I figured I would put closure on the photo contest since I've mentioned it. My goal was to put some of my photos out and see how they compared to the rest of the entries. I'm pleased to say that my photos looked like they belonged. I even did a bit better than I thought I might with a couple of them.
The invitation for the contest says that it is open to photographers of all skill levels. It actually showed in some of the prints. Everything had to be displayed at 8" X 10" or 8" 1/2 X 11". In addition, a backing of 1/8" thickness was required. I have an entry level Epson printer which did a pretty good job of making the prints. Some of the photos were exceptionally crystal clear and technically superior. Not so much when it came to composition and subject. I'm learning that if a photographer shoots things that appeal to them, and can capture what it is that enthuses them, the viewers will be more readily moved as a result.
There were somewhere over three hundred pictures divided between six categories. The contest sponser is a local visitors association. The photos needed to be taken within the last three years, the subject needed to be in our county, and could not have been previously published anywhere. There was an "Open" category in which the subject could be anywhere in Oregon.
I had no photo in the "Scenic" category. There was a "Local Events" category in which I entered a couple of hot air balloon photos. As did almost every other entrant. This was my best entry. At least I thought so. The other photo was a close-up for the fire coming out of the burner.
The actual print itself was lighter. This was taken not long after I took the class and was just getting started. The composition is good but the technical details like lighting are a bit off. It didn't place. My photo was only one of about thirty balloon pictures. Interestingly, the woman who took first prize had a very nice picture of the balloon fabric itself. It was backlit and the design made a sort of flower pattern. Quite well done!
I entered one photo in the "Open" category. It just seemed unusual. I like unique angles and subjects. Here's the photo.
This one didn't place, either. The winning shot was of a pair of wire rimmed spectacles sitting on the brim of an old straw hat, and with a pair of leather work gloves. Only about half the hat and gloves show in the photo. It's a very contemplative picture. Second place was a photo of a purple orchid looking flower.
Another category was "Life in Our Community". I had no entries in here. First place was an exceptional photo of a woman who looked to be Amish in her kitchen surrounded by corresponding cooking tools and making bread. With the colors, lighting, and clear focus it is an outstanding photo. Bluekat might be interested to hear that the second place photo was of two bicyclists coming out of the Larwood Covered Bridge.
Another category was for digitally manipulated photos. It was interesting to see everyone's artistic intrepretation in this class. I entered three photos which didn't do too badly.
First and third. I'm quite pleased and surprised. You saw the red balloon photo here a couple of posts back. On a lark I made a stormy red background and called it "Red Sky at Morning". Here is the whole photo. The ribbon covers the balloon on the right. I think the brightness of that small balloon gives an offsetting contrast to the general darkness of the photo.
The last category was "Landmarks". As you can imagine, this category also had a lot of entries. There were pictures of churches, railway trestles, local statues, a train station, covered bridges, and so on. I entered one photo. Not touched up at all. I called it "Pink Pixels". Sort of a play on words between the name of the theater and the digital origin. It ended up doing all right.
I don't think it even got a sniff. The ironic part is that, between the two, I'm most taken with the gray scale / color version. I think it's because of having learned how to do the technique and having spent so much time on it. I posted both of them on the blog and most of the comments favored the pink version, too. Granted, it is a beautiful picture. There was just enough fog in the air to make the glow but not obscure the building. It's clear that the judges agreed with you, too!
There are no cash prizes. First place ribbons come with some gift certificates from the Shutterbug camera shops. Which is pretty neat and fitting.
As Bryce so rightly pointed out, the real test is in bigger contests with highly skilled competitors. I have no illusions in that regard, yet. This local contest was a measuring stick for me. It's just nice to know I'm in the general neighborhood, you know? Speaking of neighborhoods, even though I'm just an enthusiastic shutter presser, I sincerely appreciate how folks like Chuck, Bobskoot, Conch, Steve Williams, and others have offered guidance and shared wisdom.
The reception was quite informal. There wasn't an official handing out of ribbons. The judges simply put the ribbons on the photos beforehand. I met some fellow photographers. Nice folks. Not as cool as those who both ride motorcycles and take photos, but interesting nonetheless.
Afterwards, Katie and I went to Applebee's for a beer and an appetizer to kind of relax and soak it in.
I like a porter beer. They had a good one on tap. Perfect!
While I was fiddling with the aperature setting on the G11 I accidently snapped a shot. It looked kind of twirly, which was cool. So then I tried my hand at doing it on purpose. I dialed in a bit longer shutter speed then slowly rotated the camera while the shutter was open. This is kind of what it looks like if you drink too many porters!
Actually, a couple of the coolest "rotated camera" photos I've seen were posted by Sharon here. Scroll down towards the bottom of the post.
Anyway, all in all a fun and satisfying venture. Small potatoes that it may be, I am now an award winning photograhper! :)
Miles and smiles,