Entering my first photo contest

Earlier this morning, instead of writing a blog post, I spent a few hours looking through my 2022 collection of photographs. If you’re wondering what I looked at, it is essentially this post (The Best of 2022 in 150 Images)… but multiplied by, well, a lot!

The reason I did this was in response to an invitation from Nikon to enter their annual photo contest. I am not sure how many hundreds of thousands or millions of people submit entries, but I have this unreasonable level of confidence that my work (if not prizewinning) at least deserves consideration in the company of so many professionals and enthusiasts.

Rebekah – always astute – made the observation that because of today’s amazingly sensitive equipment, where even phones now have extreme capabilities, the onus has likely moved away from technique and more into the realm of framing, and the ability to utilize photography to tell a powerful story.

From that standard,” she offered, “you can hold your own with anyone else on the planet.”


I agree and I do not agree.

I agree that I am learning how to see with increased clarity. And I also agree that I am beginning to understand more and more about the power of story. But I have a long way to go if I want to take it up a notch, and that necessarily involves time, opportunity, and patience – all of which are in short supply.

So instead I must rely on paying attention to (and capitalizing on) the serendipitous moments when I do run into them.

And this is where I believe I at least have a chance. Because there is one factor even the most skilled and fortunate photographer has no control over, and that is the emotional response of the judges.

So I entered in two categories. The first is “Single Photo” and the second is “Photo Story.”

Overall, the theme is “Beloved.” I submitted a set of five “story” photographs featuring my parents, together, over the six months dad spent in assisted living prior to his passing in November.

I don’t want to scuttle my chances by sharing the whole thing today, but this one image should give a sense of where my thoughts are.

My single photo entry is probably my favorite image from 2022. Geoffrey, 92 years younger than my dad, giving me some love over Thanksgiving.

What I love about photography is the opportunity it provides for me to connect, emotionally, with my audience. Thanks to all of you for responding in ways that help me to understand a little of how, and when, that happens.

Peace and love – always – DEREK


  1. I cannot help but substitute the idea of photography, taking photos, framing etc with sharing Jesus from your recent post. I think of the times I’ve shared, thinking I did all the right things, said the right words. Didn’t seem to touch the ” right” spots. But times I’ve fumbled at words and situations but people responded, live were touched. The Holy Spirit does His job! Your pictures speak more than you know and often when you don’t realize. Let Him be your guide in your admission selections, pray over them, have your unique wife give her input and then let the Spirit tell those stories with you and for His purposes.

    Liked by 1 person

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