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.

 

Lioness and cub walking 1 1050 800k 72d sRGB flipped light W

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.

 

Munnik pass sunrise 22 1024 300k 72d sRGB lighter W

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

 

WD pupies share 1 1400 300k 72d sRGB W

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.

 

Star trail Richters 1400 300k 72d sRGB W

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

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 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

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 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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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)

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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.

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  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.

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  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!

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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).

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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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My first cover page publication: SA Jagter/Hunter Sept 2014

My first ever cover page publication – SA Jagter/Hunter: Sept 2014 edition of the magazine.

The image was taken during a photography safari with Isak Pretorius and C4 Images & Safaris in Mashatu Game Reserve in the Northern Tuli block, Botswana from the underground elephant hide. That is an image of a Swainson’s spurfowl (Bosveldfisant).

SA Jagter Sept 2014

 

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

Yesterday I received the results of the last outstanding salon I’ve entered during the month of July 2014. So now I can post the results of all the salons I’ve entered in July 2014. I had an excellent month regarding the outcomes of my international salons – won a total of 9 medals with an average acceptance rate of 63%. It is common practice for a salon to have an acceptance rate of between 20-30%.

 

What does it mean to have an acceptance in a salon and how do they calculate how many images could be accepted in a salon? Here is an explanation how it is done: During the judging process, all the images entered in a specific section (for example Nature section) are scored. A sliding scale of  between 6 (bad) and 15 (great) are used for the scoring and there are usually 3 judges. The scores of each judge are added up and the images are ranked from the highest to the lowest score. The salon coordinator then decided that the top 20 or 30% of the images in that section are good enough to be accepted for an exhibition – the concept of an acceptance. Furthermore, there are usually a winner in each section, a second and/or a third place, one or two judges’ selections (all of these are medals). These are usually selected from the images with the highest scores. Next, a few Certificate of Merit (COM) images are selected – usually it is those images which scores are just below the medal winners. So, if there are a 1 000 images entered in a section, only 200-300 images with the highest scores from the judges will be accepted for an exhibition. Therefore, if you do have an overall acceptance rate of between 20-30% for a specific salon, you are on par. In my opinion – anything better than an 30% acceptance rate is excellent. I hope it make sense.

 

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

 

Total number of salons entered:

9 (3 national salon and 6 international salons).

Overall outcome:

International: 47 acceptances from 72 photos entered = 63% acceptance rate (increased from the 44% last month)

National: 31 acceptances from 64 photos entered = 48% acceptance rate (increased from the 35% last month)

Medals: 11

COMs: 10

 

Now for the results of the individual salons:

 

A.   International salons

 

  1. 1st DPA International Circuit 2014 (Ireland, Serbia, Montenegro)

 

This was circuit consisting of 3 salons

 

Photos entered: 4 photos in the Nature, Wildlife and Birds sections = total of 36 entries

Acceptance: 3 medals, 1 COM and 17 acceptances (58% acceptance rate)

 

Comments: The images I’ve entered in the Wildlife section did very well and This is mine won medals in two of the three salons. For some reason the international judges love the images with the interaction between the jackal and the vultures. It was very interesting to see and capture the interaction between the two species. Not easy because the interaction lasted for only few seconds. One needs to be prepared, anticipate the interaction and also be very quick

 

This is mine 1024 300k 72d sRGB K W

This is mine

Giants Castle, Drakensberg, South Africa

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  1. 1st IPA International Circuit 2014 (India)

 

This was circuit consisting of 3 salons

 

Photos entered: 4 photos in Nature section = 12 entries

Acceptance: 1 medal and 9 acceptances (83% acceptance rate)

Comments: Almost 3 won the PSA Gold medal in the Nature section. It is seventh medal for this image and only once was this image not acceptance in a salon (entered in 15 salon so far). The image was selected as semi-finalist in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014 but it was not selected as a finalist.

 

Almost 3 crop 1 1024 300k 72d sRGB W

Almost 3

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

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  1. 49th Southern California Council of Camera Clubs (S4C) International Exhibition of Photography 2014 (USA)

 

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

Acceptance: 3 medals and 4 acceptances (63% acceptance rate)

 

Comments: One of my best salon results so far – three of my four images in the Wildlife section won medals. Lioness and cubs drinking water 4 won the PSA Gold (Best of show) medal. The second medal for this image with 3 other COMs and 7 acceptances worldwide.

 

Lioness and cups drinking water 4 1050 300k 72d sRGB yellow W

Lioness and cubs drinking water 4

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

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  1. 3rd South Devon Salon 2014 (UK)

 

Photos entered: 4 photos entered in Nature section

Acceptance: 3 acceptances (75% acceptance rate)

 

Comments: Almost 1 (posted earlier in this post) won the COM award. The image that wasn’t accepted was Tree climbing – the image of a meerkat in a tree. I was not sure about this image – maybe the composition is not optimal or is it the light? This is the negative side of a salon – no feedback on your images. This was the first salon I’ve entered the image – I’ll give the image another try and see what will happen.

