Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Four of the best

This week is the annual club panel of 4 competition. After the last club competition where I felt a little aggrieved by the judging(a little? really? - Ed.) I feel a lot better about this competition.

Of the call the club competitions, the panel of 4 is probably my second favorite after the theme competition.

The idea is to present 4 photos in a panel. There are two entries, one in print and one in DPI.

The fact it is 4 photos (and not three) is far more significant than it first seems. You need to find four photos with some association but of consistent high quality.

For some reason the rules of the universe state that the fourth one will always be the challenge. I have lost count of the  number of times that I found 3 great photos, but could not find a fourth of a similar standard, so had to put them on one side.

The reason why I like this competition so much is the DPI photo in particular provides plenty flexibility for experimentation.  While the majority of entries will consist of 4 standard rectangles, there is nothing in the rules to stop you putting 4 photos together of any size and shape.

Personally I love to play around with different patterns. I have some great ideas for panels of horizontal or vertical slices, or even overlaying images on top of each other.

Unfortunately the competition only has 1 DPI. This means that I cannot experiment as much as I would like, bit it is a format I would love to do more in. The print entry however is more limiting.

My original idea was a set of images called fruit puns. Unfortunately this did not work out as well as I hoped due to time issues and the fact I could only think of 3 really good puns (as the universe decrees). I liked the result, but in the end I did not think it was strong enough (but it was fun to do, and I would of loved to see the judges reaction).

4 fruit puns

So instead I did some work on flowers.

I have been interested recently in taking low key flower pictures using a flash. I have little experience with flashes, so I wanted to experiment and find out how to use it better. So I bought myself a cheap soft box and a adapter. These were mounted on a old tripod and I used a radio trigger to sync the flash and allow it to illuminate the side of flowers in a darkened room with a black background.

1st results

I had an idea of using number of different flowers, cropped closely against the flower head. I would of loved to have used wild flowers such as dandelions, but being winter I was forced to buy cheap bunches of flowers from the local supermarket (much to my wife's annoyance when she found the flowers were not for her).

In the end however instead of different flowers, I felt the rose images were stronger. I also realized that I could play around with the images shapes to put together a panel with a different, and to my mind more interesting layout.

This is the final result and I am quite pleased with it. so much so I really don't care how it does in competition

The print entry were harder  to decide on.

I came up with 4 different sets. None of them were taken specifically for this competition, so it was a process of seeing what I had already and connecting them together. They all had their merits, but in the end I came down with 4 IR images of a tree. This is probably going to be the last time i enter IR images, so hopefully they will be far more successful than last IR images I entered.


My prints got 18/20 which was a welcome surprise while my DPI also got 18, which was a bit of a disappointment. To be honest with the DPI I was surprised to see once they were on the big screen some of the dark backdrop came through, which was surprising since I thought I had darkened the blacks enough.

The judge also made a big thing about progression. i,e a story carrying through the set of photos. To be honest I had not really considered this in my entries but it is something to work on next year.

Also congratulations to Lorraine Dowell for winning her 1st competition last night.

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