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LAUPS results posted


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#1 drsteve

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 09:46 AM

I haven't seen this posted here, but the results from the LAUPS 45th International Photo competition have been posted at http://www.laups.org...i2007/index.php The Best in Show image is stunning.

There really is an international crowd among the winners circle with the following countries represented: Australia, Canada, Hungary, Italy, Philippines, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, UK, US

I was fortunate enough to earn a honorable mention in the behavior category with a photo of a Sea Lion attacking a Mola Mola.

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#2 james

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 10:33 AM

Wow, that's great news Steve. Congrats.

It sure looks like the Italians cleaned up this year1 Maybe they should raname the contest????

We'll post it on the front page.

Cheers
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#3 drsteve

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 11:31 AM

Yes, the Italians did very well. It seems that they entered en masse

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#4 Steve Williams

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 05:42 PM

Congrats Steve. Is it just me? When I look at the images in both the Macro and WA catergories I think the second and sometimes even the third place are much better images than the ones selected. :) Who judges these contests? No disrespect intended, they are all nice and I'd love to be able to claim any of them, but there are some obvious (to me) questions here. Seriously, how does the judging work in these bigger contests?

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#5 jlyle

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 06:44 PM

Congrats Steve. Is it just me? When I look at the images in both the Macro and WA catergories I think the second and sometimes even the third place are much better images than the ones selected. :) Who judges these contests? No disrespect intended, they are all nice and I'd love to be able to claim any of them, but there are some obvious (to me) questions here. Seriously, how does the judging work in these bigger contests?

Steve


You never know what the judges are going to like. It's a real crap shoot, but that's what makes it all so interesting.

"sometimes even the third place are much better images..." I hope you were referring to mine. LOL.

They will eventually post the judge's comments on this year's competition.
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#6 Steve Williams

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 07:19 PM

Great attitude! Thanks for the adjustment in my thinking. :)


"sometimes even the third place are much better images..." I hope you were referring to mine. LOL. "

Congratulations Jim, a third and an Honorable mention, very nice! Just between you and me, that's a perfect example of my original question. the image that won second doesn't even look focused to me. Might be the transfer to the web page I guess. Your kelp snail is all the better because there is no strobe. How did you get kelp to hold still for .6s ? How shallow were you? Two ft? I've got to admit I would have never thought of even trying for that image that way. Well Done!
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#7 mrbubbles

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 08:55 PM

I'll toot my horn too, I got hm for maju wreck. I'm always overwhelmed just to be in the mix. I think all of us could rearrange the photos in varios orders, but hey the judges opinions are the only ones that count.

#8 drsteve

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 11:33 PM

Congrats Steve. Is it just me? When I look at the images in both the Macro and WA catergories I think the second and sometimes even the third place are much better images than the ones selected. :) Who judges these contests? No disrespect intended, they are all nice and I'd love to be able to claim any of them, but there are some obvious (to me) questions here. Seriously, how does the judging work in these bigger contests?

Steve

The judges are people with their own sense of esthetics. Although I have never had the honor of judging a competition, I am certain that it is an impossible task. It is also clear that with a different set of judges, you would have a completely different winners circle. So the set of winners is some combination of the skill of the photographers, and the random factor of what the judges like.

I know that when I post images on my flickr site, for example, the ones that get the most play are often not the ones that I think are my best, so I am not surprised that judges come to a different idea of "better" than I do. that being said, I am in awe of some of the winners. The best in show is a jaw dropping stunner.

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#9 cor

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 02:23 AM

The same thing happens with magazines. I send images to magazines regularly and have basically given up on caring which image they pick, It is invariable always the ones i would not have picked. For that reason, I actually anticipate that now, and usually include images that I would normally not send.

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#10 Steve Williams

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 08:50 AM

Thanks for the responses guys. Far be it from me to question the LAUPS, they have been promoting UW photography since Neptune was a boy. I have a great deal of respect for what they have accomplished. In thinking about it I guess I'm questioning my own understanding of what makes a great image, not the judges.
It is Art and so by it's nature very subjective, so maybe I should leave it there. But I've been thinking of promoting a small photo competition at my local dive shop to help get more folks fired up about UW photography. I haven't been able to find any posted criteria that images are judged on. Are there criteria for the LAUPS and/or Wetpixel competitions that I have missed, other than don't show images of harrassment? I can also see that criteria would scare some folks, "Don't throttle the creativity!" Any thoughts?

