APOY round 2 Rain and Bad Weather

Round Two – Have you ever seen the rain?

We?re one round into Amateur Photographer of the Year 2010, in association with Canon, and it?s clear there are some serious competitors out there. The volume and quality have been staggering.

In the middle of one of the coldest and snowiest winters in recent years, it seems only fitting that the subject of our second round should be bad weather. Below we have offered some tips and techniques to help you get started. With several big snow storms under our belts and plenty of rain this season, we?re confident you have had plenty of subject matter to work with and look forward to a diverse group of dynamic images.

At this point we would like to remind everyone that it is vitally important to include a daytime telephone number and address so we may contact you in the event that you are shortlisted or win the round. Please also remember to include details of your image in your email entries so we can judge your image accurately. Without a sentence explaining what your picture depicts, our judges have to guess ? and they may guess wrong! If you visit the link below you will find all the rules for entry, terms and conditions and the disclaimers that must be copied and pasted into an email entry.

Remember that the top 50 pictures each month all receive points on our league table, and the top 30 are printed in the magazine. Persistence pays off in APOY.

Be sure to look for the results from round one, Islands in the Stream, in AP 27 March.

In Britain, we may not give much credence to rain and bad weather because we see it so often. That?s why in this second round of APOY 2010 we are aiming for a clear water revival. Forty years ago John Fogerty wrote the song, Have you ever seen the rain??, but we would like to know if you have ever seen the rain from behind your viewfinder.

Of course, it doesn?t have to be rain that you photograph. You may have explored the recent snow storms with your camera, or perhaps you?ve captured some brilliant long-exposure motion blur during gale-force winds. If it can cause a train delay, we want you to photograph it. What we don?t want are warm, sunny days ? at least not as entries for this round. We?ll happily accept a March that?s warmer than the previous two months we?ve had!

Great pictures can be found anywhere in bad weather: raindrops pelting flowers; city scenes reflected in puddles; commuters huddled up in the cold. You can travel as far or as close to home as you wish to find a great picture to enter into this round. Below we?ve offered some tips and information to help get you started.

Snow

Too often our snowy scenes can be spoilt by dull grey skies. And because your camera?s lightmeter assumes the average scene is 18% grey, you also run the risk of a grey, sludgy landscape.

Finding interesting colours and shapes can help inject some contrast into your image. People are great compositional elements, as they wear lots of colours, and they can even add depth and scale to a composition.

Rain

A heavy rain shower can be a magical time for taking pictures, as puddles form and create reflections, droplets make splashes, and light glints off paved surfaces. Meanwhile, you have control over how dramatic or serene this will all appear.

Choose a fast shutter speed and you will freeze raindrops as they fall, creating a tense and dramatic mood. Use a long exposure and the drops will run together into strands, giving your picture a more peaceful tone.

Before the storm

The calm before the storm can be a dangerous time to work, particularly if you have no protective coverings for your gear, but the light in these moments is irresistible.

By underexposing in the low light, you can deepen the hue and saturation of the colours in the sky, and later you can use the Levels or Curves tool to rescue detail from the shadows in your foreground.

1st prize

Our first-placed winner will receive Canon?s brand-new 18MP EOS 550D with EF-S 18-135mm f/3-5.6 IS lens, worth £1,099.99. Ideal in low light, the EOS 550D offers an ISO range of up to 6400 ? expandable to 12800 ? for those environments where using flash is undesirable. Other features include full HD movie capability, an external microphone socket, a 3in LCD and a Quick Control screen.

The EOS 550D also boasts a new 63-zone dual-layer metering sensor that analyses focus, colour and luminance information. The winner will also receive Canon?s BG-E8 battery grip for the EOS 550D, worth £159.99. In total, the first-placed winner will receive prizes worth £1,259.98.

2nd prize

Our second-placed winner will receive Canon?s PowerShot G11 compact camera, worth £599. Designed for exceptional image quality and professional levels of flexibility, the PowerShot G11 combines a 10MP high-sensitivity sensor, a 5x wideangle (28mm) lens, a full manual mode and a 2.8in vari-angle LCD.

3rd prize

Our third-placed winner receives Canon?s 10MP PowerShot A495, worth £139. This easy-to-use digital compact boasts a 10MP sensor with 3.3x optical zoom and a Smart Auto Mode, which uses Scene Detection Technology to determine the shooting scene from subject brightness, contrast, distance and overall hue.

This round closes 26 March 2010

For the competition rules and how to enter by email please click here.

In association with Canon

For more information on Canon products please visit www.canon.co.uk