Our fabulous February photo competition

After a hiatus for the month of January, the monthly photo competition is back! Huzzah!

We're feeling refeshed, and we hope that you are, too. In honour of that, this month's theme is relax. Any photograph that conveys a sense of de-stressing, putting up your feet, and unwinding is fair game; from the dog stretched out in front of the fire, to your children curled up with a book, to your very old and tatty but extremely comfortable slippers, we want to see them.

The photographer of the winning image will be eligible to claim a 12 inch Fracture.

We've made a slight change to the submission rules. Nothing major, but from now on, you need to link your image to the relevant thread in the Flickr pool, not just submit it to the pool. February's thread is here. And it's still one submission per person.

February's contest runs from today (Friday 1 February) to Friday 22 February 2013.

As ever, here are The Rules for your reference. Best of luck!

The Rules

  • If you decide to enter, you agree to The Rules.
  • You can’t be related to either me, Haje, or Gareth to enter.
  • One entry per person – so choose your best!
  • Entries need to be submitted to the right place, which is the relevant monthly thread within the Small Aperture Flickr group.
  • There’s a closing date for entries, so make sure you’ve submitted before then.
  • You have to own the copyright to your entry and be at liberty to submit it to a competition. Using other people’s photos is most uncool.
  • It probably goes without saying, but entries do need to be photographs. It’d be a bit of strange photo competition otherwise.
  • Don’t do anything icky – you know, be obscene or defame someone or sell your granny to get the photo.
  • We (that being me, Haje, and Gareth) get to choose the winner and we’ll do our best to do so within a week of the competition closing.
  • You get to keep all the rights to your images. We just want to be able to show off the winners (and maybe some honourable mentions) here on Pixiq.
  • Entry is at your own risk. I can’t see us eating you or anything, but we can’t be responsible for anything that happens to you because you submit a photo to our competition.
  • We are allowed to change The Rules, or even suspend or end the competition, if we want or need to. Obviously we’ll try not to, but just so that you know.

If you've any questions, please just ask!

Brilliant in black and white - December's competition winner

Wow! December 2012's black and white themed installment saw the most ever entries to our competition. Thank you so much everyone who submitted a picture. It was a delight to look through them to select a winner.

After a lot of deliberation–there were, afterall, a lot of pictures–we decided that Almost Gone by Rob-Shanghai should take the spoils of a 12 inch Fracture. We loved the story, the composition was great, and we felt that it made the most of being in black and white.

almost gone

Congratulations Rob!

However, seeing as there were so many entries, we only thought it fair to name some runners up, too.

And we have:

Sweep's Festival, Rochester.

Sweep's Festival, Rochester, by Tim Allen - pin-sharp and beautifully framed.

Monterey Fog

And Monterey Fog, by Luca Pisanu - haunting and delicate.

You're a super lot.

We're taking a hiatus from the competition for January, but we'll be back in February, and we hope you will be, too!

It's back! The Polaroid 300

Polaroid 300

The Polaroid 300 is back after a hiatus of just over two years, and rather cute it looks too. Mmhmm, the original instamatic camera has been revived and relaunched and looks good enough to eat. Seriously, one of my friends took one look at it and asked if it were edible.

I assumed a more conventional approach and took photos with it. I also carried it with me wherever I went and asked friends and family what they thought of it. Aside from the enormous amount of fun I’ve had with it, and the constant stream of ‘Oohs!’ and ‘Aaahs!’ from my nearest and dearest, what’s the Small Aperture verdict on this pretty piece of kit?


Aside from looking delectable, the Polaroid 300 is a very tactile camera. It has a rounded but chunky design that you really want to hold. This is a good thing in more ways than one: although it does have a flat bottom and can stand up, the bottom is too small and it falls over far too easily. Thankfully it seemed to survive the couple of occasions that it did take a drunken wobble, but I wouldn’t want it tumbling from any great height.

The shutter release button is a big thing on the front of the camera and there’s a dial on the top which allows you to select your shooting mode. Everyone seemed to muddle up the two initially, but when you know, you know. Next to said dial is the film slot, where your picture pops out when it’s taken.

There's the shutter release button, on the front

The viewfinder is on the far right of the camera. One of my friends who is left-eyed found this problematic, but I didn’t notice, being right-eyed and all. What I did find irritating was my finger’s ability to wander in front of the viewfinder when searching for the shutter release button. They’re a little too close for convenience.

Loading the film into the back of the camera was super-easy. So easy in fact, I worried that I’d done something wrong. There’s a little counter in the bottom right corner showing you how many pictures out of your pack of ten you’ve left to take.

I’ve been playing around with the bright blue model, but there’s a gorgeous burgundy red option. Or you could stick with plain black. But who’d want black for a fun camera such as this?

Oh so lovely in red. And look at that on-off function!

My favourite-feature award has to go to the on-off mechanism, though: you pull the lens away from the camera body and on it comes. How groovy is that?


You’ve four shooting modes to choose from: indoor/dark; cloudy/shady; fine; or clear. Whichever mode you’re in, though, the flash will always fire. And to be entirely honest, it’s a bit of a hit-and-miss affair. The lens is freaking huge, though, and it doesn’t tally up to the size of the viewfinder. You’ll get whatever you can see through the viewfinder and quite a bit more besides in your photo.

The picture whirrs out of the slot almost instantly, but you’ll see nothing at all for at least ten seconds. Then your image will slowly begin to emerge through the misty white haze of development. After about 40 seconds you’ll have a much better idea of what you’ve snapped.


They’re Polaroid pictures. They’re tiny. The colours are washed out. Everyone’s skin tone is about six billion shades out of whack. I took one photo in the garden, using the cloudy/shady setting (because, well, it was) and it looks as if I took it in the dark. Everything is soft and mushy. But they’re Polaroid pictures; what else did you expect?

I’m going to magnet mine to my fridge.

The verdict

Each picture works out at around £1 a go. That’s not cheap, and some people might find this prohibitive. But it is instantly gratifying and this camera is, essentially, a toy. You’re not going to use it to document your entire trek across the Himalayas or your safari through the Kruger National Park. It’s for parties and for picnics and probably even a bit of posing.

When we’re so accustomed to being able to take hundreds of photos, to discarding the terrible ones, to editing the ones that we do want to keep, that it’s refreshing to revert to old-fashioned one-shot photography. Even if the camera is pretty much a play-thing, it makes you think about your picture that tiny bit more.

Polaroid 300s are available lots of places, including the lovely Amazon, for £79.99 in the UK, or $89.99 from Amazon US. A pack of film (10 exposures) is £12.99.