2020-2021 Assigned Topics


The “Event” theme has been removed from the topic list for next season due to constraints associated with COVID-19. It was felt that this theme would be difficult with the current requirements for social distancing. The “Event” theme has been replaced with “Architecture.” If possible, the Event theme will be introduced in the 2021-2022 season.

It is recognized that many members will be unable to go too far afield to shoot this coming season. Therefore, the “time” restriction for the Assigned Category will be eased for the coming season. Images that have been taken within the last five years will be allowed.

Images submitted for the Assigned Topics category must originate in camera no earlier than September 1 of the start of the previous club season. That means September 1, 2019 for the 2020-2021 season.
Note: Due to the COVID-19 constraints, the above limitation will be lifted to allow images dating back five years, or September 1, 2015 for the 2020-2021 season.

  1. “Architecture”

    This theme includes images of any architectural man-made structure, such as buildings, bridges and piers. The architectural subject must be a significant aspect of the image, but may include landscapes or cityscapes. The scope includes building exteriors/interiors and architectural details, such as staircases or intricate moldings. Images may be digitally manipulated, but highly creative filters or overlays are not acceptable. The architecture in the image must retain a natural appearance.

    Follow this link for comments and tips from Judges experienced in evaluating Architectural images. They are offered to give you a judge’s perspective on what makes a good architecture image.

  2. “Monochrome images of texture, patterns, shadows or silhouettes”

    This category is limited to monochrome images. Monochrome includes black and white (greyscale), but also includes images with a single color, such as sepia or cyanotype images. This is most commonly achieved with a color overlay and appropriate blending in PhotoShop or other post-processing programs. Images may not contain multiple colors or localized coloring of objects (e.g. a red dress on a model, when the rest of the image is B&W). All images must focus only on textures, patterns, shadows or silhouettes. Images may be complex, but may be simple and graphic as well. Images that do not include one or more of the four elements listed above would be considered out-of-category.

    A shadow is a dark area where light from a light source is blocked by an opaque object. It occupies the three-dimensional volume behind an object with light in front of it. Shadows are not simply a dark mass that borders the light. Rather, shadows are an entity as alive as the light. It is the shadows that shape the light, draw attention to the light, and integrate with the light to produce striking photographic opportunities. The term “shadow” refers to a wide range of light intensity conditions – it is not total darkness. A shadow is where there is a difference between a specific light intensity and a specific lower light intensity next to it.

    Silhouettes are very similar in concept to shadows; the difference between shadow and silhouette photography involves the placement of the camera in relationship to the subject and the light. For a shadow, the light source is behind the camera, and the camera is often between the light and the subject. For a silhouette shot, the subject is between the light and the camera, and the light is directly behind the subject (from the camera’s perspective).

    Images can be created using multiple images, including textures, but all components of your image must have been photographed by you. In other words, refrain from using commercially purchased texture overlays, such as those included in digital plugins; all textures used are to be images you have captured (photograph walls, grasses, skies, tree bark, pebbles, stones, leaves, dried flowers, flour, feathers, water in motion, painted surfaces, canvas, fabric, concrete, etc.)

    Patterns may be ordered or broken, but usually involve some degree of repetition. Patterns may be man-made or natural.

    Combining textures, patterns, shadows or silhouettes is acceptable, and may be desirable, for strong impact.

  3. “Macro or Close-up”

    Macro or Close-up images use the camera to focus on a particular detail of a subject. Extreme close-ups are intimate and can be of living organisms or inanimate objects. You may choose to photograph the subject so it takes up most of the frame. Shape, texture and color may take on a different perspective in a macro or close-up image. Macro or close-up shots often are done with small objects such as insects or flowers, but many other possibilities are acceptable.

    A macro image is usually taken with a macro lens and typically captures an object at a 1:1 magnification, although higher magnifications of 1:2 or higher are possible.

    A close-up image usually isolates the subject from the environment. Most lens are capable of taking a close-up photo, but a macro lens works best for the higher magnification that is typical of a macro image. Any lens that can produce a macro or close-up images is acceptable for this category.

    Images weak-in-category would include a large amount of environmental background. Images should focus on the detail of a subject rather than the background.

  4. “Creative”

    Creative Images are defined as follows:

    Images should interpret the real world in a new, experimental and imaginative manner resulting in an abstract, unique, imaginative or unconventional display of the subject.

