Monthly Competitions

All members of the Charlottesville Camera Club are encouraged to enter photos into our monthly competitions. For the purposes of judging, members are divided into "B" (beginner) and "A" (advanced) classes. Photos are evaluated on a five point scale.

Eleven months each year, members enter photos into two different categories: 1) Assigned (see topics below), and 2) Open (photographer's choice of subject). In these categories, A and B photographers are judged separately. Members can enter no more than one photo in each of these categories. For both the Assigned and Open categories, there are some limits on the extent of photo editing allowed, as described in the Rules of Competition.

In December, members compete in End-of-Year competitions. See EOY awards for details.

All entries must be uploaded to a server before the established deadline. See Uploading for more inormation.


  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

January Something That Makes You Happy

Feel flooded by a world full of unhappiness? Then fight back with your camera! Capture something that never fails to bring you joy, and do it in a way that brings joy to us as well.

Phil Witt
February Soft and Delicate

Soft and delicate colors, shapes, objects, even emotions are yours, almost everywhere, to capture.

Larry Treadwell
March The Mundane Made Beautiful

Photography is all about seeing. So, what can you see in the ordinary objects and aspects of life that make a beautiful [or at least interesting] photograph?

Mary Louise Ravese
April In Focus, Barely

Especially in landscapes and close-ups, photographers strive for the maximum amount of the subject to be in focus, or for the maximum “depth of field.” But beautiful photography can happen with the bare minimum depth of field as well. So, open your eyes--and lens apertures--wide and see what happens!

Becky Witt
May Getting Around

Yes, there are planes, trains, boats, and automobiles. But also bikes, boards, skates and wheel chairs. And don't forget legs, wings, and fins! Use your imagination to capture people, animals, and even plants getting from one place to another, and the devices they use to do so.

Janet Jeffers
June Less Is More

“Keep it simple” is often a key to good photography. Someone once said (often attributed to Leonardo da Vinci): "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." So, can you create a power-packed photo with the minimum amount of content?

Russ Burden
July Let It Be Three

The number three seems to have a special appeal to our H. sapiens brains. It's also the largest number we can recognize quickly without counting. So, can you make the most of this magical number by capturing three of anything in a single photo or in a triptych? (Triptychs aren’t normally allowed in our competitions, but for this one we’re making an exception. Instructions for making a triptych in Lightroom, Photoshop, Google Docs, and other programs can be found with a web search.)

Cneryl Opperman
August Plants in Odd Places

Flowers, ferns, trees, and other plants growing naturally where you wouldn’t expect them, such as inside the hollow of a tree, a narrow crack in a sidewalk, a chink in a wall. But also plants planted in odd places by odd people! (A garden in an old bathtub, anyone?)

Jamie Konarski Davidson
September Water, Water, Everywhere

Aim your camera at anything from a raging surf or roaring waterfall to a single drop of dew, and show us something interesting--maybe even something we haven't seen or imagined before--in the water all around us.


Denise Silva will return to judge our September competition.  Formerly a resident of Leesburg, Denise now lives in Kalispell, Montana, next door to Glacier National Park.  Denise is an accomplished nature, landscape, and wildlife photographer.  Her work has been highly recognized and widely published.  Her company, Roadrunner Photography Tours, offers trips to numerous locations including Cuba, Iceland and Patagonia.  You can view galleries of her work at




Denise Silva
October Abstracts and Altered Reality

Our ongoing theme of photographing “found” abstracts or creating works of art with our cameras and software. (See the full description of this theme on the CCC website.)

Sandi Croan
November Good Eats

Food: We eat it three times a day. We see it everywhere in every form--from growing on a tree or in a pasture to the most elaborately prepared meal. People all over the world partake in an almost infinite variety of ways. What can you say about food--or the people harvesting, cooking, or eating it--with a photo?

December End of Year Competition

See entry under "Rules of Competition" on CCC website for details


Next Year's Themes

January Architecture, Grand and Modest

Building interiors or exteriors, cityscapes, bridges and subway tunnels, archways and entryways: Any building or part of a building—down to the finest detail—that was artfully designed to look and function as it does.

February Black and White

Any subject at all in monochrome--black and white, sepia, or cyanotype. In choosing a monochromatic subject, look for subjects where color doesn’t matter or even interferes, and where contrast, tone, shadow, shape, and texture prevail.

For some good ideas and good techniques go to

Also check out this PDF:

March On the Street

Street photography is a visual documentation of everyday life in society, whether in a busy city or in a small town. Aim for candid shots of people in public places that tell a story or capture a sense of place. But don’t ignore street scenes without people, which also can be evocative. Remember to ask for permission if shooting a child. For adults, permission is not necessary unless the photo is to be used commercially.

April As Time Goes By

Living things show their age in many ways. Wrinkled faces, well-worn hands, tired eyes, gnarled trees, fading flowers—all can make powerful photos. Non-living subjects may include rusting cars, peeling paint, dilapidated homes, ancient ruins, and eroding landscapes. Even well-preserved things may qualify for this theme if they show their age in changing styles, fashions, and technology.

May Spring Forward!

Yes, there are blooming flowers and singing birds and emerging butterflies, and all certainly qualify for this theme. But if these subjects are becoming a bit commonplace for you, what else can springing forward mean? Rebirth? Renewal? A fresh start? What do these concepts look like to you?

June People in Their Environments

Photograph someone in one of their usual environments, such as their home, workplace, garden, gym, playing field, studio, or whatever.  Aim to portray the essence of the person’s experience. Photographs may be posed or candid.

July Weather

From storm clouds to sunbeams, from downpours to rain puddles, from sunbathing to trudging through snowdrifts. Lightning, ice-covered trees, birds braving a ferocious wind—weather and its effects can be photographed in many fascinating ways. What aspect of weather can you reveal with your camera and creative vision?

August Peaks and Valleys

Peaks and valleys can be found everywhere. In landscapes, for sure, but also in everything from buildings to household objects, from living  bodies to the parts of a plant.  

September The Forest Floor

Focusing your attention on the ground when walking in the woods can be especially rewarding to a photographer. So, get down low and see what kinds of subjects or perspectives you can capture. Everything from super-wide angle to macro could work wonders. Can’t get yourself back up after getting down low? Try attaching your phone to a selfie stick and lowering it to the ground.

October Abstracts and Altered Reality

Our ongoing theme of photographing “found” abstracts or creating works of art with our cameras and software. (See the full description of this theme on the CCC website.)

November The Shape of Things

Bring out the essence of an object or any other subject by emphasizing its basic form, using light and shadow, perspective, contrasting colors, or any other means. Consider hard, angular, geometric shapes to soft, flowing, organic ones.

December End of Year Competition

Our annual end-of-year competitions. See entry under "Rules of Competition" on CCC website for details.