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Photo Challenge Thread
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PB PM
Sneaky Punk
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Vancouver, BC
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2009-12-04, 19:48

So, I've been thinking we should have a photo challenge for a while now. We have talked about doing one on and off for a little while, and I thought I'd get this started.

What is the point of this thread? To encourage people to express themselves through photography, it is as simple as that. Everyone is welcome to join!

I think a few simple rules should be kept though, to keep this interesting. No heavy duty photo editing, so no heavy cropping (yikes!), HDR, or super saturated photos, unless that is how your camera makes them by default, lets try to keep a natural, out of the camera look to our photos (JPEG Shooting preferable). Photos submitted can be in colour or black and white, black and white photos must be taken as such, in camera, not in post processing. Photos must be taken during the month in which the given challenge is active. To make this clear, the December challenge will be to photograph something that represents your favorite winter activity, so the photo will have to be taken sometime during the month of December. I think the best way to make this possible is to run the challenge from the midway point of the month into the midway point of the next month, when a new challenge would start.

Will there be a winner each month, yes! Each month will be judged by the winner of the past month. The host of the given month will not submit a photo for judgement, but rather just as an example. How should photos be judged? I think we have to keep it simple, does the image cover the given topic, without a description? This is about getting the message through, not just pure image quality, the photo that is best able to do so in the eyes of the judge should be the winner. So, judges should not just consider composition, although that will be considered, or noise levels, or whether or not the subject is perfectly focused, although those things will be considered if the judge feels they get in the way of the story being told through the image. The judge cannot just present the winner, they must explain why they think the image in question is the winner. I think that makes this fair enough for everyone. What does the winner win? A little pride and honor among their peers, thats about it. Oh and the winner gets to pick the next subject.

So if you all think this is a good idea, we could get started on the 15th of December. I'd love to hear peoples thoughts on this, and I'm more than willing to make some adjustments to rules, although I like the idea of keeping it simple.

Last edited by PB PM : 2009-12-05 at 01:20.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
2009-12-04, 21:12

I think it's a great idea! I'm in!

Of course I'm still trying to get myself here. I guess I haven't made it a priority yet.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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SpecMode
Wait what
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: NorCal
 
2009-12-04, 21:17

This sounds like a lot of fun - count me in!
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Chinney
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Ottawa, ON
 
2009-12-04, 22:46

Great idea.

I am not sure about the technicalities of some of the rules. E.g., if you shoot RAW you are, in some ways, shooting in B&W and in colour? Do I have to set my camera to its B&W setting from RAW to enter a B&W photo? I never do that, even if I think from the moment I take the shot that the final result will be put out in B&W.

Anyway, I agree with the spirit of the rules. Maybe respecting the spirit, rather than the strict technicalities, can be taken into account in the judging.

When there's an eel in the lake that's as long as a snake that's a moray.
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PB PM
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Join Date: Oct 2005
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2009-12-04, 22:50

Chinney, that is generally the idea. In some ways, the spirit of the rules is to shoot jpgs rather than RAW, because the idea is to avoid post processing the images. In some ways that makes us think about how we take the shot more, no second chances to fix it up in pp.

If you want any clarification on rules, please ask and I'll expand on them.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
2009-12-05, 00:56

I like us being limited to JPEG instead of RAW. It'll force us to get exposure and such through the camera settings instead of just close and the PP.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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PB PM
Sneaky Punk
 
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2009-12-05, 01:22

That was my idea as well. As I noted, the purpose of this is not to produce the perfect image, but rather the image that best represents the topic of choice. The idea is to use the image to tell people something, not have the technically best photo.
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GSpotter
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: A small town near Wolfsburg, Germany
 
2009-12-05, 03:33

Quote:
Originally Posted by turtle2472 View Post
I think it's a great idea! I'm in!

Of course I'm still trying to get myself here. I guess I haven't made it a priority yet.
Cool, at least you're still thinking about it... I wouldn't mind resurrecting that game, too...
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julesstoop
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Leiden, the Netherlands
 
2009-12-05, 07:50

Quote:
Originally Posted by PB PM View Post
Chinney, that is generally the idea. In some ways, the spirit of the rules is to shoot jpgs rather than RAW, because the idea is to avoid post processing the images. In some ways that makes us think about how we take the shot more, no second chances to fix it up in pp.
I like the initiative, but:

Just about every professional photographer shoots in RAW and does some post processing. I would consider the RAW coming out of a camera as the equivalent of the old celluloid negative, and the RAW-converter + (in my case some) Photoshop as the digital dark room. I.m.h.o. mastering those tools is just as important a part of becoming a good photographer as is the actual shooting. Even the first step: getting a better overall result that the automatic jpeg setting in your camera can be an interesting challenge.

So, I'm sorry to say so, but for these reasons I don't agree with the restrictions at all.

A black hole is where god divided by zero.
http://settuno.com/
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Chinney
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Join Date: May 2004
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2009-12-05, 10:06

Well that's why I referred to the spirit of the rules, rather than the technicalities. I interpreted the spirit of the rules as what I would call "naturalistic" representation, rather than what I would call the "stylized" or "surrealistic" approach. Looking through a lot of popular photography these days, I would say that the stylized or surrealistic approach is dominant, so it is nice to have a contest where we emphasize something else. That said, there is nothing in shooting RAW that is incompatible with a naturalistic approach.

(I would add, finally, that surrealistic, highly processed photos can be very nice in their own right. While maybe the easy availability of the technology means that there is a bit too much of it these days for my taste, it is also true that processing can allow for further creativity and can take the final representation in whole new and very beautiful directions. There are no hard and fast rules as to what is "true" photography.)

When there's an eel in the lake that's as long as a snake that's a moray.

Last edited by Chinney : 2009-12-05 at 10:40.
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SpecMode
Wait what
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: NorCal
 
2009-12-05, 10:16

Sounds like using a minimum of post-processing is the ultimate goal for this challenge, then. I'm still game - even shooting RAW, it'll still make me think about the shot without the computer in mind.

Perhaps, for a future - or concurrent - challenge, we can take an opposite approach: take an otherwise awful (or otherwise unremarkable) shot and make it look as good as possible, posting before-and-after comparisons. That'll give the Photoshop junkies their day in the spotlight.
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julesstoop
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Join Date: Oct 2004
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2009-12-05, 10:51

My point is that even extensive use of photoshop can still lead to a much better "naturalistic" result. So there is no way to tell if a good picture, which doesn't look processed or surreal, has been extensively retouched or processed.

For this fact I interpreted the 'rules' as a means to make sure people only enter with completely unprocessed pictures. Which is something I don't agree with for reasons I stated earlier.

In my book a better way would to just have themes, like 'portraits', 'architecture', 'the number three', etc... Some of these themes would lend themselves better to a naturalistic approach, and some to more artistic freedom. In the end we get to decide what's the nicest picture.

A black hole is where god divided by zero.
http://settuno.com/
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PB PM
Sneaky Punk
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
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2009-12-05, 13:01

I understand why people want to shoot RAW, I shoot RAW 100% of the time myself. The reason I am thinking we should stick to jpeg images is to keep the playing field level, not everyone has cameras, the time, or even the programs to process RAW files. The idea of the challenge is to create a level playing field for everyone, not just experienced photographers, and photoshop pros. If we don't do that, I can see three or four people winning nine times out of ten.

I'm okay with basic RAW processing, just keep it to basic editing, as I noted, no HDR, no massive saturating, etc. Keep shadow and highlight recovery to a minimum. This is not just about creating the technically best looking photo, the idea is to challenge yourself, get out of the box.
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Chinney
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2009-12-05, 15:21

Sounds fair enough, Crazy man.
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PB PM
Sneaky Punk
 
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2009-12-05, 15:59

Yes, I am crazy, and I enjoy every minute of it.
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julesstoop
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2009-12-05, 16:18

Fair enough, but I still believe you should never discourage people to reach a certain level of proficiency and - notwithstanding your noble intent - these guidelines still feel like a hamper to me in that respect.

A black hole is where god divided by zero.
http://settuno.com/
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PB PM
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2009-12-05, 16:32

Those are good points, and sure not being able to do a lot editing of RAW images is restrictive, and somewhat of a hindrance to those who enjoy post processing, myself included. I have a few ideas on this matter, but I think at the start lets keep the focus on the photographing itself. Lets just give it a try for the first month or two and see how things go.

Lets be clear, I'm not saying you cannot shoot RAW and make adjustments, I'm just trying to avoid extremes, like HDR and people taking poorly exposed images and pulling them out through PP, which would give an undue advantage to photographers who use those methods over those who do not. In some ways I am encouraging people to be better photographers. People are free to sharpen images as needed, and basic editing.

Here is an example of what I want to avoid, when I say basic editing only.

Original Shot


Edited Photo
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PB PM
Sneaky Punk
 
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2009-12-15, 00:46

Just a reminder that the challenge starts tomorrow.
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Chinney
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2009-12-15, 18:22

I'll post an entry

...once I take one

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PB PM
Sneaky Punk
 
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2009-12-16, 03:00

Oh good, because we don't take drawings.
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PB PM
Sneaky Punk
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
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2009-12-16, 16:42

So here is my example shot for December.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
2009-12-17, 02:17

Here's my entry. Taken with my Rebel XT, 100mm Macro, available lighting, RAW, tripod. No PP, just exported from Aperture for PNG Web. I rather like the meaning personally.


Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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julesstoop
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Join Date: Oct 2004
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2009-12-17, 13:36

Two of my favorite winter activities combined: walking around taking pictures (I love the light) and food (I've always got this huge appetite when winter sets in):



Notice, I didn't post the version with the halos shopped to oblivion

A black hole is where god divided by zero.
http://settuno.com/
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PB PM
Sneaky Punk
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
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2009-12-17, 13:52

Nice, to be honest, sometimes I purposefully try to get flare in my shots. I like it in this one.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
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2009-12-28, 22:12

Only three entries???
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Chinney
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Join Date: May 2004
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2009-12-29, 20:38

Quote:
Originally Posted by turtle2472 View Post
Here's my entry. Taken with my Rebel XT, 100mm Macro, available lighting, RAW, tripod. No PP, just exported from Aperture for PNG Web. I rather like the meaning personally.

Favorite winter activity? Parents-to-be? I am trying to find the connection.
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Chinney
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Join Date: May 2004
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2009-12-29, 20:40

Quote:
Originally Posted by turtle2472 View Post
Only three entries???
I haven't had time to take mine yet. I have until Jan. 15, unless I am mistaken. It would be nice to have a few or more from other than our regulars in the photo field.

When there's an eel in the lake that's as long as a snake that's a moray.
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Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
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2009-12-29, 20:56

I'll probably post a photo, but expect it to be boring and unprofessional-looking. Some of you guys set the bar pretty high!
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PB PM
Sneaky Punk
 
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2009-12-30, 00:29

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chinney View Post
I haven't had time to take mine yet. I have until Jan. 15, unless I am mistaken. It would be nice to have a few or more from other than our regulars in the photo field.
You are correct, started December 15, ends January 15 (12AM PST).

Quote:
I'll probably post a photo, but expect it to be boring and unprofessional-looking. Some of you guys set the bar pretty high!
Professional quality not required Brad.
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evan
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2009-12-30, 18:25

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chinney View Post
I haven't had time to take mine yet. I have until Jan. 15, unless I am mistaken. It would be nice to have a few or more from other than our regulars in the photo field.
i left my transfer cable back at school and won't be getting back till after the 15th. hopefully one of my friends has an SD card reader or something.
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