Over the years, we have run many photo contests, or challenges, along with a variety of “Gauge Parties” and modeling challenges. We try to make these unique and as their names imply, a challenge of sorts. Sometimes we get good responses, other times the results are dismal. We’ve asked you what you would like to see and we try to accommodate that, and as of late we’ve gotten less than a stellar showing. We’ve asked you why and as far as we can see, these are some of the reasons for not entering. My response to each one follows the reasons you give. Not enough time to do what the challenge requires-- We usually give you one, sometimes two months to get a photo in, and usually no less than ten weeks to do a modeling challenge. Just start early and don’t wait until the last minute to decide to enter. Not proficient with a camera, computer or photo-editing program-- You’ll never learn to be proficient at anything unless you try. If you need help, ask. There are plenty of people willing to share their secrets. Not a good modeler or photographer, everyone is better than I am-- Yeah, that’s what they all say in the beginning. You cannot improve if you don’t try, and I’ve yet to see anyone here put down someone that is just learning. I don't have a camera - Good reason, but remember this. Part of the fun of being a modeler or a railfan is taking pictures of what you did or what you've seen. Digital cameras nowadays are cheap. Try eBay for one well under $50, I've seen good 5 meg cameras selling brand new locally for $100 - 150. That may be a lot to some, but try your local Goodwill or thrift shop for a used one. You do not need an exceptional camera to post pictures here. I never win or come close so why try-- There is one prize for even someone that finishs last, you can say that you at least tried. Those that don’t enter can’t say that now can they?:thumb: When the Gauge staff members enter, they always win-- I can go back in history and show that a Gauge staff member rarely wins. But remember this, our staff are no different than anyone else. We are modelers that have volunteered to monitor these forums and we like to show off what we do as well. We have no advantage; to be sure, I can remember entering a contest where I got zero votes. Yeah, not even I voted for me…:cry: Why enter a contest that you don’t win anything in?-- If you’re looking for a prize other than recognition, bragging rights or a certificate, then you shouldn’t enter. We will not award any prizes that have value because of the problems and animosity they generate. I don’t have a layout, belong to a club or I’m not near a railroad track-- We try to make these challenges broad enough to allow everyone to enter. It’s not always possible, after all, this is a railroad forum and our interests lie in modeling and full-scale railroading. Don't have anything to take a picture of near you? Then expand your horizons. I don't like competing against others-- Hey, this is the real world, you compete every day against others if it's for a job, the winning lottery ticket, a parking space or the last box of cereal on the shelf; you are competing. This is good clean fun and a good place to get use to competing. I can only enter my own photos or work-- Yep, we do ask you to do your own work and take your own photos. What value is there in showing someone else’s work? The modeling challenges are too difficult.-- Sorry, we need to present a challenge to all levels. We've held challenges that beginners can enter without difficulty, and we've tried to make some a bit more challenging for the more experienced modeler. It's difficult to get one that satisfies all levels of skill. The photo challenge subjects are not ones that interest me--We’ve tried to offer a variety of challenge subjects, some easy, some a bit more difficult. We’ve asked what you’d like to see and tried those subjects as well. We’ll take any and all feedback in hopes of making these challenge subjects to everyone’s liking. So, I hope these responses alleviate your fears and reluctance to enter. These challenges are fun and are here to stimulate your creativity and to build onto your modeling and photography experience; in other words, to give you ideas to work towards helping you enjoy the hobby more. Now, in order to give you as much advance notice of coming challenges and other events; here’s what we have in store: April 1 to May 31, Photo challenge will be for Railfans. Show your railfan photos April 1 to June 15, The Gauge model party. Pick something on your layout, model or equipment and complete it in that time frame. June 1 to June 30, Photo challenge: Let's see your engines. July 1 to July 31, Photo challenge: Unique structures, model or otherwise. Remember, we are always open for suggestions on all of our challenges. We will add to this list of events if we can think ahead that far. We will also be awarding certificates on all challenges. Not much, but better than nothing.