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APOY Results Round Nine: Street

jo wallace apoy round 9 street

November 18, 2021

Here are the top ten images uploaded to Photocrowd from Round Nine, Street, with comments by the AP team and our guest judge, Peter Dench.


We live in a time where cameras are often viewed with suspicion, and sadly this can be off-putting for the street photographer. Worrying about whether you’re going to be questioned about your intentions is enough to make anyone put their camera away. Fortunately, however, none of the entries to this year’s street photography round of APOY has been deterred in the quest to capture a great shot, and as always, we have a superb range of styles in our top ten.

From the almost surreal to the classic black & white candid, there is a whole range of sub-genres to explore – so if you didn’t enter this category this year, why not get out there with your camera now, and start building up a set of images to enter in 2022?


APOY Round Nine: Top Ten

1. Jo Wallace UK 100pts

Canon EOS 6D, 35mm, 1/640sec at f/13, ISO 1600

jo wallace apoy round 9 street

It’s important that every picture tells a story, but this is particularly the case when it comes to street photography. What we have in this outstanding winning image by Jo is not just one story, but several, and it raises more questions than answers.

Why is this man carrying a mirror and, more to the point, why is the other man reflected in it looking so bemused? And then we have what looks like an Elvis impersonator… It’s a superbly intriguing and dynamic image in which the composition has come together beautifully in a split second. We wouldn’t change a thing about it. Where are we? You may well ask!


2. Daniel Newton Dubai 90pts

Sony Alpha 7R Mark IV, 24-70mm at 46mm, 1/1000sec at f/10, ISO 100

Danoel Newton apoy round 9 street

The first thing that stands out about this image is the excellent sense of scale it conveys. The lone figure crossing the concourse has been captured in exactly the right spot and is dwarfed by the surrounding buildings of the Dubai International Finance Centre.

The black & white tones created in the conversion are gorgeous, with both detail and solid blacks in all the right places. The numerous triangles created by the composition and edit contribute towards making this the graphic, slick image that it is.


3. Richard Curzon UK 80pts

Apple iPhone 11 Pro, 52mm, 1/227sec at f/2, ISO 20

richard curzon apoy street

Who doesn’t enjoy a bit of humour in photography? Photographers such as Elliott Erwitt always spring to mind when it comes to capturing the quirkier aspects of life, and this image is definitely in that genre.

The similarity between the two men, with their short grey hair and ties hanging down, adds to the wittiness, and the viewer is left wondering what it is they’re checking (spoiler alert: it’s an oil leak in the vintage bus). Converting the image to black & white completes the classic look.


4. David Boam UK 70pts

Fujifilm X-T3, 18-55mm at 48mm, 1/125sec at f/4, ISO 6400

David Boam street

Shooting views through windows – particularly those covered in condensation – is notoriously tricky, as often it can result in an incoherent mess. David’s image, however, is a great success. The silhouettes of the two main figures, as well as that of the mysterious one on the left, are well defined and clear, which gives the eye something to focus on straight away.

Immediately, we want to know what they are talking about to make them appear so intent. The solitary glass between them provides a good punctuation point, as does the red neon sign top left. It could almost be a film still.


5. Nawfal Jirjees United Arab Emirates 60pts

Sony Alpha 7R Mark III, 400mm, ISO 100

Nawfal Jirjees

Some street photographs can appear almost like a choreographed dance, and this image by Nawfal is a case in point. That sense of choreography comes from having a great sense of timing and knowing the split second at which everything comes together.

Here, it’s the cyclist raising their arm, of course, but there’s more to it than that. It also works because the cyclist on the right is in just the perfect spot and is moving to the left, and similarly the two figures at the bottom walking towards each other and being separate from the upright pillars is also important. It has all come together extremely well.


6. Patrick Reilly Ireland 50pts

Fujifilm X100F, 23mm, 1/125sec at f/5.6, ISO 400

Patrick Reilly Street photo

Guest judge Peter Dench says: ‘This photograph by Patrick Reilly is jam-packed with information. My eye continuously drifts across the image from left to right in a circular motion, picking up on new and enjoyable details each time: the fashion, expressions, litter, architecture, gorgeously muted colour and a small horse – what’s not to like?

There are so many angles. With the pavement, incline and buildings, it shouldn’t work but somehow it comes together. It’s a group shot of individuals each lost in their respective moments. A quiet and patient picture that matures with time and tells a story without forcing it.

The natural feel to the image elevates it from the ordinary, and it’s a triumph of observation without technical gimmicks. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is let the content speak for itself. For a picture to make you think, wonder and smile without being sneering can be a fine line and it’s a line Patrick has taken in his stride.’


7. Andrew Robertson UK 45pts

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, 24-70mm at 70mm, 1/200sec at f/5, ISO 400

Andrew Robertson

This is one of those images that works well at first glance, but gets better and really stands up to scrutiny the longer you look at it. The initial response is to appreciate the graphic sensibilities of the composition. All those vertical lines have been extremely well managed and placed just right within the frame.

However, look more closely, and you’ll see the timing of the capture of the figure descending the stairs is spot on, as is the placement of the two tree reflections in the bottom two windows. All of this is only enhanced by the conversion to black & white.


8. Stephane Navailles France 40pts

Unknown

Stephane Navailles statue apoy street

A street photography category wouldn’t be complete without an image taken in the style of the greats of the genre – and this one definitely has echoes of Robert Doisneau or Willy Ronis. The young woman, concentrating on her writing, is apparently oblivious both to being photographed and her juxtaposition with the carved figure behind her.

The way in which the statue’s foot just connects with the woman’s backpack is a great touch that completes the flow of the composition. We would have liked just a little more space at the bottom of the frame, but other than that small detail, overall it’s a great shot.


9. Nawfal Jirjees United Arab Emirates 35pts

Sony Alpha 7R Mark III, 70mm, 1/200sec at f/3.5, ISO 400

Nawfal Jirjees street photo

This elderly man’s stooped posture is what makes this image interesting. While it is obviously suggestive of old age and perhaps discomfort, it also appears to be driving him across the frame from left to right. The blue and white backdrop provides a strong contrast with the man himself, and the way in which he appears to be walking into the burst of light coming from the top left completes a strongly composed frame.


10. Eric Falk USA 30pts

Nikon D5100, 35mm, 1/40sec at f/7.1, ISO 320

Eric Falk

As with our first-placed image, here we have a case of several different stories taking place within one frame. There is a great deal going
on, but at no point does the composition feel confused. This is down to the careful framing and symmetry created by the three archways.

To have moved even a step to the left or right would have thrown everything off balance. The two apparently completely separated photo shoots are anchored by the woman and her dog in the middle, who have become unwitting participants in the ‘choreography’ of the image. Converting the image to black & white also ensures that the complexity of the shot is never confusing.


Round Nine Young APOY Winner

Deepbrata Dutta India 100pts

Nikon D5600, 20mm, 1/1000sec at f/9, ISO 250

Deepbrata Dutta Young apoy round 9 street winner

There were a few examples of coinciding colours in the top ten of Young APOY this round, and this one was voted the best by the team of judges. It’s a deceptively simple composition, but one that works particularly well because the taxi is neatly placed over the zebra crossing.

Exposing so that the figure underneath the umbrella is in silhouette is spot on. Yellow, white and black – these three colours are all that the image needs, and it’s a worthy winner of this category.


Camera Club Competition

Christine Johnson, UK 10pts

Nikon D850, 70-200mm at 86mm, 1/320sec at f/2.8, ISO 400

Camera club apoy round nine street winner christine johnson

It’s been fascinating to watch our camera club category play out in this year’s APOY, and as we head towards the final round, it’s hard to see any group other than Launceston Camera Club winning. But you never know, these things can sometimes change at the last moment.

