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Lionfish43

Photo contests and sharpening

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I can see the difference clearly. Not using PS and looking at them on a laptop. I prefer the first one though that is subjective as always.

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This is a great thread. Thanks for starting it Larry.

 

I'm going against the grain here :) I like the second one better. The fish looks soft in the first pic but has great detail in the second. Why this looks better to me is probably why every photo comp has differing results. Or maybe it's my monitor. OTOH, divingdiver2's does look oversaturated.

 

Rand

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I opened the first one and thought that was the oversharpened one, and got a little worried...... rolleyes.gif

 

LOL, me too.

 

Clearly, the over-sharpened does rear its ugly head now and then in underwater photos. It's the "more is better" approach. Same with saturation. To quote a Supreme Court Photo Contest Judge, "I can't define over-sharpened and over-saturated, but I know it when I see it."

 

I'm still curious on the 2,000+ pixel requirement. As mentioned, viewing at less than 100% can alter the appearance of the image. I've got a 22" Eizo Nanoa set to 1600x1200, so I can't see a 2000+ pixel image at full view. It would seen illogical to require such a high pixel count, unless the judges are examining areas of the image at 100% for some reason.

 

What's funny is that I was doing some large prints this past weekend for the first time in about a year. The final output looks friggin crunchy on your screen in order to look sharp at all on the print. I'd hate to show people that version on a computer screen.

 

(PS I remembered why I got to hate doing my own large prints; large expensive paper, long print times, banding at the very tail end of the print process)

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I like the oversharpened one better than the 1st but as it was an example, taking back a little would have been perfect as I am sure the photographer did in his final image. I sharpen the crap out of stuff but I don't think I over do it. Before I could afford nice 2.8 lenes it saved a lot of pics. Call me tehcnically inept but when the composition is on and the technical skills are suspect, thank goodness for Unsharp mask

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This is really interesting because the reason I used this image for my example is that I already had a slightly over-sharpened version.

 

I won a first place with this fish at the MPUP February meeting, in the monthly contest. :-) You can see it at http://www.mpup.org/contests.htm and select February.

 

I had just started shooting my D70 underwater (2nd or 3rd dive with it), and was just learning to use Photoshop. When I looked at the image a few months later, I realized that it was a little oversharpened. Not quite natural looking.

 

Kathy

P.S. Mike your edited version looks good, but seems dark to me, losing the colors in the negative space.

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A question here: Why don't contests simply require submissions in print form? After all, that's the way most people ultimately view images.

 

For example, just require submissions printed 7.5x10 on 8.5x11 glossy paper. Then no one has to worry about what the judges will be looking at -- they'll be looking at whatever you sent in, exactly as you sent it in. No computer differences, calibration differences, gamma differences, etc. Just a nice print, which is what I assume most of us are trying to achieve in the end anyway. You could print it yourself, or have your lab print it, or have a friend make the print.

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No need to apologize. I was just pointing out how my tastes have evolved the longer (10 months :) I've been doing digital image editing.

 

Reefroamer, one problem with prints is that they are more difficult to mail to the competition. Some get really beat up in the mail, unfortunately. Plus, unless it's a high quality print it won't do your image justice. Check out the comments regarding print quality on the NCUPS competition article.

 

Best,

Kathy Mendes

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A question here: Why don't contests simply require submissions in print form? After all, that's the way most people ultimately view images.

 

For example, just require submissions printed 7.5x10 on 8.5x11 glossy paper. Then no one has to worry about what the judges will be looking at -- they'll be looking at whatever you sent in, exactly as you sent it in. No computer differences, calibration differences, gamma differences, etc. Just a nice print, which is what I assume most of us are trying to achieve in the end anyway. You could print it yourself, or have your lab print it, or have a friend make the print.

 

It adds expense to enter the contests as I know I don't print everything I enter. Also being able to email or send in a CD is very convenient and easy.

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Oh, I would absolutely agree it's far less convenient to mail in prints than to simply e-mail images. The problem, though, with sending the images electronically, as noted in this forum, is that we have no real idea of what they look like to the judges when viewed on a different computer with different settings and a different monitor/projector and at different sizes.

It just points up the need to have some standards for how contest images are viewed. The same problem would exist if we e-mailed images and contest judges printed them on the other end "as is." We'd have no idea of the printer, the settings, the paper/ink combination, etc.

The difference is that by sending in a print -- understandably inconvenient and more expensive -- we would know for certain exactly what contest judges are looking at ... the same print we looked at.

Preferably, contests will someday have an agreed-upon standard for submissions and viewing conditions of electronic images so that photographers can accurately see what the judges see.

That was the beauty of slide submissions.

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Yep I agree with that. I guess because I never enter any print competitions due to the added work etc. I see it being more limiting. But, a standardized submission would be good. In the end the judging is subjective not a precise science so who knows... :)

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That sounds ludicrous to me... the color strips in question ARE a standard, and by calibrating a viewing system, will always (to a large degree) match. If there were not already standards, the pro stuff would never be right.

 

If you want to really get technical, most digital photographers are not working on color managed and calibrated systems. If everyone were, this would be a non issue.

 

I think the onus is on the entrant to create their work in a color managed environment.

 

That said, I prefer print entries, as it give me ultimate control. The fact that my prints don't do well becomes my own problem. Sure, I may not agree with the judges, but I surely cant complain about the "technology".

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That sounds ludicrous to me...    the color strips in question ARE a standard, and by calibrating a viewing system, will always (to a large degree) match.  If there were not already standards, the pro stuff would never be right.

 

If you want to really get technical, most digital photographers are not working on color managed and calibrated systems.  If everyone were, this would be a non issue.

 

I think the onus is on the entrant to create their work in a color managed environment. 

 

That said, I prefer print entries, as it give me ultimate control.  The fact that my prints don't do well becomes my own problem.  Sure, I may not agree with the judges, but I surely cant complain about the  "technology".

I don't think anyone is complaining. If anything, this thread proves that what one considers over-sharpened or over-saturated really is subjective.

 

Digital entries in photo contests have only very recently been allowed. There are technical issues for both the entrants and the contest organizers. "The onus is on the entrant to create their work in a color managed environment" true, but Kathy Mendes stated that the monitor they used for NCUPS was not calibrated either.

 

I don't think that prints are the answer. At least for me, it would be cost prohibitive. Well thought out standards are the answer.

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Hmmm, I have to say that I also like the 2nd picture better. It might have been a bit over sharpened but definitely catched my eyes a lot more. However I did not think it was over saturated. I also think that looking at picture on monitor is a big problem. Looking with standard LCD monitor or CRT or the LCD with those shiny reflective screen will give a very different feel, let alone monitor calibration and color profile.

I am just curious, for a standard picture wihtout resizing, what kind of % do most people use for sharpen unmask and is there any actual numerical value where you think is definitely too high?

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Great thread, LAUPS was the 1st contest I’ve entered. In an effort to learn I will put my head on the chopping block. Here are two photos I submitted, still looking for the Raw files to show original. Outside of composition what are the technical problems? Then feel free to comment on composition. Thanks….

post-1729-1133191603_thumb.jpg

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I only see one photo but I would say the shot is good but the centering of the subject may be a slight negative. Possibly having the subject in the bottom right third may have made the shot a little more appealing.

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