Canon Photographer of the Year 2009

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.

I came to know about this competition only in Jun 09 from my friend, Darren. For the fun of it, I sent in my 1st entry for the Jul 09’s theme “Nostalgia”. Not too sure what the judges were looking for, I submitted a photo taken from my Tibet trip in Jun 09. As expected, it did not get into the top ten.
The theme for Aug 09 was “Fresh”. It was an easy theme for me as I have many photos taken with morning dews. The difficult part was which one to choose. I narrowed down to 2 photos either a damselfly or a butterfly with dews. I chose and submitted the butterfly (see image below) but regretted a few days later as I thought the damselfly with dews was a much better quality image. Canon did not allow me to change and it was a blessing in disguise as I was named the winner for that month!

“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!

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