As with several others, Warrington Photographic Society, of which Christine Johnson is a member, has been there or thereabouts throughout the competition.

Christine’s entry to this round, which shows wit and excellent timing – as well as the value of being out and about with her camera in bad weather – has earned both her and her camera club ten points to add to their overall tallies.


The 2021 leaderboards

Apoy round nine leaderboard

As we head towards the final round of this year’s APOY, things couldn’t be tighter. With only 90 points separating the top ten photographers on the leaderboard, everything could change once the final round is decided. Who will be crowned winner? You’ll have to wait until the results of our Close-up round are published next month to find out!

In Young APOY, things are looking a little more done and dusted, although there’s still a little room for manoeuvre at the top of the leaderboard. As for the camera club category, Launceston Camera Club would appear to be nailed on for success. But there’s still one round to go and we can’t wait to see the overall outcome.


Winning kit from MPB

The gear our winners used can be found at MPB

Taking fourth place with his atmospheric night shot, David Boam has made the most of the capabilities of his Fuji XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4R LM OIS lens. This versatile zoom has a range equivalent to 27-84mm in full-frame terms, and a wide f/2.8 aperture throughout.

APOY Results Round Nine: Street 1

This, plus its four stops of image stabilisation, makes it the ideal tool for shooting in low light and other challenging situations. You can pick up this lens at MPB for between £264 and £309, depending on condition.

APOY Results Round Nine: Street 2

A pro-standard zoom, the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM is what Andrew Robertson used to shoot his seventh-placed photograph. With its constant f/2.8 aperture and superb edge-to-edge sharpness, it’s a lens that can deliver the goods in a wide range of shooting situations. It features a nine-bladed diaphragm, which gives gorgeous bokeh. This lens is available at MPB starting at £759 and rising to £1,319 for a model in like-new condition.

We always say you don’t need expensive kit to take great photographs, and Eric Falk’s tenth placed image is a case in point. It was shot on a Nikon D5100, a DX-format DSLR that features a 16.2MP sensor, an ISO range of 100 to 6400 and a large, swing-out, vari-angle monitor. It’s available from MPB for up to £184 for a model in like-new condition.

APOY Results Round Nine: Street 3

To browse the extensive range of stock at MPB, visit www.mpb.com


Further reading

APOY Round Eight Results: Travel

APOY Round Seven Results: Portraits

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APOY Round Eight Results: Travel

APOY Round Eight Results: Travel

October 21, 2021

Here are the top ten images uploaded to Photocrowd from APOY Round Eight, Travel, with comments by the AP team and our guest judge, Jordan Banks. Be sure to enter the current round on Close-Ups, closing 29th October 2021.


It’s safe to say, opportunities for travel have been thin on the ground for the vast majority of us over the past 18 months or more. However, we’re pleased to see that entries into this ever-popular category of APOY haven’t waned as a result.

As always, it encompasses a huge range of styles, from landscape to cityscape, reportage to portraiture – with originality and new perspectives characterising our top ten images.

What’s clear is there’s no such thing as a ‘typical’ travel shot. Anything goes, as long as it gives a sense of place and atmosphere, and transports the viewer to the scene.


APOY Round Eight Results: Travel 4

1. Ian Bramham UK 100pts

Nikon D800, 16-35mm at 30mm, 1/30sec at f/8, ISO 320

Ask someone to describe a typical travel shot and they might suggest something like a local market, lots of colour, and anything that looks different to our eyes. It’s unlikely they’d think of a black & white image taken in monsoon conditions. But that’s exactly why Ian’s photograph stood out – because it’s different from the average travel picture.

The teeming rain makes the image seem almost like a pencil drawing, but there’s enough detail in the skyline to give the viewer a sense of place. These elements alone wouldn’t be enough, though, so the inclusion of the dock and ferry on the left helps anchor the scene. Great composition, hugely atmospheric, and a change from the norm. What more could we ask for?


APOY Round Eight Results: Travel 5

2. Chris Brown UK 90pts

DJI Mavic 2 Pro, 28mm, 1/1250sec at f/7.1, ISO 100

Guest judge Jordan Banks says: ‘I really like the different take on travel photography from this image. The temptation as travel photographers is to look for the unusual or the exotic, but despite the seemingly normal context of this image, it screams travel to me.

The use of strong, bold colours combined with a very effective composition makes for a striking and powerful image that the photographer should be proud of. There isn’t much I would change with this image, but it would have been nice to have the subjects’ arms both fully visible on the lilo and in similar parallel positions.

Finally, I would have tried to avoid the blown-out highlights along the right curve of the watermelon.’


APOY Round Eight Results: Travel 6

3. Lynn Pascoe UK 80pts

Canon PowerShot G12, 6.1-30.5mm at 30.5mm, 1/800sec at f/8, ISO 100

Without the three stick-like figures on the distant horizon, this pleasing monochrome image would never have stood out. However, with them, it becomes a very effective depiction of the strenuousness of a mountain climb in this region (the Monte Rosa, on the border between Italy and Switzerland).

Our eye goes straight to them, before travelling around the image to take in the curves and crevices of the snow, which are picked out so beautifully by the light. A lovely study of scale, texture and tone.


APOY Round Eight Results: Travel 7

4. Nigel Watson UK 70pts

Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 24-105mm, 1/250sec at f/8; ISO 100

Yet another image that stood out for its imaginative take. Shot in Port Lockroy, on a dream trip around Antarctica, it would have been easy for Nigel to overlook the potential here, instead heading outdoors and photographing the penguins in a more conventional way.

So, full marks to him for seeing how the window frame could help anchor the scene, as well as including the Union flag, which seems incongruous in such an environment. Even the condensation around the window frames helps paint a picture of cold, damp and difficult surroundings. A great shot that works on a number of different levels.


APOY Round Eight Results: Travel 8

5. Graeme Youngson UK 60pts

Canon EOS 40D, 10-22mm at 22mm, 1/4000sec at f/5, ISO 400

Being able to pick out moments that are quirky or incongruous to our own eyes (although they may be entirely ordinary to others) is important in all photography, but particularly so in travel. But images that give an insight into people’s everyday lives need to be carefully considered, and not demeaning or intrusive.

Graeme has done an excellent job of capturing an unusual moment while remaining respectful at the same time. His timing is spot on, as the composition would have lost its balance if the woman had been further into the frame.

The positioning of the shuttered windows top left and centre, and the pillar on the right, with its tatty poster, give a structure to the shot that makes our eye go straight to the woman and her headwear choices. As Graeme says, the cabbages are a useful way of giving some protection from the sun!


APOY Round Eight Results: Travel 9

6. Nguyen Tan Tuan Vietnam 50pts

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, 70-200mm at 102mm, 1/15sec at f/8, ISO 100

We had to do some digging around to find out more about this spectacular scene. It’s known as the K50 waterfall and is found in the Kon Chu Rang Nature Reserve in Vietnam. It’s very difficult to reach, and it would have been easy for Nguyen to run around like a kid in a sweet shop once he got there.

However, he has demonstrated impressive self-control by setting up this excellent composition. The focal length compresses the two figures against the impressive backdrop of the falls, and the soft light brings detail to every part of the scene. Nicely done.


APOY Round Eight Results: Travel 10

7. Dondi Joseph Philippines 45pts

Fujifilm X-Pro2, 55-200mm at 86mm, 1/250sec at f/10, ISO 500

It’s the silhouettes of the dromedaries that make this image the success that it is. Waiting until the sun is low in the sky has meant they are beautifully rim lit, making them really stand out of the almost three-dimensional scene.

The same low light has also brought the desert dunes into sharp relief, showing how they complement the shape of the creatures in the foreground. Most photographers’ instincts would have been to retain the colour in this shot, but we love the way it has been reduced to such a dense black and bright white, with only a few paler tones in between.


