RAPC 2020 / 2021 Competition Themes!!

As you may know, the RAPC is a member of the Canadian Association for Photographic Art (CAPA). We would like to encourage and highlight our talented members by participating, at the Club level, in some CAPA competitions. As such, we have matched many of this year’s themes to the CAPA themes.

For our competitions that have similar themes to CAPA (all but Reflections and Faces & Figures), the Competitions Committee will select images that we feel highlight the best of our Club, after the judging from each applicable competition is complete. For example, after our Nature competition is judged, we will select from the winners and determine which images to enter – at the Club level – into the CAPA Nature competition. We will contact each photographer whose image is selected by the Committee to request your permission to enter your image into the CAPA competition. If you don’t give permission your image will not be submitted. Participation is entirely optional but, we would strongly encourage those of you whose images are recommended for submission to say “yes”, because this will be an excellent opportunity to showcase the incredibly talented and creative members of our club!!

For any images that will be submitted to CAPA it is important to note that you must preserve the submitted image’s original un-retouched (not cropped, edited or renamed) JPEG or camera RAW file. For potential CAPA competition winning images, you must be able to provide the original un-retouched JPEG or camera RAW file when requested to do so by the CAPA Director of Competitions. The CAPA Director will request the original file to confirm the authenticity of the submitted image and to ensure the Restricted Editing Criteria have been met. A DNG file is not recognized as an original file. Failure to produce the original file will result in the submitted image being withdrawn from the competition. The provided original file will only be used for the image verification process and will be deleted thereafter.

We also encourage you to enter in the CAPA competitions as an individual. To do so, you must be an active member of CAPA. Each of the CAPA competitions has two parallel competitions – one at the CAPA “Individual” level for paid up CAPA members, and one at the “Club” level for all camera clubs associated with CAPA, of which we are one of 94 clubs. If you want to enter both our competition and the CAPA competition, go to the CAPA website and read the Competition Submission rules, and the editing and judging guidelines, etc. 

To reiterate, the Competitions Committee will be selecting and submitting images (with permission from the photographer) for the CAPA “Club” level competitions. You would submit your own images to the “Individual” level competitions, provided that you are a paid up member of CAPA. 

Let’s make 2020 – 21 the year to share our talent with a wider audience!!


Note that for the judging, we will be using remote judging again this year; as a result, we apologize but we will not be accepting prints in regular competitions for the time being.


The RAPC is adopting the CAPA definitions for Nature and Wildlife. For your convenience here is a link to CAPA’s definition: https://capacanada.ca/2020-nature-la-nature/. It is also important to note that there are strict limitations regarding the ‘hand of man’ and regarding editing techniques and modifications in the Nature and Wildlife category. Please use the handy CAPA Nature Chart to ensure you meet all the criteria regarding what is allowed versus not allowed. If you want to use any “not allowed” techniques or modifications you may enter your image in the RAPC General category and it will not be considered for the CAPA “Club” level Nature and Wildlife competition.


Botanical – subjects such as wild flowers, plants, trees, fungi and algae. Germinated and grown without human assistance. No ‘hand-of-man’ can be present in the image.

Insects, Reptiles & Amphibians – such as: ants, bees, beetles, butterflies, crickets, dragonflies, hornets, mantis, mosquitoes, wasps, alligator, snake, crocodile, gecko, iguana, lizard, turtle. No ‘hand-of-man’ is permitted in the image. Images can be taken in the wild or in a zoo-like setting. ‘Hand-of-man’ cannot be contained in the image.

Nature – subjects such as living animals, birds, insects, reptiles and marine subjects – under the control and feeding of humans if not obvious – such as zoos, game farms, botanical gardens, animal preserves, aquarium, etc. No feral or domesticated birds or animals are permitted. ‘Hand-of-man’ is permitted provided that it is deemed as an element of an ‘adaptive environment’ (e.g. barn owl) and consists of less than 10% of the image

Landscape – subjects such as weather phenomena, geological formations, landscapes, seascapes and natural phenomena, planets, stars and astronomical events. No hand of man.