 

Tree climbing 1024 300k 72d sRGB W

Tree climbing

Tswalu Nature reserve, Northern Cape, South Africa

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  1. 65th Midlands Salon of International Photography 2014 (UK)

 

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

Acceptance: 4 acceptances (50% acceptance rate)

 

Comments: 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. Almost there with 20 so far – hope to reach the 25 before the end of the year so that I can apply for my second FIAP honours (EFIAP) early next year. I came to realize it is not easy to get images accepted in UK based salons – so I am quite satisfied to see Bateleur prancing receiving an acceptance in the digital Nature section.

 

Bataleur prancing 1

Bateleur prancing

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

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  1. Sydney International Exhibition of Photography 2014 (Australia)

 

Photos entered: 4 photos entered in Nature section

Acceptance: 2 medals and 2 acceptances (100% acceptance rate)

 

Comments: It’s been a while since I’ve achieved a 100% acceptance rate. Even better – 2 medals with four images. Like I’ve mentioned before, the international judges seem to like the interaction between the vultures and the BB jackal. The Vulture and the Jackal 2 is another in the sequence of events/interaction between the two species. I was very lucky to have been able to have a few images of this interaction.

 

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

The Vulture and the Jackal 2

Giants Castle, Drakensberg, South Africa

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  1. National Salons

 

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

 

Photos entered: 4 photos entered in Wildlife, Scapes, Bird, Open, & Macro sections = 24 entries

Acceptance: 1 medal, 3 COMs and 10 acceptances (58% acceptance rate)

 

Comments: At last – somebody likes Leopard in the dark. I’ve been entering this image in salons for a while (8 entries) and it received its first COM award. Martial eagle nesting material 3 won the medal for the best image in the Bird section. Like I’ve mentioned before, I waited almost 2 hours in the hot Kgalagadi sun for the eagle to do something and eventually they did – more than what I expected. Patience with Nature is the “pass word”.

 

Martial eagle nesting material 1920 300k 72d sRGB W

Martial eagle nesting material 3

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

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  1. Cape of Good Hope National Salon 2014 (South Africa)

 

Photos entered: 4 photos entered in Open colour, Open monochrome, Portrait colour and Portrait monochrome, Scapes colour and Scapes monochrome sections = 24 entries

Acceptance: 1 medal, 2 COMs and 8 acceptances (46% acceptance rate)

 

Comments: Richtersveld star trail won the medal for the best image in the Colour Scapes section – the first time I’ve entered this image in a salon. And Hougaard Malan was not even keen on doing the star trails with us. Luckily we convinced him to do it and the results – priceless!!! Hougaard was concerned about early moonrise but we decided there is enough time between sunset (18H30) and moonrise (21H00) to do a 90-minute star trail.

 

Star trail Richters 1400 300k 72d sRGB W

Richtersveld star trail

Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, South Africa

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

 

Photos entered: 4 photos entered in Nature, Scapes, Portrait, & Open sections = 16 entries

Acceptance: 3 COMs and 3 acceptances (38% acceptance rate)

 

Comments: One of my worst national salon results but still within the 30% acceptance rate range. Some very interesting decision made by the judges – images that received COMs in other nationals salons did not receive acceptance. And then this landscape image, Grass on dune with thunder clouds received a COM while I’ve struggled to get an acceptance for this image (3 acceptances in 10 entries). Just to show you – never give up.

 

Grass on dune with thunder clouds 1024 300k 72d sRGB RY W

Grass on dune with thunder clouds

NamibRand Nature Reserve, Namibia

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Message to take home:

 

I think composition is the backbone of all great photos – not just applicable to landscape photography. It is not always possible to get it perfect the first time around. Just make sure there is enough to work with during the post-processing. When capturing an image, just keep in mind that composition is essential in the creation of a truly “wow” image. What is a successful composition? Composition is successful when the image (through its composition) draws and holds the viewer’s eye into image for as long as possible (with so many images around nowadays – aim for about 15 milliseconds) but afterwards your viewer should want to go back the image to look at it again.

 

Until next month, keep on shooting

 

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Willem’s Weekly Bird Photography Blog: Week #14

Week #14: Greater Painted-snipe

I’ve just returned from a photography safari to Mashatu game reserve in the Northern Tule Block in Botswana with Albie Venter and C4 Images & Safaris. And another lifer for me – a Greater Painted-snipe (Goudsnip) (Rostratula benghalensis). Not sure how common the bird in South Africa is, but I did enjoy the sighting tremendously.

