Through My Lens: My Submissions and Success in the 2022 IFWTWA Photo Contest

Having participated in one photo contest, I expanded my number of photo contest submissions for this year and entered again. When looking for photos for the contest, I relied on the power of visual storytelling. 

I asked myself what the story behind each story was for me and what I thought others might see in the photo. Did they stand on their own or would they require an explanation? 

There are a couple that someone might look at and just see a nice photo but there are stories to be told with all photos I chose.

Here are those stories. At the end, I will tell you which photos were the winners in the contest. I did bring home a bronze medal and two honorable mentions.

IFWTWA Photo Contest Submissions

Night: Fairmont Empress, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada 

Fairmont Empress hotel in Victoria, BC

We were on a trip to Victoria, British Columbia in early March of 2020. The water in the harbour was so still that the reflection of The Fairmont Empress Hotel was picture-perfect. Built in the early 1900s and named after Queen Victoria the hotel is often called Canada’s Castle on the Coast. The hotel has been serving high tea since 1908. 

As I was looking for my photo contest submissions, I looked for photos that tell a story to me and hopefully the viewer. In this case not only was the hotel looking spectacular in the still water, but only a week later everything in the world became turbulent.

Food: Mexican Meal Fixings 

Mexican meal photo content submission

People take photos of food A LOT! Me included. Looking back on food photos reminds you of fun events, who you were with or a reminder of a particularly good meal.

In this photo, the sour cream, salsa, colorful red and orange peppers along with bright and vibrant, zesty limes compliment a weekend Mexican meal. The plate they are served on highlights the colours I associate with Mexico. Delicioso!

Urban Landscape: Kingston Penitentiary 

Kingston Penitentiary photo submission to IFWTWA contest

There is a fascination with visiting the world’s decommissioned prisons and prison museums. Kingston Penitentiary, located in Kingston, Ontario, Canada is one of those. 

Known locally as KP, the prison opened in 1835 and closed on September 30, 2013. In October 2013, public tours started. It isn’t just visitors from out of town that want to visit, but those that live in the area are keen to see just what had been hiding behind those impressive limestone walls.

Up until the time of its closure, because of aging infrastructure, it was one of the world’s oldest prisons in continuous use. It has housed some of Canada’s most notorious inmates. 

This photo was taken on our third tour of the prison. We see different things and hear unique stories each time we go.

Urban Landscape: Relaxation Yurt

Relaxation yurt in Nordik spa

You can find spas all over the world. The Nordik Spa-Nature is in Chelsea, Quebec, Canada. It may be the largest spa in North America, but the way it’s set up you don’t feel crowded and are able to experience pure relaxation.

This yurt is one of several resting places at the spa. This resting place is perfect after you have visited one of the 10 distinctive outdoor baths. We went in the month of December. There was snow on the ground and a nip in the air, but we were cozy, warm, and relaxed in this yurt.

Landscape: Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa

Table Mountain

In November of 2021, we took a long-awaited trip to South Africa. On the day this photo was taken, we were enjoying a clear view of Table Mountain from the beach in front of our hotel. Table Mountain is often shrouded in clouds which many say looks like a tablecloth.

Of course, the requisite gulls were making their presence known, hoping we might have something for them to eat. It wasn’t until after I took the photo that I realized that one of the gulls had lined itself up perfectly with the notch in the mountain. 

Landscape: Low Tide at Margaretsville, Nova Scotia

Low tide photo contest submssions

The east coast of Canada has the largest tides in the world. Here in the small village of Margaretsville, Nova Scotia, (POP 215) the lives of the residents are dictated by the rise and fall of the waters, in the Bay of Fundy.

This photo was taken early one morning as I took a walk around the village. It was as quiet and serene as the picture I took.

Nature: Giraffe at Songimvelo Game Reserve, South Africa

Image of a giraffe with trees

Participating in a safari has always been a dream of ours. We were lucky enough to spend 5 days on safari in the Songimvelo Game Reserve in South Africa. Giraffes were abundant and often quite curious about us.

This photo stood out amongst the ones we took because of the perspective of the giraffe being taller than the trees and appearing to be taller than the mountain in the distance. 

The link below has our published photo essay from our trip to South Africa.

Nature: Waterbuck

Photo contest submission image of a waterbuck

While on safari, you usually go out on a game drive in the early morning, then later in the afternoon or evening. You are more likely to see the animals being active because it isn’t as hot. On this morning, we were on an early morning game drive in the Songimvelo Game Reserve in South Africa. 

It was an unusually foggy morning. Our safari jeep moved slowly through the dense fog. Off to the right of our jeep, I noticed a waterbuck standing very still watching us. The fog surrounding him made it look like a painting.

Wine and Spirits: Vineyard Sign

Sign at a vineyard

Blomidon Estate Winery is located near Canning, Nova Scotia. It’s in the Annapolis Valley and overlooks the Minas Basin which is part of the Bay of Fundy. It has a unique micro-climate for growing grapes. This stop was one of four on our winery tour with Magic Winery Bus

We enjoyed tasting some delicious Nova Scotia wines and wandering around the vineyard. This grape varietal sign at the end of a row of vines caught my eye.

Wine and Spirits: Picnic Time

Outdoor picnic in the park

I submitted this photo because of the smile it put on my face. It was still winter here when I was looking through photos for the photo contest. This one looked so inviting. We enjoyed good conversation along with the wine and food. It had been a long winter and to be able to sit outside and share this small feast was a true blessing.

Photo Contest Submission Winners

And the winners are…

My photo of the Fairmont Empress Hotel in the Night category was awarded a bronze medal. My photo of the yurt was given an honorable mention in the Urban Landscape category. Finally, my photo of the Mexican Meal Fixings earned an honorable mention in the Food category. 

With photography contests there is a list of technical judging criteria but as in all art forms there is a huge element of subjectivity. What I like the most about these types of photo contests is seeing what others have captured through their lens. 

If you would like to read about my first photo contest click below.

To view the IFWTWA 2022 Photography Contest Highlights on FWT Magazine, click below.