Like many who enjoy photography, I found myself investigating a number of free photography competition websites. Early on I found these to be intriguing. They were a source of inspiration - whether looking through to find other people's images that took my eye and figuring out why; or discovering which images did better than others overall.
No doubt like many as well, my interest in them has waxed and waned with my own performance. There is something a little soul destroying in having a cherished image perform so badly - even if it is good for longer term development!
The first site that I spent time using in earnest was Photocrowd. I took time entering a number of competitions and enjoyed taking part; but after a while, I realised that I had reached a peak of what I could achieve and simply wasn't able to take new images quickly enough - which meant that I was just re-submitting old images repeatedly.
After taking a break from it, I returned recently - having taken a number of new images that I was happy with. Looking through the images that I had loaded in the past, I could see my progress and that I was returning with better images, which was a nice feeling.
Even better was seeing better results in the competitions that I entered accordingly. While considering which images to blog about today, I was thrilled to get an email from Photocrowd informing me that I had won my first competition, "High Street", with the image below!
A previous blog post showed a Street image taken while travelling to Helsinki, Christmas 2019. These two images were taken as part of that same trip. This time of year the light was low, and the weather damp and cloudy throughout - but the streets and shops were constantly lit up, and the overall experience was a warm and joyous one.
I had my little pocket Ricoh GR3 with me the entire time - and when I could brave taking my hands out of my pockets into the cold air, I was constantly on the look out for images that reflected the experience.
These two images are my favourites. The tramlines running through the city, and cobbled roads, kept drawing my attention and were crying out to be incorporated in the images.
I like the colours in the top image - the contrast between the warm lights and cool blue environment. I don't know if the person at the front is running for the tram or not - but it draws the viewer into the image and gives it a dynamic feel.
The bottom image is more consistent - almost monochrome - in it's colour, with the golden Christmas lights all around. For this image, I particularly like the converging tramlines running through the centre, with the pleasing image of a couple crossing the street with a buggy, right near the apex.