Charity Print Competition



People have asked me what my expectations are for this charity print competition…….. I have to say that I don’t think its going to break any records LOL.

If 50 people enter then it will raise £500 for the charity – which runs, in the main, on donations given by extremely kind and caring people and I am sure that any amount of money will be gratefully received.

If you are part of a camera club – please remind everyone about the comp and if you would share the link I would be most grateful.

A different print competition for people who want to make a difference

Thanks in anticipation

Log onto the Butterflysmind website   -start with a www  and end with a .com

Charity Print Competition



I am organising a charity print competition with a difference

All the information is on my Butterflys Mind  website – unfortunately this WordPress website won’t allow links to other websites.

Please type in Butterflys Mind into your browser and you will find me there.

Butterflys Mind is my website for workshops, tutorials and charity events etc

I would be so grateful if you would spread the word to your photographic friends and at your club (if you belong to one).

The Charity,  which is St. Rocco’s Hospice, Warrington, Cheshire does fantastic work and depends on peoples kind donations for them to provide comfort to those most in need

I hope you can help make a difference .

The closing date is Saturday 6th April 2019.



I started my blog recounting the tale of my first teetering steps into the fabulous world of photographic competitions (see Notes From the Disillusioned).

I had begun to learn more about my camera by trial and error. After taking the picture I would look at the results but not have a clue as to what I had done wrong, so it was a huge learning curve working out how to rectify my mistakes. Even today, 10 years on, I still make those mistakes but I immediately know what I did wrong and can sort the error out more quickly.

So for the first few months my images (and therefore the pictures I sent off to competitions) were straight shots and I was quite happy with that. Then a good friend (Malcom from WPS – who sadly passed away a few weeks ago) introduced me to something that would change my photographic life …….. PHOTOSHOP. I had no idea how to use it, so again it was a long slow slog trying to find my way round that piece of software………. and I am so glad that I did persevere.

Now I was able to start pushing and blurring the boundaries where photography and conventional painting overlapped. I wanted to produce images that, on first sight, looked like a painting. I wanted to produce something “a bit different”. So I continued to digitally doodle until I had the desired effect. I found that I could do more with pixels than I could with a paint brush and canvas – I was so excited. Sometimes I would work on a picture for hours and hours and almost reach the end and then the computer would crash and I would lose everything and have to start over again…… I learned a lot from that…. save, save, save (and eventually get a MAC). But I was getting close to achieving my goal of blurring those boundaries and I was loving the process.

I didn’t have anyone to ask, people closely guarded their “secrets’. Their thoughts were “why should I share my knowledge with anyone else, I had to learn how to do it” AND (more importantly – to them) “If I share my “secrets” they might beat me in a competition” . Unfortunately I listened, in innocence, to someone who gave me some advice, which got me into some very hot water, but again I learned a lesson, and it was a VERY hard lesson to learn.

I made my first textures by scribbling on paper with various colours of pastel chalks and then overlaid a picture of 2 mackerel to make, what I considered to be a painterly picture. I entered it into a few competitions and it did well and eventually was chosen to go into the LCPU Annual Exhibition in Liverpool – unfortunately in the exhibition it was hung upside down……. oh well you can’t win ‘em all ! But this was my first textured painterly image and I was hooked.

I knew where I wanted to go with my photography and it was definitely in the painterly direction – there were going to be lots of bumps in the road……. but that’s another story.

Notes From The Disillusioned

Having bought a digital camera in 2007 I joined a local photographic society and quickly became aware that there was a monthly competition for the members. Woo Hoo!!

After watching for a few months what happened during the judging process  I decided, towards the end of the season, to dip my toe in the water and enter the comp.  So I carefully selected 3 pictures which I submitted into the digital section with high hopes of success. 

I have always been arty (although I have not had any formal art school training) so I thought that my pictures would blow the judges mind and he would shower my images with praise.

You know this is going to end badly don’t you?

