Every year, in the quiet period between summer and winter wedding seasons, Karen and I try to get away for a week to relax and unwind and switch off. We always try to aim for September as this coincides nicely with our wedding anniversary. However, hidden somewhere in the need for us both to relax and unwind, is the deep desire to win our now famous photo competition!
Yes, we chill on holiday by trying to out do each other at photography. There is no room for second place in this competition, it is all about winning! We are both very competitive people, there is no sympathy shown in this, it is tough, the winner will laugh at the loser, the loser will sulk in the corner, we both accept this.
There is no prize for coming first and winning the competition; the winner does however have the right to feel smug and superior for a year until the next comp. The forfeit for losing though, is a rather unflattering t-shirt emblazoned with the wording ‘#loser’. This t-shirt must be worn in public, on the last day of the holiday while out and about eating breakfast. Believe me, neither of us want this.
The rules are simple… each day we both photograph, edit and enter an image, Karen uploads the two competing images to her Facebook page, and her friends can comment on the image they think is the best. The result is announced in the morning and the winner of each day gets to pick the next topic. Best of 5 wins the week and the glory.
This competition started about six years ago when we had our winter break in Polperro, Cornwall. We’ve now done the same in Yorkshire, Tenby, Bath, Stonehaven and most recently in Brixham, a lovely fishing harbour town in Torbay, Devon.
A typical day will probably go something like this…
We agree the topic of the day and go out at about 09:30 for an hour. That hour is tough, we go our separate ways and wander around looking for inspiration, getting creative with the place we are in. In that hour we are trying to second guess what the other will do and try to get three or four options.
Returning back to the laptops, we download and sit opposite each other, peering over the laptop screens but hiding our images and keeping our poker faces straight (even if inside we are terrified that we have nothing to work with). After some tinkering in Photoshop, we pick our images and I hand over my image to Karen. We see each others final choice for the first time and at this point we often know exactly who is going to win or if it is going to be a close call.
Images are uploaded to Karen’s Facebook and the nerves kick in!
When we first started six years ago, we would be lucky to get 80 votes between us. A winning image could get about 50 votes. The popularity of the competition has now surged and this year we would easily get 350+ votes; a winning image can easily receive 200 votes.
This year was in Brixham and this is how it went day by day…
The topic was “Brixham Harbour!
1-0 to Neil. An easy win. Victories like this are often decided after 30 minutes of voting. Karen was feeling a little deflated!
I chose “Close Up” as the topic.
Karen wins, taking the score to 1-1. This was an extremely narrow win for Karen. Days like this are spent on Facebook, refreshing the feed, checking scores and hoping someone votes for you. This day was so close we both ran out of phone battery with the constant checking.
Karen won day two so she chose “Black and White”
Another victory for me, 2-1 to Neil. Karen was getting worried! She was refusing to even contemplate wearing the #loser t-shirt.
I only needed to win today to secure the competition. I chose “Colour”.
A landslide win for Karen, bringing the competition level at 2-2 with everything to play for on the 5th and final day.
This was a classic example of how our competitions work. Karen will probably call this sour grapes, but this is the truth. Whenever Karen is in trouble in the competition, she will pull out the pretty flower image – this seems to appeal massively to Karen’s friends who are the Facebook jury. Regardless of which one was actually the better image and which one (mine!) fitted the brief better, you have to accept the score and move on.
Day Five – the decider!
Karen won day four and chose “Weathered” after polling Facebook.
Karen wins 3-2. This proved to be such a difficult choice for the voters. People had to spend the day pondering, asking for input from family and even at one point, changing votes, but in the end, I have to give it to Karen, her Stone and Twine (known as Salmon and Broccoli) won over my weathered, rusty and crusty boat.
Karen felt smug, she was smiling and I had to wear the t-shirt and go for breakfast.
I won’t let this happen next year Karen!
Every now and again, we take an image for the competition that we love so much, we decide to print it and hang it in our home. This year, we have chosen my Black and White winning image. The fog was lying heavy and thick over the harbour, it was difficult to see any boats, but one lonely boat sailed into view…
Until next time.