Belfast Telegraph

Home News

One Summer's Day: Get snapping for our photo competition

By Maureen Coleman

Budding photographers across Northern Ireland are expected to be out and about tomorrow snapping their favourite locations.

From Botanic Gardens in Belfast to the beach at Portstewart, local celebrities and members of the public have been singling out their special snapshots of Northern Ireland for the Belfast Telegraph’s One Summer’s Day competition.

Amateur snappers are being encouraged to grab their cameras and capture an iconic image of Northern Ireland life for one day only, for what is hoped will be the province’s largest photography competition.

>>Looking for inspiration? Have a peek at our online readers' images>>

With less than 24 hours to go to competition day, Radio Ulster presenter Wendy Austin says her photograph of choice would be her daughter’s birthday bash.

But as Wendy explains, it would have to be an aerial shot.

“I’d like to take a picture of my daughter Kerry’s 25th birthday party on the afternoon of June 19, but it’ll have to be from the air as I’ll be flying home that day,” she said.

Lynda Bryans of UTV thinks Portstewart Strand is the ideal subject for a photographic capsule of the province.

“We've so many good family memories of times at Portstewart,” she said.

“Most memorably and recently last year we took a good old fashioned seaside holiday there and our son’s hired wetsuits and boogie boards and had great fun jumping waves in the freezing Atlantic while we sat in the car reading our books.

“It's also a very special place for (husband) Michael — his grandmother owned the little cottage right on the edge overlooking the beach and he spent many summers there in his youth so it's a sort of spiritual home. Even when the beach is busy on sunny days, it's big enough to find your own little chill out space.”

Wendy and Lynda are just two of the well-known faces adding their support to the One Summer’s Day contest, which aims to create a photographic capsule of life in Northern Ireland on one specific day — tomorrow, June 19.

Belfast Telegraph reader Ciara Carson says the historical Harland and Wolff cranes get her vote. “I would take a picture of Harland and Wolff because for the people of Northern Ireland it represents the growth and prosperity that our ancestors so desperately needed in the early 20th century,” she said.

“When I look at Harland and Wolff, I see my grandfather Brendan Harkin who earned himself an apprenticeship as a spark in the 1940s and went on to help change the lives of many workers there.”

Alix Matthews from east Belfast is planning to photograph Botanic Gardens.

“I like Botanic Gardens and the Ulster Museum as it is a nice green area in the middle of the city and it’s great to escape there in the summer and the museum has always fascinated me and captured my imagination since I was young with its exhibitions and the mummy of Takabuti,” said Alix.

And Barry Overend from Belfast would photograph the sun glistening off the calm water at Castlewellan Forest park, one of the most “peaceful and beautiful locations in Northern Ireland”.

There are three categories in the contest — primary school, secondary school and everyone else.

The winner in each category gets a family break in Northern Ireland.

The closing date for One Summer’s Day, launched by the Belfast Telegraph and Northern Ireland Tourist Board, is Wednesday, June 30.

In the run-up to June 19, the Belfast Telegraph and NITB are also asking people to tell them where in Northern Ireland they would like to photograph and why.

  • Send your answer with a photograph of yourself in an email to .
  • Entries should be sent via email by June 30 to the above address with a short note explaining the content of the picture and what makes it so special.

How to Enter

All ‘One Summer’s Day’ photographic entries have to be taken in Northern Ireland on Saturday, June 19.

The aim is to offer a snapshot of how Northern Ireland looked and what people were doing on one summer’s day in 2010.

Winners of each category will receive a family break in Northern Ireland. The top 100 photographs will be included in a supplement.

Photographs should be sent, via email, to with a short note explaining the content of the picture and what makes it so special by June 30.

Gerry's Top Tips

Picture editor Gerry Fitzgerald gives 20 top tips on how to create great images

1 Take your time. Don't just point and shoot the minute you see something you want to photograph. Look around to find the best possible angle. Look through the viewfinder and try different focal length lenses.

2 Use the ‘rule of thirds’ to compose your shot. Divide the frame into thirds like a grid. Place your subject within different lines until you see the best composition.

3 Check the corners of the frame for any unwanted objects. Don't include more than is necessary.

4 Make sure objects in the scene relate to each other. Don't include distracting colours or background or anything else that might take the viewer's attention away from the main subject.

5 Use a tripod to compose your shots. You can fine tune your composition much better than handholding your camera.

6Pay close attention to the direction of the light. Photography is about light. Frontlight, backlight and sidelight each greatly affect the results and change the mood in photographs.

7 Use spot metering for metering the most important part of the scene.

8 Try to work in manual mode for stationary objects. You can quickly and easily adjust your camera settings.

9 Try using manual focus for stationary objects.

10 Avoid both ends of the lens' aperture range. All lenses are at their sharpest when closed down two or three stops from widest aperture. Wide open aperture may produce soft corners while very small apertures can affect overall sharpness due to diffraction.

11 Use a tripod for maximum sharpness. Nothing beats a tripod for taking razor sharp images.

12 Don’t always hold the camera horizontally. Try turning it up to take portrait shape pictures.

13 Buy the best lens you can afford. Lenses are more important than cameras. Any currently made camera will work fine for taking good pictures, but it is the lens that produces sharp images if used with good technique.

14 Avoid speeds between 1/8 to 1/30 sec unless you are an experienced photographer.

15 Avoid using UV or Skylight protective filters. All lenses are at their sharpest without any filter attached. Filters degrade image quality to some degree.

16 Watch your backgrounds, try to keep them plain and uncluttered to avoid poles etc protruding from people’s heads.

17 Move in close to your subject and fill the frame.

18 When photographing small children or animals get down to their level and avoid looking down on them.

19 Keep moving as you shoot as just a 6ft change of direction could give you a more pleasing angle.

20 Finally enjoy what you’re shooting. Photography should be fun and relaxing.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph