Outdoor Photography is a UK magazine publication that is dedicated to landscape, nature, wildlife, adventure and travel photography. When I first started out with my camera, some five years ago now, I begun to learn the basics through online tutorial videos, a whole lot of trial and error and through gaining inspiration from publications such as Outdoor Photography.
Over the years the magazine has featured a wide range of hints and guides that helped to set me off in the right direction with regards to my personal photography but it has been the inspiration gained from admiring the amazing work of other photographers that the magazine regularly showcase that has been a highlight of this publication for me. I finally got round to purchasing a DSLR camera, a Canon 1200D that I still use to this day, after visiting the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards at the Natural History Museum in London back in 2016. The winning image that year was American photojournalist Tim Laman's image of a Bornean orangutan and I still remember seeing it published in an Outdoor Photography issue a few weeks having seen it in person at the museum. Since then a number of other Wildlife Photographer winners, alongside some of my personal favourite wildlife photographers that I follow on Instagram, have had features published in the magazine and I always find it fascinating to find out their backstories, read about their personal hints and, of course, to admire their work.
Over the years I have entered a few competitions and have been lucky enough to win some awards in local contests as well as in the prestigious International Garden Photographer of the Year. One of my images from the later competition was published in the 2020 hardback portfolio book whilst another, from 2019, was utilised on the BBC News website as part of an article reporting the winning images from that year. Those are easily my two most prominent photographic achievements to date and milestones that help keep me motivated for the ultimate, albeit optimistic, aim of seeing one of my images at the Natural History Museum as part of a Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.
I have never before submitted any of my images for magazine publication but, a few months ago on a whim, I decided to enter one of the featured Outdoor Photography competitions. I still do not know what inspired me to do so considering I have read around 40-50 copies of this magazine over the years and never before thought my work had the chance of being featured. 'One Thing This Month' is a competition whereby the editors of Outdoor Photography challenge readers to have a go at capturing or editing a specific image that fits a varying, monthly criteria. A few issues ago I noticed that the next category for this competition was 'Patterns of Nature' and, considering a number of my images fall into this style of imagery, I decided to enter.
I selected a few of my favourite images that I thought fitted in with the qualifying criteria, had a great time editing them to my liking and then completed an online submission form. That was it. Done. The whole process had given me a nice little side project to work on for a few hours and it was something that I gave no thought to again after that moment. That was true right up until I noticed an email in my inbox.
Hope you are well.
I'm happy to tell you that you have been selected as a runner-up in our 'If you only do one thing this month - Patterns in Nature' competition and your image will be published in issue 272 of Outdoor Photography magazine."
I was sat at school on one of our pre-term teacher training days scrolling through my emails when I read the above. My image was going to be published in an actual magazine! I still could not quite believe it and there was definitely a small part of me that thought I was being punked - and then the magazine arrived.
There I was. My name, my image and a little informative blurb that I have no recollection of writing printed in a genuine publication.
I guess the morale of this brief story is, if you have an opportunity to do something, anything, then go for it. I had never considered submitting my work to this publication for literal years and, as it turns out, my images were good enough to be featured in a magazine seen and read by thousands of people. It was a pretty cool way to end my summer holidays.
Issue 272 of Outdoor Photography is currently on sale. You can find out more information about the publication itself here: https://www.outdoorphotographymagazine.co.uk/