    Further, these images are not normally as seen by the naked eye and may engage the viewer in finding the meaning of the photograph. They will have been manipulated either in the camera via conventional means (multiple exposure, special effects, filters, etc.) or by using more intensive digital editing or application of the following types of techniques:

    • composites
    • digital Filters
    • colour Toning
    • “orton” Effect
    • motion blur
    • texture blending or overlay
    • masking
    • montage
    • collage
    • combination of BW and colour
    • selective colouring or desaturation of colour
    • solarisation or posterization
    • brush strokes
    • photograms
    • negative images
    • distortion
    • HDR
    • multiple images
    • 3D rendering

    Images that look like they are straight out of camera (i.e. realistic shots) will be considered weak in category.
    (Note: images for the Creative theme may include composites formed from images taken before the regular one-year limit, but the final composite must still be dated within the one-year limit).

    Composite images are acceptable, however, all content must be created by the maker. Stock images may not be used to create composites. Likewise, backgrounds and textures must be created by the maker and not derived from internet downloads.

  5. “Night Photography”

    Images should be captured outdoors between sunset and sunrise. Images taken at twilight during the so-called, “blue hour,” before sunrise, or after sunset are not acceptable. The intent is to have a true, night-time image without any residual sun-light. Artificial light sources, such as city lights, building lights, fireworks, amusement rides, car lights, and concert lights work well to create the mood of a night scene. Light from stars, the moon, and the aurora borealis are excellent for night photography. Long exposures can work well to show a moon-lit landscape, but it is important not to use an under-exposed daylight scene to mimic a night photograph.


Special Digital Competition for 2021 (to replace Print #3)

“Expansive Landscapes or Seascapes”

This theme includes images that depict an expanse of scenery, either land or sea, that can be seen in a single view. Seascapes are those that include an expanse of water in which the water or waves predominate. Coast features or the shoreline may be included.

Any form of digital manipulation is allowed as long as the end result appears natural looking and not heavily modified or filtered. Human elements (Hand of Man) should be less than 15% of the image and should not be a major focal point of the image. Exceptions will be allowed for large expanses of farm fields or plantations (e.g. rice paddies), however human-made structures such as barns and fences should be minimal and not major focal points.

Images should be expansive and not narrow in view. Examples of images with a narrow view would be a close-up view of a stream or a tree, where these elements represent a large percentage of the image.


Summary of Competition Regulations

Three Categories
There are three categories in each digital competition/evaluation: Pictorial (Photographer’s Choice), Natural Things and an Assigned Topic.

Number of Images:  Members may submit up to 4 images for each digital competition with no more than 3 in any one category.

Pictorial Category: Images that qualify for the Natural Things category are not acceptable in the Pictorial Category. The competition committee has the authority to move any image that has been submitted to the wrong category.

Natural Things Category:  Submissions to the Natural Things category is open to any nature subject, including Pure Nature, as defined in our Nature Trophy Competition Rules, or Natural Things subjects, as defined in our Natural Things Description.

Images such as landscapes will be categorized as a natural things subject if the primary subject is the scenery itself. The image may include secondary elements such as buildings, structures, people, animals or any other object, as long as those secondary elements are not dominant, in which case it would be categorized as a pictorial image.

When uploading any image you will be asked if the image also qualifies as a Pure Nature image.  This will assist our nature committee in selecting images for external competitions, such as the Glennie Nature, CAPA nature, GTCCC/OCCC nature, etc.

Image Requirements

Images should be saved in sRGB colour space.

They must be a maximum of 3 MB in size, and either:
1920 pixels wide and no more than 1080 pixels high
1080 pixels high and no more than 1920 pixels wide


Photo Essays:

Photo Essays do not count towards Photographer of the Year Awards.

Photographer of the Year (for each skill level) Awards:

Require at least one entry from at least four of the five categories: Assigned Topic, Pictorial, Natural Things, Nature (ie Nature Trophy entries) and Print.

Rules for Individual Competitions

Any image (print or digital image) entered into any RHCC Competition must be substantially different from any image entered by the same maker in a previous RHCC Competition.

Here are links to the detailed rules for entering the various competitions.  They appear in the “Competition Information” item in the Competitions menu, together with some more information on preparing images for competitions.

Regular Digital Competitions

Print Competitions

Nature Trophy Competition

PhotoEssay Competition

Phoenix Competition

Guidelines regarding how to determine the best categories for image submissions:
Category Guidelines

The process for image review and judging:
Competition Review and Judging Process

Wallet Card

A handy wallet card with the competition due dates for 2020-21 may be downloaded here.