How Not to Enter a Photo Competition

I’ve been walking around Marylebone for the past two days taking photos, hoping to create a memorable image that could win the Life in Marylebone photo contest.  Easier said than done.  This path in Regent’s Park looks lovely, but it lies a few frustrating metres outside the competition boundary.

Regent's Park desire line
The grey path on the right marks the edge of the competition – I was out of bounds.

When I wanted bright sunshine to fall on my subjects on Thursday, the clouds closed in.  When I got up early on Friday looking for a “golden hour”, everything was grey and damp.  When I went out at 2pm on Saturday, I got soaked by the rain.

On Thursday I stood on Portland Place trying to capture three flags flying together outside their embassies, and the wind dropped.  When I returned on Saturday the wind was up, but the Kenyan High Commission had removed their flag.

Flegs 3 on Portland Place
If the middle flag unravelled, it would reveal itself as the flag of Poland.

The Kenyan flag has vanished
The Kenyan flag has vanished and the EU flag has even fewer stars.

I do love Portland Place, with its embassies, grand buildings, statues, wide pavements and central, tree-lined path.  When I was focusing on the flags, I was standing close to the statue of General Wladyslaw Sikorski (1881-1943), who was Prime Minister of the Polish Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Armed Forces from 7 November 1939 to 4 July 1943.  My photo of General Sikorski might have been a contender if I hadn’t chopped off his fingers.


I still have another 24 hours before the competition deadline.  And if anyone reading the blog is in the neighbourhood, get out there and see if you can do better!

Click here for the competition details.

18 thoughts on “How Not to Enter a Photo Competition

  1. I forgot to mention the surprisingly positive experience this morning. Three different people spoke to me when I was taking photos. Two apologised for walking in front of me, and one asked me to take his photo. All of them smiled. Friendly people do exist in London, even on Oxford Street on a Saturday.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Absolutely. By the way, I was happy to see a sloth on your Costa Rica blog. I was there in 1993, and I saw loads of monkeys, sloths, macaws and crocodiles. But I bet if I asked you to capture another sloth tomorrow, they would all curl up and hide.


  3. We learn something with each “failure”, which, of course, is not a failure, if something has been learned. You will forever make sure fingers are not severed! ;->

    Virtual hugs,



    1. The last time I was under pressure to take a photo was for a magazine cover for my expat women’s club in Bangalore. I had a display of shiny Christmas wrapping paper, and I wanted to make it sparkle under the Indian sunshine, so I set it up on a table in the garden. I took a few shots, then walked into the house to check the photos on my laptop….and all the paper blew away.
      Lesson learned: secure your paper, or employ a photographer’s assistant.


  4. HA HA HA HA HA – This was lots more fun than “one perfect shot”! I love the results of this competition so far as well – ‘these are the boundaries’, ‘this is the time frame’. It forces the artist to look carefully and see the unnoticed. Makes me think I might host a mini-competition at the farm for family and guests for one week some day (but I’d have to come up with a really good prize).


    1. Great idea. Actually, I don’t think you should worry too much about providing a special prize. I entered a competition in India where all the entries were printed and displayed together for one evening. We were able to see everyone else’s photos, and wander around with food and drink, talking about the pictures, and buying some (with the proceeds going to charity). That was a fun evening, and I felt like I was a winner, just seeing my photo on a wall. Yes, somebody did win the first prize, which was donated by a sponsor, but it wasn’t me. And there was a “people’s prize” voted for by everyone who attended the photo evening, which went to a different photo – the judges like technical achievement, the “people” liked smiling faces.


  5. Thank you – I learned a lot from the whole process. I submitted my entries yesterday, and they will all appear on the blog eventually. My last challenge before submitting them was giving them titles. I’ve no idea if the title matters. Will a romantically-named image stand a better chance of winning than “three droopy flags”?


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