Shooting Challenge #31 -- Spring

By Martin Snelling on at

As a child I used to sit up in a big oak tree and watch ‘old’ folk tend to crops on their little allotment plots. Fast-forward 35 years and this same lad has his own allotment plot and is taking on the supermarkets one failed crop at a time!

The humble allotment plot: notoriously difficult to acquire, with waiting lists longer than an NHS hip-replacement list. Against the odds, I recently managed to bag my own little slice of The Good Life when ‘half a rod’ became available at one of my local allotments. For the price of a mid-priced HDMI cable (£15.50 a year), I am now the proud owner of a sizeable patch of over-grown land, some young half-dead fruit trees, a shed with a leaky roof and a greenhouse with superior ventilation.

Stick with me, this is going somewhere honestly and there will be a shooting challenge at the end!

Anyhoo, I had a couple of days off work last week and as there was a break in the shitty weather, I popped on my wellies and headed down to the plot to start the mammoth task of digging and weeding. When I arrived I instantly noticed that two of my fruit trees, I say trees, they’re more like sticks with buds on them, had starting sprouting buds. I then knew that Spring had finally arrived. Also, I googled it and I was reliably informed that March 20 was indeed the first day of Spring.

So put away those warm winter jackets as Spring has officially arrived to the UK! Although I’d still hang on to the waterproofs as it looks like there’s more rain on the way.


The Brief:

This week’s brief is very straightforward, photograph the emergence of Spring. This could be the first buds on tree or a hedgerow lined with daffodils -- the choice is completely yours.


The Technique:

There’s no technique as such with this challenge, other than photographing something that showcases the joy and wonder of Spring. Explore the world around you; get in close and focus on one element or step back and capture a whole scene.


The Example:

The lead image “First Spring Blossom” was taken by Flickr user Slynkycat.
First Spring Blossom


The Prize:

There is a small prize on offer this week too. One lucky person will win some seeds. Yes, actual seeds you can plant and grow in the comfort of your own home. What they are, I’ve yet to decide. It may be some chilli peppers or maybe some tomatoes. Hopefully you’ll have better luck than me as my seeds are doing bugger all currently. They will be seeds that can be grown in your own back garden or in pots on your patio.


The Rules:

- Follow the brief
- Submissions must be your own work.
- Submit up to five images
- Photos must be taken after the challenge was published; so no existing shots please.
- Minimal image post-processing is permitted (global changes only)
- Explain briefly in your submission email the equipment, settings, technique used and the story behind the image/images.
- Ensure EXIF info is intact (if image was taken digitally).
- Email submissions to
- Please ensure your image is at least 600px wide and less than 3MB in size.
- Save your image as a JPG, and use the following naming convention FirstnameLastnameSPRING.jpg
- Don’t forget to include a shooting summary (see above).
- Send your best photos by Monday, April 7th 2014 at 6pm UK time with “Shooting Challenge - SPRING” in the subject line.
- Anyone can enter, regardless of location.
- The most important rule — HAVE FUN!

Martin Snelling is a Hampshire-based photomatographer and wearer of fine hats. He tweets hereFlickrs here, and does his website stuff here.