Thursday, 23 November 2017 12:40

Herbert photographer a winner in Tourism Saskatchewan photo contest

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An image of a cowboy wrestling with a steer by Herbert photographer Colleen Edwards was selected as the winning submission in the events and festival category of Tourism Saskatchewan's 2017 ExploreSask photo contest.

She took the photo at the 2017 Herbert Stampede. She also received honourable mention for another photo of a barrel racer that was taken at the same event.
She feels honoured to be a winner in the ExploreSask photo contest, which received almost 2,000 entries. A winning photograph was selected in six categories.
“I am proud to live and work in this province and anything I can do to help promote tourism to our neck of the woods would be deeply satisfying,” she said. “I love promoting the Herbert Stampede.”
This annual photo contest is organized by Tourism Saskatchewan to highlight the natural beauty and diverse landscapes in the province, and to make residents and visitors aware of the many unique travel experiences.
“I think the ExploreSask contest is fabulous,” she said. “It is motivation for everyone in Saskatchewan to get out and explore our beautiful province. I have noticed that each year more and more photos are submitted. The quality of the winning photos are spectacular and I consider myself very honoured to have my photo chosen. Saskatchewan is proving to have some very, very talented photographers. I hope this contest never ends.”
The Herbert Stampede, which takes place annually during the Saskatchewan Day long weekend in August, is her favourite rodeo.
“I actually ensure that I am able to book my holidays for this event,” she said. “I wouldn't miss it for the world and will continue to do my very best to promote it.”
She is one of the official photographers at the Herbert Stampede and she has been taking photos there since 2006.
“The HS Committee seems to like my photos,” she said. “So I guess I will keep on trying to capture great moments of their wonderful yearly event for as long as I am able. I also update and maintain their website. In my opinion, the Herbert Stampede is one of the best rodeos within the province.”
She holds a photographer’s license for the Canadian Cowboy Association (CCA) rodeos, but she still works full-time and do not always have time to attend these events.
“My first photographic priority is the Herbert Stampede,” she said. “If I am able to attend more rodeos during the year, I consider myself blessed indeed. However, now that the CCA finals are being held close to home in Swift Current, it is a safe bet that I am on the sidelines taking as many photos as I am able.”
She has submitted her images to the ExploreSask photo competition for a number of years and some of them have been winning entries in previous contests. Her first winning entry was in 2013 in the nature category for a cactus in bloom at Saskatchewan Landing. A rodeo photo won first place in the urban life category in 2015 and in 2016 a photo taken at the Herbert Stampede won first place in the events and festival category.
A photo taken by Edwards at the Windscape Kite Festival in Swift Current was selected for the 2016 Tourism Saskatchewan calendar. It was used as the cover photo as well as the photo for the month of June.
She has entered her images in various other competitions and some have been published nationally and internationally.
“One of my most treasured wins is a second place from the 2013 Canadian Geographic contest,” she said. “It is a photo I took while exploring Castle Butte in the Big Muddy badlands. It hangs in my living room. Years ago Photoworks by Laura in Swift Current held some photo contests. I was a grand prize winner one year and also placed a few first prizes in subsequent years. Winning those contests gave me the courage to continue with some of my photographic ventures.”
She will only enter a competition if she feels her photo is worthy and appropriate to the contest requirements. She will also read the fine print of a contest very careful before entering, because the contest rules will often state that a photographer will give up all rights to the photograph by entering the contest. She does not agree with that rule and will avoid those contests.
“I believe contests are both fun and a manner in which I can gauge my personal level of skill,” she said. “I like photo sites that engage in constructive criticism. I don't believe in bashing a photograph or photographer. We all see things differently and express ourselves differently, which is great. It would be a boring world if we all produced the same type of photos and the same type of style. However, a contest puts you out there; it lets you learn what skill level you are at.”
It was not always easy for her to enter competitions, but she now feels more comfortable to submit her photographs to the scrutiny of judges.
“I am no longer afraid that someone will hate my photo or criticize it to the point of nothingness,” she said. “A photographer’s photo is a part of their soul, it is an expression of us. Therefore contests can be terrifying to some. I believe everyone is always afraid of humiliation. I am, by far, a much more confident person and photographer at the present.”
She has always been interested in art and as a child she won a few drawing contests. She took up photography more seriously in 2005, when she purchased her first interchangeable lens camera.
“I certainly wasn't very good when I first started, but I kept pushing forward and trying to learn,” she said. “I don't think anyone stops learning photography. It is forever changing.”
Her goal is to capture emotion or create emotion with her photos, and she will always look for different angles or points of view. Photography is an important part of her life and she hopes to spend even more time on her passion when she retires.
Examples of her photos can be seen on her website Country Expressions by Colleen Edwards at

Read 1903 times Last modified on Thursday, 23 November 2017 12:41
Matthew Liebenberg


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