Outcome of my photography salon (competition) entries – Month of October 2014

I am sure this will be my second last post for 2014 regarding my salon results because I am trying to slow down on the salon entries. The reason being that I need to prepare the required documentation for my PSA star rating, EFIAP honours and EPSSA honours application. A lot of paper work! But lets rather concentrate on my salon outcomes for the month of October 2014. Not my best month – in fact, well below par with only 3 COM awards. Luckily no salon with a zero % acceptance rate. The details are as follows:

 

Total number of salons entered:

8 (3 national salons and 5 international salons).

Overall outcome:

International: 33 acceptances from 64 photos entered = 52% acceptance rate (decreased from the 54% last month)

National: 30 acceptances from 68 photos entered = 44% acceptance rate (decreased from the 45% last month)

Medals: 0

COMs: 3

 

Now for the individual salons:

 

A. International salons

 

  1. 9th French Digital Tour circuit 2014 (France)

 

This was a 4 salon circuit.

Photos entered: 4 photos entered in the Nature section = total of 16 entries

Acceptance: 9 acceptances (56% acceptance rate)

Comments: I’ve decided to give Baboon family a try in this international circuit. I was not sure how the judges would look at the image because there are no eyes. But I just like the mystery around the image – created by the backlight and the dark background. Luckily the judges of three salons liked the image – 3 acceptances.

Baboon family 1080 300k 72d sRGB frame W

Baboon family

Mashatu game reserve, Botswana

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  1. Vukovar 1st Exhibition 2014 (Serbia)

 

Photos entered: 4 photos each entered in Nature, Wildlife, Birds, People, Sport and Open colour sections = 24 entires

Acceptance: 11 acceptance (46% acceptance rate)

Comments: I usually do not enter images in so many sections but sometimes the payment for salon entries are per 6 sections. Therefore, lets move away from my usual Nature photos and look at specific photo – Fire fighters. I’ve submitted this image to our local camera club a few months ago and it received only a silver award. Now it has received an acceptance in an international salon. Just to show you – do not rely solely on the outcome/opinions of your camera club.

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Fire fighters

Bloemfontein, South Africa

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  1. 2nd Indian Golden Digital Circuit 2014 (India)

 

This was a 3 salon circuit.

 

Photos entered: 4 photos in Nature section

Acceptance: 6 acceptances (50 %)

Comments: Sometimes one needs to highlight the negative aspects of salons. Not so sure the overseas’ judges appreciate some of our unique wildlife in South Africa. Evidence thereof is the fact that Drop of water did not receive an acceptance in any one of the three salons. Interesting, however, I will continue to use the image in our local national salons and see what the judges think of it. For me it is a very special moment – not sure how many images of such “action” is available.

 Drop of water 1920 300k 72d sRGB W

Drop of water

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

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  1. 4th Gia Dinh International Photo Contest 2014 (Vietnam)

 

Photos entered: 4 photos entered in the Nature section

Acceptance: 2 acceptances (50% acceptance rate)

Comments: Brother and sister was one of the two acceptances. Currently my meerkat images are doing fairly well on the salon circuits.

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Brother and sister

Tswalu nature reserve, Northern Cape, South Africa

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  1. Mississippi Valley Photography Salon 2014 (USA)

 

Photos entered: 4 photos each entered in Nature and Wildlife sections = 8 entries

Acceptance: 5 acceptances (63% acceptance rate)

Comments: Once again I’ve tried to test the judges with another backlight baboon photo and it worked. In its first salon entry, this image has not receive an acceptance. But like they say – never surrender – so I’ve given it another try.

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Young baboon

Mashatu game reserve, Botswana

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  1. National Salons

 

  1. 1st Midlens National Digital Salon 2014 (South Africa)

 

Photos entered: 4 photos each entered in the Birds, Nature, Sport, Open colour, Human portait monochrome and Macro sections = 24centries

Acceptance: 14 acceptances (58 %)

Comments: All four of my images submitted in the Nature section received acceptances. For the rest of the sections – not great results but still on par (anything above 30% is above average). Another surprise was Horse panning 3. I’ve entered this image in a few salons without success. Seems like judges do not like panning style photos or there is something wrong with my images.

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Horse panning 3

Moolmanshoek, Eastern Free State, South Africa

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  1. 2nd Bluff National Digital Salon 2014 (South Africa)

 

Photos entered: 4 photos each entered in the Nature, Emotions, Water (monochrome), Low key (monochrome), Street photography (monochrome) sections = 24 entries

Acceptance: 9 acceptances (38 %)

Comments: A very interesting salon with not the usual sections. What now was the only image in the Emotions sections that received an acceptance.

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What now

Bloemfontein, South Africa

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  1. 5th Tafelberg Digital Salon 2014 (South Africa)

 

Photos entered: 4 photos each entered in the Wildlife, Scapes panorama, Movement, Human portrait, and Open colour sections = 20 entries

Acceptance: 3 COMs and 7 acceptances (50 %)

Comments: Much better outcome for me with 3 COMs in the Nature section with Red Cheetah Alert being one of them. I think it was just the late afternoon light that did it for the image.