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#11 Lionfish43

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 08:59 AM

I broke into the winner's circle this year, although just barely with a 5th place in w/a prints. Congratulations to all the winners and HMs....some good stuff there.
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#12 jlyle

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 09:26 AM

Thanks for the responses guys. Far be it from me to question the LAUPS, they have been promoting UW photography since Neptune was a boy. I have a great deal of respect for what they have accomplished. In thinking about it I guess I'm questioning my own understanding of what makes a great image, not the judges.
It is Art and so by it's nature very subjective, so maybe I should leave it there. But I've been thinking of promoting a small photo competition at my local dive shop to help get more folks fired up about UW photography. I haven't been able to find any posted criteria that images are judged on. Are there criteria for the LAUPS and/or Wetpixel competitions that I have missed, other than don't show images of harrassment? I can also see that criteria would scare some folks, "Don't throttle the creativity!" Any thoughts?

Steve


There is just so much going on in judging photographs...many, many variables. AFAIK, the judges are simply asked to pick (in their opinions) the best images. (Of course, harrassment, feeding, obvious manipulation, etc. are verbotten.)

Images should be technically perfect - proper exposure, focus, etc. (some wiggle room here, eg. the eye must be in focus...etc.) Technical flaws will almost always result in an image being rejected.

How well does the image fit into the category?

Is the subject rare, unusual? (extra points). Remember, not too long ago, when a picture of a pygmy seahorse was rare?

Composition (rule of thirds, etc.).

Color (often overlooked, bright colors capture more attention).

The judges must agree; come to a consensus.

If you go to the LAUPS website and click on the International Results for the past several years, you can view the judges' comments. Here's what they had to say in 2005:

"Judges' Comments

Still Entries:

Overall, the judges said that they were impressed with the high quality of the images. They were particularly impressed with the macro category. The judges felt that in today's competitions, if you want to have an image that will stand out and has a good chance to place, enter a very good Wide Angle image. The field is much more competitive in macro.

In judging macro especially, the judges said that due to the very competitive field, they had to eliminate images with any technical flaws. Images had to be in sharp focus, (especially the eyes), with excellent composition, lighting and minimal or no backscatter. The degree of difficulty and impact of the images were often the tie breaker factors.

With digital becoming more dominant, it is very important that entrants not over process their images. Even though Photoshop allows photographers to adjust images, nothing replaces a properly exposed, well-composed image. Unfortunately over saturation and over sharpening can and does detract from a good image.

Don't compete with yourself. If you have more than one image of the same subject, select the best one and enter that. There were several images that were repeats of the same subject and it was clear that they were taken by the same photographer.
When entering prints, evaluate the paper stock you select to enhance your image. e.g. B/W images tend to look better on a matte or satin finish; a striking image might best be printed on a high gloss.

The rarity of your subject should not be of great importance when submitting entries. A common subject with impact and technical perfection will win over a rare, but mediocre image.

Your subject needs room to swim into. (Nose room). Don't have the face, nose, snout, etc. of your subject near the edge of the image.

There were a lot of entries with very unusual or exciting subjects that were eliminated because of technical flaws.

Be very selective about photographing divers. In more instances than not, the presence of a diver in an image will hurt rather than help it.

Especially for novice and intermediate divers; select one style of photography and equipment and master it, rather than try to take macro, wide angle, available light, close focus wide angle, etc. styles, all at one time.

For animal portraits, eye contact is essential. Try to shoot from the animal's 'viewpoint'. e.g. shots of the back of animal, (or worse) the tail of an animal, looking down are less desirable.

Again this year the judges felt that that overall the quality of photographic work in this competition was impressive and the number and quality of entries exceeds most other contests in which they have had past involvement.

As in past competitions, technical deficiencies caused the immediate downgrading of images. These deficiencies included over-exposure, fuzzy focus, and depth of field where important, backscatter, positioning of subject, etc. The primary positive element for images to make the final cut was IMPACT. Image quality, interesting lighting, composition and unique perspective all play a part in an impactful image."