To say that the judged savaged my pictures is an understatement. He wrongly guessed what the subject matter of my first picture actually was. It was in fact columns reflected in the water at the Albert Dock, Liverpool but he thought it was a picture of cricket stumps reflected in a puddle. He suggested that it would have scored more points if he could have seen the bales or the bottom of the cricket bat in the puddle !!!   I sat in stunned silence wondering whether if it would be the wrong thing to do to stand up and say what it actually was….. I decided not to say anything.

The second picture depicted two gentleman deep in conversation on a beach with a  little dog who, as far as I was concerned, was the focal point of the picture. The judge said that he liked the interaction of the two men but thought it would be better without the dog………. The dog WAS the whole point of the picture – why couldn’t he see that??  I shook my head in disbelief but knew my final picture was probably my best shot at getting a higher score.

The last picture, which was a line of row boats on a dock, elicited the following comment from the judge, and I quote.. “ why the photographer took their camera out on this occasion is beyond me. It is probably the worst picture I have had the misfortune to judge”.

I was crest fallen. My hopes for a set of high scores was shot down in flames BUT I have to say that I needed to be brought down to earth- I needed that brutal but honest set of scathing remarks, they made me more determined to get better. Had I received a good set of marks and nice comments I would have sat back and not tried to improve.

The judges comments made me realised that if I wanted to do well in competitions I would have to learn more about photographic techniques and about what judges look for when they were scoring the various pictures.

So that was my baptism of fire and I had taken my first steps in the wonderful and somewhat exasperating world of competitive photography.

I was yet to discover Photoshop…. that pleasure came much later and is another story.

Picture Published On – woo hoo

So why do am I ALWAYS thrilled to have a picture published on

Firstly only 5% of the thousands of images uploaded are chosen to be published

The images are chosen by a team of international judges who don’t know me personally or what I have produced before

The images chosen to be published don’t always adhere to what some would consider “the rules” of photography – Hurrah

If you haven’t looked at‘s site have a quick look now

Why don’t you try uploading one of your own pictures to see if you can be one of the 5% who get published




I woke up this morning at 5am and decided that I would start a blog about my experiences – good and bad – relating to my involvement (for the last 10 or so years) in the wonderful world of photography and photographic competitions.  

Recently I have commented via Facebook on a couple of photo related competitions and had a tremendous amount of feedback about those “blogs”. Most of the comments came as private messages because the senders felt “too scared” (their words not mine) to post it on the thread “for all to see” and I have to admit I have been really saddened by this fact. Why do people feel so intimidated ? Why are they so reluctant to leave a comment?  Are they frightened of reprisals or feel that a mark will be put against their name as a trouble maker or moaner?

I have met some fabulous people who are now some of my closest friends and who I would never have met unless I had bought a camera and entered competitions, I am so thankful that they came into my life. I have  also had the misfortune to cross the path of  some of the most mean spirited and some would say, vindictive people in the photographic world … but luckily these days I never need to engage with them very often, if at all… phew.

So now that I have finished my quest for photographic distinctions and have nothing to lose (unless the powers that be decide to rip the badge off my blouse and tear up my certificate and stamp on it)  I feel that I can share my views with you. 

To be honest it was  a struggle in the beginning of my photographic comping quest,  I made a lot of mistakes – (more of that later) and I hope on reading my blog regarding my gaffs you might learn from it and not make that mistake yourself.  The struggle still continues….. but for a different set of reasons.  I have started asking questions now on behalf of others who are reluctant to seek  clarification regarding rules and regulations that are either not transparent or somewhat sketchy .

So,  I feel its time to relate my personal experiences and I hope you will come along for the ride. I promise there will be lots of highs and an equal amount of lows and perhaps I might entertain you along the way, at least for a for a little while.

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First Sneak Peek from My Latest Studio Shoot

So, here is a sneak preview of one of my new studio based images from last weeks shoot -It is just a small part of a larger portrait.

The other portraits are very much “themed” based and owe much of their impact to the various costumes worn by the model – I will upload some more in the coming days/weeks.

These pictures celebrate my return to ‘proper” photography and sees me right back were I started, in a studio photographing amazing people.