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My First Photography Win: The “Edinburgh Discovered” Photography Contest

November 22, 2011

The Scottish Monument ... my wining photo

I don’t get to blog that often … but if this doesn’t get a blog post I wonder what does!

To be honest I have never expected this win … when they called my name for the first place I was astounded: my photo? me? As I walked up and shook hands with Professor Timothy O’Shea (the principle of the University of Edinburgh) I said: “wow … this is really happening”!

My photo was a long exposure photo (130 sec at f/14 & ISO100) of National Monument of Scotland on Calton Hill, I really liked the photo when I first took it so I submitted it to the contest! Later on I regretted this decision because I discovered that photos of this monument are so many: people have shot it from so many angles in so many different times that someone somewhere is bound to have taken a similar photo! This is why I was genuinely shocked when they called my name for the first prize … I only have one explanation for this: maybe I some how captured a “newcomer’s fascination” with this photo?

I’m trying to turn this into a good story and almost every good story has a moral and this is what I learned: “trust your gut; listen to your first instinct!” here is why:

When I first took this photo I remember tweeting this:Image

However, few days after submitting this photo I looked into those “pillars” I took a photo of and found out that they were called the “Scottish National Monument” and many, many people have taken photos of them! I remember saying this to my friends:

“I have submitted the most generic photo ever … I wish I have submitted something else!”

Lesson learned…

Finally, I would like to conclude with this: I have seen so many photos with amazing technique and composition; I deeply respect the photographers who took them and I would have been glad to see any of them get this prize! Luck was on my side this time and my photo is by no means “better” than at least a dozen other photos I enjoyed that evening.

Update 25/11/2011: This photo has made its way to the Scotsman newspaper today!

The Scotsman 25th of November 2011 Scottish perspective P.36-37. Caption: The Scotsman's Jane Barlow selected this image of the National Monument on Calton Hill by Mohammad Hirzallah as winner of Edinburgh University's annual photography competition.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. November 22, 2011 11:55 pm

    Congratulations! It is an amazing image. 🙂 Always trust your instinct I think. 🙂

  2. November 23, 2011 12:01 am

    1st of many enshaAllah 🙂


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