[Like the Supreme Court Justice who said, "I can't define pornography, but I know it when I see it!"]

Edited by jlyle, 30 November 2007 - 09:40 AM.

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#13 twinner

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 10:24 AM

I think it helps to have an image that is a little different from what you might typically see. Not necessarily a rare animal but even a common subject shot in a different way. But I was pretty happy with the results this year. :)

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#14 drsteve

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 11:02 AM

In judging macro especially, the judges said that due to the very competitive field, they had to eliminate images with any technical flaws. Images had to be in sharp focus, (especially the eyes), with excellent composition, lighting and minimal or no backscatter. The degree of difficulty and impact of the images were often the tie breaker factors.


I might be opening a can of worms, but I notice that among the winning images there is not a spec of backscatter. The entry rules were quite explicit about what sort of editing was allowed. They said.

In addition, minor traditional darkroom style manipulations are allowed, including cropping, B&W conversion, and dodging and burning with large, basic brushes. Complex manipulations requiring masks, advanced elements like the healing tool or clone tool, and precise brushes are not allowed. In other words, burning simple backscatter out of a black background with a coarse brush is allowable; precisely healing backscatter in a complex background or the face of your subject is not.


I know that because of this rule, I "unedited" several of my entries by turning off the backscatter removal layer, since most if not all of my backscatter correction is with the healing/clone tools with a precise brush. Overall, I think not having this level of correction is silly, but I followed the rule anyway. I wonder how many of the entries adhered so scrupulously to this rule.

Edited by drsteve, 30 November 2007 - 11:05 AM.

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#15 jlyle

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 11:18 AM

I was pretty happy with the results this year. :)

Todd


And well you should be!

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#16 cor

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 11:35 AM

hey Todd, I think i saw you take that image :)

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#17 Steve Williams

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 02:16 PM

I think it helps to have an image that is a little different from what you might typically see.
Todd


Thanks Todd, your 2 first's sure qualify. Love the website too. You have been a busy guy.

I want to thank James for the great comments above. After looking again at all the images I'm just glad I didn't have to pick the winners.

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#18 fforbes

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Posted 01 December 2007 - 03:28 PM

So you thought the third placements were pretty good, huh? Thank you!

I thought the Best of Show was AMAZING. Any one who would jump in an Alpine Lake to get a shot like that has bumped the "degree of difficulty" indicator way past what I would ever do. That image just pulled me in, made me want to put on a sweater.

I think the judges did a good job on the whole. When you stare at nearly 800 images that were almost all Really Good, and have to narrow the field to just a few and then place them in order, I expect at that final point it starts to be a bit subjective.

Congratulations to everyone who made the cut!

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#19 Dejan

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 06:17 AM

It sure looks like the Italians cleaned up this year1


Plenty of well known italian names, most of them present also at 10th VODAN this year.

I've seen some images there too and from there still remain some doubts open.

Specially I'd like to hear comments on macro prints category, 2nd place, 4th place and HM Crown of Janolus.

Actually I've never seen a Dondice banyulensis or a Janolus cristatus or any other animal to succeed to climb on a Spirographis spallanzani. More likely but still unnatural seems the crab on a pelagic Rhizostoma pulmo, unless it's dead and therefore on a seabed.

The best in show is realy beautifull, reminds me Viora 3rd place in freshwater VODAN07.

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#20 jlyle

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 06:46 AM

Plenty of well known italian names, most of them present also at 10th VODAN this year.

I've seen some images there too and from there still remain some doubts open.

Specially I'd like to hear comments on macro prints category, 2nd place, 4th place and HM Crown of Janolus.

Actually I've never seen a Dondice banyulensis or a Janolus cristatus or any other animal to succeed to climb on a Spirographis spallanzani. More likely but still unnatural seems the crab on a pelagic Rhizostoma pulmo, unless it's dead and therefore on a seabed.

The best in show is realy beautifull, reminds me Viora 3rd place in freshwater VODAN07.

Regards, Dejan


Are saying, in your opinion, the creatures have been moved to colorful backgrounds for the photographs? I must admit, when I saw the images, I thought the same thing.
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