At some time, most aspiring photographers receive the standard advice to “join a local camera club”. For many years work-related travel stopped me from regularly attending meetings at my local camera club. Retirement removed that impediment but somehow, the thought of turning out in the evening just doesn’t appeal these days. Besides, for the past eight months (and perhaps for the immediate future), COVID-19 has cancelled most in-person camera club meetings. But, all is not lost. The internet abounds with video tutorials on just about every topic of interest and there are photographic sites that display images, encourage development through competitions, allow critiques, and offer forums where experts will answer every question and offer advice on even the most obscure problem. Most are free (only a sign-up is usually required) but many offer a “membership” for a small or nominal fee that brings additional options. I subscribe to ePHOTOzine.
ePHOTOzine is a website based out of the UK and claims to reach over 1.6 million photographers. I have been visiting the site for the past thirteen years and actively participating and submitting photographs since early 2015. Like many interesting and well run sites, this one can become addictive. Not only is there a new collection of photographs to peruse each day and critique or comment if the spirit moves, but there are always reviews, questions, remarks and commentary in the forum sections to waste the hours and provide an alternative to other social media.
While the ePHOTOzine site is managed out of UK, the members and visitors are worldwide. And, if the participants are largely male who seem to enjoy steam trains, aircraft and classic female nudes, there is a strong and talented female contingent to ensure balance. In fact, the invitation at the introduction to the photo gallery really is true: “Become a part of one of the friendliest photo sharing communities online. Share your photos to show-off, improve and discuss your photography, as well as get free critique on your photography. Or simply browse amazing photographs from around the world, uploaded by ePHOTOzine users.”
Photographs submitted to the site can be viewed by visitors. Those who have joined the site can express their opinion in a comment and if moved, add a vote or an award for excellence. Those votes and awards are coveted by the photographers – they are a sign of approval from fellow photographers and a visible sign of merit. Should a photograph gain 30 votes, then it acquires a “Readers’ Choice” award. This is obviously an extra ego boost for the photographer and also an indication that the subject/style is one that the “audience” appreciates. This gallery is a collection of my photos that have gained that elusive Readers’ Choice award. Like every other photographer, I only upload photos that I think are great. Yet, some strike a chord with others while others sink into oblivion. I am still trying to work out why. 🙂
Each of my photos in this gallery received over 30 votes. The one of the chemical plant gained 66. I am surprised and rather proud of that, but am humbled by the knowledge that the most popular photo on ePHOTOzine gained 760 votes. And, being a British site, it is probably not a real surprise that that photo is a shot of a black Labrador dog!
*Baker’s Dozen. For the observant who noticed that this gallery has thirteen images. In medieval England the law linked the price of bread to the price of the wheat used to make it. Bakers who were found to be cheating their customers by overpricing undersized loaves could be fined or flogged. Even with care it was difficult to ensure that all loves were the proper size and weight, especially as many bakers didn’t have accurate (or any) scales to weigh their dough. For fear of accidentally coming up short, they would throw in an extra loaf to ensure that they would not be guilty of short-changing a customer and end up with a flogging.