You see, it's my belief that I'm just not the sort of photographer who wins contests. Not that my work isn't good, it's just that I don't feel that my style is what the typical contest is looking for. It seems like contest winners are always perfect composition, perfect light, etc (as they should be, I guess) and I've always believed that some of the best images can be candid and unique.
So, I grabbed the image of mine that more people mention than any other image I have ever shot:
... and I entered it in the monthly competition. My point being: Everyone loves this picture but that doesn't mean it can win. It's too much like a snapshot, it's not artistic enough... "fancy"...
Well, you probably guessed where this is going. It won 1st place in the "Event" category.
Now, I don't know what to think. I'm still not convinced that it could be a merited print. Merited prints are picked by certified judges and those guys are tough. I'm going to make it a point to ask some of the other photographers what they think. I love this image and I think that it's a fine example of my work but that doesn't mean that it fits into the "mold" of a merited print.
I also entered a print in the "portrait" category and won 2nd place:
I'm a little more leery of "Portrait" than "Event" because there are always more entries in that category. Plus, you are competing against photographers who shoot primarily portraits and often in-studio. Portraits are what they do best so they produce some incredible work. I was very happy to place in the category.
I guess this all goes to show that despite what I think, anything can happen. :)