APOY Round Eight Results: Travel 11

8. Charles Ashton UK 40pts

Nikon D5, 24-70mm at 46mm, 1/400sec at f/4, ISO 5600

We love the story that is playing out in this behind-the-scenes shot of a sumo wrestling training session in Tokyo. It appears that the novice on the left is being admonished by the more senior wrestler on the right.

The two men in the middle simply look relieved that they aren’t the ones on the receiving end of the ire. It’s a very well-captured shot that gives an insight into a world most of us won’t be party to. The towels, the bandages and the men’s expressions speak volumes about the intensity of their existence. Exhausting!


APOY Round Eight Results: Travel 12

9. Antoine Weis Switzerland 35pts

Canon EOS 6D, 24-105mm at 28mm, 1/500sec at f/11, ISO 1000

It’s actually quite hard to believe this is a recent image, so powerful is the Eastern European iconography in the scene. Antoine shot the image while he was in Minsk, the capital city of Belarus, on a scientific conference. To make the effort to create such a well-visualised shot while on limited time deserves a great deal of praise.

Had he been impatient, and not waited until only the lone uniformed individual was in the frame, it’s highly likely the picture wouldn’t have made the top ten. Other photographers might have placed the statue of Lenin in the centre of the frame, but composing with it to the right gives the man space to be walking out of the frame. Striking and timeless.


APOY Round Eight Results: Travel 13

10. Christoph Schaarschmidt Germany 30pts

Canon EOS 70D, 11-16mm at 16mm, 5sec at f/13, ISO 100

There must be hundreds of thousands of images of Uluru in circulation, but how many were shot in conditions such as this, and capture such a breathtaking moment? What we like is the careful thought that has gone into this image, despite what must have been a fast-moving and potentially high-risk situation.

Placing the iconic mountain to the right of the frame has meant Christoph could include part of the blue sky on the right, which gives a pleasingly soft contrast to the warmth of the mountain and its foreground.


Round eight winner, Young APOY

APOY Round Eight Results: Travel 14

Muhammad Hossain Bangladesh 100pts

Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 1/100sec at f/14, ISO 320

It would be easy to assume this was a drone shot, but in fact Muhammad was simply standing on a bridge and looking down at these fishermen when he shot it. His timing is excellent, having captured the net at its fullest as the fisherman casts it into the river.

He’s also managed to place it well, so it doesn’t overlap any of the vegetation. Photographing people at work is always a great way of capturing the essence of a place, and Muhammad has done a good job with this picture.


Camera Club Competition

APOY Round Eight Results: Travel 15

Paul Nash, UK 10pts

Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 70-300mm at 74mm, 1/640sec at f/10, ISO 250

As regular entrants to APOY will know, this year you can accumulate points for your camera club by selecting it from the dropdown menu when you upload your images to Photocrowd. Whatever points your image is awarded, your camera club is awarded, too.

Truro Camera Club, of which Paul Nash (above) is a member, have had a particularly succcessful round this month. Lynn Pascoe received 80 points for her third-placed image, while Paul and fellow member Susanna Hoare received 10 points each for their shortlisted images.

This 100-point total has boosted Truro Camera Club into second place, demonstrating that just one or two successful images can make a big difference to the overall leaderboard. Keep up the good work!


The 2021 leaderboards

APOY Round Eight Results: Travel 16

Last month, Ian Bramham wasn’t even in the top ten. This month, he has leapfrogged everyone else into the lead. However, with only 70 points separating first from tenth place, there is still everything to play for as we head towards the final two rounds of this year’s APOY.

there’s more of a range within the scores of Young APOY, with Muhammad Hossain holding onto his lead with another overall winning image. He can still be caught, however. Launceston Camera Club remain in the lead, but nothing’s certain in this competition, and a good couple of rounds for other clubs could still see them knocked off the top spot.


Winning kit from MPB

The gear our winners used can be found at MPB

APOY Round Eight Results: Travel 17

Lynn Pascoe shot her third-placed image using the high-end compact Canon PowerShot G12, demonstrating very effectively that you don’t need the most sophisticated gear to capture a successful shot.

This camera, which was launched in 2011, features a 10MP sensor, a versatile zoom that’s equivalent to 28-140mm in full-frame terms, and four-stop image stabilisation. It’s a great piece of kit for travelling, and is available from a mere £59 at MPB.

In seventh place, Dondi Joseph headed to the Sahara Desert with his Fujifilm X-Pro2. This retro-style, interchangeable-lens mirrorless camera has a hybrid viewfinder system, 91 phase-detection points and a 24.3MP sensor.

APOY Round Eight Results: Travel 18

It also features 256-zone metering and is capable of shooting at 8fps. You can pick up one of these versatile camera bodies from MPB for between £744 and £859, depending on condition.

A pro-spec DSLR that is designed for action photography in particular, the Nikon D5 is what Charles Ashton used for his striking black & white shot of sumo wrestlers during a training session in Tokyo.

APOY Round Eight Results: Travel 19

This full-frame model features a 20.8MP sensor, 153-point AF sensor and 12fps continuous shooting, as well as being tough and rugged – ideal for outdoor use. A model in good condition will cost you £2,699 at MPB.

To browse the extensive range of stock at MPB, visit www.mpb.com


Further reading

APOY round six results: Movement

APOY Round Seven Results: Portraits

APOY Round 10 is open: Close-ups

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APOY Round 10 is open: Close-ups

APOY Round 10 is open: Close-ups

October 5, 2021

It is time to enter the latest round of our Amateur Photographer of the Year competition (APOY), the biggest and best of its kind…

We are now into round 10 of APOY, with the theme of Close-ups.

With APOY’s varied categories, there should be a round for you, no matter what you like to shoot. You might choose to enter just one category or enter them all with the aim of taking home the main prize and, of course, the title of Amateur Photographer of the Year 2021.

The competition is open to all amateur photographers* and we have again teamed up with Photocrowd, who will be hosting the competition on a simple and intuitive platform. This year we have two new categories. Under-21s can enter the Young Amateur Photographer of the Year, with each category winner receiving a £250 voucher for MPB, and the overall winner being awarded a £500 voucher.

Finally, there’s a camera club category, where you can accumulate points for your society. The most successful club will receive a voucher for £500.

*For the purposes of this competition, an amateur photographer is defined as someone who earns 10% or less of their income from photography or photographic services.


APOY Round 10 is open: Close-ups 20

Timing, precision and immaculate focusing are all crucial for a successful close-up image

Time for your Close-ups!

Getting up close and personal to your subject means you can create scenes that might otherwise be missed. A huge range of subjects can be considered for close-up photography, so you can really push your creative limits here. Plants and natural subjects will be the first port of call for many, but don’t be afraid to explore other themes that also work well – such as jewellery, shells, feathers, food and more. In short, anything you can scrutinise at close quarters is what we want to see.


APOY Round 10 is open: Close-ups 21

Your guest judge
Tracy Calder has more than 20 years of experience in the photo magazine industry, and is a former editor of Outdoor Photography. In 2018 she co-founded Close-up Photographer of the Year – an international competition celebrating close-up, macro and micro photography. She has written numerous photography books, and her work has appeared in more than 20 consumer magazines, as well as on the walls of The Photographers’ Gallery and The National Portrait Gallery in London. To find out more visit Instagram: @cupoty, @tracy_calder_photo.


APOY Round 10 is open: Close-ups 22

There are £11,000 (GBP) worth of vouchers to win in APOY 2021, supplied by sponsors, MPB, plus the title of Amateur Photographer of the Year 2021.

The winner of each round of APOY receives a £500 voucher to spend on anything at MPB. From top-of-the-range digital medium-format camera bodies, to entry-level DSLRs, telephoto zooms and wideangle lenses, MPB is a one-stop shop for used kit. And, of course, you can use your voucher towards your dream piece of kit, if it happens to cost more than £500.


APOY Round 10 is open: Close-ups 23

Great gear for close-ups
MPB has a range of macro lenses to suit all budgets. Sigma has a great reputation as a third-party lens manufacturer, and this Canon-fit 105mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro is well worth considering. Purists consider 105mm to be the perfect macro focal length, and this one is a true 1:1 lens. It’s extremely sharp, features a dual-focus system, and has a minimum focusing distance of 31.3cm.APOY Round 10 is open: Close-ups 24

This lens goes for £239 at MPB, and can also be found in Nikon fit. For those who prefer a manufacturer’s own-brand lenses, there’s the Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Macro.

APOY Round 10 is open: Close-ups 25

This lightweight lens comes in at only 280g, has a construction of nine elements in eight groups, and features a closest-focusing distance of 23cm. Like all macro lenses, it can also be used as a standard lens, making it a versatile choice. Pick one up at MPB for between £194 and £224.APOY Round 10 is open: Close-ups 26The Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS has superb resolution and gives lovely, soft bokeh. Its 90mm focal length, giving 1:1 magnification, is wonderfully versatile, while its minimum focusing distance is 28cm. It also features built-in image stabilisation.

This lens is available at MPB for £719 to £754. There are second- and third-placed prizes of £100 and £50 vouchers respectively, while the winner of the Youth category wins a £250 voucher. Check out www.mpb.com to take your pick from thousands of items.


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APOY Round Seven Results: Portraits

APOY Round Seven Results: Portraits

Here are the top ten images uploaded to Photocrowd from Round Seven, Portraits, with comments by the AP team and our guest judge, Natasha J Bella. Be sure to enter the current round on Street, closing 1st October 2021.


Portraiture can be one of the trickiest genres to master, but its vast range makes it hugely satisfying to attempt. The possibilities for a portrait are almost endless. If you tend towards landscape photography, you can shoot an environmental portrait – either in a documentary style or something more creative and abstract.

If you are more technically minded, you might find yourself drawn towards shooting flash in a studio environment. Our top ten entries span the entire range of portraiture, from naturalistic set-ups to stylised, studio-based compositions. While the overall winning image pushes the definition of portrait to its limit!


APOY Round Seven Results: Portraits 27

1 Nawfal Jirjees United Arab Emirates 100pts

Sony A7R III, 400mm f/2.8, 1/1600sec at f/4, ISO 100

As can sometimes be the case with winning images, there was division among the judges about this striking and humorous shot by Nawfal. Some felt it wasn’t a portrait at all, while others instantly knew it was their personal favourite and pushed the boundaries of what it means to create a portrait. Both timing and composition are spot on here.

The placement of the camel’s head couldn’t have been improved, while the inclusion of the handler’s hands has been carefully managed. The light is glorious and the completely clean, soft background means our attention goes squarely to the camel and the man behind it.

As for the debate about whether or not it’s a portrait? For us, it’s a witty take on the man-at-work theme, and speaks volumes about the relationship between the two subjects.


APOY Round Seven Results: Portraits 28

2 Ian Smith UK 90pts

Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 24-105mm at 28mm, 1/2sec at f/4, ISO 200

Guest judge Natasha J Bella says: ‘A heartwarming and sincere portrait by Ian that draws you in. I got a feel for Eric’s comfort, contentedly sitting in his throne with his immediate needs within arm’s reach, in a cosy room with years of memorabilia that represent his life and many stories.

Although it is quite a dark image, the lighting from the floor lamp illuminates Eric enough to make him the focal point and minimises the distraction from everything else in the room. It was a good decision to use additional light to lift his right-hand side.

‘I really like the subtle blue lighting coming from the kitchen doorway. I initially thought it was from a TV, which gives context to what Eric is looking towards, especially since there is a TV guide nearby.

‘You might have chosen to crop in tighter, especially from the bottom of the image, but I really like it as it is. The artistically chosen angle and composition gives great depth to this warm and homely photo, so full of character.’


APOY Round Seven Results: Portraits 29

3 Christine Johnson UK 80pts

Nikon D850, 24-70mm, 1/250sec at f/8, ISO 200

Here, we have another take on the relationship between man and beast, with a very different treatment to that of the first-placed image. Christine has gone for the studio-based approach, creating a highly skilled composite of her friend Shawn and his bearded dragon, in which she has blended two images.

The lighting is excellent, as is the placement of the bearded dragon in the frame. Tonally, the whole thing is very pleasing, too, with the backdrop complementing the natural tones of the bearded dragon’s scales. The alteration of Shawn’s eye to match that of his pet is a delightful and clever finishing touch.


APOY Round Seven Results: Portraits 30

4 Alistair Cox UK 70pts

Fujifilm X-H1, 56mm, 1/160sec at f/6.4, ISO 100

With portraiture, it can be all too tempting to go over the top with pose, lighting, composition or all three – and more – ending up with a confusing mess. This gorgeously classic portrait by Alistair demonstrates the old adage that less is more.

The side-on pose of his model, looking directly at the camera over her shoulder, needs to be no more complex than it is. The lighting is sublime, with the soft highlights and subtle shadows all falling in exactly the right place.

Everything about it is lovely – right down to the subtlety of her hair, makeup and choice of top, which keep things timeless without being dated.


APOY Round Seven Results: Portraits 31
5 David Lain UK 60pts

Nikon D810, 135mm, 1/400sec at f/3.5, ISO 640

Taking pictures of young children is one of life’s greatest challenges – it’s definitely not for the faint-hearted. But when it works, it works beautifully, as this shot by David demonstrates.

Shooting the two girls in profile ensures their attention is on each other and not the photographer, which keeps it nicely natural – despite the fact they would obviously have been directed by David.

Converting to black & white means the girls’ skin tones are lovely and soft, and even the negative space created by the plain black backdrop is well considered.


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6 Matthew Vivian UK 50pts

Canon EOS R5, 24-70mm at 50mm, 1/125sec at f/8, ISO 125

Some portraits are spontaneous, capturing a moment, while others are created with a very clear concept in mind. This is a case of the latter. It’s different from anything else we saw in the entries to this round, and has been well thought out.

The blue paint is almost tribal in its application, while the angle of view, shooting just below eye level, gives her a sense of strength and power. That she is looking out of frame, perhaps at an incoming enemy, adds another level of intrigue. A nicely conceived idea.


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7 Malcolm Clark UK 45pts

Canon EOS R5, 24-105mm at 42mm, 1/160sec at f/4.5, ISO 100

A quirky and characterful portrait that instantly makes the viewer want to know more about the subjects. It deserves praise for being one of only two images in the top ten that features more than one person, making it much more of a challenge to shoot, but Malcolm has succeeded in creating a pleasing connection between the two.

Their expressions make them appear as if they are sharing a joke – something that is emphasised by the fact that only the man is looking at the camera. The connection is created in a physical sense, too, with the holding of the tie.


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8 Mike Martin UK 40pts

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 40-150mm, 1/200sec at f/6.3, ISO 200

There’s something quite mesmerising about this portrait; it’s one of those images that encourages the viewer to return to it many times, each time appreciating something new.

The model’s pose has been well directed, designed to show off the impressive pieces of jewellery but without allowing them to dominate. The lighting is superb, and has allowed the photographer to capture a fabulous range of tones, while keeping the overall effect low-key. There’s a lovely softness to the model’s expression that suits the overall atmosphere of this very pleasing shot.


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9 Dominic Beaven UK 35pts

Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 24-105mm at 32mm, 1/200sec at f/9, ISO 100

Dominic created this magical and ethereal underwater shot during a remote shoot that took place in lockdown. The set-up was in a studio, but the camera and lights were controlled via Dominic’s laptop at home.

