friend, as priti Patel would have you do (though in other contexts, of course).
altitude50 Avatar
altitude50 19 23.9k United Kingdom
27 Dec 2020 9:37AM
I have only ever been a amateur photographer dabbling in the hobby on & off, but when I was about 20 - around 1963 I put a colour slide (Agfacolor) of a lily into a quite big competition - run by a camera shop in Petersfield, Hants. It had been advertised nationally but due to the format it was essentially confined to entrants from South East England because the judging of the projected images were held in a local church hall. 35mm transparencies only. Out of the 85 selected finalists I came second and was presented with a Ilford Sportsmaster camera, the one with four focus buttons down the front!

First prize was a Singlex SLR. The prize giving was made by Jonathan Routh of TV's Candid Camera programme. Some of the other finalist came up to me afterwards and said I should have won.

I have entered APOY many times but only had one minor success under my real name.
mlseawell Avatar
mlseawell 13 1 United States
27 Dec 2020 1:20PM
Me? Sometimes I win things.

Stevetheroofer Avatar
27 Dec 2020 2:47PM
I have won one or two competitions but nothing that would make me give up my day job for. For me it is the joy of sharing my images to a wider audience. I don't understand the photographer who puts his name at the bottom of his image with a catch line that reads nature photographer or expert with a camera etc when in reality he is just like you or me with a regular job just enjoying their camera and sharing his pics on ephotozine. My local camera club keeps talking about letters after your name for your photo achievements, I'm not really interested in them, being at the top of the leaderboard in club comps is a different story!

Roofing for the mortgage payments, photography for fun.

dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
27 Dec 2020 3:47PM
Enjoyment is the key, Steve, Mark - at least for me it is.

I know a few people for whom the competition in itself is a large part of it, though.

And occasionally, doing something that matters...
iangilmour Avatar
27 Dec 2020 4:46PM
Don't really like blowing my own trumpet but why not this time! I have had one photo that came second in the macro section in the International Garden Photographer of the Year competition a couple of years ago. Prior to that I was a finalist in the same competition a couple of years before that. I have also won a few minor competitions with Gardening magazines.
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
27 Dec 2020 5:03PM
I am delighted to hear that, Ian!

I was rather hoping that a few people would confess their successes... I also wonder if I can persuade more people to do their own bit of writing here, and post some advice to others in blogs. There's an immense amount of ability and knowledge inside the heads of EPZ members, and it's all worth sharing. I take pictures in my own garden, and I remember two pieces of advice from a talk by Heather Angel 25 years ago, but that's about it. For all that I believe that it's possible to work things out from first principles in most areas of human endeavour, it really helps to have a few expert tips at the start...

It's a bit of an old-fashioned British vice to say nothing in order to avoid blowing one's own trumpet - but it's a really good idea to have a decent idea of one's own ability, and not be excessively shy about it.
iangilmour Avatar
27 Dec 2020 5:15PM
I also know that Fionna (flowerpower69 or 68) has had similar success in the IGPOTY with a finalist in the Still life category.
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
27 Dec 2020 5:24PM
The story emerges...
rontear Avatar
rontear Plus
20 23 9 England
27 Dec 2020 9:26PM
Hello John,
Fascinating article ( as all yours are !!) Thank you for the mention appreciated. Had a bumper year even with lockdown and restrictions ( plenty of images from past adventures !!) Hoping for a better one in 2021!!!
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
28 Dec 2020 11:44AM
A chance to get out and take pictures will be most welcome, won't it, Ron?

And I know that you love to travel to places (and creatures) far away: badly crimped the last 10 months or so.

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