The results of the first round of our prestigious Amateur Photographer of the Year competition are in! Here are the top ten images uploaded to Photocrowd from APOY Round One, Black & White, with comments by the AP team and our guest judge.

Congratulations to Paula Green, who has come in first place with an atmospheric image of Christ the Redeemer taken from Sugar Loaf Mountain. Paula wins a one-year subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud ‘All Apps’ plan (worth £660) and a £500 voucher to spend at Camera Centre UK. The winner of the Black & White Young APOY round, Kaung Khant Thaw, will receive a one-year subscription to the Adobe Photography plan (worth £120)

Black & white is always a great way to kick off APOY as it brings out the creativity in everyone, and the sheer variety of entries, not to mention the high quality, never fails to impress the judges. There’s a certain freedom to shooting in black & white, as it allows the photographer to concentrate on shape and form without worrying about the potential distraction of clashing colours. As a result, the viewer ends up being drawn into the story of the image, be that dramatic, subtle, or something else entirely. The images in the top ten, all caught the judges’ attention for a variety of reasons. Have a read of their comments and see whether you agree…

Round One Black & White results

Winner APOY Black & White – Paula Green, UK 100pts

Canon PowerShot SX610 HS, 73mm, 1/640sec at f/6.3, ISO 80

christ the redeemer black and white moody cloudy scene takes top spot in apoy first round
Image: Paula Green

Paula says, ‘Taken from Sugar Loaf Mountain, which was bathed in sunshine, Corcovado was shrouded in cloud all day, except for a brief few minutes in the mid afternoon when the clouds parted perfectly.’

The way Christ the Redeemer appears to be floating on air gives this fabulous image a wonderful symbolism. There’s a gorgeous range of tones within this image and the statue being in silhouette makes it all the more powerful. This iconic statue in Rio has been shot more times than anyone can possibly count, but this image really stands out. The dramatic clouds perfectly suit the subject matter and the image is beautifully composed and edited. It must have been divine inspiration!

2. Colin Griffiths, Jersey 90pts

Nikon D800, 50mm, 1/100sec at f/9, ISO 50

Taken in Bilbao, high contrast scene of a Louise Bourgeois spider sculpture second place apoy black and white
Image: Colin Griffiths

The strong contrast between light and shadow is immediately arresting in this image, taken in Bilbao. Meanwhile the angle of view makes the people look tiny and the Louise Bourgeois sculpture menacing, almost as if it’s a scene from a sci-fi movie. This is the sort of picture that really can only be shot with black & white in mind. In colour, all the impact would be diluted, if not lost altogether.

3. Peyman Naderi, UK 80pts

Sony A7R Mark III, 100mm, 1/160sec at f/11, ISO 50

soft and low contrast portrait of a woman showing profile and highlight on collarbone
Image: Peyman Naderi

There is something of the Julia Margaret Cameron’s about this gorgeously subtle portrait. The softness and low contrast introduces a certain dreaminess, while the light and shade is simply stunning, especially in the way it highlights the model’s profile and collarbone. Peyman has broken the rules of portraiture by not making the eye the focal point of the frame, but this only adds to the mysteriousness.

4. Gary Hunter, US 70pts

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, 100-400mm at 164mm +1.4x III, 1/640sec at f/8, ISO 100

hilly desert scene in black and white with lone tree in the foreground
Image: Gary Hunter

There’s a lyricism to the folds and sweeps in the hillside here that almost gives the image a sense of musicality. We feel as if we are following a rhythm as our eye travels through the scene. The whole thing is wonderfully atmospheric, not only because of the cold but also because of the lack of human interference. There’s not a footprint to be seen. The delineation between the top of the hill and the clouds is spot on, which adds depth, while the tree appearing on the thirds is well placed, almost like a full stop.

5. Lynn Fraser, UK 60pts

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, 50mm, 1/60sec at f/2.8, ISO 400

portrait of a girl from the The Suri tribe of the Omo Valley, Ethiopia. Who are renowned for their face painting, but this girl chose to remain unadorned which let her natural beauty shine
Image: Lynn Fraser

Another portrait that demonstrates that less is often more when it comes to photographing people. As Lynn says, ‘The Suri tribe of the Omo Valley, Ethiopia, are renowned for their face painting, but this girl chose to remain unadorned which let her natural beauty shine.’ Lynn’s approach only serves to highlight this. Photographing the girl in a three-quarter profile, with the light picking out her delicate features, means we can appreciate her as a person. It’s about her, and not necessarily the ear adornment or the scarification.

6. Steve Banner, UK 50pts

Canon EOS R5, 50mm, 1/800sec at f/7.1, ISO 400

white horse close up portrait in black and white entered to apoy competition
Image: Steve Banner

A strong sense of timeless strength and equine grace is captured in this image. It’s a very sympathetic black & white conversion, with an interesting but not intrusive background and the exposure is spot on. We like the way the dapples of the pony’s coat are echoed in the pattern of the clouds. It’s a nice crop – not too tight.

Steve is also our highest camera club scorer of this round!

7. Morag Forbes, UK 45pts

Nikon Z 5, 24-200mm at 80mm, 1/200sec at f/10, ISO 80

multiple exposure busy street photograph
Image: Morag Forbes

Guest judge Aneesa Dawoojee says: ‘I found myself looking at this image for a long time, as it’s very different from the sort of thing I’m usually drawn to. What makes it stand out is the numerous different portraits within a single frame. Every face seems to have a story, and it would be fascinating
to meet each one of them.

