The Highland Challenge is an annual competition organised and run by Camera Clubs based in the North Highlands and Islands of Scotland. It has been running since 1999 and is now held in the Spring of each year. The number of clubs involved fluctuates depending on the number, status and aspirations of the individual clubs currently within the Northern Area. Participating clubs at the event in 2015 were from Islesburgh (Shetland); Thurso; East Sutherland; Scourie; Dingwall; Inverness; Nairn and of course Cromarty which demonstrates the breadth of experience and interest in photography within the geographical area. For 2016, Kiltarlity have intimated they will participate in the competition.
Entry into the Highland Challenge competition is totally voluntary. The rules relating to the competition are agreed by individual Club representatives, sitting on a Highland Challenge Committee that meets on an ongoing basis to discuss and resolve issues pertinent to the competition. The representatives from Cromarty Camera Club are usually, but not restricted to, those office bearers of Chairman and Secretary although this could change if agreed by the Club Committee. Feedback is provided by the Chairman at Club meetings.
The theme of image submitted by individual clubs is open and can relate to any photographic genre, such as; landscape, portrait, natural history, macro, etc. Each club must submit ten images and these can either be in digital or printed form and in a colour or monochrome medium. It is up to each club entering, as to the format and media mixture of their submission of ten images.
While this is an inter-club competition, and the total score of each participating club is arrived at by the sum total of the score awarded to each of their ten submitted images, there is also a prize awarded to those individual club members whose image is deemed the best in the following categories:- Monochrome Print, Colour Print, Monochrome Projected Image, Colour Projected Image.
THE CLUB SELECTION PROCESS
Each club participating in the Competition will apply their own selection process relating to the determination of the ten images making up their entry. There are no Competition rules imposed on participating clubs as how this should be undertaken, only Competition rules relating to image size, etc. The images submitted shall be presented so that the author’s identity is unknown. One important Competition Rule applies a limit to the number of images entered by any individual, depending on the size of the club. For clubs with up to, and including, 20 members the limit is 3; and for larger clubs with 21 and more members the limit is 2.
CROMARTY CAMERA CLUB PROCESS
Just as club participation within the competition is voluntary, so is individual Members’ participation within the Club’s submission. It is, however, hoped and encouraged that as many Members will submit images to the selection process, as the final ten images determined for our entry submission will benefit from a greater number and depth of quality to choose from. The more the merrier!
Our Club selection process shall consist of progressive stages to arrive at the ten selected images, and are:
Step One: Each Club Member who decides to submit images for evaluation and selection may submit up to a maximum of five (5) images in digital (JPG or TIFF) format, properly sized (1400 pixels wide x 1050 pixels high) in the sRGB colour space, as for Club competitions, relating to any topic, and in mono or colour. While the process under step one is by digital format, it may be that the author of the submitted image has a preference regarding print or digital presentation for their image. This preference shall be adequately covered in the next stage, so at this stage the image submitted should be formatted and developed for digital presentation.
In addition to the above provision the top five scoring images from each competition over the previous twelve months shall automatically be included within this selection pool, subject at all times to any other selection criteria or rule.
Members shall submit their images to the nominated person by the allocated date for submission, and these images shall be presented for Club selection at one of our Club meetings. Each Member present at this Club-night shall choose their preferred “first twenty” images that they think are of the best quality, in all aspects, to represent the Club in the Highland Challenge. Appropriate forms shall be issued on the night for the selection process. In this selection process it is permissible for each image author to select their own image to proceed to the First Twenty.
The results of this first step shall be made known to Club Members as soon as possible after the event. The Club Committee retain the right to subsequently evaluate the selected images and may remove or add images from the First Twenty, but only in order to improve the Club’s chances of success in the competition. The reason for additions and deletions to the First Twenty shall be explained to Club Members. For example:- if eighteen out of the twenty selected images are portraits then this would seriously hamper the Club’s chances of success in the competition; or, if one Club Member had five images chosen which is in breach of competition rules. There needs to be a broad spread of genres across the final quality images chosen.
Step Two: At a further Club meeting, Members shall, through open discussion, evaluation and critique, and by a show of hands determine which images should progress through to the “final ten”. At this stage, those images which have been selected shall be presented to Members in both printed and digital media. Members should be prepared and able to present their images in both these media. Part of this step will also be to determine whether or not the image would be better submitted to the competition in a printed or digital medium. However, ultimately, the author’s preference shall take precedence.
Again, as in Step One, the Club Committee retain the right to subsequently evaluate the selected images and may remove or add images from the Final Ten, but only in order to improve the Club’s chances of success in the Competition. The Club Committee also retain the right to discuss appropriate alterations to the image with the image’s author in order to enhance the image prior to submission in the Competition. The Club Committee may also take the decision to have printed submissions professionally produced at the Club’s expense.
The Final Ten images presented as the Cromarty Camera Club’s submission to The Highland Challenge shall be made known to Club Members as soon as possible after Step Two has taken place.
The above process aims to ensure a mixture of democratic input with objective and strategic evaluations in order to maximise the Club’s chances of success in the Highland Challenge as well as continuing to promote the Cromarty Camera Club as being the Camera Club to be a part of.
This process will evolve on an ongoing basis to best meet the challenge of taking part in a major competition.