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are these good enough for a big comp ?


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#1 DIRDavid

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 12:19 AM

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

just wondering if they have 'enough" WOW for a placing in say the LAUPS comp etc ?


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#2 cpix

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 01:08 AM

I'm not qualified to comment on how they would do in competition, but for what it is worth, I really love the first shot.

Edited by cpix, 12 March 2009 - 01:10 AM.

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#3 yahsemtough

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 05:14 AM

You never know with competition. If your image connects with the judges then you get picked. Many amazing images don't make the top three. Of the ones posted, I would say the first has the best opportunity. I think the shot would be stronger with better eye contact with the viewer and a little more light on the mouth but a nice image. IMHO


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#4 Nakedwithoutcamera

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 05:52 AM

I love your photos but like Todd says, you never know with judges. I'm not sure what category you're entering them in, but if you're not entering them in macro, or behavior, from what I've seen with other winning images, judges seem to prefer photos with divers in them. I was kind of confused by some of the winning images in the novice category of the latest BTS comp. The scorpion fish, for example. Unless that was a rare kind of fish. They are pretty easy to shoot and I didn't see anything spectacular about that image. Also, the photos of the turtles. Two of them won and I really didn't see why.
OTHO, I've had judges really like photos of mine that I thought were not that great. LOL
That being said....good luck.
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#5 TheRealDrew

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 07:12 AM

I've got a thick skin -and need to see where I'm at now re photos



Contests really are a cr@p shoot to some degree. What resonates with one judge may not with another or may not be something that others may have picked as Ellen mentioned for the BTS and her take on of a couple of images. Since you have a thick skin it helps - for instance the judges in BTS had catagories where things did not win, place or show even though submissions were made in those catagories that would win, place or show in another competition.

As they say, you can't win it if you ain't in it, but by the same token you should not let not winning (or winning) throw you too high or too low.

#6 cpix

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 07:35 AM

I have often thought - wouldn't it be nice to really know what judges thought of your images (sorry, just slightly off topic :bye: ). I usually agree that winning images desirve to be winning images, but how far did yours get ? A lot of photographers would have a lot of images in their collection - is the one you think is your best image the same one the judges would pick ? What about that unusual one you shot - is it just interesting or high up there in the judges opinion ? Wouldn't it be interesting to have one of the underwater photgraphy elite to flick through a big pile of your images to see which ones they stop on and like ?

Then what if Wetpixel had a facility for people to anonymously rate (score) a submitted photo - would this give people an indication on how they are progressing and what people like ? But would the choice of Wetpixel members (with a spread of abilities and tastes) reflect judges opinion ? hmmmm. In the picture of the week competition, it is often very obvious which images will do well, and indeed they would usually finish in the top six - but predicting the winner ?

To me most winning images seem to be slightly unusual combined with a wow factor. Of course some of these images will be imitated and the following year will not do as well as they will no longer be slightly unusual (and familiarity reduces the wow a bit too) ........ hence when you look back in the archives and see winning shots from several years ago and think "I have one of those", well you have probably missed the boat !

Now if I was only good enough to put my theory into practice :)
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#7 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 08:13 AM

I think that it is always worth entering competitions (as long as they are not the dodgy copyright grabbing ones). All competitions are subjective - so if you don't win, don't beat yourself up, And if you do win, don't suddenly start thinking you are the new Mohammed Ali.

It is always hard to comment on judging images online - because judging requires a critical and honest eye. And people generally don't like having all their faults pointed out. I can pick faults in most underwater images I see, especially my own. But that doesn't mean that they are bad images. It also does not mean that they won't end up as winners. A faultless image may be dull. But this does make commenting online difficult - because you have to dress up criticisms so as not to offend - which takes more time and effort and you end up not posting. It is much easier to critique peoples images on a 1:1 basis face to face. Rather than in public and through typed words, with no inclination.

Your images, Dave, are worth entering, but I don't think they would be winners. But you would learn something from the process. You see the images that beat you and you can try and understand why. They are decent shots - but none have that extra sparkle needed to be competition winners. In their favour they are from temperate Australia - which would help them do well in a US based competition. A bit of subject rarity can go a long way with some judges. Just like a manatee will do well in a European based competition, but rarely in the States.
These are all portraits, but as Todd says none of these shots have great eye contact (eye contact doesn't mean being able to see the eyes - it is when the eyes really connect with the viewer), which is usually an important element in a portrait. The backgrounds are a bit distracting in the first two.

