For the fourth straight year, Abbotsford’s Rod Jones is putting his skills behind the lens against some of the top amateur photographers in the province.
The photographers are battling for the title of Next Generation Amateur Photographer of BC, a prize that Jones himself knows all too well.
Jones won the first-ever contest back in 2013, beating out 60 other shutterbugs in the process. He thrilled the judges with his morning shot of a mechanic working on an F-35. He said with that shot especially he knew he had something special.
“That was the big shot that year,” he recalled. “I thought it was a pretty awesome shot. I went home and looked at it and thought it was pretty cool. I was surprised when I won that year, I don’t really consider myself a great photographer or anything – I just go out and shoot things. But that shot was one of the times you shoot something and just go wow.”
Despite his obvious strong eye for photography, Jones said his strategy at the contest is to not have a strategy at all.
“Some guys are planning everything out but I just want to have fun,” he said. “I see stuff and I shoot it.”
Jones became more interested in photography about a decade ago after shooting at the Greater Vancouver Zoo.
“My wife volunteered there and I started off shooting the Raptors: Birds of Prey show there,” he said. “It just kind of grew from there. Now I also shoot my boys baseball games and whatever I feel like.”
The experience of the air show brings Jones back. He’s competed every year at the contest, but said he enjoys the camaraderie amongst the photographers.
“When I first heard about the contest back then I thought, well you get a free ticket to the air show – that would be awesome,” he said. “But over the years you see a lot of familiar faces and the air show is such a great show to be at.”
He said what makes a picture special is the wow factor.
“That kind of reaction makes a picture,” he said. “Everybody sees the world differently but that wow factor can be universal.”
Jones said the entire weekend is about having fun, and said photographers of all skill sets should give the contest a try.
“I’d tell them to come out, have fun and enjoy the event,” he said. “Don’t stress over the pictures.”
Sunday marks the final day for the contest, with judging of the pictures occurring in the coming weeks.