The Canon Photographer of the Year 2009 (POTY) was a contest where a new theme was announced every month starting from Mar 09. The monthly prize was a Canon IXUS 95 IS compact camera, and the top ten monthly entries gained points to complete in the Canon POTY award. The grand prize was a Canon EOS 5D MK II with 24-105mm L lens worth about S$5,500.
“Reflection” was the theme for Sep 09. It didn’t sound too difficult to me but I did not have any good images that I could think of, on hand. Although I still continued to do my weekly macro shooting, I did not make it a point to shoot images specially on this theme. When it was nearer towards month end, I quickly glanced through my photostreams and selected one that I think best meet the theme. Unfortunately, this photo was not good enough to get into top 10.
“Texture” was the theme for Oct 09. My original idea was to have a close-up shot showing the colourful texture of a leaf but I did not put in enough effort to find or shoot it. Later, I saw a shot that I hoped it was mine. It was a purplish coleus leaf with beautiful curve and texture. The image belongs to my friend, Darren. I was quite certain that it had potential to be the winner and encouraged him to participate for the contest which he did. On the last week of Oct 09, I still could not find any shot for the theme. Once again, I glanced through my stock of photos and the head & shoulder shot of a Green Crested Lizard with a dark background caught my attention. It was a very well taken photo and it does has beautiful texture on its body and around the head region. But, somehow, I felt that it was not good enough. I would submit this only as a last resort. On 30 Oct 09, an idea suddenly striked me i.e. to have a tigher crop of the GCL focusing only the texture surrounding its eye. When the final image was ready for submission, I was very happy with it. I was confident that Darren and my submissions should get into the top 5. We did not disappoint, I was ranked #1 and Darren, a close 3rd position.
The theme for Nov 09 was “Tension”, a difficult one in my opinion. I have 2 images in mind. One is that of an ant struggling in a huge droplet as if to say “I’m drowning, please help me!”. The other one was a tiny jumping spider taking on a big dragonfly, easily 5 times its size. The formal image shows an imaginary tension which I was afraid that the judges might not sense it. That was the reason I dropped the image. The spider and dragonfly image does not show much of a tension too as the dragonfly was already dead. Had it been alive, it would certainly stand a higher chance of winning. I chose it anyway as I have no other better image that fits the theme and the ant was a much riskier choice ie. it either wins big or lose big! I didn’t expect to win so a 5th ranking was a good results to me. I gained 10 valuable points.
The final theme for Dec 09 was “Change”. Luck was really on my side as this was exactly what I was hoping for when I took the molting of an insect (see right image) in 25 Oct 09. I could not think of any other images that could best describe change. I was very confident this time and I would be disappointed if it did not get into the top 5. I did not win the Dec 09 contest but a 3rd placing was good enough for me to be named Canon Photographer of the year 2009. I was overjoyed when this good news was made known to me!