In my experience (on judging panels), judges simply want to choose the best images to make the competition look as good as possible. There is usually very little personal bias and a lot of thought and discussion often goes into the choices. For me the best judging panels tend to be dominated by active and experienced photographers - who are best placed to judge what is world class, fresh and cutting edge. They also know what is difficult about certain shots. But it is good to have the pannel balanced by either an editor type or a non-active UW shooter.

Good judges will look at a shot and consider how well executed it is. For example, oh an anemonefish, they are always little buggers to focus on, is the eye completely sharp? Is it a nice anemone. Everyone knows getting two fish to pose is much harder than one. Three even better! Or, like I said about your portraits, eye contacts and complimentary, but non distracting backgrounds are good.

Judges also like features of images that show that the photographer has made a bit of effort to get something different. It helps them justify their choice. We went for this because it is a difficult technique (motion blur, off camera strobe, split level etc).

Just as an example, and this is not an image I have entered in a serious competition, here is a seahorse portrait from temperate Australian waters:
Posted Image
If judging this I would say that there are positives in that it is nicely framed and has good eye contact. The seahorse has a pleasing expression. I like the fact that the photographer has shot a long exposure to burn in a nice ambient water colour. They have also not sacrificed too much depth of field to achieve this. Although I would have preferred it if they had found a slightly more upward camera angle to add a little surface texture or rays of light etc (out of focus). Solid colour backgrounds are a bit boring. A bit of texture in the background gives a lot more depth. I also find the muck (top left) a little distracting - if photoshopping is allowed (and it should be here, because this shot has had backscatter blotches removed!) I'd like to see this taken down a little. This shot is fine, but doesn't have anything really special to be a winner. Maybe it could pick up a placing.

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#8 Nakedwithoutcamera

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 08:14 AM

Yep. Judging and competitions are indeed crap shoots. I find that in my camera club, certain judges have definite prejudices. Like one will consistently score portraits higher than other subjects. In nature competitions, especially on a state-wide level, it seems that landscapers tend to win out over animals.

Sometimes I'll enter images that have broader appeal, and more apt to ratchet up points, but I also enter images that I like personally and don't really consider how it will score.
Ellen B.

#9 Nakedwithoutcamera

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 08:20 AM

Just as an example, and this is not an image I have entered in a serious competition, here is a seahorse portrait from temperate Australian waters:
Posted Image
If judging this I would say that there are positives in that it is nicely framed and has good eye contact. The seahorse has a pleasing expression. I like the fact that the photographer has shot a long exposure to burn in a nice ambient water colour. They have also not sacrificed too much depth of field to achieve this. Although I would have preferred it if they had found a slightly more upward camera angle to add a little surface texture or rays of light etc (out of focus). Solid colour backgrounds are a bit boring. A bit of texture in the background gives a lot more depth. I also find the muck (top left) a little distracting - if photoshopping is allowed (and it should be here, because this shot has had backscatter blotches removed!) I'd like to see this taken down a little. This shot is fine, but doesn't have anything really special to be a winner. Maybe it could pick up a placing.

Alex

That was a great critique, Alex, and I learned a lot from it. Thank you.
That's what I like best about my camera club's competitions. Yeah, it's nice to win, but I learn so much from judge's comments about everyone's entries, not just my own.

Edited by Nakedwithoutcamera, 12 March 2009 - 08:21 AM.

Ellen B.

#10 cpix

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 08:43 AM

Thanks for that Alex - it is quite remarkable how much I have learnt from your posting !
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#11 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 08:52 AM

Meant to add in my own seahorse critique that the good eye contact is difficult with seahorses because they always turn away from the camera - which is another positive.

Alex

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#12 TheRealDrew

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 08:57 AM

Meant to add in my own seahorse critique that the good eye contact is difficult with seahorses because they always turn away from the camera - which is another positive.



