Thursday, April 5, 2012

Denied by BBC Veolia Contest

I know this is gonna sound like sour grapes, but I was just appalled to find out that the two images I entered into the king of nature photography contests did not even make the first cut. I felt these two were perhaps the most contest-appropriate images that I have ever produced. Past years have shown that most people with a heartbeat make the first cut. And although I am not bold enough to think I had this one nailed, I was fairly certain that I would not be denied their equivalent to a "Thanks For Participating" certificate. Here are the two images:

A common poorwill does not have the ability to swallow. As such, it much eat and drink on the wing so as to benefit from the relative velocity due to its forward motion. The pond is a common source of water for bats but the poorwill flying through was a chance occurrence. Photographed with a Nikon D3, 300mm f2.8, Phototrap infrared tripwire system, two Nikon SB-800 flashes, Microflash Pro flash for back-lighting
(entered into Birds: Behavior)

The widows were in huge numbers in AZ during June of 2011 and their nightly ritual was to exit holes in various structures and descend downwards to the hunting zone of their w
ebs. The webs were usually based around a small hole or crevice in man-made structures. Lining up an abandoned desert structure with a quintessential-looking saguaro cactus was tricky.
D300, 35mm f2.0, 2 flashes (entered into Animals in Their Environment)

Addendum: As I type this brief blog entry, an email arrives asking for yet another free corporate usage of one of my basilisk images (the lizard that runs on water; actually running on water in the photo). Although this image cost me thousands of dollars to produce, the email is just another sign of the times and it disturbs me to say that my passion for creating wildlife imagery has followed the world's perceived value for such things: $0


  1. Hi Scott,
    I feel your pain. Photo judges are different the world over, and their views at best subjective. I have been on both ends - a tack-sharp hummingbird, frozen with high speed flash, sipping at a small water fountain didn't make the cut in a comp where the winning image was an awfully soft monarch butterfly sitting on a flower (Novel idea...). I have been on the other end too - I won a prestigious digital art competition with an image of a smoke plume that was subsequently 'shopped' for about 5 minutes - 10 minutes total work. Sigh.....
    Gorgeous work though, as always. Roy Dunn (we met at Nanpa - I was with Paul DeZ.)

  2. Both images are well thought out, well executed and spectacular. I can't imagine what anyone was thinking.

  3. I can tell you what the judges were thinking, they wanted romance, true stomach turning romance, the very thing that the rest of us are sick and tired of, judges always want it and Corporations always want a free ride. No wonder you are so irritated with the world, you do all of the work and they want all of the use out of it, you prime the pump; they drink the water: Go to, tell him (John) that we need to give your amazing images to the world in such a way that they will Pay Pay Pay! Money, Money, and more Money! (Seriously tell John that I hand picked you for his store: he is a very 'conscious' businessman, the heck with idiot judges and stupid corporate types!) -Nancy

  4. Scott,your images are jaw dropping good - your technique and dedication to getting the shots is incredible - outstanding - just a joyous miracle for us to enjoy! It is beyond me that judges did this to you - but then be honest - maybe there is some serious jealousy regarding your work which really is in a league all of its own! You blow competition right out of the water! Keep up the amazing work !