APOY 2010 Round 8 Wildlife and domestic animals

APOY 2010 Round eight ? Walk on the Wild Side

We?re seven rounds into Amateur Photographer of the Year 2010, in association with Canon, and it?s shaping up to be one of our strongest competitions ever.

Our judges been blown away by your landscapes, portraits and macro images, so we fully anticipate the same reaction when you start sending in your pictures of animals. There are many different ways to photograph an animal, and on the following pages we have offered some tips and techniques to help you get started. It doesn?t matter how big, how small, how wild or how domesticated your animal is ? we want to see it!

At this point we would 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. Be sure to look for the results from Round 7, Wish You Were Here, in AP 25 September 2010.

For full details of how to enter via email please visit the APOY competition page where you will find all the rules for entry, terms and conditions and the disclaimers that must be copied and pasted into an email entry.

Round eight ? Walk on the Wild Side

Everyone loves animals. For one thing, they don?t jump queues, talk back or play their music too loud. And then there?s the cute factor, their elegance and their strange behaviours. It?s no wonder we?re so driven to photograph them. However, if you?re not prepared you?ll miss the opportunity for a stunning image and come away with an average shot in lieu.

Read their behaviour and you will be better able to anticipate the key moments. Apart from any expensive optic, knowing when deer come to drink, for instance, how birds take their turns to eat or when snakes are at their most lethargic will put you in prime position to take a picture of an animal showing you a bit of its personality ? which will always be a better picture. You might also think about how you can show them in the context of their environment.

Of course, captive and domesticated animals are interesting subjects, too. Our proximity to them allows for better access and more thorough observation, as well as the opportunity for closer views than you?d get of wild animals. Below we?ve offered some tips and information to help get you started.

Getting close

If your goal this month is to photograph a wild animal, then getting close enough to capture its character will be your biggest obstacle.

Using a long lens is one way to bridge the gap, but these can be quite costly.

Often overlooked is using your car as a hide. Go somewhere you know the animals will be, park your car and wait. Most species will act perfectly natural around vehicles.

Action

While animals are inherently interesting, just an animal on its own and in focus does not guarantee a dynamic picture.

Think of some of your favourite pictures of animals and wildlife.

Typically, they?re doing something or performing some animalistic action that gives the image an extra element of drama.

Zoos & pets

Few of us have the time and budget to go on safari and photograph real wild animals.

Luckily, there is a wealth of great zoos and safari parks in this country where you can get closer than you would in the wild to these majestic beasts.

The same principle applies to pets. Your cat?s proximity and familiarity with you makes it more willing to sit and pose.

1st prize

Our first-place winner will receive Canon?s 18MP EOS 550D with EF-S 18-135mm f/3-5.6 IS lens kit, worth £1,099.99. The EOS 550D offers an ISO range of up to 6400 ? expandable to 12,800 ? along with Full HD movie capability, an external microphone socket and a Quick Control screen. It also boasts a 63-zone dual-layer metering sensor that analyses focus, colour and luminance information. The all-purpose EF-S 18-135mm f/3-5.6 IS features a 4-stop Image Stabilizer and automatic panning and tripod detection. The winner will also get Canon?s EF 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 III USM, with a close focusing distance of 1.5m, worth £349.99. In total, the first-placed winner will receive prizes worth £1,449.98.

2nd prize

Our second-placed winner will receive Canon?s 14.1-million-pixel PowerShot SX210 IS compact camera, worth £329. With a 14x wideangle optical zoom and Canon optical image stabiliser, smart auto and face detection, plus full manual control and HD movies, the PowerShot SX210 IS combines power with style.

3rd prize

Our third-placed winner will receive Canon?s 12.1MP PowerShot A3100 IS, worth £159. This slim compact camera packs a big punch, boasting a 4x optical zoom with optical image stabiliser, motion-detection technology, smart auto and easy modes, super vivid and poster effect and capability for VGA movies.

In association with Canon