‘It’s a street photograph, but a very different take on the genre. Many of the subjects are looking straight at the photographer, but nobody seems to be reacting, perhaps because it’s such a busy tourist spot, so people are expecting to see cameras.

‘It’s extremely well thought out. Morag quite clearly had a vision of the kind of picture she wanted to create, and she’s executed it brilliantly, while paying attention to the detail of the black & white tones. My eye travelled throughout the frame, and I never became bored with it. It just works.’

8. Marusa Uranjek, UK 40pts

Canon EOS R10, 70-200mm, 1/500sec at f/5.6, ISO 400

simple minimalist light highlight on a dark black hill
Image: Marusa Uranjek

Black & white is the perfect medium for a minimalist shot, and this is a superb example of that genre. We don’t need any more than the information that Marusa has given us to know what we are looking at. Very often, simpler is better.

9. Jamie Leasure, US 35pts

Sony A7R, 24-70mm at 33mm, 1/30sec at f/7.1, ISO 100

minimalist black and white image of white tree against grey background
Image: Jamie Leasure

Who doesn’t love a minimalist landscape? This one certainly ticks all the boxes: a good range of tones; the smoothest snow anchoring the base; and just the right texture in the trunk and the adobe wall. It’s a simple, well-observed abstract that has been well executed, and the composition and tonality are perfect. A good example of seeing in black & white, and definitely one to hang on the wall.

10. Paul Nash, UK 30pts

Unknown

black and white photo of two tulips
Image: Paul Nash

We believe Paul placed these tulips on a scanner to create this image, and the effect is simply gorgeous. The way the light has passed over the flowers has given the petals a hard, metallic quality. The composition has been kept simple, which adds to the overall effect. This would make a great starting point for an ongoing project.


Young APOY Black & White winner

Kaung Khant Thaw, Myanmar 100pts

Xiaomi Mi 1 Ultra

portrait of an older lady with hands around her face
Image: Kaung Khant Thaw

This is a brave and beautifully executed portrait. It captures the subject’s aged skin incredibly well, and reveals the beauty of this natural process too. The subject is well balanced in the frame and it’s very well exposed. A beautifully lit, well-composed and emotive portrait, with the placement of the hands drawing the viewer further into the woman’s eyes.

See more from Young APOY 2024.


Camera club competition

Richie Johns, UK 10pts

Nikon Z 7, 24-70mm at 70mm, 1/320sec at f/8, ISO 200

lone leafless tree in the snow
Image: Richie Johns

Our camera club competition is off to a great start again, and we’re looking forward to seeing how it develops. Richie Johns has earned ten points for Plymouth Camera Club with this chilly scene he shot in Ottawa, Canada. The simplicity of the tree’s skeleton against the snow-covered backdrop is what makes the image so effective and worthy of a place in our shortlist. To earn points for your club, simply select its name in the dropdown menu when you upload your entries.


The 2024 leaderboard after Round One, Black and White

apoy 2024 round one leaderboard

And, we’re off! The first leaderboard is always an exciting one, as it’s impossible to know how much it’s likely to change and how much it will stay the same. Paula Green is a worthy winner, and we have a couple of familiar names elsewhere in the top ten, too. Who knows whether they will become a regular fixture?

Young APOY is as varied as ever, too, with last year’s winner Yousef Naser making an appearance already. And as for the camera clubs, we’re sure it’ll be as competitive as ever! Thanks to Steve Banner achieving sixth place, Stafford Photographic Society are in top spot.

There’s one familiar name – Launceston Camera Club – that’s not in the top five yet. Has their crown been toppled? It’s too early to tell, but we’re sure it’s going to be as hard fought as always.


Winning kit from Camera Centre UK

What gear did our top ten photographers use?

Taking third place, Peyman Naderi used a Sony A7R Mark III for his portrait. Described in AP as a 42.4MP, 10fps mirrorless powerhouse, this camera can shoot up to 76 JPEGs or 28 uncompressed raws in a single burst. Autofocus has 399 phase-detection points and 425 contrast-detection points, while the sensitivity range covers ISO 100-32,000 as standard. You can buy the next iteration of this model – the Sony A7Ra Mark III at Camera Centre UK with an 85mm f1.4 G Master lens for £3,499.

Canon 5D Mark IV with Canon 24-70 f/2.8 lens

A powerful workhorse, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV was Lynn Fraser’s camera of choice for her fifth-placed image. This full-frame top-end DSLR features a 30.4MP CMOS sensor, ISO 100-32,000 (expandable to ISO 50-102,400), 7fps continuous shooting and a 61-point AF system with 41 cross-type points. Find this model at Camera Centre UK for £2,649.

In seventh place, Morag Forbes shot with the Nikkor Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR lens. Receiving 4.5 stars when reviewed in AP, it packs a long focal range into a small package, and is compatible with both Nikon’s Z range of full-frame mirrorless cameras, as well as APS-C system cameras. Our review concluded, ‘This Nikon offering is a good investment for those who want a solid all-rounder.’ Pick this lens up for £769 at Camera Centre UK.


ROUND THREE, URBAN LIFE, IS CURRENTLY OPEN FOR ENTRIES!

spoy logo with sponsors

See more from APOY here.


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