POTY: Becoming the Hunted

The Photographer of the Year (POTY) competition restarted this week following the Summer break with Round 6 of 8 with the set subject being Bridging the Gap. This round was projected digital images and I will admit to being responsible for the title of the round, having entered it into the hat for selection last year. In theory it had a lot of scope for interpretation, but in reality of the 32 images submitted 29 or 30 were of bridges. Still a lot of unusual images though, so a good range.

I’ve been in the top three of POTY for most of the year, always within touching distance of the top but never quite able to gain the points needed to overhaul the gap as my main competitor this year has been equally consistent and excellent in the quality of his images. Since round 4 Peter and I have been separated by just 3 points, so close and consistent stuff.

With the margins so small between us choosing the right image would be the key thing. Choose an image the judge dislikes for whatever reason and you are doomed. Some people check out the judges but unless I’ve had work judged by them before I don’t tend to bother looking for them, what they take pictures of isn’t always the best indicator of how they’ll score your shots. I try to go for some variety – not all monochrome images for example.  I spent forever fretting about my images, entering them right at the last moment as I vacillated between which shots I should be submitting – these were my final choices, which can also be viewed in their own gallery here:

POTY 2014 R6 - Bridging the GapPOTY 2014 R6 - Bridging the GapPOTY 2014 R6 - OpenPOTY 2014 R6 - Open

On the night it went far better than I could have imagined. I scored two maximum scores (20), a 19 and an 18. Three points dropped is probably my best round score ever, which was a surprise but pleasingly so. The evening from my point of view was made better still by a relatively poor evening for Peter who had some harsh scores from the judge and succumbed the lead of the competition for the first time since he hit the top back at the beginning of April.

Two things stick out about this year’s POTY competition. One is the reduced number of entries overall, this year we only have nine members who have entered images into every round so far, and the last two winners of POTY award are missing this year plus a number of other people who used to score highly. The other thing is that the average scores are soooooo much higher this year – the top three have average scores of around 18 for the 24 images judged so far.

So when all is said and done I seem to have ended up 9 points in the lead of POTY – a 12-point swing in my favour in one evening. Looking back at the scores for the year Round 1 was my bogey round while Round 6 seems to have caught up with Peter. Kudos should also be given to Linda (yes, she did feature in my Open entries and scored me an 18 – thanks dear!) who is only entering projected images this year but based on average scores she would be fifth overall in her rookie year, has scored 3 20s (only two others have scored more) and seems to be leading the mini-battle of the PDI-only entrants. Nice work, perhaps in 2015 she’ll enter all rounds and challenge for the top!

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