APOY 2011 - Photographing Nature up close

APOY 2011 Round Four – Macro in Nature

Your chance to enter the UK?s most prestigious competition for amateur photographers

Please visit the APOY11 home page to find all the rules for entry, terms and conditions, the APOY entry email address, and the disclaimers that must be copied and pasted into an email entry.

Entries must be received by 5pm on 27 May 2011

It?s round four of our Amateur Photographer of the Year competition and things are gathering pace nicely. For this month?s round, titled ?Macro in nature?, we?re looking for imaginative close-up shots of the natural world. While this could include conventional subjects such as insects and flowers, why not see if you can capture some more unusual images of nature close-up? The more innovative the subject, the better chance you have of standing out and impressing the judges!

As always, points will be awarded for interpretation of the theme, technical skill and creativity. The winner of round four will receive a Canon EOS 600D with EF-S 60mm f/2.8 USM macro lens. Below you?ll find a few ideas for approaching macro photography, plus a table outlining the themes for future rounds, the closing dates and the issues in which the results will be published. The closing date for this round is 27 May 2011. The top three prizewinners from this round will each receive a fantastic Canon camera and the top 30 highest scoring images will be published in AP dated 25 June 2011. The scores from the top 50 images will be published on our website and added to our leaderboard.


photo by Gemma Padley

For a chance to win the prestigious Amateur Photographer of the Year 2011 title and £5,000 worth of Canon equipment as the overall prize, send your entry to us now. The information explaining how to enter can be found on the APOY homepage. Remember to use your full name as the file name and don?t forget to paste the disclaimer into the body of your email if you are sending your entry to us electronically (also found on the APOY homepage). You?ll also need to include a couple of sentences explaining where and how you took your image, plus the camera and lens you used. Most importantly don?t forget to include a daytime telephone number and your full postal address so we can contact you in the event that you win.

The macro in nature theme offers endless scope for creativity. Photographing nature up close doesn?t have to involve fancy lighting set-ups or equipment. All you really need is a camera and lens, such as the Canon EOS 600D and 60mm macro lens we?re offering as the first prize for this round, although you may choose to experiment using something else. Macro in nature is a theme you can explore both inside and out. You might also want to dip into Heather Angel?s Photo insight column (see AP dated 14 May 2011) for inspiration.

This is your chance to embrace colour, shape, pattern and texture in nature. From a side-lit snail antenna to a delicate frame-filling butterfly wing or brightly lit cat?s eye, there are thousands of possibilities. Don?t forget that your images don?t have to be in colour ? think about what your chosen subjet might look like in black & white. Could stripping your image of colour give your subject a dramatic edge? This round is about celebrating the small details we often overlook and showing the tiniest aspects in nature, to reveal intricate ?hidden? textures and patterns. Choose your subject carefully and try to be original in your interpretation of the theme.

Colour and Light

Now the days are lighter for longer, we can all make the most of the extra daylight. Early morning or evening light is ideal for macro photography, as the soft diffuse light is perfect for bringing out colour and detail. Try positioning your camera to sidelight your subject or use backlighting in your composition. Think about how you can use colour creatively ? contrasting colours can add impact, or perhaps a subtler approach using softer hues would be best.


photo by Gemma Padley

Framing

How you frame your image will affect how the viewer sees the subject. Do you want to fill the frame with the subject so that it becomes an abstract image? Alternatively, you could try framing your shot so the subject is only partially in view. How do you want the viewer to ?read? your image? Try experimenting with perspective to make the subject loom large in the frame and think about how you can balance all elements of the scene in the composition for maximum impact. Remember, less is more, so keep your compositions simple and clean ? don?t overcomplicate things!


photo by Gemma Padley

Focusing

What you choose to focus on is very important in macro photography. Precise focusing is critical because you are so much closer to your subject; every last detail will be magnified, so there is no room for error. First, decide what part of the scene you want to draw the viewer?s attention to. Most likely you?ll want to focus your image manually for precision. Your choice of aperture is another important factor that needs consideration ? perhaps you?ll want to shoot wide open to disguise the background. Indeed, the background you choose will also have an affect on how your image looks.


photo by Richard Sibley

1st prize

The winner of round four will receive Canon?s latest DSLR, the 18-million-pixel EOS 600D, complete with EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens. This prize package is worth a total of £1,218.99. The EOS 600D offers Full HD 1080p video recording, up to 3.7fps continuous shooing and a 3in, 1.04-million-dot vari-angle LCD screen. An ISO range of 100-6400, expandable to 12,800, enables high-quality handheld shooting in low-light conditions without the need for flash. Meanwhile, the EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens is compact and lightweight with high corner-to-corner resolution. It has an effective focal length of approximately 96mm in 35mm equivalent and full-time manual focus override.

2nd prize

Our second-placed winner will receive Canon?s new 12.1-million-pixel IXUS 310 HS in silver, a Canon Pixma MG6150 Wi-Fi-enabled all-in-one printer, and a 20-sheet pack of Canon?s A4 PP-201 Photo Paper Plus Glossy II paper, worth a total of £507.99. With its HS System and f/2 lens, the IXUS 310 HS excels in low-light conditions, while the Pixma MG6150 takes approximately 20secs to produce a 10x15cm print on the Photo Paper Plus Glossy II.

3rd prize

Canon?s HS System cameras are ideal for shooting in low-light conditions, and our third-placed winner will receive Canon?s PowerShot SX220 HS in grey, worth £269. With a 14x optical zoom and Full HD 1080p movie mode, the 12.1-million-pixel PowerShot SX220 HS has a 3in LCD screen, whilst Smart Auto mode detects 32 shooting scenes so you can take great pictures in complete confidence.

Please visit the APOY11 home page to find all the rules for entry, terms and conditions, the APOY entry email address, and the disclaimers that must be copied and pasted into an email entry.

Entries must be received by 5pm on 27 May 2011

In association with Canon