It started out as a whimsical idea blurted out by Fraser during one of our Zoom meetings in the depths of lockdown in the summer of this year.

“Seemed like a good idea at the time” comes to mind. But we all bought into it and so we began to arrange for the first-ever London Scottie Club Calendar. By club members, for club members.

The invitations to send in topical photos of club pooches went out in the summer via WhatsApp and an article on the club website.

We received a tremendous response and indeed some really strong contenders. As photos began to flood in, judges needed to be appointed to ensure fair play. They would be looking for four magical things, of which the first three were primary and the final one secondary:

1. A well-composed photograph

2.  Relevance to events during the year

3. A reasonable resolution image

4. A wide reach of the membership

Not at all easy!

Four judges had to be appointed, to ensure that a dead heat could be the result of the voting and more discussions follow. Software had to be found to allow judges still socially-distanced to view all the photos, vote for 12 and explain which month they would choose to place their preferred photos.

Fraser about to explode with excitement as the calendar photos are to be announced

The four judges were: members Zelda Malan, Fraser Grant, George Matlock, as well as one non-member who designs our website and has been with us from the very start, Francoise Gilles from Belgium.

After the 1 September deadline, George announced that we had received entries from our members representing 23 dogs and 131 photos! That’s 11 for each month of the year!

Now the pressure was on. We all know club members and we want as many as possible to be in the calendar. But we have to make the hard decision on “In or Out”. No, we are not talking Brexit.

The judges were not shown the names of the pets or their owners, to ensure impartiality.

For all the four judges it was a fun-packed, depressing, joyous, frustrating, exciting, scary process!

But duty called. And the judges were not found wanting.

Some club members sent in multiple photos. Others one solitary suggestion. Volume did not guarantee a photo would be a winner. It was about selecting a truly eye-catching photo portfolio members would want to look at at 30 or 31 days of the year per image.

Over the next three weeks, the judges had to weigh up how topical the photos were. There were some interesting takeaways from the process. Very few photos sent in featured flowers or fruits vividly. Thematic seasonal photos like Christmas photos were also few. Images featuring people had to be disqualified on account of privacy regulations.

However, the catch included some amazingly good photos in composition, but not so good quality for printing. Remember the images have to be printed in a generously-sized calendar.

By 24 September, we had shortlisted 12 photos and decided on the months. We also had to put a few into reserve until we hear back from the first-in-line lucky owners whose photos were selected.

Next shoots

So here is what happens next. Over the next two weeks London Scottie Club will contact those members whose photos were chosen to be included in the calendar, with the image we have selected. We will then ask those owners to kindly confirm they own the image, are still happy for it to be published, and if the quality was low such as 600KB to ask whether a higher quality (above 1MB) could be sent to maximise the quality in print.

By mid-October we will select the printer and establish the cost per unit. Between mid-October and 1 November club members will be able to order however many 2021 Calendars they would like and pre-pay us via PayPal. This option allows you to pay via credit card, debit card or use monies you may have stored in your PayPal account. It is a safe and reliable way to pay. We will not accept cheques, postal orders or cash. These are Covid-19 times.

Details of the PayPal will only be shared with club members via WhatsApp Alerts and WhatsApp Convo.

Only club members will be able to order this exclusive calendar, although they may order for friends and family or as Christmas gifts!

No refunds will be provided.

To avoid disappointment, please note that if you have not been contacted via email by us to approve use of your photo by 10 October, it means that regrettably your photo was not chosen this time. Very sorry about that.

Please do not approach the judges to say if your photos were successful. They won’t know because they were not shown the names of dogs or owners.

Finally, the judging panel would like to thank each and every one of you for sending in your photos and letting us “ah” and “oooh” and drool over them. That’s the judges, not the dogs! We had no concept of how many photos we would receive but we were certainly overwhelmed by the flood of photos and needed the time for considered thought about selections.

So this has been an emotional journey for all of us and the hard work to realise the LSC Calendar 2021 continues. We will keep you informed once the calendars are ready for despatch around the start of December.

But before then, we hope to run an interesting competition with a prize on offer. More about that later!

Zelda, Fraser, Fran, George

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