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Thread: Image Selection for Competitions ?

  1. #1
    Shore Crawler Dylan & Marianne's Avatar
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    Image Selection for Competitions ?

    I recently entered a New York based competition instead of entering Better Photography's competition this year (encouraged by some flickr friends as well as a better prize pool and cheaper entry!).

    From looking at past winners, I don't think I have much of a chance as most of the winning images seem to be of people rather than landscapes (if any) - but maybe that's because not alot of landscapes were submitted??

    Anyway, I never know what is a good image for competitions so I copped out and asked Marianne to sit with me to pick a a shortlist and then I culled them to a final selection based on gut feeling. These are some of them and clicking will you take you to the site.

    I think that some of the aspects which get in the way of an objective selection include:
    - The emotion invested with the given scene
    - The effort it took to get the image
    - How difficult or easy it was to get the image technically
    - How difficult or easy it was to achieve the finali result in PP
    - How you second guess yourself as to what judges might want in an image.

    For those reasons, I tried to keep it simple and go by gut feeling alone - I'm not sure if this was a good ploy but only time will tell! What do you guys think about the topic and the selection I've made?



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    My general luck in competitions has been on the negative side, so I do have an inherent bias and strong sense of cynicism; but what I know is that you have strong images and could do well in competitions -- if you can get past the randomness, judging issues and moving goal posts inherent to that arena.

    For me, the standout image in this selection is that of the rainbow over the castle. It was a rare moment and not something any mug could have captured.

    From seeing your work I believe you have stronger images which I'd choose over some of those you've offered here, but, as is the case with judging, it's just a matter of preference and opinion.

    I'm not familiar with the comp you've entered, but all I can say is that I hope you do well, and that you let the forum know if you have success.

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    Member Michael's Avatar
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    Fantastic collection of photo's Dylan. Can I ask that the link to these photos is this what the judges see or do you submit actual photo's? Reason I ask is the one of Couta Rocks appears to have a (cropping?) problem around the bottom & left edges.
    Other that that good luck; would love to get to some of these destinations, hopefully one day I will.

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    thanks for your input john! about the castle image, I was almost not going to include it because it didn't do very well in the better photography competition - I suspect some people think that you can just go out there and snap it!

    Mick , thanks so much for pointing that out! I can't believe I never saw that! all along I've been presenting it with a white border so I haven't noticed it but it's definitely in the original file ! I better go change the submission lol - I owe you one

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    Member Michael's Avatar
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    No probs, hope you do well. For me it's Annapurna South from Annapurna Base Camp, Nepal. Either way they are all worthy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dtoh View Post
    thanks for your input john! about the castle image, I was almost not going to include it because it didn't do very well in the better photography competition - I suspect some people think that you can just go out there and snap it!
    Yikes. That surprises me, as BP competitions usually have very experienced judges who are themselves accomplished photographers.

    I rarely see a rainbow with my own eyes, let alone in some fantastic Scottish or Icelandic location which happens to have a castle, in beautiful lighting conditions, when I happen to have my landscape photography rig poised.

    But I'm sure anyone with an iPhone can shoot that. ;-)

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    lol john - I should get myself an iphone one day a start a "pick the DSLR vs iphone image" thread

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    Quote Originally Posted by dtoh View Post
    lol john - I should get myself an iphone one day a start a "pick the DSLR vs iphone image" thread
    It wouldn't surprise me if there was a movement of iPhone shooters out there, producing quite good images. I've not looked into it, but it's the sort of thing I can imagine happening.

    The camera in the current generation (iPhone 4) seems quite good, but the camera in the 3GS (the model I have) is fairly ordinary. I use mine for snapshots and other documentary stuff -- not for proper photography.

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    The Commander mikew09's Avatar
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    Hi Dylan, I would'nt put any faith in my judging capabilities but the shots with the birds is one of the images that really stood out for me when I seen it in the collection screen you posted earlier this month.
    Hopefully you will get more experienced help than mine though.
    Last edited by mikew09; 19-07-2011 at 3:51pm.
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    Sunrise Chaser
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    I'm in the same boat Dylan, There is a comp at the Local shopping centre , $500 1st, $200 2nd , $100 3rd, Open category , Buggered if I can pick which one I should enter , They have to be 16x20 inches (Mounted size) on strong Matt Board no thicker than 4mm , I'm gunna do mine on Fuji Pearl , Had a quote from the printers and framers for $55 , At least I get to keep the print How do I pick the best one ?
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    No idea bill lol - I guess pick heaps then gradually cull down would be the only thing I could say that would help!
    glad I included the birds then mike !
    john, I'm still using a nokia from the 90s lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by dtoh View Post
    john, I'm still using a nokia from the 90s lol
    Yikes.

    I had Nokia phones from 1996 to 2009 (five in that time), at which point I moved to an iPhone.

    I couldn't go back to Nokia at this stage.