Just like I taught you :bye:

Really great shot and insight Alex, one day I will be good enough to take photos that 1/1,000,000th of that quality :)

#13 DIRDavid

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 06:11 PM

thanks all esp Alex :bye:
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#14 Scubamoose

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 12:22 AM

It is always hard to comment on judging images online - because judging requires a critical and honest eye. And people generally don't like having all their faults pointed out. I can pick faults in most underwater images I see, especially my own. But that doesn't mean that they are bad images. It also does not mean that they won't end up as winners. A faultless image may be dull. But this does make commenting online difficult - because you have to dress up criticisms so as not to offend - which takes more time and effort and you end up not posting. It is much easier to critique peoples images on a 1:1 basis face to face. Rather than in public and through typed words, with no inclination.
Alex


I get You'r point Alex!

I belive giving positive feedback on pictures in these threads is good for learning - I can read what others have done right and try to improve my pictures in that direction. On the other hand when showing my own humble material, I would much more appreciate flat out hard criticism - what is done right is allready there, but mistakes are the ones that need correcting. Obviously writeing comments online for everyone to see (and learn from) is like walking on thin ice when it comes to emotions picture owners might feel when getting theyr faults pointed out. But when that is the objective the author was after - I see no problem. Thats what we can point out when starting the thread - right?!

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Edited by Scubamoose, 13 March 2009 - 01:25 AM.

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#15 stewsmith

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 01:16 AM

A great reply Alex, just like the link you posted regarding another competition and what the judges had to say regarding " over processing ". it is information like this that is so good for us " wanna be winners ".

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#16 Nakedwithoutcamera

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 06:30 AM

I belive giving positive feedback on pictures in these threads is good for learning - I can read what others have done right and try to improve my pictures in that direction. On the other hand when showing my own humble material, I would much more appreciate flat out hard criticism - what is done right is allready there, but mistakes are the ones that need correcting. Obviously writeing comments online for everyone to see (and learn from) is like walking on thin ice when it comes to emotions picture owners might feel when getting theyr faults pointed out. But when that is the objective the author was after - I see no problem. Thats what we can point out when starting the thread - right?!

Cheers
Karel

It depends upon where someone posts their photos. If they are in the "Gallery/Showcase" then maybe they don't want a critique. If it's in the image improvement forum, then I assume that they want an honest assessment. However, I think it is important to point out what is right with the photo. I find that to be just as helpful as being told what needs improvement. Especially with other people's photos. Being told what someone does right give me something to aim for.
Ellen B.

#17 diverdon

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 04:32 AM

Alex, It would be worth the price of a new D3x in a Subal housing to me to be able to organize my thoughts and put them down on paper as well as you do. I learned so much from reading your post, that I feel a debt of gratitude to you. My next order from Amazon will include at least one of your books.

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#18 Cal

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 09:52 AM

Some great advice there!

One thing I always harp on about - uniqueness.

The shots you've posted and great shots, dont get me wrong, but I've seen the same composition before and judges like Alex would have seen them dozens of times (if not more for the seahorse shot). Have a look at previous winning images in comps, there almost always unique shots. Take Keri Wilks back lit blenny (1st place supermacro OWU - one of the biggest comps in the world), He positioned a strobe (or torch) behind a blenny to capture its profile. It was a unique image and won big time.

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#19 scorpio_fish

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 10:49 AM

[quote]just wondering if they have 'enough" WOW for a placing in say the LAUPS comp etc ?/quote]

Possibly, no, and no.

Just my opinion, but my opinion is as worthless as the 100 rupiah coin on my desk. I used to be shocked by what used to win contests. Now, with so many high quality digital submissions, it's unlikely a mediocre shot will ever place. I swore off comps for a long time after a shot of mine with a shrimp inside the mouth of a green moray lost out to a single flamingo tongue. I also had a shot place that I had no intention of entering in the competition. My better half insisted. She now selects my submissions. I clearly have no idea what works and doesn't. The only thing I know for certain is that all wide angle shots must have a diver in them with a dive light pointing at the camera, even if they are 20ft. over the reef in bright sunlight. :P


While some extoll the virtues of entering competitions, it does take time and generally money to do so. If you want the experience of entering a competition, start with those that require the least amount of time and money, like club contests or the weekly Wetpixel competitions.

BTW, I really like the first shot a lot, regardless of its competition value.
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#20 danielandrewclem

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 06:33 PM

WTF?
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