Wildlife – ONLY living and untamed wildlife mammals, birds, insects, reptiles and marine subjects. No traditional zoo, open-range zoos, game farms or other areas where animals/birds are enclosed or confined. Nature parks are considered natural environments because animals are not in ‘controlled conditions.’ Wild animals and birds are permitted to have scientific bans, tags or radio collars but no tethers. No feral or domesticated birds or animals are permitted. No hand-of-man is permitted.

Hand-of-man – Devoid of all human elements and impacts of human activities, such as:

  • Human – body or portions there of.
  • Sky – cables, telephone/power lines, jet streams, aircraft, light pollution, artificial light, etc.
  • Land – man-made structures or paths, buildings, concrete, man-made stone, telephone poles, fences, posts, sidewalk, domesticated or cultivated plants/food, cut grass, organized or systematic laying out of planted trees, etc.
  • Elements – cut trees or branches or stems, tree stumps, man-made food, objects or background, etc.
  • Sea – boats, ships, piers, docks, posts in the water, etc.


Definition: Using reflections in photography can lead to some amazing effects and beautiful images. Using water, windows, mirrors or any sort of reflective surface can change an image into a work of art. The wonderful thing about using reflections when taking photos is that they can completely alter the image from something fairly straightforward to something richer or abstract or otherwise more artistic.


** NOTE / BONUS: Smartphone Competition: Although we are not doing a formal “smartphone” competition, the CAPA competition closing on November 30, 2020 is “Smartphone” photography. If you submit images in the Nature or Reflections competitions that you happened to take with a smartphone (iPhone, Android phone or tablet), when you upload your image(s) to the RAPC Competition, please put a title on your image and put “-SP” in the title so that the Competitions Committee will be able to identify it as an image taken with a smartphone. If you normally don’t title your images you don’t have to get fancy, for example, your title can be “Birds-SP” or “Puddle-SP” or “Reflections-SP”, or whatever you like, as long as “-SP” is in the title. Only put “-SP” if your image was taken with a smartphone. 

Images entered into Nature or Reflections competitions do not need to be taken with a smartphone. We are just adding this extra tag for any images that were taken with a smartphone so they may be considered for the CAPA “Club” level Smartphone competition.

External devices attached to a smartphone or tablet are NOT permitted, such as DxO One digital connected camera or similar devices. External lens attached to a smartphone or tablet is permitted. A copy of the original captured images must be preserved and the original images metadata (EXIF) is not to be altered. For the potential winners of this competition, the CAPA Director of Competitions may require the entrant to provide the original captured image(s) to confirm that the image(s) were captured on a smartphone or tablet.

If you have any questions on this, please don’t hesitate to contact the Competitions Committee.



These are two separate themes, but will be limited to 3 images as per usual – one in the General category, and 2 in Assignment. Therefore, you can enter: 1 image in Creative, 1 in Fine Art, 1 in General. OR, 2 in Creative and 1 in General. OR, 2 in Fine Art and 1 in General. 

The RAPC is adopting the CAPA definitions for these themes. For your convenience here is a link to CAPA’s definitions and rules for: Fine Art and Creative. Each page also contains sample images of the theme, which can be very helpful and inspiring.

Definition Fine Art: Using photography as a medium to bring something to life that only lives in the artist’s mind. A portrait, landscape, still-life, nature, wildlife or photo journalism image must have significant artistic changes for it to be accepted into this competition. To be considered for the CAPA “Club” level Fine Art competition, your image must fit into either a monochrome / infrared or colour category:

  • Monochrome/Infrared – A sepia image is considered a monochrome image. A ‘duo-toned’ image is not considered a monochrome image for the purposes of this competition.
  • Colour – An image containing all colour elements or only a few elements having colour.

