POTY 2013

POTY Round 1 'Portraits' winner
What can I say I won round one of Practical Photography and Digital Photo's Photographer of the Year 2013.
To be over the moon is an understatement, I am ecstatic, overwhelmed, overjoyed and anything else with an over at the beginning of the word.

It's such a great feeling to be the overall winner, I was starting to feel like I was the Jimmy White of the photographic world, always being pipped at the winning line, well not this time I have crossed that winning line and I am now relishing every moment of it.
I now have a 1 in 6 chance of becoming Photographer of the Year, after all the rounds have finished it goes to the readers vote.

The picture above is my winning picture as it appears in the magazines with comments from the judges.
A big thank you to Kingsley Singleton, Deputy Editor of Digital Photo for providing me with the JPEG of the magazine spread and all his supportive correspondence and help.

Also thank you to all the judges for their amazing comments and anyone else who is involved in the competition and magazines for doing a wonderful job.
Thank you to the sponsor of the competition 'Nikon' for the lovely prize of the Nikon D7100 with kit lens, wow what a prize.
You can buy Practical Photography and Digital Photo in the shops to see my winning picture in all it's glossy goodness, two absolutely fabulous magazines which I highly recommend.
Below is a picture of this months magazines the June 2013 editions with my picture in.

Practical Photography and Digital photo

Here is a link to PhotoAnswers the website of the two magazines
Check them out.

I have been entering POTY for a few years now and before my win I was actually shortlisted twice before, once in 2010 and once in 2011.
Both times I won £150 Jessops vouchers which helped me add to my photographic kit.

In 2010 I was shortlisted in the 'Still Life' round with my picture of a slice of lime.
Here is a link to the podcast/video for that round on the PhotoAnswers website.
POTY Video Link
Check out the video to see what the judges said about my picture which is below.

Slice of Lime
Flickr Link
With my £150 Jessops voucher for this round I treated myself to a Lowepro Vertex 200 photographic rucksack, link below
Lowerpro Vertex 200

The following year 2011 I was shortlisted again in the 'Moody Mono' round.
Below is my shortlisted picture called 'House on Haunted Hill' which is actually actually the main house in Windsor Safari park.
Flickr Link

House On Haunted Hill

Below is the Video/podcast for the 'Moody Mono' round

With my £150 Jessops voucher for this round I treated myself to two Jessops 360 AFD flashguns and a hotshoe spirit level.

A little background info on my winning shot.

Thank you to Andy Thomas the manager of  Cineworld Eastbourne for kindly letting me use one of his screens to get this shot, allowing me in with all my photographic gear.

I have had this shot in mind for quite a while and knew what I wanted so all I had to do was set up my equipment and fire away.
First of all I attached my Nikon D300s onto my Manfrotto 055xprob tripod with 496 RC2 ball head and cable release, I then positioned my camera in the centre to give me that symmetrical backdrop.
I prefocused then took a few test shots to get the exposure right.
Once the camera and settings where done I started to set up the lighting for my portrait.
To my camera right I set up my Nikon SB600 on a light stand with a softbox as my main light about a foot above my head pointing down at me.
To my camera left I had a silver reflector to bounce light back into the shadow side of my face.
Behind my head I had a Jessops 360 AFD flashgun held to the top of a seat using my Joby Gorillapod, this was pointing directly at the back of my head creating a rim light.
The idea behind the rim light was a bit of separation from the darkish background and also if I placed anything on the screen at the back in post processing it would look like the screen was actually lighting my hair. (Great for advertising).
To get everything right my wife came with me and sat in the seat whilst I changed settings on the lights until I was happy, we then changed over and my wife pressed the cable release whilst I pulled various faces and expressions.

In post processing I done the usual levels and curves adjustments with unsharp mask to give that extra detail and crispness.
I also cloned out the fire exit, fire exit signs and equipment so there wasn't any distracting elements keeping the focus on me.

All the hard work paid off and was well worth it, I enjoyed every minute of doing something so creative so don't forget all those ideas floating around in your mind just go out and give it a go.

As soon as I receive my Nikon D7100 I will post a review of my thoughts and how it compares to my Nikon D300s.

Thanks for looking and please leave a comment in the comment box at the bottom of the page.
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