It’s an impressive achievement under what must have been very strange circumstances. He has captured the sense of the model falling backwards through space – the viewer can almost feel the silence. The light streaming in from the top is sublime, and completes the atmosphere.


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10 Steve Jackson UK 30pts

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III, 70-200mm at 120mm, 1/160sec at f/5.6, ISO 200

Working with animals can be unpredictable and frustrating, but it’s always worth persevering, as this lovely moment, captured by Steve, demonstrates.

It would have been easy to have the woman standing next to her horse, but there’s something about the interaction with her crouching down that makes it more pleasing, both in terms of the connection between them and compositionally, too.

There’s no way this image would have worked as well in colour. The black & white conversion helps us appreciate the horse’s dappled coat, and there’s no extraneous colour to distract the viewer. Lovely work.


Round seven winner, Young APOY

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Victoria Sheldon, UK 100pts

Canon EOS 2000D, 18-55mm at 28mm, 1/100sec at f/4.5, ISO 400

Victoria’s winning image is a masterclass in how to create balance in a photograph. Most noticeably, there’s the echo between the woman’s purple clothing and the solitary orchid on the nest of tables next to her.

Then there’s the repetition of the many square shapes in the frame. And then we have the triangle, with our eye going from the woman’s face, to the orchid, to the painting on the wall, before resting back with the grey-haired woman.

The natural light is subtle and soft, and all the judges found themselves wanting to know more about the subject’s story. A worthy winner indeed.


Camera club competition

APOY Round Seven Results: Portraits 38

John Davey, UK 10pts

Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 50mm, 1/160sec at f/8, ISO 100

As regular entrants to APOY will know, this year you can accumulate points for your camera club by selecting it from the dropdown menu when you upload your images to Photocrowd. Whatever points your image is awarded, your camera club is awarded, too.

Launceston Camera Club have maintained their lead, jumping from 200 points last round to an impressive 330 points this round. It’s due in part to Ian Smith’s second-placed image, but also to those photographers who have scored ten points for their shortlisted images, of which John Davey is one, with his nicely executed portrait.

He has directed the model well, and given the image a boudoir feel without it being tacky – which is sometimes an easy line to cross. The processing is beautiful, making the overall image ageless in its appearance.


The 2021 leaderboards

APOY Round Seven Results: Portraits 39

There’s been another shift at the top of the leaderboard this round, with Mike Martin jumping from equal third to first place, thanks to the 40 points he was awarded for his eighth-placed image.

However, with only 60 points separating the first and tenth-placed photographers, it could all still change. Lucy Monckton and Muhammad Hossain are fighting it out for the top spot in Young APOY, with both being 140 points ahead of third-placed Hugo Begg.

Launceston Camera Club’s approach of encouraging as many members as possible to enter APOY this year is paying dividends, and they are currently 140 points ahead of their nearest rivals.

To see more images from APOY Round 7 and Young APOY, visit www.amateurphotographer.com/APOY2021


Winning kit from MPB

APOY Round Seven Results: Portraits 40

The gear our winners used can be found at MPB

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Taking first place, Nawfal Jirjees shot his comical image using a Sony A7R Mark III. Described by
AP as a ‘42.4MP, 10fps, mirrorless powerhouse’, this full-frame camera is a versatile all-rounder. In-body image stabilisation allows handheld shooting at shutter speeds 5.5 stops slower than would otherwise be possible, while the 3.69-million-dot OLED viewfinder gives superb detail.

You can pick up one of these highly customisable cameras at MPB from between £1,259 and £1,889.

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A good standard zoom lens is an essential part of any photographer’s armoury, and second-placed Ian Smith used a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM for his atmospheric shot of his friend Eric. It’s robust, and four stops of image stabilisation mean it can be handheld in low light. And, of course, it maintains its f/4 aperture throughout. Pick one up in excellent condition at MPB for £444.

APOY Round Seven Results: Portraits 43

Christine Johnson placed third for her humorous portrait, for which she used a Nikon D850. This all-round camera features a sensor that resolves exceptionally fine detail, super-fast autofocus and silent shooting in live view. This DSLR is available at MPB for £2,089 in excellent condition.


Further reading

APOY round six results: Movement

APOY round five results: architecture

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APOY round nine is open: Street

APOY round nine is open: Street

It is time to enter the latest round of our Amateur Photographer of the Year competition (APOY), the biggest and best of its kind… the theme is Street


We are now into round nine of APOY, with the theme of Street.

With APOY’s varied categories, there should be a round for you, no matter what you like to shoot. You might choose to enter just one category or enter them all with the aim of taking home the main prize and, of course, the title of Amateur Photographer of the Year 2021.

The competition is open to all amateur photographers* and we have again teamed up with Photocrowd, who will be hosting the competition on a simple and intuitive platform. This year we have two new categories. Under-21s can enter the Young Amateur Photographer of the Year, with each category winner receiving a £250 voucher for MPB, and the overall winner being awarded a £500 voucher.

Finally, there’s a camera club category, where you can accumulate points for your society. The most successful club will receive a voucher for £500.

*For the purposes of this competition, an amateur photographer is defined as someone who earns 10% or less of their income from photography or photographic services.


Send us your best street shots

Street photography is accessible to most, but it’s challenging to capture successfully. Paying attention to the everyday movements of folk and spotting the extraordinary within the mundane is one thing, but capturing a scene unfold in front of you at the perfect moment is another. It’s this forward thinking that is key to great photography. For inspiration, look at the likes of Cartier-Bresson and Vivian Maier or contemporary shooters such as Niall McDiarmid and Nick Turpin.

APOY round nine is open: Street 44

As well as capturing candid moments, look for dramatic light, which gives a structure to the image. Picture credit Graeme Youngson


APOY round nine is open: Street 45

Your guest judge

For this round, your guest judge is Peter Dench, a UK-based photographer, writer, presenter, educator and curator. His accolades include a World Press Photo award for his reportage, Drinking of England. Solo books include Alcohol & England and The British Abroad. He has also been commissioned to write by The New Yorker, Telegraph Magazine and a number of photography journals.


APOY round nine is open: Street 46


APOY round nine is open: Street 47

What you win

Take your pick from MPB’s huge catalogue of used gear

The winner of each round of APOY receives a £500 voucher to spend on anything at MPB. From top-end digital medium format cameras to entry-level DSLRs, telephoto zooms and wideangle lenses, MPB is a one-stop shop for used kit. And of course, you can use your voucher towards your dream piece of kit, if it happens to cost more than £500.

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The Fujifilm X-T1 was the first of the iconic models in this popular range, with 16.3MP, a 200-6400 ISO range and 11 film-simulation modes. It’s ideal for street photography, and is available at MPB for £299 in excellent condition. Any street photographer will tell you a single prime lens is better than any zoom, so why not combine the X-T1 with the Fujifilm XF 35mm f/2 R WR? It’s equivalent to 53mm in full frame, often seen as the classic focal length for candids.

APOY round nine is open: Street 49

Find it at MPB for between £299 and £349. There are second- and third-placed prizes of £100 and £50 vouchers respectively, while the winner of the Youth category wins a £250 voucher. Check out www.mpb.com to take your pick from thousands of items.


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APOY round six results: Movement

APOY round six results: Movement

Here are the top ten images uploaded to Photocrowd from Round Six, Movement, with comments by the AP team and our guest judge, Ben Hall. Be sure to enter the current round on Travel, which is open now.


The most exciting thing about a theme such as movement is the scope it gives for creativity and shooting styles. A split-second capture of a fast-moving animal and a long exposure of a seascape both represent movement, but in completely different ways. Then there are the worlds of sports photography and candids, too.