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    I forgot to add, I'm still on an archaic $9 plan haha - mostly incoming calls from work :P no incentive to change as yet hehe

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    What a wonderful selection to choose from.

    I'll step out here, and whilst not a landscape photographer here's two bobs worth from an observer.
    With the rainbow image (stunning as it is) is that the castle is centred, and the rainbow is near symmetrical. That maybe seen as a negative.. then again to others, it maybe a positive. Bit risky. That's the unknown of judging I suppose.
    Last edited by Art Vandelay; 19-07-2011 at 10:49pm.

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    Good luck Dylan I don't think you need I will never be game to enter competitions differently not now and probable not in the future I will never get that good but I admire people like you for giving it a try all the best
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    The Commander mikew09's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikkie View Post
    Good luck Dylan I don't think you need I will never be game to enter competitions differently not now and probable not in the future I will never get that good but I admire people like you for giving it a try all the best
    Never say never Nikkie

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    The only comp experience I have (and more than likely will ever have, I dare say) is on this site and even with only my crabby snaps to sort through, I have folders full of potential shots I can't decide on!

    I can certainly see your dilemma, Dylan. It's one thing to pick a photo you like, but often even within a circle of family and friends everyone will favour a different image. Trying to select an image that you think will appeal most to a group of strangers? Who knows, mate? I don't think there's any technique as such. Probably a lot of luck. But having so many stunning photos to offer means there probably isn't a "bad" choice you could make.

    Good luck with the comps! My personal vote from that lot would probably go the one of the reflected hill on the bottom left.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xenedis View Post
    It wouldn't surprise me if there was a movement of iPhone shooters out there, producing quite good images. I've not looked into it, but it's the sort of thing I can imagine happening.

    The camera in the current generation (iPhone 4) seems quite good, but the camera in the 3GS (the model I have) is fairly ordinary. I use mine for snapshots and other documentary stuff -- not for proper photography.
    Here 'tis John. There has also been a few articles in some of the bigger photography mags as well, which makes me wonder how long til there is a subforum on AP for iphoneography.

    Dylan: Can't offer much help on the competitions side of things as I often look at winners of magazine comps and find them uninteresting and dull, but perhaps technically good. If you are able to enter a number of images, then maybe go for a variety of different types that may appeal to wider audience.
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  19. #19
    Who let the rabble in? Lance B's Avatar
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    These are wonderful images, Dylan.

    Do you need to narrow it down to just one image, or are all to be submitted.

    If it is just one, then for me it is the rainbow over the castle ruins, Ardvreck Castle, Scotland. I think that is a gem as it has a subject, the ruin, and a secondary sudject, the rainbow and is simply a gorgeous photo. The central positioning of the ruins is ok here as the rainbow dictates that it all needed to be centred. I just love that photo!

    I would be more than proud of any of these images as they are all excellent. However, my take on the others:

    Couta Rocks, Tasmania. Great shot, but doesn't quite hit home for me to win a competition as it is just rocks and water, albeit superbly done!
    Cataract Gorge, Tasmania. This is beautiful, but just doesn't quite make it, IMO.
    Elgol, Scotland. Again, like Couta Rocks above, a beautiful image, but doesn't quite hit home for me to win a competition as it is just rocks and water, albeit superbly done!
    Annapurna South from Annapurna Base Camp, Nepal. A superb composition, but the movement of one of the people just takes the egde off it.
    Annapurna South from Poon Hill, Nepal. Another beautiful image, but it is just of a mountain and has no real impact other than that.
    Geysir Geothermal Area, Iceland. Great shot of the Geysir, but I think the people in tha background detract from the image.
    Laugavegur Hike, Iceland. Another beautiful image and the starkness of the landscape, the wonderful colouring with the two lonely people on it really hits home, but it just doesn't quit make it to win a comp, IMO.
    Godafoss, Iceland. Another gem of an image, but I think that the central location of the rock just tips it out of the competition.
    Kirkjufell, Iceland. That is a superb composition and would be my second choice.
    Kirkjufjara, Iceland. Excellent shot, but the central positioning of the rock just tips it against it. I realise that the central location lines up with the island in the distance, but it just doesn't quite make it, IMO.
    Jokulsarlon, Iceland. My 3rd choice. Wonderful composition and colouring.

    I would have included Cradle Mountain, Tasmania, in the mix as it is a gem, too and my 4th pick.

    As I said above, they are all superb images and I would be more than proud to have taken any of them and so should you!

    Cheers,
    Lance

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    Quote Originally Posted by Art Vandelay View Post
    What a wonderful selection to choose from.

    I'll step out here, and whilst not a landscape photographer here's two bobs worth from an observer.
    With the rainbow image (stunning as it is) is that the castle is centred, and the rainbow is near symmetrical. That maybe seen as a negative.. then again to others, it maybe a positive. Bit risky. That's the unknown of judging I suppose.
    that's what I thought in retrospect too - broke the thirds rule , discarded!

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