Saturday, 25 April 2015

Sometimes your the hero, sometimes the clown

Another day, another competition.

This time it was the end of year competition at Melbourne photographic society, a chance for all the members to show off their best work as the club season ends.

The last competition I had achieved a bit of a breakthrough with getting top marks from one of images. Now I wasn't totally convinced that it was that good, but it is those sort of things that you have to take into account when you are selecting your years best images.

The competition allowed 3 prints and 3 digital images from each member. The biggest challenge was therefore to select my 6 best images. The problem was my idea of what makes a good image has changed a lot over the last year. Ones I considered good, I now consider passée, while other I have looked at with new eyes and seem better

Also  my success in competitions, apart from the last one, has been under par, let us say. As a result I have not had much guidance from that avenue.

As a result the images I put in, was a combination of images that have done well in competitions (the thaw), some ones that I had been holding back from competition for just this event, and ones I thought were under marked and I wanted a 2nd opinion (with a few tweaks just to remove some previously noted flaws).

Being the end of year competition, the standard as expected was high. The judge, Hazel Manning had an interesting take on many of the images. However my prints did relatively poorly. My 20/20 from last time only got 15, despite the nice comments about it. Hey, sometimes the hero, sometimes the clown...

This goes to show two things. Firstly there is a large difference in judges opinions. They should follow the rules and be consistent, but it amazing how often they vary based on personal interest/prejudice(it was obvious early on she liked buildings, but not images of children). This also means just because a photo achieves low marks in one competition, it does not make it is necessarily a bad photo.

In the DPI's category, I had more success. Again the competition was fierce, with one image having just achieving a ribbon at the Port Talbot International Salon. However I had high hopes with my windfarm at sunset image. In the end that was given 17, (which I thought was a bit under marked, maybe not helped by the judge's stated prejudice against windfarms), but which I would of easily taken that mark a few months ago.

But that was overshadowed by this image below, which received 20 marks and only came a hairbreadth of winning the DPI overall(Yes ribbon winning entry did win and deservedly so).

Propeller Running - 20/20

The thing about this image was that I had entered it in the genre competition and it had received 15 marks. But I thought it was better than that, so I put it in again.

However I made two changes. Firstly I cloned out a bit of writing on the far right of the plane which was distracting(In hindsight I should of removed the yellow object too ), but more crucially I changed the title.

It was originally called "Fat Albert", which is what the plane is actually called( it is parked in East Midlands Aeropark ), but to me the story is not the plane, but the fact the logo seem to be sprinting away from the propellers. The previous judge did not see that, so to emphasize the point I renamed it "Propeller running".

This seemed to make quite a difference and this judge got it. Which just goes to show how crucial the naming of the image is in relating the story to the audience.

In conclusion, some success at last, and it leaves me with some confidence going into the new photographic year.

So what next? Well I have already some images waited to be worked on, which show some promise. However I have decided on concentrating on two things this year.

Firstly I want to improve my black and white prints. Whether I can do this with the software I have at present maybe challenging.   I noticed that many use plug-ins like silver efex, but that would require using something like lightroom, which I have resisted up to now.

Secondly I am going to try and concentrate on the story rather than the photo. I have come to believe that taking a nice image is all well and good, but without the photo telling a good narrative it is just that, a nice photo.

I want my images to be more than that, so that is this years challenge. Wish me luck...

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