Panning, fill-in flash and intentional camera movement are all techniques that can be deployed to effectively capture a sense of motion and action. What links our top 10 images from this round is the simplicity of their compositions. Movement is definitely a theme where less is more, as too much detail can result in confusion.


APOY round six results: Movement 50

1 Nguyen Tan Tuan, Vietnam, 100pts

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, 16-35mm at 16mm, 1/6sec at f/16 ,ISO 200

Guest judge Ben Hall says: ‘This is a beautiful image which symbolises the competition theme of movement perfectly. The chosen shutter speed has rendered motion in the people and falling salt, but not to the extent that they are unrecognisable. This portrayed motion also lends the image an air of mystery.

A wide focal length has captured the scene in its entirety, providing context and showing the relationship between the people and the landscape. The patterns in the foreground lead the viewer’s eye through the frame to the people, and then beyond to the dazzling sky. The sun itself provides a key part of the composition, appearing close to the right hand third and bursting over the horizon with a well-executed sunburst effect. Overall, a stunning image and a worthy winner.’


APOY round six results: Movement 51

2 Terry Scales, UK, 90pts

Fujifilm X-E2, 50-230mm at 230mm, 1/50sec at f/22, ISO 200

This is an image that draws the viewer deep into the frame, leaving us feeling as if we are surrounded by the flying sanderlings. There’s no focal point to the composition, but it doesn’t need one, as much of the aim of a shot such as this is to replicate the sense of chaos and confusion there must have been at the time.

Restricting the colour palette to only black, white and green keeps things coherent, and there is just enough sharpness within the movement to know exactly what
it is we are looking at.


APOY round six results: Movement 52

3 Angela Lambourn, UK, 80pts

Nikon D750, 50mm, 1sec at f/11, ISO 2500

There is a huge confidence to this image that really makes it stand out. Even to see the potential for such a shot in the first place is to be applauded, because many of us would simply walk past it. Angela created this abstract by panning her camera during a long shutter speed, thus capturing the lights along the shore of this fjord.

The deep, velvety tones of blue merging into green are simply gorgeous, leaving the viewer in no doubt that they are looking at a seascape. The curve of the lights does a great job of dividing the scene into two, without being too harsh. We’d like to see this one printed to at least a metre wide and hanging on a wall.


APOY round six results: Movement 53

4 Bogdan Zarkowski, UK, 70pts

Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 24-105mm at 24mm, 1/4sec at f/22, ISO 50

A beautiful and hugely imaginative composite from Bogdan. It’s the kind of image where it’s possible to observe something new each time you come back to it. The viewer feels as if they are seeing deserts, seascapes and sunsets among the abstract lines and tones, when in fact (stop reading if you don’t want a spoiler) what we are looking at is nothing more exotic than passing lorries.

For consistency, Bogdan used the same focal length and shutter speed for each image. If this sequence doesn’t demonstrate that there is beauty in everything, then nothing will.


APOY round six results: Movement 54

5 Mike Martin, UK, 60pts

Olympus E-M1 Mark II, 40-150mm at 43mm,1/250sec at f/5.6, ISO 200

We see this technique – which entails capturing puffs of flour at just the right moment – quite often in APOY, but this is a particularly good example. The model’s pose is very pleasing, particularly the fact that he’s poised on his toes. The lighting is excellent, too, with beautifully balanced light and shade areas, and capturing the translucency of the flour very well.


APOY round six results: Movement 55

6 Daniel Newton, Dubai, 50pts

Sony A7R IV, 24-70mm at 70mm, 1/4sec at f/14, ISO 50

You can almost hear the thrum of these wild Arabian oryx’s hooves as they bustle past, on their way to who knows where. Shooting at 1/4sec and panning as they trot has captured just the right level of movement.

We can imagine the speed at which their legs are moving, but there’s just enough sharp detail to balance out the scene. The processing does a good job of highlighting the harsh desert conditions in which these creatures live.


APOY round six results: Movement 56

7 Ron Tear, UK, 45pts

Canon EOS 5D, 75-300mm at 185mm, 1/640sec at f/9, ISO 400

Here we have two moving elements coming together in all their natural drama. First, the calving glacier creates a huge impact, and then it causes the flock of seabirds take flight in response. The moment has been captured very well.

The black & white conversion brings out the textures of the glacier extremely well, although there was some discussion between the judges, with one or two saying they would have liked to see it in colour. Either way, it’s an atmospheric scene that captures the brutality of nature effectively.


APOY round six results: Movement 57

8 Edwin Godinho, UK, 40pts

Canon EOS R5, 400mm +1.4x converter, 1/8000sec at f/4, ISO 640

This is a superb action shot of a moorhen racing across the water, apparently defying gravity. Everything about this image has come together beautifully, from the splashes the bird is leaving in its wake, to the separation between the outstretched wing and the bird’s head, to the claws being just clear of the water.

It’s all topped off by the backlighting and the gorgeous clean background, which means our attention goes straight to where it’s supposed to.


APOY round six results: Movement 58

9 Alexa Popovich, Russia, 35pts

Canon EOS 80D, 10-18mm at 10mm,1/250sec at f/6.3, ISO 100

This is another great example of a shot that captures movement, but without a hint of blur to be seen. The effort on the young boy’s face is what jumps out of the frame, as does his flying hair and dynamic pose.

Shooting from a low angle has heightened the sense of energy, and the wideangle focal length was a good choice. The background is perhaps a little cluttered, but overall it’s a fun, lively shot.


APOY round six results: Movement 59

10 Allan Copson, Australia, 30pts

Olympus E-M5 Mark II, 60mm Macro, 0.3sec at f/20, ISO 100

There’s something of the Jack Vettriano about this capture. The way the light, the composition and the anonymity of the two figures as they walk across the sand come together makes for a very pleasing whole.

The green and blue tones give it a rather sombre atmosphere, as opposed
to a warm one, but that makes it all the more intriguing. It’s the kind of image that triggers the imagination, making the viewer create a story behind what they’re seeing.


Round six winner, Young APOY

APOY round six results: Movement 60

Olly Hill, UK, 100pts

Olly says this image is an updated version of the Harris shutter effect technique, in which an image is shot through red, green and blue filters, with the subject moving between each frame.

It has a pleasingly retro feel to it, and the dynamism of the model has been nicely captured – she looks natural and as if she’s having fun. It’s an imaginative way of capturing the theme of movement and fulfils the brief very well


The 2021 leaderboards

Angela Lambourn, who received 80 points for her imaginative third-placed image in this round, has leapfrogged Pete Baker into first place on the APOY leaderboard. A number of other photographers, including Pete, are snapping at her heels, so a lot could change over the course of the remaining rounds.

APOY round six results: Movement 61

Lucy Monckton, who has been extremely consistent with the standard of her entries, retains her lead in Young APOY. Launceston Camera Club and Royston Photographic Society are managing to maintain their first- and second-placed spots in the camera club rankings, while Bristol Photographic Society move from
fourth to third.


Winning kit from MPB

APOY round six results: Movement 62

The gear our winners used can be found at MPB.
Angela Lambourn’s subtle third-placed image was shot using a Nikon D750. This DSLR, launched in 2014, includes technology from the flagship D810, but in a smaller body. It features a 24MP sensor, 6.5fps shooting and is weather sealed. This superb full-frame camera can be picked up at MPB for £874 for a model in excellent condition, and £784 for one in good condition.

APOY round six results: Movement 63

In fifth place, Mike Martin used an Olympus M.40-150mm f/2.8 Pro for his compelling capture. Compact and lightweight, its equivalent full-frame focal range is 80-300mm, making it a highly versatile lens. It’s also dust, splash and freeze proof, and has a minimum focus range of 50cm throughout its range. This desirable lens is available at MPB for £879 in excellent condition, and £789 in good condition.

