2011: Photo Challenge Year

During 2009 and 2010 I worked on my 365 Before Thirty project: A photo-a-day project spanning the time frame between my 29th birthday to my 30th. The project was a fun, educational, at times frustrating but ultimately entirely worthwhile. It did however result in a period of “photography burn out” which combined with a number of other aspects in my life at present has left me being a bit slack in the photography department.

Well there’s a new year coming and I’ve decided that 2011 will be the year of the photo challenge. Not another photo-a-day challenge – some thing new and more challenging. I’ve broken the new project down into three tiers:

Tier 1 – Photo Competitions

I’d be lying if I said this one didn’t scare me a bit. This goal entails entering at least six (6) photo competitions during 2011. One competition entry roughly every 2 months I felt shouldn’t be overly hard and should force me to think more about different aspects of photography. So far I’ve only picked one competition I will definitely be entering – The Australian Museum’s “Up Close & Spineless” competition as it combines my love of macro photography and bugs.

The other five slots are open at present and I am asking for help in picking them. Have a recommendation? Running a competition? Please leave links and details in the comments, I do have a few basic requirements:

  • Must be open Australians (eg: worldwide entry or Australian specific)
  • Photographer must retain rights on entries
  • Preferably not camera brand specific

All suggestions would be gratefully received. For the moment I am using the Photography Competition Network website to help guide my choices but if you know of other resources please leave a comment!

Tier 2 – DPS Weekly Assignments

The fantastic Digital Photography School website runs a weekly assignment – a theme based system where a particular style/colour/object is picked as the subject of the assignment and photographers can contribute their take on the weekly theme. So far I’ve only ever entered one assignment but I have lurked in the forums for a bit and seen that it is a great way to get critical feedback – a useful tool for anyone wanting to learn.

So once again the bullet is being bitten and the goal for this tier is to enter at least twenty (20) of these DPS assignments throughout 2011. I am going to attempt to spread the assignment themes between areas I’m comfortable with and those I’m not.

Tier 3 – Other Photography Related Challenges

This tier is a little bit more free form than the previous two and is semi-inspired by the “30 day” type challenges I’ve seen others doing during 2010. This one will consist of at least ten (10) photography related challenges which can take any form. Some I’ve thought of so far are:

  • Spend a week shooting in RAW format – I am yet to take the plunge in working in RAW
  • Complete a photography course
  • Spend a week post-processing photos – generally I loathe editing my photos but it’s a skill I should  learn

Again I am asking for help and ideas on this one and again I have a few very basic rules:

  • Must not require anything expensive – no specialised equipment required
  • Must result in learning something

Please feel free to add suggestions to the comments or let me know via twitter.

The End Goal

During the 365 Before Thirty project I gave myself incentive by allowing myself to purchase new photography equipment with every 30 days I successfully completed. This worked out pretty well for me and this time around I’ve decided to do something similar. If I manage to complete all three tiers of this project I will upgrade myself to the Olympus E-5 body (I currently shoot with an Olympus E-30).

The real end goal however is not to win competitions or even the new camera but to seriously learn new skills and hone the ones I’ve started to develop. I had some fantastic support during the 365 Before Thirty project and I have no doubt that I will again in 2011. The progress of this project will be tracked on the Photo Challenge Year page.

9 thoughts on “2011: Photo Challenge Year

  1. Eloise (Eloctre) says:

    Great ideas! I love DPS as well, I can’t get enough of their helpful tuts! U could enter this comp, not sure on the details but it sounds fun.
    http://photos.thesundaymail.com.au/
    Let me know what photography course you do, I’d love to know whats good for someone who is pretty ok with most things but just wants to get more depth, not just the basics.
    For editing do you have lightroom? I just bought it and OMG its amazing! So much better than photoshop for most things. Try it for free! It’s really easy and if done right most things just look enhanced not too worked on.

  2. Eloise (Eloctre) says:

    Great ideas! I love DPS as well, I can’t get enough of their helpful tuts! U could enter this comp, not sure on the details but it sounds fun.
    http://photos.thesundaymail.com.au/
    Let me know what photography course you do, I’d love to know whats good for someone who is pretty ok with most things but just wants to get more depth, not just the basics.
    For editing do you have lightroom? I just bought it and OMG its amazing! So much better than photoshop for most things. Try it for free! It’s really easy and if done right most things just look enhanced not too worked on.

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