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Red Cheetah Alert

Tswalu nature reserve, Northern Cape, South Africa

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Message to take home:

 

The last image of the cheetah let me think about this “short” piece of advise: Light as well as exposure is everything in photography. If your images are too bright or too dark, you lose a lot of the information and contrast that makes a good image worth viewing. It is important to try and capture your salon images during the golden hours of the day – just like this image of the cheetah of mine above.

 

Until next month, keep on shooting

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Bloemfontein Camera Club meeting: Outcome of my images submitted – December 2014

And so we came to the end of yet another year in photography – 2014 – my fourth year since I’ve taken up this very interesting hobby. This last camera club meeting for 2014 was not as disappointing as the previous month’s meeting and hopefully we will have an interesting year of photography ahead of us.

But lets get back to the results of the evening’s meeting. This time around I’ve decided to stay with my various subject and that is Nature. So, I’ve entered all 3 images that we are allowed to submit in the Nature category. The set subject for December was “Minimalistic”. Just to support the club, I’ve decided to go for the challenge and I’ve submitted two images. And here are the results of all five images of mine:

  1. Nature category

1.

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Tree at sunrise – scored 13/15 (Gold award)

Taken during our photography safari with Albie Venter in the Mashatu Game reserve earlier this year.

I just love the early morning light on the tree. Because I do love shapes, lines and so on in my photos, the triangle formed by the grass in front of the tree caught my eye and it was a big attraction for me to try and the shot. Unfortunately there were no clouds in the sky that morning and we only stayed in the Lekgotla buch camp for one night. So, I’ve decided to capture the moment even though the conditions were not perfect. And it worked for me. However, I thought the judges will penalise the image because of the lack of clouds – luckily they did not.

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2.

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Owl look – score 12/15 (Gold award)

Taken during a previous trip to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in November 2013.

On previous occasions I saw this hole in the tree at Graig Lockhart water hole but there was nothing going on in or around it – so I did not take notice off it. However, friends of us (Lamps and Alma) visited the park earlier and told us about the pearl spotted owlet staying in this tree. So later on we visited the water hole and the tree again. And we got this very nice surprise. I’ve already entered this image in a national salon earlier this year but it did not receive an acceptance. I’ve entered this image in two other international salon circuit – would be interesting to see the outcome of those circuits. Will the camera club judges’ scores be a reflection of the judges’ opinion in the international salons? Only time will tell.

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3.

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Lions Tail – score 12/15 (Gold award)

Taken during my last trip to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in November 2014.

On our first day in the park we were told about this price of lions with 7 cubs staying around the 13th bore hole for the past 5 days. We could not find them but on the second day (unfortunately it was a heavily overcast day), as we were driving back to camp, the pride of lions were back and they came to drink water at the water hole. It was already very late and the light was terrible (as one judge mentioned in his crit). However, just loved the interaction between the two cubs. I did not really expect a gold award because of the light but I do accept the honour.

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  1. Set subject – “Minimalistic

1.

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Tree squirrel head – scored 12/15

Taken during my first ever photography safari to Mashatu game reserve in Botswana in 2012.

Interesting outcome – not sure the image fits the description of minimalistic but thank you for the score – I’ll take it and leave. Just take note – no manipulation in Photoshop on this image – just the beauty of a 600mm lens (depth of field of this lens created the blurred effect)

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2.

04-01-WillemKruger-Stop engine

Stop engine – score 10/15

Taken during a Kiekie safari organized by the camera club earlier this year.

More of the macro type of photo of a (oil) dipstick of an old  Jaguar motor – totally happy with the outcome and score. I just love the contrast in colour in this photo

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Message to take home

When I’ve reviewed my first image submitted for this month’s camera club, I am thinking of some of the advice given to us by Hougaard Malan. Also looking at him in action on a photography safari – you’ll come to see how important this piece of advice is:

The first step when you arrive at a scene (before taken a landscape photo or for that matter any type of photo) is to put down your camera and equipment, take a deap breath and step back from the scene. The camera in some instances can act very much like a security blanket. One usually feels save behind the camera but it could also be barrier or even a shield between us and our subject/scene. You migth not be able to see the bigger picture from behind the camera. If you do put down your camera and step back/step around it, you might be able to get a totally different perspective on the scene in front of you. The idea here is simply to relax yourself, free your mind from all the pressure you put on yourself just to get that ideal shot and enjoy the moment. Therefore, you will remove yourself from the need to just think and adjust your camera setting settings and rather focus on the scene. With such an approach, you would be able to identify the smaller things that could result in the WOW image (like that piece of grass infront of the quiver tree in my first image. If I was too focus on the light, the tree, the horizon, the rules of third, and so on, I might have missed that triangle. So, next time just relax and enjou the moment before you focus on the shot. That will get you in the right relaxed mood and surely you”ll enjoy the shoot and images.