APOY round six results: Movement 64

Alexa Popovich, who was awarded 9th, took her engaging action shot using a Canon EOS 80D. With its 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor, 7fps capability and 45 all cross-type AF system, it’s a great choice for capturing split-second moments. This DSLR is available at MPB for £629 in excellent condition and £564 in good condition.

APOY round six results: Movement 65


Further reading

APOY round five results: Architecture

APOY round four results: Landscapes

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APOY round eight is open: Travel

APOY round eight is open: Travel

It is time to enter the latest round of our Amateur Photographer of the Year competition (APOY), the biggest and best of its kind… the theme is Travel


We are now into round eight of APOY, with the theme of Travel.

With APOY’s varied categories, there should be a round for you, no matter what you like to shoot. You might choose to enter just one category or enter them all with the aim of taking home the main prize and, of course, the title of Amateur Photographer of the Year 2021.

The competition is open to all amateur photographers* and we have again teamed up with Photocrowd, who will be hosting the competition on a simple and intuitive platform. This year we have two new categories. Under-21s can enter the Young Amateur Photographer of the Year, with each category winner receiving a £250 voucher for MPB, and the overall winner being awarded a £500 voucher.

Finally, there’s a camera club category, where you can accumulate points for your society. The most successful club will receive a voucher for £500.

*For the purposes of this competition, an amateur photographer is defined as someone who earns 10% or less of their income from photography or photographic services.


Send us your best travel shots!

Visiting somewhere new, whether it’s another city, country or continent, can really get the creative juices flowing. Every location has its own unique feel and photographing the buildings, landmarks, and people you encounter will help to convey the real spirit of a place.

Get up early and visit a local market or stay out late and shoot lights reflected in water. Talk to people – a smile can go a long way towards securing willing subjects. Try not to ‘steal’ a shot; be patient and courteous.

APOY round eight is open: Travel 66

by Sirsendu Gayen. Cities provide endless potential for travel shots – whether it’s only a few miles from home or on a different continent. Look for colour, shape and balance in your compositions


APOY round eight is open: Travel 67


There are £11,000 (GBP) worth of vouchers to win in APOY 2021, supplied by sponsors, MPB, plus the title of Amateur Photographer of the Year 2021.

The winner of each round of APOY receives a £500 voucher to spend on anything at MPB. From top-of-the-range digital medium-format camera bodies, to entry-level DSLRs, telephoto zooms and wideangle lenses, MPB is a one-stop shop for used kit. And, of course, you can use your voucher towards your dream piece of kit, if it happens to cost more than £500.

APOY round eight is open: Travel 68

For £769, you can pick up a Sony Cyber-shot RX10 Mark III in excellent condition. A sophisticated and versatile bridge camera, it features a 24-600mm-equivalent lens with an f/2.4 to f/4 aperture and 20.1MP sensor. It has an excellent dynamic range and, for moving-image shooters, 4K video. It’s an ideal travel companion.

APOY round eight is open: Travel 69

A good zoom lens is a must when shooting travel, where subjects can often be dynamic and fast moving. The Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art offers an f/4 aperture throughout its range, and is impressively sharp, with Hyper Sonic Motor technology ensuring fast and quiet autofocus. It is available in Canon EF, Nikon F, Sigma SA and Sony A mounts, and is priced between £376 and £539 at MPB.

There are second- and third-placed prizes of £100 and £50 vouchers respectively, while the winner of the Youth category wins a £250 voucher.

Check out www.mpb.com to take your pick from thousands of items.

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APOY round five results: architecture

APOY round five results: architecture

Here are the top ten images uploaded to Photocrowd from Round Five, Architecture, with comments by the AP team and our guest judge. Be sure to enter the current round on Portraits, which is open now.


With so many of us living in towns and cities, architecture is a genre that’s open to the vast majority of photographers. It demands a precise approach, but it’s important to retain creativity and imagination, too. The top ten images here are all well seen, and often home in on the details of the scene, potentially creating something entirely new from the architect’s vision.

But, as is so often the case, it’s something fresh and original that has caught the judges’ attention, as can be seen from the winning image.


APOY round five results: architecture 70

1 Roy Curtis UK
100pts Nikon D800, 80-400mm at 140mm, 1/2500sec at f/13, ISO 200

Guest judge David Clapp says: ‘This image is a double take. When I say that, I don’t mean the multiple-exposure technique that is handled so well, but the fact that upon first glance, it appears to be Charles Bridge in Prague. With gothic towers silhouetted against light, the positioning and subsequent overlaying spires (which create new spires in themselves) portray a mesmerising hat tip to this travel photography destination, astonishingly from the heart of Truro in Cornwall.

No photographic artist wants to appear indistinct, and Roy has achieved something truly unique and timeless from a UK destination. The seagulls, both airborne and observing, are so essential to the compositional balance, as too are the small vanes on top of all the roofs, adding another gothic feel, far from our modern lives. Perhaps some greater delicacy with processing (there are artefacts) could improve things further, but the concept, camera technique and visual impact held this image high above the rest.’


APOY round five results: architecture 71

2 Helen Trust UK
90pts Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, 16-35mm at 16mm, 1/20sec at f/2.8, ISO 640
If you were to ask a photographer what they look for when shooting architecture, the answer is highly likely to include balance and symmetry. Helen’s image makes exceptionally good use of both these elements. Splitting the image straight down the middle goes against the rule of thirds convention, but it works beautifully.

To step even slightly to the right or left would have caused the composition to be completely off-kilter. The precision with which she has set up the shot is to be admired. It might have been tempting to wait until somebody came along in order to add some human interest, but without that added element, we are left with a superb, almost futuristic, result.


APOY round five results: architecture 72

3 Marco Tagliarino Italy
80pts Canon EOS 6D, 16-35mm at 16mm, 1/160sec at f/5.6, ISO 100
Contrasting classic and modern architecture is a popular approach to the genre, and Marco has achieved an excellent result here, which is both imaginative and even a little surreal. Milan Cathedral stands proudly on the left, with the bustling hordes milling around the Piazza.

On the right, we have a solitary figure who is separated from the crowds by height and plate glass. Converting the image to black & white helps reduce any potential visual confusion that might be created by the swirl of light and its reflection. A tricky scene that has been well seen and shot.


APOY round five results: architecture 73

4 Fabio Sartori Italy
70pts Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, 14-150mm at 14mm, 1/250sec at f/8, ISO 500

It can be a challenge to find a new way of approaching industrial architecture, but we have a spectacular example here, with Fabio’s image. At first, it appears to be a pretty simple composition, but then we see a great deal of care has been taken over it.

Cropping so that the circle of blue sky at the opening of the cooling tower is just short of the top of the frame is a bold and highly effective approach. We also want to ask who the figure is. An engineer? An abseiler? Whoever they are, the image would be all the poorer without them, because they add a sense of scale that is essential to the success of the shot.


APOY round five results: architecture 74

5 Darrell Godliman UK
60pts Nikon D7200, 8mm, 1/320sec at f/3.5, ISO 200
With this extremely well-executed composite, Darrell has taken what in real life is a single-storey building, and turned it into a playful and eye-catching digital image. He has been bold with his approach, but also controlled at the same time.

It would have been easy to go over the top and end up with a confused mess, but by concentrating on the effect of the multiple triangles leading the eye to the centre of the frame, he has created a graphic and engaging image. Retaining the blue elements is an important touch, as they give the eye something to rest upon within all the yellow. It’s a clever and inspired result.


APOY round five results: architecture 75

6 Claudio Sericano Italy
50pts Canon EOS 600D, 18-55mm at 30mm, 1/40sec at f/4.5, ISO 250
This image is rather like a still from a dystopian film. The steely blue-grey tones and the repetition in the buidings’ crosses and squares is compelling. Then, of course, we have the mysterious silhouette in the brightly lit window, bang on the intersection of the thirds. The whole thing is fascinating. Claudio doesn’t say so in his caption on Photocrowd, but the image appears to be a composite – and that’s absolutely fine. He has had a clear and powerful vision for an image in his mind, and has set about creating it in a skilled and imaginative way. Very well done.


