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Northwest Exposure Photo Tips: Doug Diekema

Posted by Erika Haugen-Goodman at Sep 04, 2015 11:10 AM |
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Judging a photography contest is hard work, but returning judge Doug Diekema is up to the challenge. We talked with him on what it'll take to impress the judging panel for this year's Northwest Exposure Photo Contest.

The 2015 Northwest Exposure Photo Contest is in full swing and will run until October 19, and we’re excited to see the photos you’ve taken while out on Washington’s trails. During the contest we’ll be sitting down with some of last year’s winners to talk all things photography and how you can hone your skills.

Will your photo catch the eye of our Northwest Exposure Photo Contest judges? We talked with Doug Diekema, a returning judge from the 2014 contest to see what it’ll take to stand out this year.

Doug Diekema 3rd Place Landscapes 2006
Doug's winning image from 2006 of Mt. Baker.

Thanks for talking with us, Doug! What is your background with photography and the Northwest Exposure Photo Contest?

Photography has been a serious hobby of mine for 40 years, and I've enjoyed improving my craft and learning more about photography each year. I'm largely self-taught, but attend seminars, study the photos of other photographers, and read books and magazines about photographic techniques.

I love the landscapes of the Pacific Northwest, and photography has helped me see things in different ways and notice patterns in nature that I might otherwise have missed. Photography allows me to exercise the creative part of my brain, and I love the challenge of capturing an image that makes others want to visit that place.

In 2006, one of my images received 3rd place in the Landscape division of the WTA photo contest. Since then, I've been contributing photos for the magazine and other WTA publications. Last year, I had the honor of serving as a contest judge, and I'm looking forward to doing it again this year!

What advice do you have for photographers entering the contest?

The quality of photos submitted to the contest each year is extraordinarily high. To have a chance of making it into the final few photos, an image has to have nearly perfect exposure, beautiful light, a captivating or interesting composition, no distracting elements, and the main subject must be perfectly focused.

In addition, the photo really needs to stand apart from the other hundreds of images submitted--there needs to be something about the image that is unique and engages the viewer (or judges) in a way that the other photos don't.

If you had to name one thing that photographers can do to impress you this year what would it be?

For an image to become a finalist, it must engage the judges emotionally. Make me feel something--invite me into the scene or make me feel I'm part of a story. Your photo has to engage me, make me want to be there, draw me in. It's not enough if it's meaningful to you, the photographer. It has to also make me, the viewer, feel something powerful.


With tough competition this year, it never hurts to check out some tips for capturing a quality image. We’re looking forward to seeing your submissions up until October 19. Take a look at the categories this year to prepare, or visit our FAQ if you have any questions. Good luck!