Until next month and next year’s first camera club meeting – keep on shooting

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Bloemfontein Camera Club meeting: Outcome of my images submitted – November 2014

And we are racing down the stretch of 2014 – just one more camera club meeting after this month’s meeting. Eisch, what a disappointing outcome for me during this month’s camera club judging. But luckily I’ve decided only after a few months with the camera club that I am not really a camera club photographer. I do not want to be such a “boksie mens”. I want to think outside the box and challenge myself to take my own images and not being a copy-cat. That is also why I’ll try and do my own thing during a photography safari trip. I do feel sorry for the people who only take photos to be presented at the camera club especially if the judges cannot not appreciate a bit of alternative photography.

 

But lets get back to the results of the evening’s meeting. Once again I’ve decided to submit some alternative photos with 2 images entered into the Nature category and 1 image in the Pictorial category. The set subject for September was “Running wild” and I do love panning. So, I submitted my two images but o boy – disaster. However, here are the results of my images:

 

A. Nature category

 

1.

Baboon family 1080 300k 72d sRGB frame W

Baboon family – scored 11/15 (just made it into the Gold award section)

Taken during our photography safari with Albie Venter in the Mashatu Game reserve earlier this year.

I know backlighting is not everybody’s cup of tea but I just love the family of three baboon s sitting next to the water in the river with the sun setting (about 20 degrees to the right of the baboons. I do know one cannot see the eyes of the baboons but so what? Is it really necessary to see each and every animal’s eyes and with the catch light in each? Well, that is what the judges surely are looking for. Reason for one judge not liking my image? And that I what I meant with a “boksie mens”. I just love the warm felling of the setting sun and the baboons sitting there not knowing what the evening will bring. Perhaps a leopard? Only a true wildlife photographer will appreciate the story element behind the image.

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2.

Father love 1080b 300k 72d sRGB W

Father love – score 11/15 (once again – just made it into the Gold award section)

Taken during my first ever visit to Tswalu Nature Reserve in the Northern Cape , earlier this year.

My first encounter with the meerkats of Tswalu. And what a surprise and challenge. I was not use to track animals and for that matter meerkats on foot . And then settling down with them near an old burrow of them. Staying about 15 meters from them and try to capture story-telling images of them. It is really not easy. Especially if they are foraging. Luckily for me this family decided do use the last sunlight to get warm and share some love. Now you can be the judge – story element vs quality of image? Just asking.

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B. Pictorial category

 

1.

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Fire fighters – scored 10/15 (Silver award)

Taken during a fire fighters’ training session in Bloemfontein.

Now this was my biggest surprise of the evening but judges are entitled to their own opinions. Unfortunately the judges do not give critique on the 4 & 5 star members’ photo – I would have loved to hear what is wrong with this image. Very, very difficult not to clip the highlights in the fire but still have enough light to see the fire fighters. Just glad I had the opportunity to gain experience in this type of photography as well. Now I’ll look with a “different eye” at similar photos.

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C. Set subject – “Running wild”

 

1.

Horses panning 1 1400 800k 300d sRGB K Y W

Horses panning – scored 10/15

Taken during a photography safari at Moolmanshoek, Eastern Free State.

Eisch, another silver award – maybe because the one of the horses’ hooves are very close to the edge of the image. One will never know!

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2.

 

BB Jackal panning 1

BB jackal panning 1 – score 10/15

Taken during a Kgalagadi trip in 2013.

Something wrong with my panning technique – just wondering? No need to worry, already received a salon award for this image.

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Message to take home

 

If you do ask those questions and.The new rule of the PSA & FFIAP on Nature photos emphasizes the story telling element. To quote the rule for a Nature section in a salon: “The story telling value of a photograph must be weighed more than the pictorial quality while maintaining high technical quality.”

So, I am asking myself the question: “ Did the judges see the story in my images?” If the answer comes back that they don’t get any story, or the feeling is confusion, or something else, then I know I need to keep practicing. And that is exactly what I’ll be doing this month – practicing in the Kgalagadi. It is my opinion that if the story element is not strong enough, the trained eye as well as the critical eye of a the judge will be looking for flaws in your image – especially on the technical side of it. Just get a reason to lower the score of your image. So, when submitting a image to your camera club, first make sure the story element is jumping out of the image and then make sure all the technical aspects of the image are up to standard.

 

Until next month – keep on shooting

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Outcome of my photography salon (competition) entries – Month of September 2014

Another month of photography salon entries and results. It looks like September was the month for circuit entries – I’ve entered a total of four international circuits this month. But lets look at my outcomes re: my salons entries for the month of Sept 2014. Luck is still on my side with a few international and national medal winners.

