For Abbotsford resident Paul Kendall, photography has mostly been a hobby, something he does on the weekends when not working as a welder.
But his camera skills paid off recently, when he won the Amateur Photographer of the Year award, for shots he captured at the 2016 Abbotsford International Airshow.
The photo contest, sponsored by London Drugs and Black Press Community Media, had nearly 3,000 entries, from which 70 finalists were chosen to by a judging panel.
Kendal won both for best in-air photograph and best ground/static scene photograph, for a low angle shot of the rear of a F-15 fighter jet.
Kendall said he had tried to get the shot on the first night of the airshow, during the Twilight Show but didn’t quite get it how he wanted it. He returned the next evening, to try and take the same photo.
He said it was a struggle because he needed to put his camera on the ground to get framing right but that meant he was essentially shooting blind. It took several attempts and readjustments, with the added pressure of the air show shutting down for the night and officials beginning to ask people to leave.
He kept shooting.
“When I saw what I was getting, it gave me good reason,” he said.
Kendall, who has entered the contest in years past, said it’s getting harder and harder to come up with original photos, as more skilled photographers enter each year.
Kendall said he spent the $1,250 prize money the same day he received it, on a new camera body for taking wildlife photos.
Other contest winners:
Angeline Haslett, Agassiz – Winner: The Best crowd scene photograph ($250 prize courtesy of London Drugs)
Graham Dorsay, Parksville – Winner: The Amateur Videographer of the Year, The Best video submission ($500 prize courtesy of London Drugs)
Harold Schock, Kelowna – People’s Choice Award ($250 prize courtesy of London Drugs)
Jimmy Kim, Victoria – Honorary acknowledgement for Best Wildcard entry