It was just the little push that I needed, and after having read all through the bits on the website about how to apply, I downloaded the guidelines pack and other information; and decided to go for it.
All applicants are recommended to attend an Advisory date before applying, where your images are assessed in a much more relaxed atmosphere and you are given guidance about what works and what doesn't. The first one available in this area is in April next year, which I have now booked. So, it is just a question of deciding how long I want to wait between the Advisory and the actual assessment. The options are 18 days (too short), the end of May or the beginning of June. As we have plans to go away in May, I decided on the June date, which also gives me the most time to get my panels together. I have now sent off my application form together with my payment, so there is no turning back. Eeek.
At the moment I am excited and nervous in equal measures. I am not telling people yet, just a couple of good friends, just in case I don't pass – it would be so embarrassing.
In a conversation with another friend (who achieved her LRPS last year), she confirmed that all the judges are 'over-critical', but hers were not rude, at least. She showed me her successful panel, and her parting shot made me feel a little more at ease: “I got the impression from the advice Day and assessment that the photos don’t have to be spectacular just interesting, show evidence of composition and be technically perfect”.
Following on his success, each applicant go like lambs to the slaughter. No stone is unturned, every tiny little flaw is pointed out. Some are told they are almost there and just need to make a few changes to some of the photos, others are told to go away and take more pictures, two are 'almost there', while a couple are deemed “nowhere near ready yet”.
The first six pass. The seventh gets a lot more criticism than the previous panels, and at one stage I can hear a voice behind me whisper: “Uh huh, I think I'm in trouble here'. His images do not get past the scrutiny.
I feel elated, naturally, and relieved, but my soul, ego, and heart are still raw with emotions, feeling fragile and bruised. This is the most nerve-wracking experience I have ever had, ten times worse than all the other exams I have ever taken in school, college or workplace put together and then some. As one guy said when we were leaving: “I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy!”