 

Now for the actual details on the results of my images entered for the month of Sept 2014

 

Total number of salons entered:

7 (1 national salon and 6 international salons).

 

Overall outcome:

International: 97 acceptances from 168 photos entered = 58% acceptance rate (increased from the 54% last month)

National: 13 acceptances from 24 photos entered = 54% acceptance rate (increased from the 45% last month)

Medals: 6

COMs: 4

 

Now for the individual salons:

 

A. International salons

 

1. SAM Circuit 2014 (India)

 

This was a 3-salon circuit

Photos entered: 4 photos each entered in the Wildlife and Nature sections = total of 24 entries

Acceptance: 2 medals and 10 acceptances (50% acceptance rate)

 

Comments: The jackal and the vulture 2 received medals in two of the salons. Now it is time to put this image to rest and work on some other images,

 

The Vultue and the Jackal 2 1400 300k 72d sRGB W

The jackal and the vulture 2

Giants Castle, Drakensberg, South Africa

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2. 2nd RTANJ Digital Circuit 2014 (Serbia)

 

This was a 5-salon circuit

Photos entered: 4 photos each entered in Open, Monocrhome and Nature sections = 60 entries

Acceptance: 1 medal and 29 acceptance (50% acceptance rate)

Comments: Almost 2 won a medal in one of the salon and it was accepted in three other salons. However, interesting to note that the photo did not receive an acceptance in one of the five salons. Just to show you – an image might won a medal in one salon and not even receive an acceptance in another salon. Very subjective and therefore one should not take the outcome of a salon personally.

 

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Almost 2

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

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3. Tallaght International Digital Photographic Art 2014 (Ireland)

 

Photos entered: 4 photos in Nature section

Acceptance: 2 acceptances (50% acceptance rate)

 

Comments: At last one of my photos of the mating lions received an acceptance. Mating lions 4 is an image of a serie of images of this pair of lions doing it in the Kgalagadi. It does not happen very often that one gets so close to mating lions in the wild with no distracting back or foreground.

 

Lion mating 4

Mating lions 4

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

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4. 11th German Mega Circuit 2014 (Germany)

 

This was yet another 5-salon circuit

Photos entered: 4 photos each entered in the Nature and Bird sections = total of 40 entries

 

Acceptance: 1 medal, 2 COM and 26 acceptances (73% acceptance rate)

 

Comments: It was the first time that I’ve entered this 5-salon circuit in Germany. I am quite satisfied with the outcome with 1 medal, 2 COMs and a very high acceptance rate. Some sort of consistency in this circuit as Jacana chick long legged received the PSA medal in one salon, two COMs and two acceptances in the other four salons.

 

Jacana chick long legged 1 1400 300k 72d sRGB noise

Jacana chick long legged

Chobe River, Botswana

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5. 1st DPA International Salon of Photography 2014 (Ireland)

 

Photos entered: 4 photos each entered in Open, Nature, Wildlife, Birds, PJ and Sport sections = 24 entries

Acceptance: 1COM and 9 acceptances (42% acceptance rate)

 

Comments: A very interesting salon outcome with none of my bird photos receiving an acceptance. All four bird photos received international acceptances previously. I’ve entered Three horses turning for the first time in a salon and it received an acceptance in the Open section. I was not sure how the image will do – so I am quite satisfied with the result.

 

Three horses turning 1920 300k 72d sRGB W

Three horses turning

Moolmanshoek farm, Eastern Free State, South Africa

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6. 2nd Olympic Photo Circuit 2014 (Greece)

 

This was a 4-salon circuit

Photos entered: 4 photos entered in Nature section = 16 entries

Acceptance: 1 medal, 13 acceptances (88% acceptance rate)

 

Comments: My best result for the month. I’ve also entered this circuit last year with some degree of success. The Hug received a medal in one of the salons and acceptances in the three other salons.

 

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The Hug

Tswalu Nature Reserve, Northern Cape, South Africa

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B. National Salons

 

1. 1st Brandpunt Camera Club salon 2014 (South Africa)

 

Photos entered: 4 photos each entered in the Wildlife birds, Wildlife excluding birds, Scapes, Human portraits, Human interest and Open sections = 24 entries

 

Acceptance: 1 medal, 1 COMS and 11 acceptances (54 %)

 

LF vulture take off won a medal in the Wildlife bird section. Not much more to say about this salon other than the judges made some interesting choices. Some of my images that received a few accpetances and medals in previous slaons did not even receive an acceptance in this salon. Well, still an overall acceptance rate of above 50% – acceptable to me – just some interesting choices by the judges

 

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LF vulture take off

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

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Message to take home:

 

Yet another tip on salons entry/outcomes and the choices made by judges. After a few years now of salon entries, I was once again came to the conclusion that judging images are very subjective. However, a photographer cannot and should not ignore the technical aspects of a photograph. So should the judge. Do not rely solely in the outcome of just one salon. Also try and get the opinion of some fellow photographers (not family). Ask specifically fro them to critique the technical aspects of your photos. Having the technical aspects of your images critiqued by the right person can add value to your image and to you as a photographer Just make sure the person doing the critique gives constructive comments that you can use for improvement..

