Friday, 16 October 2015

The glass ceiling

Last night we had this years first club competition on a theme which was chosen about a year ago.

I must admit that I quite like these sort of competitions.Because we are restricted to a narrow subject say compared to landscapes, I find it makes me work and more rewarding harder to find a shot that fills the brief. It also levels the playing field somewhat, so the photography is less about the expense of the gear and more about imagination and fulfilling the shot.

This seasons theme was glass. It is interesting that most of the  club members seem to of thought the same thing when they heard the theme, which was buildings and mirrored glass surfaces. In the end there were a few of those in the competition, ranging from London landscapes to world trade centers.
 However some missed the brief entirely by concentrating on the general city scape rather than the glass itself. The ones that I liked best were those which were almost abstract in their simplicity by playing with the glass surfaces.

There were also a lot of churches and stained glass windows. I must admit I have a problem with photos of art works such as these. The term the judge used last night was 'a good record shot' and that is all they are to me. If you are going to take a picture of say a statue, you have to have something else in context, such as people's reaction to it, otherwise it is not really your work that is being judged, but the original artist.

It was also interesting that a lot of the 'big' guns of the club did relatively poorly last night. That is not because their photos were poor; far from it, but more because instead of creating a photograph that matched the brief, they tried to bend their usual photos to the subject like landscapes (with titles like transparent sea). To me perhaps this shows a lot of specialization.

It was also good to see that one of the winners on the night was taken not on a expensive DSLR, but a camera phone (albeit an expensive camera phone). In this case it was a skylight in a factory taken in a panorama.

This is why themed competitions are so fun. It rewards the imagination over the equipment.

So how did I do?


This got 19....
While this one 16...Why?

This one did well,

But this one was close to winning

Good marks here, but perhaps needed cropping

Probably my biggest fail. Probably cropped too nuch


I must admit when I first heard the competition my thoughts were on initially to take buildings. However it quickly transpired that I would have little opportunity to take such images. I did go to the Victoria and Albert, specifically to take pictures of glass(it has a very good glass staircase), but I failed to get anything useful.

So instead my thoughts turned closer at home with all my images were taken indoors. Not everything worked. My attempts to take glasses and bottles on a mirrored black surface did not really work as well as I would like, and I had a number of failures to take glass against various lit backgrounds. However by staying close to home allowed me to experiment far more than if I had tried to take images on location

I must admit my prints marks were a little disappointing, however he DPI's did really well, with all 3 being kept back for later consideration. In the end, 2 of them got 19 marks and was only a whisker away from winning(again!).

I couldn't complain about the winning entries, both by Simon Pearce , who is pretty good at this sort of thing.

And the next subject is?

By tradition, at the end of the competition a new theme is chosen. This year it was chosen as


which I must admit had all of us scratching our heads and heading for the dictionary. The challenge will be expressing such an abstract term to the judge via photos and i expect an even more diverse set of images next year. I already have come up with some ideas, so 12 more months of work begins now...

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