Monthly Competition

Members of the Charlottesville Camera Club are divided into "B" (beginner) and "A" (advanced) classes. Each month, members are encouraged to enter images for evaluation by a judge. Images are evaluated on a five point scale. Up to two images may be submitted each month with no more than one in any of the following categories: 1) Assigned (see topic, below), 2) Open (photographer's choice of subject), and Innovative. In the Assigned and Open categories, members compete within their class. In the Innovative category, entries from A and B members are judged together. For both the Assigned and Open categories, only limited photo editing is allowed, while images that have been artistically modified are reserved for the Innovative category. The amount of editing acceptable for images in the Assigned and Open categories is described in the Rules of Competition. The "Innovative" category allows members artistic freedom through the use of any available camera or digital manipulation including image capture using a scanner. A FEW THINGS TO THINK ABOUT BEFORE ENTERING A COMPETITION:

  1. Is my craftsmanship as good as it can be? (Is the image perfectly sharp, well exposed, not over-sharpened or over-saturated, etc.?)
  2. Are there any distracting or unnecessary objects in my image? (Remember: If something doesn’t help your image, it hurts it!)
  3. Is any part of the background brighter than my subject? (If so, find a way to eliminate or at least darken it.)
  4. Are any parts of my image too close to the edges of the frame?
  5. Is my subject or horizon right in the middle? Am I sure that’s the best place for it?
  6. Am I being objective about the subject’s appeal? (Your pet or grandchild or garden may mean everything to you, but a judge cares only about the quality of the image.)

This Year's Themes (2018)

All Assigned images will be projected and Open may be submitted as a print or projected (photographer's choice). Need help submitting your images for projection? Read Gerry Bishop's Instructions for Uploading Images to PhotoContest Pro.

January RED

Your challenge this month is to photograph something red. The color red symbolizes power, strength, passion, and vitality, yet it also represents danger and hatred. Examples are everywhere: red leaves in the fall, fire engines, tomatoes, flowers. Whether you choose to fill the frame with red or create a composition around a red subject, the viewer’s eye should be immediately drawn to this strong and powerful color.

Greg Holden

There is power in an object once useful and needed, now discarded and ignored. Tell a story with your image. Allow the viewer to feel the nostalgia and to imagine the past life of a broken tool, a torn piece of lace, a tattered teddy bear, a worn pair of boots. These bits of a forgotten past can be found in your own homes, antique or second hand shops, old farms or tool sheds, junk yards—and just about anywhere else. Keep your eyes open and you may find you have more possibilities than you can use.

Andy Jezioro
February Exhibition Committee Meeting

Not every color photograph translates into a good monochrome. Before being able to produce great images, a photographer needs to learn how to “think” in black and white. The three most important aspects to look for in an image are contrast, shape, and texture. Try going through some of your own work to identify pictures that convert well. For some great tips on camera settings, etc. see

Jim Steele
March Exhibition Committee Meeting

Curves are a great compositional tool for leading your eye through a photograph. They are dynamic and can add energy, motion, tension, and balance to an image. They might be in the shape of an arch, an S-curve, or maybe even a circle. Consider a curvy road, a spiral staircase, a rainbow, or the roundness of some fruit. Once you start looking for them, curves are everywhere!

Brian Zwit

Shoes may be smart and stylish, old and worn, large or small, in groups, lines, pairs or piles. Try a close up or abstract of a shoe or a boot, create an image of shoes with a purpose, or an artistic arrangement. Other ideas might include a shoe store display or the messy floor of a closet—use your imagination and turn a mundane subject into a work of art. Try googling “shoes in photography” for some great ideas.

Jamie Konarski Davidson

Rocks are everywhere, but how can you turn them into a good photo? You could take a close-up approach, and look for interesting patterns, textures, and colors. Rocks can also be seen as micro-habitats, providing a solid surface for mosses and lichens, a soil-filled crevice for a flowering plant to take root, or a cozy spot for a lizard or insect to bask in the sun. On the other end of the spectrum, you may find rocks that dominate a landscape, such as a graphic tumble of boulders on a mountain slope or a colorful pattern in the strata exposed in a road cut. Consider river rock that has been shaped and smoothed over years, or collectible minerals like the peacock rock, geodes, malachite, jasper, and crystals. This subject provides lots of opportunities to play with lighting—to bring out colors, texture, or sparkle.

Ken Conger

Abstract photography, like abstract art, focuses on shape, form, color, pattern, and texture. It seeks to show the subject’s essence, not the reality. This lack of context in which to evaluate an image is one of the reasons abstract photography can be so challenging. Photographers will generally emphasize lines and curves, colors, textures, geometrical forms, and their relationship to, and interaction with, one another. The internal structures and intrinsic forms of an abstract photograph are often difficult to capture, but they also can make that same photo hard to forget. Go to to see some examples of abstract photographs.

Matthew Schmidt

Fruits and veggies are more than good things to eat. Their shapes, textures, and colors have inspired artists for hundreds of years, and they’ll do the same for any photographer who takes the time to see them as more than food. You can search for subjects in the produce aisle of your supermarket or the tables at a farmer’s market. Or you can visit a vineyard or apple orchard, discover a cluster of wild blueberries in a meadow, or capture a bunch of cherry tomatoes in your own garden in just the right light. Show yourself—and all of us—what beauty can be found in some of our most common edibles. (Since “fruit” can mean the seed-bearing structure of any flowering plant, please limit your images to those normally eaten by people.)

Rachel Z. Wilson

Albemarle County alone offers a plethora of fences for you to photograph, from old and decayed to carefully kept. The walls of old barns and city buildings can put a whole new twist on the topic. And don’t forget graffiti! Fences and walls may be used to lead the eye into the image, as a way to emphasize an element of your composition, or as the main subject of your photo. For some ideas and examples you can try the following two websites: or


Darkness lends itself to a completely new set of photographic opportunities. City streets come alive at night, as do country fairs and fireworks displays. But even quiet and lonely places—cemeteries, back alleys, and moon-lit shorelines—can surprise you with what they have to offer. At night you will need to ensure that you capture sufficient light by increasing the length of your exposure, by adding light (flash or light painting), or by increasing the sensitivity (ISO) of your sensor. But to maintain the feeling of darkness, be careful not to let a too-long exposure turn your scene into daytime. Wherever you may be headed, grab your tripod and a friend (for assistance, company, and safety) and have fun shooting in the dark. Find nine helpful tips for shooting in the dark at:

November TREES

Almost anyone with a camera has documented the beauty of trees. But the usual photos we’ve all taken may not make much of an impression in a competition. Your challenge is to find something special that trees have to offer. Autumn colors? Sure thing. But what can you do to capture those colors in an inspiring way? Flowering trees in spring? Of course. But what can you do with those blooming branches that you’ve never done before? Even a dead tree, standing alone on a windy ridge or rotting on a forest floor, may offer an opportunity you’ve never imagined.