 

Until next month, keep on shooting

 

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Outcome of my photography salon (competition) entries – Month of August 2014

It is almost the end of the year again and I am trying to prepare the necessary documents to apply for a PSA star rating and ESPA honours award. But lets look at my outcomes re: my salons entries for the month of August 2014. July 2014 was a great highlight, so I did not expect the same type of outcome. I had an excellent month regarding the outcomes of my international salons – however, I managed to win another 5 medals in 9 salons.

 

Now for the actual details on the results of my images entered for the month of August 2014

 

Total number of salons entered:

9 (3 national salon and 6 international salons).

Overall outcome:

International: 30 acceptances from 56 photos entered = 54% acceptance rate (decreased from the 63% last month)

National: 50 acceptances from 112 photos entered = 45% acceptance rate (decreased from the 48% last month)

Medals: 5

COMs: 9

 

Now for the individual salons:

 

  1. International salons

 

  1. 1st Cattaro International salon of Photography 2014 (Ireland)

 

Photos entered: 4 photos each entered in the Nature, Wildlife, Open colour, Open monochrome, Sport & Birds sections = total of 24 entries

Acceptance: 1 medal and 10 acceptances (48% acceptance rate)

 

Comments: The competition in international salon is of a very high standard especially in the sections other than Nature. Very good photos all around and it is very difficult to get acceptances. No acceptances for me in the Open and Monochrome section even though I did enter photos which have already received acceptances and even COM in our national salons. I went back to some of my older photos and entered some of them. Surprise, surprise, one of the older photos received a medal in the Birds section – Bulbul My seat. Personally it is one of my all-time favorites – just because of the degree of difficulty to capture such an image and my inexperience in photography at that stage.

 

10 Bulbul  My seat W

Bulbul My seat

Mashatu game reserve, Botswana

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  1. 2014 International Images for Screen exhibition Royal Photographic society 2014 (UK)

 

Photos entered: 4 photos in Nature section

Acceptance: 1 medal and 1 acceptance (50% acceptance rate)

Comments: What an achievement and honour! To win the RPS Gold Medal in the Nature division in such a prestigious event. And if you think it is difficult to get an acceptance in a international salon, try and get an acceptance in an international salon hosted by a UK based photography club. Lioness and cub walking 1 is doing great even though the lioness’s body is amputated. Not everybody’s cup of tea especially those photographers looking purely from a technical point of view. However, I want to draw my reader’s to the cub trying to keep up with mother with excellent earlier morning backlight.

 

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Lioness and cub walking 1

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

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  1. 1st Vision Zero International Digital Photography 2014 (India)

 

Photos entered: 4 photos in Nature section

Acceptance: 1 medals and 2acceptances (75% acceptance rate)

 

Comments: My third international medal for the month – once again it was Almost 1 that did it for me. The second international medal for this image. Do I need to say more? I know it is not the best composition but this type of action happens so quickly, it is impossible to think of composition. One can prepare for the setup but the jackal may just run the other way – no ways one can really plan a shot like this.

 

Almost 1 1024 300k 72d sRGB W

Almost 1

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

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  1. 7th Narava 2014 International Contest of Photography 2014 (Solvenia)

 

Photos entered: 4 photos each entered in the Nature, Landscape and Open colour sections = total of 12 entries

 

Acceptance: 1 COM and 6 acceptances (58% acceptance rate)

 

Comments: Star trail Richtersveld won the COM award but I’ll post the photo in the National Salon section later in this post. I was very surprise that Munnik pass sunrise 22 received an acceptance because I was not very successful with the photo in previous salons. It was also ‘n very difficult photo to develop in Photoshop and I really wanted to revisit this photo if I do have the time. I am sure I can still improve on the post-processing of this photo.

 

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Munnik pass sunrise 22

Munnik pass, Eastern Cape, South Africa

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  1. Northern Counties Salon of IPhotography 2014 (UK)

 

Photos entered: 4 photos each entered in Nature section and Open Print sections = 8 entries

Acceptance: 4 acceptances (50% acceptance rate)

 

Comments: Once again I’ve sent 4 printed images per post to the UK to be entered in the Print section. The reason – I need at least 25 international accepted print images for the EFIAP honours. Unfortunately none of the 4 images were accepted and 2 of the images missed the acceptance with 1 point. Disappointing because there is not that many print salons every year over the world to accumulate acceptances for the EFIAP award. Just to confirm my thoughts of last month – I came to realize it is not easy to get images accepted in UK based salons. Therefore, I am quite satisfied with the COM award for The Vulture and the Jackal 2 – image posted in last month’s blog. At least Please share received the other acceptance

 

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Please share

Laikipia nature reserve, Kenya

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  1. Riaganj International Exhibition of Photography 2014 (India)

 

Photos entered: 4 photos entered in Nature section

Acceptance: 4 acceptances (100% acceptance rate)

 

Comments: Last month I’ve achieved a 100% acceptance rate and again this month. I re-visited some of my older photos for this salon as well. And it worked – Hippo aggression 2 received an acceptance. Nine salon acceptances in a row without missing out on a salon acceptance.

