I don't know if it was the fantastic prizes on offer, or the fact that July was the first month that our photo competition has been listed on the Photographycompetitions.net website, or most likely a combination of the two, but last month we received more than double the usual number of entries. With so many more photos to sort through we've had a much tougher time judging the results, trying to narrow down several hundred pictures into just fifteen finalists, so in the end we gave in and went with eighteen finalists instead, so you get an extra page of pictures to enjoy.
The huge number of entries also meant that there were far more high quality pictures submitted, which is always a good thing, although it also meant that there were more people who apparently didn't notice that our competition actually has a theme, more people that didn't read the rules and a surprisingly large number who simply forgot to attach their photo to their entry email…
However for every would-be entrant that messed up there were a dozen who got it spectacularly right, and we present the best of those for your viewing pleasure today, including the three prize winners. The theme for July was the rather abstract "Looking up", a phrase that was deliberately vague and open to interpretation. As usual there were a number of sub-themes that emerged, including a couple of shots that were so eerily similar that they looked like prime evidence for the existence of telepathy. One such example was this shot sent on by Sean Pursey of Port Talbot, Wales. An almost identical shot was sent in by Roz Stripe of Torpoint, Cornwall, and it was very difficult to choose between them. Sean took this photo on his Canon EOS 450D using the standard kit lens.
Another example of photographic synchronicity was this literal but colourful interpretation of looking up, taken by Louis Farrell of Glasgow, Scotland. Again another very similar shot was sent in by another photographer, Jeff Sham of Leatherhead, Surrey, but we decided that Louis' colourful night-time shot was the more striking of the two. Louis used a Panasonic FX30 compact camera attached to a Gorillapod to ensure a shake-free 2.5-second exposure at 100 ISO.
Erich Poole of Havant in Hampshire wasn't the only one to send in a picture of the RAF's world-famous aerobatic team the Red Arrows; another similar and very worthy entry was sent in by Tim Smalley of West Byfleet in Surrey. It was hard to choose between two excellent photos, but in the end we decided that Erich's shot from Farnborough Air Show last year was just a bit more dramatic. He took it on a Sony Alpha A100 digital SLR with a Minolta 70-210mm zoom lens, shooting at f/11 and 1/1000th of a second.