As a member of the Los Gatos Saratoga Camera Club, I have the opportunity to submit two images a month to a competition. The club hires an outside judge—a person not only trained in judging but who also has some serious credentials as a photographer. That person gets about one minute to provide a critique of each image. After reviewing the images, the judge deliberates and then designates awards for images in each of the categories for that competition. Two categories are fixed: monochrome and color pictorial. Two other categories rotate from this list: photojournalism, travel, nature, and creative.
Each category has its own rules. For example, the maker can not add nor subtract anything from a photojournalistic or nature image. Further, nature images cannot show "the hand of humans." For example, images of birds at a hummingbird feeder would not qualify as nature. They would, however, be acceptable in color pictorial. However, it's my observation that landscapes and people portraits fare much better in color pictorial.
This year, I participated 11 out of 12 months, which means that I submitted 22 images. Of those, 7 were given awards. The winners from 2021 and prior years are in the Winner section of my website. (The image above is a winner from a previous year. Travel category. Two shopkeepers in Morocco.)
I am also a member of the Photographic Society of America, where I participate in a monochrome "digital dialogue" group. Its seven members post one image a month and then discuss each, providing praise as well as helpful suggestions. Although we are allowed to take a month or two off, I submitted one image per month. I find the feedback quite helpful and feel that I am improving.
The Los Gatos Saratoga Camera Club in partnership with the Addison-Penzak JCC, held a virtual exhibit in 2021. Normally there would be a physical exhibit at the JCC, but given the pandemic we went online. I had three images presented there. Although the exhibit is closed, I was part of the docent-guided online tour, which is available on YouTube.
The local chapter of the American Association of University Women invited me to give a presentation to their armchair travelers group about my 2019 trip to The Northwest Passage. I was able to show more than 100 of my images and talk about the history and current culture of the area. I've been invited back later in 2022 to talk about the Great Bear Rainforest.
Photography has been a constant in my life this year. Besides the formal activities I've discussed, I have taken thousands of photographs this year on the numerous trips I took. I also snap a few images a day when I see something interesting. I look forward to continuing my photographic activities and improving my craft.