 

Hippo aggression 2 by Willem Kruger1

Hippo aggression 2

Chobe River, Botswana

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  1. National Salons

 

  1. 1st East Rand Super Circuit 2014 (South Africa)

 

This was a 3 salon circuit

 

Photos entered: 4 photos each entered in the Nature, Sport, Altered reality, Open colour, Architecture monochrome and Open monochrome sections = 72 entries

 

Acceptance: 1 medal, 3 COMS and 22 acceptances (36.1 %)

 

Not a great results but still on par (anything above 30% is above average) and the runner medal in the Nature section for Grey headed gull with fish 2 was a bonus.

 

Grey headed gull with fish 2

Grey headed gull with fish 2

Chobe River, Botswana

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  1. 1st Westville National Digital Salon 2014 (South Africa)

 

Photos entered: 4 photos each entered in the Birds, Landscapes, Open colour, and Photo journalism sections = 16 entries

 

Acceptance: 1 medal, 2 COMS and 8 acceptances (68.7 %)

 

Much better result for me. As mentioned earlier, Star trail Richtersveld won the runner up medal in the Landscape section. And we almost did not go out that night to take the image. So glad we convince Hougaard Malan to take some star trial images during our trip to the Richtersveld.

 

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Star trail Richtersveld

Richtersveld Transfrontier park, South Africa

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  1. 2nd Swartland Colour Digital Salon 2014

 

Photos entered: 4 photos each entered in the Nature, Scapes, Birds, Portrait Altered reality and Open colour sections = 24 entries

 

Acceptance: 2 COMS and 11 acceptances (54.1 %)

 

Once again – I’ve re-visited some older images of mine and Lioness and cubs drinking water 2 receiving a COM award in the Nature section..

 

Lioness and cubs drinking 2 1024 500k 72d sRGB W

Lioness and cubs drinking water 2

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

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Message to take home:

 

Yet another tip on patience – sometimes you need more than a 600mm lens to capture that WOW wildlife image. The extra requirement is patience. If you want to capture that exceptional wildlife photo, whether it’s in your backyard or on a trip in a nature reserve, just be patient. Wait for nature to come to you – do not rush out and try to capture it. Animals and birds are sensitive creatures and quickly scamper off, but if you stake out a good spot to wait for them you can be rewarded with some compelling photographic opportunities.

 

Until next month, keep on shooting

 

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Kiekie (photo) Safari: Old cars, September 2014

Last weekend our camera club arranged what we called a Kiekie Safari. This time one of our club members arranged for the members of the Bloemfontein Camera Club to visit a collector of old cars. Just some more information on a Kiekie safari:

All interested members met each other at the venue at an agreed time – this time it was at 07H00 Saturday morning. Then the organizer of the Kiekie safari hands out a list of categories/topics. The photographers must then go out and take photos that fit into these categories. Once the categories were reviewed and explained, the photographers can go and enjoy themselves. Like they said in the Army: “Op jou eie tyd en op jou eie teiken”. There is usually no time limit and photographers can move around as they wish. Afterwards the photographers will review all their images at home, select and process/develop one or two images for each category. Then a meeting is organized where all the photos are uploaded (per category) unto a laptop and projected via a projector. Each photographer can vote for one photo per category and the photo with the most votes is the winner of the category. Lots of fun!!!

For this safari we had ten categories and we had to select and enter two photos in each category. This type of photography is a real challenge for me as a nature and wildlife photographer. With nature photography, it is all about anticipation and patience. You need to position yourself according to the anticipated action and wait for the action to happen. With this type of photography, it is all about creativity. One needs to think about your photos and dig deep for ideas. The cars were also parked in garages close to each other making creative think even more difficult. But at the end of day, it was fun and yet another learning curve.

My approach is to read through the categories once and then just go about and look for something interesting. Only when I exhausted all my creativity will I look again at the list to see what I’ve missed. I exhausted my creativity around 09h15 on that Saturday morning, looked again at the list of categories and decided to call it a day even though I did not manage to get images for all ten categories. Here are the ten categories and my images:

 

Subject/category 1: Car emblem

1.

01-01-WillemKruger-Jaguar emblem 1Jaguar emblem

Nikon D800 camera, Nikkor 105mmf2.8 macro lens, f32, ISO 250, 1/1 sec, exposure = -0,67, Aperture mode, fill-in flash, tripod

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 2.

