Flowers and Plants

If you entered Round 4 via email, please re-send your entry to apoy@ipcmedia.com APOY Round 4, In Bloom

Due to a hard disk error on our APOY computer, we have lost and are unable

to recover the majority of email entries In Bloom, Round 4 of our

Amateur Photographer of the Year competition, which were due to be published

in AP 26 June. If you entered Round 4 via email, please re-send your entry

to apoy@ipcmedia.com by Friday, 23 July. We still have all postal entries,

so these do not need to be re-sent. Round 4 results will now run in our 21

August issue. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

If you have any further queries, please contact Jeff Meyer at

jeff_meyer@ipcmedia.com or 020 3148 4123.

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After three rounds, the Amateur Photographer of the Year 2010 competition, in association with Canon, is already one of our most successful contests. The number and quality of entries has been staggering, and our judges have not taken their task lightly.

Having just published the results of our rain and bad weather round (AP 24 April 2010), it now seems only fitting that we announce the start of our fourth round, In bloom. This, of course, is that magical time of year when all the drab browns of winter turn green again and colours burst from every corner of your garden. For this round we simply want you to capture the season?s many colours and shapes. There are numerous ways to go about it, below we?ve offered some tips and reminders to help get you started.

We would also like to remind everyone that it is vitally important to include a daytime telephone number and address so we can 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 our current round, Everyday People, which will be published in AP 29 May 2010.

As the winter doldrums recede beneath a blanket of bold colours, many of us find ourselves reaching a state of photographic nirvana. At no other time of year are so many interesting subjects sitting on our doorstep. So now, having been huddled indoors during what has been one of the coldest winters in years, we want you to venture out and explore the world that?s in bloom.

Spring takes many shapes and colours. You may want to study the form and rich saturated colour of a tulip in your garden. Or perhaps you want a wider shot of a magnolia tree in all its glory. A tree branch full of leaf buds offers the opportunity for leading lines, while a shot of workers arranging plant displays at your local garden centre might offer an interesting documentary take on the theme.

There are numerous possibilities for subjects and how your image could look. Experiment with your focal length. Don?t simply take a picture as you?ve always taken it or seen it done. Go close. Go wide. Try different vantage points. You?ll know the right composition when you see it. On the right we?ve offered some tips and reminders to help get you started.

Keep it clean

A clean background is the linchpin to any successful flower portrait. If your background is cluttered with clashing shapes and colours, it will distract the viewer?s attention from your subject.

Whether you?re shooting indoors or out in your garden, try putting a piece of coloured card behind your subject. In this example, note how the blue background complements the flower and helps it stand out in the composition

Speed

When moving in for a closer look at a flower, even the slightest breeze can cause your subject to move and ruin your perfect shot.

Because of this you will want to use as fast a shutter speed as possible, but hopefully at least 1/200sec.

If the light is poor, try increasing your ISO to 200 or 400.

Think outside the flowerbox

Capturing spring colours doesn?t have to involve a vase or pot and getting in close. Sometimes a wider angle can reveal a multitude of colours and put them in a context that helps tell a story, such as this shot of a small flower market.

Going in close on one of these flower displays would have made a nice image, but one that we have all seen before. Taking a wider view offers context and gives the image something different.

1st prize

Our first-placed winner will receive Canon?s EOS 50D and EF-S 60mm f/2.8 macro USM lens kit, worth £1,399.99. The EOS 50D features a 15.1-million-pixel APS-C CMOS sensor, Digic 4 processor and captures 6.3 frames per second with continuous bursts of up to 90 JPEGs. It also offers an ISO range of up to 12,800, making it perfect in low-light conditions. The EF-S 60mm f/2.8 macro USM is the first true macro lens in the EF-S series. It has an effective focal length of approximately 96mm in 35mm format, and offers high corner-to-corner resolution, contrast and image quality.

2nd prize

Our second-placed winner will receive Canon?s versatile PowerShot SX20 IS compact camera, worth £389. Boasting a 12.1MP CCD sensor and a 20x wideangle (28mm) zoom lens with IS, the SX20 also features HD movie capability, face and motion detection, and a hotshoe for external flash.

3rd prize

Our third-placed winner will receive Canon?s 12.1MP PowerShot A3100 IS, worth £159. This slim digital compact packs a big punch, and features a 4x optical zoom with Optical Image Stabilizer, a 2.7in LCD, Motion Detection Technology, Smart Auto and Easy Modes, Super Vivid & Poster Effect, face detection and capability for VGA movies.

This round closes 28 May 2010

For the competition rules and how to enter by email

In association with Canon

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