Once in a while, I will get asked if I submit my photos to any photo contests. I did when I was much younger and won a few awards. (The ribbons hang on a hook in my garage, but not because I’m not proud of them.)
But I don’t submit my photos very often anymore. Why?
Mostly, it is because most of my photos are family photos. That means:
- They weren’t taken to submit to any contests.
- They are full of compromise since:
- I was also participating in the event
- I was not interfering or interrupting to get the best picture
- I was packing light since were someplace as a family (left the ideal equipment at home)
- I was moving on since we were someplace as a family (they were not interested in siting with one flower for an hour to get one perfect shot)
- etc. etc.
I also know that what I am shooting often doesn’t compare with the wonderful places these contest entries were taken. I’m no doctor who has gone on safari with $20-30k worth of equipment. Only once in a while do we get to “go stand in front of more interesting things.”
Instead, I stand in front of the everyday beautiful things — often things that don’t come out as nicely as I would like. Unlike a friend of mine who lives on a lake (with gorgeous reflections), my neighborhood has trees and houses that don’t make for interesting sunset foregrounds, but I love looking and shooting them just the same. These may never win an award, but they make for great computer wallpaper.
And, I take the everyday opportunities that I can like shooting foxtails or sunsets while my kids have soccer practice.
Or a tiki torch while at a church youth gathering
And sometimes I get to experiment and play
(FYI I was not driving while taking the long exposure road shots. I live in the US so pass passengers set on the right.)
And for those of you waiting to get inspired:
- Don’t get caught up in that Western sentiment that you have to be at, do extraordinary things or be the first somewhere to find beauty.
- Instead, be inspired by very ancient Eastern philosophy that beauty is all around you. The flowers from your garden may not be award winning flowers, but they are just as beautiful.
Don’t always shoot for a contest or to get more likes in social media. Shoot for you and enjoy them like flowers from your garden.