The 2017 Sigma D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year competition is now open for entries, and we'll be catching up with our final category winners from the 2016 competition during this year's event. In this instalment, we talk to the winner of the 2016 Travel category, Shelley Eccleton, about what she's been working on since her win last year.
D-Photo: What made you decide to enter the 2016 Sigma D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year competition?
Shelley Eccleton: Photography is a massive passion of mine, and I thought this competition would be awesome to enter to see if my image was good enough to win some great gear!
What was it like to have such a positive outcome in winning your category of the competition?
I was buzzing! It gave me the confidence to take my photography to the next level and invest in some more equipment!
Can you tell us the story behind your winning image?
I was standing, taking photos of the pyramids at Giza (in Egypt), and I wanted to capture the whole scene as it is so different to how I had pictured it before visiting the great pyramids. It wasn't in the middle of a desert, but next to a big city (Cario), with so many locals trying to make money off the tourists. I love taking photographs with people as the main subjects, so the camel riders drew my attention. I loved how the photo captured the three camel riders taking a break from giving tourists rides to chat, with Cairo in the background.
What gear did you use to capture your image? Are you using the same gear now or have you changed your preferred equipment?
It was on my old Sony camera. I have now upgraded to a Canon 5D with loads of lenses!
What projects are you currently working on at the moment? Can you provide a bit of an explanation about what inspired you to work on this or these?
I am currently getting ready to take a dance company’s fundraising photos of all their wee preschoolers in action (about 550 students in total). I just love capturing moments, rather than creating them, so this is a perfect fit for me. The preschoolers' expressions of concentration, enjoyment, and love for their teachers is so rewarding.
What inspired you to pick up a camera for the first time, and how long have you been shooting?
I have always had a fascination with photography from a young age, and I started to upgrade from point-and-shoot to actually taking photos about two years ago when I joined a photography night class. At first it was to capture my wee family, as I know this stage in life is so short, and it's important to me to capture this for us to all look back on. I am now getting so much enjoyment out of capturing moments for other families, so they too can look back on them in years to come.
What would you say to someone considering entering the competition, but who are a little hesitant in clicking the ‘submit’ button?
Why not?! It's an awesome way to take that step and share your photos with others.