I received notification via email yesterday that one of my photographs from Antarctica has made the finals in the 2012 Outdoor Photographer of the Year Competition. I feel I have been very fortunate this year as I was also a finalist and highly commended with 3rd place in the Travel Photographer of the Year ‘Single Shot Water Category’ and was a finalist in the ‘Fine Art Photographer of the Year’ competition in Paris a few months ago. This was the first time I have entered Outdoor Photographer of the Year and did so more or less on the spur of the moment as one of the category titles (‘The Spirit of Adventure’) really struck a chord with me whilst browsing their website. I had a particular image from Antarctica; which I felt really summed up ‘The Spirit of Adventure’. The photograph in question was taken from the deck of the Ocean Nova near the Lemaire Channel and is of mountain climbers nearing the summit of one of Antarctica’s precipitous mountains in rapidly deteriorating weather. The truth of this photograph is that I did not see the mountain climbers (or at least I do not recall seeing them) when I took this photograph. I do recall being attracted to the sinuous ridgeline, dark sky and swirling clouds as we cruised slowly past and perhaps on a subconscious level I did see the climbers; but my memory of this particular photograph is a little foggy. It was, after all, just one of more than 13,000 images taken on the trip.From the exif data I know I used the Canon 300mm F2.8L IS lens on the Canon EOS 1D MKIV body, which gave me an effective focal length of 390mm for this capture; which should help give an idea of just how far away these climbers were when I made this photograph. It was shot at ISO400 F7.1 at 1/2500th of a second. You can’t see it on this small jpeg; but there are two large sea birds perfectly sharp and frozen to the right of frame. A higher resolution version of this photograph can be seen on my website in the Antarctica Portfolio.
Footnote: Unfortunately, Outdoor Photographer of the Year is not judged on the ‘Print’; but rather on the submission of digital files. To their credit they do require the submission of the original RAW file as proof the photograph has not been significantly tampered with. As I have previously blogged however, I far prefer to have my work viewed in Print, which I regard as the ultimate output. Nevertheless I am very honoured to have made the finals of this prestigious competition and look forward to seeing the winning entries when they are announced early next year.