01-02-WillemKruger-Jaguar emblem 2Jaguar emblem 2

Nikon D800 camera, Nikkor 105mmf2.8 macro lens, f32, ISO 250, 1/60 sec, exposure = -0,67, Aperture mode, fill-in flash, tripod

___________________

 Subject 2: Dogs in a car

1.

02-01-WillemKruger-Dog in carDog in car

Nikon D800 camera, Nikkor 70-200mmf2.8 lens @ 185mm, f2.8, ISO 250, 1/400 sec, exposure = -0,67, Aperture mode, fill-in flash, hand held

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 Subject 3: Wheels

1.

03-01-WillemKruger-Jaguar wheel 1 copyJaguar wheel

Nikon D800 camera, Nikkor 105mmf2.8 macro lens, f3,2, ISO 250, 1/60 sec, exposure = +1.3, Aperture mode, fill-in flash, tripod

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2.

03-02-WillemKruger-Wheels 2Wheels 2

Nikon D800 camera, Nikkor 105mmf2.8 macro lens, f32, ISO 250, 1/125 sec, exposure = +1.3, Aperture mode, fill-in flash, tripod

___________________

 Subject 4: Spare parts:

1.

04-01-WillemKruger-Stop engineStop engine

Nikon D800 camera, Nikkor 105mmf2.8 macro lens, f3.2, ISO 250, 1/125 sec, exposure = +1.3, Aperture mode, fill-in flash, tripod

___________________

2.

04-02-WillemKruger-Jaguar sepiaJaguar sepia

Nikon D800 camera, Nikkor 105mmf2.8 macro lens, f16, ISO 250, 1/60 sec, exposure = -0.3, Aperture mode, fill-in flash, tripod

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 Subject 5: Full car

No images

 

Subject 6: Miniatures (there was also a huge collection of miniatures cars in glass cupboards)

1.

06-01-WillemKruger-Miniature car 1Miniature car 1

Nikon D800 camera, Nikkor 105mmf2.8 macro lens, f8, ISO 250, 1/20 sec, exposure = -1.3, Aperture mode, fill-in flash, tripod

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2.

06-02-WillemKruger-Miniature 2 Miniature 2

Nikon D800 camera, Nikkor 105mmf2.8 macro lens, f8, ISO 250, 1/20 sec, exposure = +0.67, Aperture mode, fill-in flash, tripod

___________________

Subject 7: Wrecks

 1.

07-01-WillemKruger-Wreck 1Wreck 1

Nikon D800 camera, Nikkor 70-200mmf2.8 lens @ 70mm, f8, ISO 250, 1/60 sec, exposure = -0.67, Aperture mode, no flash, tripod

___________________

2.

07-02-WillemKruger-Wreck 2 Wreck 2

Nikon D800 camera, Nikkor 70-200mmf2.8 lens @ 70mm, f2.8, ISO 250, 1/800 sec, exposure = -0.67, Aperture mode, no flash, hand held

___________________

Subject 8: Dash board

 1.

08-01-WillemKruger-Dashboard 1

Dash board 1

Nikon D800 camera, Nikkor 105mmf2.8 macro lens, f11, ISO 250, 1/60 sec, exposure = -0.67, Aperture mode, fill-in flash, hand held

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2.

08-02-WillemKruger-Dash board 2

Dash board 2

Nikon D800 camera, Nikkor 105mmf2.8 macro lens, f32, ISO 250, 1/60 sec, exposure = +1.3, Aperture mode, fill-in flash, hand held

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 Subject 9: Water (there are three water features in the garden)

No images

Subject 10: Photographer’s choice (anything goes)

1.

 10-01-WillemKruger-ReflectionReflection

Nikon D800 camera, Nikkor 105mmf2.8 macro lens, f5.6, ISO 250, 1/30 sec, exposure = -1.3, Aperture mode, fill-in flash, tripod

___________________

2.

10-02-WillemKruger-2.8 2.8

Nikon D800 camera, Nikkor 105mmf2.8 macro lens, f16, ISO 250, 1/60 sec, exposure = -0.67, Aperture mode, fill-in flash, tripod

___________________

Message to take home:

 

Once you arrive at the scene of a kiekie safari/shoot, people tend to feel very intimidate especially if it is something new. And for me as a newbie in photography – something I am not familiar with (something I need to capture that is out of my comfort zone). How about this piece of advice:

Be inspire, not intimidated!

I find it to be one of the hardest things to overcome since I’ve taken up photography – intimidation. I tend to think about other photographers’ images and use to tell myself that my work will not be up to standard. Totally wrong approach because it should be about your individual style and how can you capture a specific scene and it is not about the style of other photographers. Just remember, the images your are comparing yourself with could be a result of hours of hard work, determination and could even be the results of a photographer looking at the scene from a totally different perspective. So:

Just go out and use your own creativity, enjoy capturing the moment and forget about how the other photographers will capture the particular scene.

 

Until next time, keep on shooting!

