Where do I begin...
This year has had so many milestones, starting with the Pet Photography retreat I attended in Costa Rica this past January. It was a birthday present to myself that keeps on giving, and this past weekend was no exception.
I got back into my photography in 2013 after a 10-year hiatus and ended up joining the PPOC (Professional Photographers of Canada) in 2015. I was Accredited in my photographic field of ‘Animal Sporting Events’ in 2016, and this year decided to push my photographic skills to the next level and enter my first Image Salon - a competition among fellow professional photographers.
If anything, I was hoping the 4 images we were allocated to submit weren't all rejected. I know and appreciate how tough this competition is! Never, ever.... did I expect the type of recognition I received this past weekend. Not only were 3 of my 4 images accepted to be a part of the show, but I was awarded a Merit status for 2 of my images, and an Excellence for the other! The highest an image can receive. Holy cow!! My pets thought I was nuts doing a happy dance and screaming as I was watching the online judging. Far beyond what I ever could have expected. And it didn't end there.
At the awards banquet, there were Category image winners still to be announced, as well as six 'Judge's Choice' awards. My 3 images were nominated 4 times in 3 categories, and ‘Sunset PupParazzi’ ended up winning the Best Portrait Award! WHAT!! And if that wasn't enough, my 3 images also received four of the Judge's Choice ribbons! I am still pinching myself.
If this isn't enough to make me realize I have something to offer as a photographer, nothing will. In the past 2 years, I have improved exponentially through extended training and guidance from the PPOC’s incredibly helpful and superbly talented members. These people are the best-of-the-best in the field of photography! I can not thank the PPOC enough for believing in me and guiding me achieve what I never dreamed possible.
Special thank you to Marlene Fast who got me involved with the PPOC in the first place; Brian Lee who worked with me to add the 'Animal Sporting Event' category so I could be Accredited in my chosen field of photography; to Cheryl Struss for her expertise and suggestions over the years and how to prepare for an Image Salon; and to Bruce Hendricks and Fred Elcheshen for an extremely informative Image Critique night that I recommend to any new and evolving members of the PPOC. Fred, your suggestion to enter the ‘Sunset PupParazzi’ photo into an Image Salon is why I entered. Thank you for the vote of confidence.
And thank you to everyone who put on a fantastic conference. The amount of work you do does not go unrecognized. And congratulations to all the entrants and Image Salon winners. The amount of talent we have in the organization is phenomenal!