APOY round five results: architecture 76

7 Roy Frankland UK
45pts Apple iPhone X,4mm, 1/100sec at f/1.8, ISO 32
Who wouldn’t want to photograph this ceiling, which forms part of the Gran Hotel Havana in Barcelona? Its shapes and dramatic orange colour cries out to be looked up and marvelled at. The sinuous curves have been placed well within the constraints of the frame, with the eye led neatly towards the kidney-shaped window at the top. Roy used an iPhone X to take this shot, and has demonstrated that camera phones are capable of more than just snaps.


APOY round five results: architecture 77

8 Neville Morgan UK
40pts Olympus OM-D E-M10, 14-42mm, 1/320sec at f/9, ISO 250
The Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, designed by Frank Gehry, provides an embarrassment of photographic riches for anyone with a camera. Its sinuous curves and reflective surfaces make an appealing and challenging subject. The building as a whole is so dramatic, the temptation must have been for Neville to include it all in the frame.

However, he showed laudable restraint by homing in on only a small section of the structure. Within the constraints of the frame, he has managed to give the viewer a very clear flavour of the architecture, with a shot that has depth and interest throughout.


APOY round five results: architecture 78

9 Ulrike Unterbruner Austria
35pts Pentax Optio A30, 7.9mm, 1/100sec at f/8, ISO 64
Many of the images in our top ten stand out for showing only a detail of the overall structure being photographed, and Ulrike’s minimal shot is another case in point. It’s almost like one of those challenges that ask the viewer to count the number of triangles in the frame. Every line and point has been placed perfectly, and it’s a rare case where a plain blue sky acts as the ideal foil for the main subject.


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10 Andy Fowlie Germany
30pts Sony A7R III, 24-105mm at 105mm, 1/125sec at f/4 ,ISO 640
Light is as important in architectural photography as it is in any other genre. Here, Andy has used it to draw the viewer’s eye towards the sunflower-like pattern in the centre of this section of ceiling at Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona. As with Neville Morgan’s image above right, the challenge here is to distil the essence of the scene within the photographic frame, and narrowing it down to this vignette would have been no mean feat. The shaded areas around the periphery of the scene have been well controlled, and there is plenty to keep the eye interested.


APOY round five results: architecture 80

Round five winner, Young APOY

Hugo Begg Australia
100pts Panasonic DC-G9, 12-40mm at 12mm, 1/160sec at f/5, ISO 320 Hugo submitted several very strong images to this round, but this was the one the judges unanimously felt should be awarded first prize. The spiral is a common subject in architectural photography, but Hugo has done a good job of making a particularly interesting image from this one. He has balanced his composition well, giving slightly more space at the bottom than the top, and has exposed the shot skilfully so that all the detail is retained, right through from bottom to top. The tones are beautifully rendered, and the image is neither too flat nor too contrasty. A measured and carefully composed shot.


The 2021 leaderboards

Pete Baker and Jayne Bond maintain their positions in first and second place respectively, with Marco Tagliarino coming out of nowhere into third, showing how much the rankings can change from round to round. There’s no change to the leader of Young APOY, either, but Hugo Begg’s winning image has seen him jump from fourth to joint second. In the camera club rankings, Truro have hopped from fifth to third place. Keep up the good work!

APOY round five results: architecture 81


APOY round five results: architecture 82

Winning kit from MPB

The gear our winners used can be found at MPB. Roy Curtis shot his intriguing, round-winning composite with a Nikon D800, which is renowned for its outstanding quality and high-resolution images, thanks to the 36.3MP full-frame sensor.

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It is the sort of camera that particularly appeals to landscape and architecture photographers and, with the added feature of 1080p video, it is a great tool for helping push your photography to the next level. A model in excellent condition at MPB will cost you £669, or you can expect to pay £604 for one in good condition.

APOY round five results: architecture 84In third place, Marco Tagliarino used a Canon EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM lens to create his almost surreal shot of Milan’s Piazza Duomo. This pro-standard wideangle zoom is hugely versatile, outstandingly sharp, and with its wide constant aperture, gives the photographer huge scope for creative images. Pick one up in excellent condition from MPB for £709, or £644 for one in good condition.

APOY round five results: architecture 85

Coming in at fourth, Fabio Sartori shoots using an Olympus E-M5 Mark II. A mirrorless model that features up to 60fps and 5-axis image stabilisation, it’s the ideal tool for handheld photography. They go for £354 in excellent condition at MPB,
or £319 in good condition.

To browse the extensive range of stock at MPB, visit www.mpb.com

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APOY round seven is open: Portraits

APOY round seven is open: Portraits

It is time to enter the latest round of our Amateur Photographer of the Year competition (APOY), the biggest and best contest of its kind…


It is hard to believe but we are on round 7 of APOY already, with the theme of Portraits.

With its varied categories, there should be a round for you, no matter what you like to shoot. You might choose to enter just one category or enter them all with the aim of taking home the main prize and, of course, the title of Amateur Photographer of the Year 2021.

The competition is open to all amateur photographers* and we have again teamed up with Photocrowd, who will be hosting the competition on a simple and intuitive platform.

This year we have two new categories. Under-21s can enter the Young Amateur Photographer of the Year, with each category winner receiving a £250 voucher for MPB, and the overall winner being awarded a £500 voucher.

Finally, there’s a camera club category, where you can accumulate points for your society. The most successful club will receive a voucher for £500.

*For the purposes of this competition, an amateur photographer is defined as someone who earns 10% or less of their income from photography or photographic services.


APOY round seven is open: Portraits 86

A good portrait should tell a story, as with this image by Zay Yar Lin, which came third in last year’s portraits round

Send us your best portrait shots!

The possibilities are endless when it comes to capturing portraits. From the traditional to the unconventional, inside or outside the studio, anything goes.

Whether you choose to make yourself the subject or capture others, we’re looking for a portrait that tells a story. Great people pictures can be found in all walks of life – it’s how you capture and portray your subject that draws the viewer in. We can’t wait to see how you interpret this genre of photography.


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Your guest judge
Your guest judge for Round Seven of APOY is Natasha Bella. An accomplished and experienced photographer and model, Natasha runs group and one-to-one workshops in her Leeds-based studio, in which she covers a variety of different genres, as well as lighting and posing techniques. She also gives camera club talks on collaboration and the importance of teamwork. To see more of her work, visit www.natashajbella.co.uk.


APOY round seven is open: Portraits 88


Prizes worth £900 – take your pick from MPB’s huge catalogue of used gear

The winner of each round of APOY receives a £500 voucher to spend on anything at MPB. From top-of-the-range digital medium-format camera bodies, to entry-level DSLRs, telephoto zooms and wideangle lenses, MPB is a one-stop shop for used kit. And, of course, you can use your voucher towards your dream piece of kit, if it happens to cost more than £500.

For portraiture, nothing beats a classic focal length with a wide aperture, which is why 85mm primes are so popular. It’s great for both full-length and close-ups, and there’s little or no distortion to features. The focal length provides just the right amount of compression, and easily throws your background out of focus.

MPB has 85mm wide-aperture prime lenses by all the major brands, including the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L II USM, the Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.4G and Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM (below).

APOY round seven is open: Portraits 89

All feature outstanding optical performance and gorgeous bokeh. They start from £879, £694 and £1,029 respectively.

There are second- and third-placed prizes of £100 and £50 vouchers respectively, while the winner of the Youth category wins a £250 voucher.

Check out www.mpb.com to take your pick from thousands of items.


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