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Bloemfontein Camera Club meeting: Outcome of my images submitted – September 2014

The most beautiful month of the year in South Africa – September. So, we are moving into spring season as we speak with still a few cold fronts expected. But the Bloemfontein Camera Club meeting of the month of September 2014 was not one of those cold fronts. In fact, the meeting and presentations were rather “hot” with some great images and scores even though we had a late start due to some electricity issues at the venue. Because of the time factor – late start – the judges did not give the usual comments/crit on some of the images.

 

But lets get back to the results of the evening’s meeting. I’ve decided to share some interesting photos with the members with 2 images entered into the Nature category and 1 image in the Pictorial category. The set subject for September was “Shadows” and I had to look deep to find some images with shadows while also telling a story. So, here are the results of my images:

 

  1. Nature category

 

1.

 

 Star trail Richters 1400 300k 72d sRGB W

Star trail Richtersveld – scored 13/15 (Gold award)

Taken during our photography safari with Hougaard Malan in the Richtersveld earlier this year.

Very interesting outcome – seems like people do enjoy this image because this photo already won 2 medals and 1 COM award in the three national salons entered as well as 1 COM and 1 acceptance in the two international salons that I’ve entered this image. Luckily we’ve convinced Hougaard to do the star trail on our last night in the Richtersveld (no clouds and moonrise time was around 21H00 – so there was enough time for a 1,5h star trail exercise)

_____________________________________

 

2.

 

The vulture and the jackal 6 1400 300k 72d sRGB W 

The Vulture and the Jackal 6 – score 13/15 (Gold award)

Taken during my first ever visit to the vulture restaurant at Giants Castle, Drakensberg in 2011.

I was still a novice in wildlife photography back then but luckily our good friend Margaret Olivier was also in the hide to assist us – Thanks Ekke! I just love the look of the jackal below the wings of the vultures, which forms a very nice line. During the club meeting, the image did not project very well – way too light in certain part of the image but that was just the projector because everything in the image looked fine on my screen. Just to show you – your image could look great on your screen but not on a projector. That could also be why some image do great in some salons but not in others.

______________________________________

 

  1. Pictorial category

 

1.

 What now 1024 300k 72d sRGB. W

What now – scored 10/15 (Silver award)

Taken during this year’s Varsity cub soccer tournament here in Bloemfontein.

I’ve decided to “review” my approach to photography and the fact that one needs to have a diversity of skills. Not just concentrating on one aspect of photography namely Nature photography. I know that this image is not the best soccer image but one needs to start somewhere. I just loved the expression of this young player of the UFS – so typical of the soccer players. They just cannot do anything wrong. Too bad about the busy background but that is Sport photography – you cannot get every perfect like in a studio. Yet to use this image in a salon but I’ll give it a try.

_________________________________

 

  1. Set subject – “Shadows”

 

1.

 

 Chain shadow

Chain shadow – scored 10/15

Taken during a Kiekie safari arranged by the club earlier this year at the War memorial in Bloemfontein.

I just love the simplicity of the image with the two strong lines but it seems like this image is not everybody’s cub of tea. So be it – I like it. No hard feelings – score accepted!

________________________________

 

2.

 

 The grave of a soldier BW Y 1080 300k 72d sRGB W

Grave of a soldier – score 10/15

Taken during a trip with the late Johan Kotze to Phillipolis in the Southern Free State in 2011.

I re-visited this image and I’ve tried another development process. Not sure if it was successful but luckily my name was mentioned during the club meeting ala Jan Reyneke (he said that if a image is so bad and it scored 6 or less points, they do not mention your name during the judging process – they just announce the score for the image and leave the photographer’s name out in order not to embarrass the photographer).

_______________________________

 

Message to take home

 

After a talk with Johan Botha from Johannesburg, I was thinking (once again) of the purpose of a camera/photo club meeting. Therefore – just a few thoughts of mine on camera club meeting:

I can think of many reasons why photographers and members attending these meeting but I think it should be for the right reasons. Otherwise, it is downhill all the way for you as photographer. It is my opinion that the main reason to attend the camera club meeting is DEFNITELY not to participate in a competition with your fellow members. It should be a learning experience – learning from each other.

Photography is very subjective and every photographer has his/her own style. Camera clubs must remember it but even more important, you as participating member must remember it. Yes, there a few basic principles that are important for your for example: correct exposure, not clipping the highlights, certain areas must be in focus, not to over sharpen your image and so on. But sometime the judges may mention issues such as “ I would have cropped the image differently” or “I would have used another adjustment layer or Levels or Curves to create a stronger image”. These are all subjective advice you can take home or leave with the judges. Therefore, I would encourage photographers to participate in clubs meeting to develop their own style and not to be molded into a typical camera club style.

To summarise: Please do not be ashamed with or even intimated by the scores and critique of the judges. Rather learn from it and use it to your advantage within your own unique style.

 

Until next month – keep on shooting

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