Definition Creative: This involves the manipulation of a photograph both in-camera and post processing, for artistic purposes to create a fictional or conceptual image or photographic art. Any subject is acceptable provided that the original captured image is the work of the photographer and the photographer must have taken all components of the final image. Images may not be constructed entirely within a computer. To be considered for the CAPA “Club” level Creative competition, your image must fall into one of these themes:

  • Abstract – does not attempt to represent an accurate depiction of reality and where colour and form make up the subject of the images rather than it representing tangible objects or people. Examples are – bokeh, double exposure, blurred image, intentional camera movement, panning, patterns, light painting, lines, macro image, oil & water, high-speed water drops, shapes, simplicity, spinning, smoke, texture, etc.
  • Altered Reality – using real-world environment and elements to create a realistic or unrealistic fictional image. Ideally, the intention is to create an image that conveys a message or tells a story.
  • Creative – conveys a mood, a feeling, a beautiful arrangement of elements. This could be expressive and can be aesthetically pleasing or promotes an emotional response to shapes, lines and colours. Image should go beyond a pictorial rendering of a scene.


The RAPC is adopting the CAPA definition for Monochrome: A black and white work ranging from the very dark grey (black) to the very clear grey (white) is a monochrome work with the various shades of grey. A black and white work toned entirely in a single colour will remain a monochrome work able to stand in the black and white category. On the other hand, a black and white work modified by a partial toning or by the addition of one colour becomes a colour work (polychrome) to stand in the colour category. A sepia image is considered a monochrome image. A ‘duo-toned’ image is not considered a monochrome image for the purposes of this competition. Hand-of-man and infrared is permitted.

Here is a link to CAPA’s Monochrome competition page: https://capacanada.ca/2021-monochrome/. Please refer to this link for further detailed instructions and sample images.


The RAPC is adopting the CAPA definition for Curves & Lines. For your convenience here is a link to CAPA’s definition and rules for this theme: https://capacanada.ca/2021-lines-and-curves-lignes-et-courbes/.

Definition: Lines and curves have a significant compositional role that focuses the viewer’s attention on some part of the image and influences the interpretation of the image; they can also add a sense of movement. Examples are:

  • Converging Lines
  • Curved Lines
  • Diagonal Lines
  • Horizontal Lines
  • Opposing diagonal Lines
  • S-Curves
  • Vertical Lines


The RAPC is adopting the CAPA definition for Canada, My Country. For your convenience here is a link to CAPA’s detailed definition and rules for this theme: https://capacanada.ca/2021-canada-my-country-mon-pays/.

Definition: Image(s) which symbolize our unique Canadian identity and the beauties and the natural beauty of our country, such as:

  • cultural heritage
  • geographical uniqueness
  • historical events or locations
  • iconic landscape/cityscape
  • roughness of Canadian landscape
  • seasonal uniqueness
  • symbols of caring, confidence, courage, encouraging, helping others, nurturing, pride, respect, self-sacrifice and trust
  • nature
  • wildlife specific to Canada
  • Architecture

To be considered for the CAPA “Club” level Canada, My Country competition, the image must have been taken within the last three years and not previously submitted and entered into this competition.

APRIL: FACES & FIGURES (sub-theme: Drama)

Definition: A photographic portrait which is a representation of a living person, especially the face, OR a photograph in which the subject, the human body, is the primary interest. Entries are limited to POSED photographs of one or more human beings. The backgrounds may include statues or paintings of people provided that these are not the primary subject. Pet and animal portraits are excluded.

Bring some drama to your faces and figures entries by incorporating dramatic lighting techniques. There are no restrictions on location (indoors or outdoors) nor on lighting (ambient or artificial), however both must be considered and controlled.

** A Word version of the above post has been saved on the RAPC Website under Members > Documents > Competitions. You must be logged in to access it: https://www.raphotoclub.ca/docs?p=Competitions.)


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