Getting Bronze with the Guild of Photographers
I'm a registered professional member of the Guild of Photographers, a UK trade organisation for all individuals committed to the art of Photography. Every month the Guild runs an Image of the Month competition, where you can enter a number of images which are judged and awarded a level or grade of competence by a panel of professional Judges.
I've been entering IOM since January and have been pleased to be consistently awarded a Classified grading for my images, which is defined as "Images of a professional standard".
In June and July, I've been very successful in being awarded four Bronze Bars for some of my wildlife images. Bronze, Silver and Gold Bars are images deemed to be of an international competition standard, with the ultimate award being the Platinum Bar. Platinum is so rare it has not been awarded in at least four years!
My two Osprey images were awarded the Bronze Bar in June. I spent an afternoon in the Osprey hide at a trout farm near Rutland Water at the end of May and we were lucky enough to see four dives from two different birds during the session. The bird in these photos was 28, and this was his first unsuccessful dive. His later dives caught two fish. Osprey come over from their nesting grounds at Rutland Water to fish from the "buffet" at the trout farm!
My two Puffin images were awarded the Bronze Bar in July. I spent a day on Skomer Island, South Wales at the beginning of June, which is one of the best locations to get up close to these beautiful quirky little birds. I've photographed puffins before on the Farne Islands, so this time I had some specific shots in mind that I was aiming to get during the trip. One shot I wanted was one of a puffin with sand eels in its mouth - and as you can see the shot on the left above captured this perfectly! I also wanted a profile shot, which is the shot on the right.
The third shot I'm still striving for is the shot of the puffin in flight. For such small birds they move really quickly, and because they're so small they're tough to see as they fly in, so I'm still working on the flight shot. But hey, it's another excuse to plan a trip to Skomer or the Farnes for next year!!