 

Greater Pianted-snipe

Greater Painted-snipe

Nikon D4 camera, Nikkor 600mmf4 lens, f4, ISO 640, 1/5000 sec, exposure = -0.67, 11.9 meters from subject

Possibly male bird with sub-adult chick as chicks tend to stay with male for almost 12 months

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Interesting facts:

Medium-sized, plump wading bird. Long reddish-brown bill, slightly decurved at tip, and distinct white or pinkish eye patch. Rounded, buff-spotted wings and short tail. White of breast extends up around top of folded wing. The painted-snipe is not related to the true snipes and differs from them in habits, flight and appearance, being far more colorful and having longer legs than the snipes.

Usually found close to the fringes of reed beds along shorelines of marshes, swamps, ponds and streams. Solitary or in pairs, sometimes in groups of up to 12. Rather shy and retiring, skulking close to the vegetation so that it can retreat to cover if disturbed. When flushed, flies like a rail with legs dangling. Bobs hindquarters on landing and sometimes when walking. Probes for food in the mud.

The female initiates courtship and may mate with more than one male. The nest is usually a shallow scrape in soft ground, lined with plant material and situated among grass or reeds at the water’s edge; sometimes a pad of vegetation or a nest of grass and weeds. The breeding season is between April and July. The male incubates the eggs. Immature birds resemble the male but lack the broken dark band across the breast. Males are also known to carry the chicks to safety under the wings. (Wikipedia)

The chicks leave the nest about 12 hours after they hatch, sticking close to the male, who provides them with food for at least the first 10 days (at which point they start to forage for themselves). The male may also perform distraction displays if a predator approaches. They fledge at about 30-35 days old, remaining with the male for another 1-2 months. (http://www.biodiversityexplorer.org/birds/rostratulidae/rostratula_benghalensis.htm)

 

Map – distribution:

Greater Painted-snipe

http://www.biodiversityexplorer.org/birds/rostratulidae/rostratula_benghalensis.htm

 

Until next time – keep on shooting

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

The beginning of a new month and the winter is almost over. Well, the scores of my images submitted for our monthly camera club reflected the current cold weather we do experience in this part of the world. Cold, windy, unpleasant and not appreciated! But do you see the worry in eyes? Never – because the outcome of camera club judging is not the alpha and omega of photography.

For the month of Aug 2014 I’ve decided to enter all three my images in the Nature division. Our set subject for the month was Blur and I’ve submitted two of the long exposure landscape photos to be judged in this category.

“Luckily” I was not able to attend the evening because we were in Mashatu nature reserve for a week. Here is the outcome of my five images submitted and just a reminder again – I do not take the scores and critique on my images personally. Enjoy the images and comments with me.

 

A.  Nature division

1.

Elephant trunck with water 1920 300k 72d sRGB W

Elephant trunk in water – scored 12/15 (gold award).

A great start to evening with his image taken during our last trip earlier this year from Lou Coetzer’s specially designed photography boat. Elephants are one of the most difficult subjects in Nature for me to photograph. Why? I am not sure myself but sometimes I do find it rather difficult to get a “wow” image of an elephant. Luckily this one worked for me – I’ve really tried to do something different.

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2.

Giraffe kiss 1400 300k 72d sRGB R W

Giraffe kiss – scored 10/15 (silver award)

Image taken late last year at Graig Lockhart water hole in the Kgalagadi. I was very lucky that the two giraffes were standing so close to each other – both giraffes were in focus. The image already received one international salon acceptance in its only entry – too bad the judges of the camera club did not like. I would love to hear from them what was wrong in the image – wrong time of the day (light), amputation of the giraffes at their necks, busy background or what?

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3.

Spider web 1

Spider web – scored 10/15 (silver award)

Image taken during our predator photography safari in Mala Mala nature reserve. I’ve really struggled to get an image of the spider and the water droplets formed by the dew on the spider web in focus because there was a light breeze blowing. But at the end I do like the image – the image has already received 2 national and 3 international salon acceptances Surely the judges in five salons cannot be wrong. Well, remember – it is all about personal opinions.

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  1. Set subject (“Blur”)

1.

Hole in the wall 2

Slow wave 1 – score 10/15 (silver award)

Image taken during a landscape photography safari with Hougaard Malan at Hole in the Wall. Well, maybe the judges did not like the lines but this is not really a wow image. Satisfied with the result/score.

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2.

Waves at night 3 1050 300k 72d sRGB BW W

Wave at night 3 – score 11/15 (gold award)

Image also taken during a landscape photography safari with Hougaard Malan at Hole in the Wall. Image was taken with a Big Stopper filter and it just made it into the gold award category. Not too bad – satisfied with the score as it is not really a favourite of mine.

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Message to take home

What about the critique and scores received from judges during such a camera evening? I do believe that having the technical aspects of one’s images critiqued by the right person (please note – the right person) can be to the benefit of the photographer. However, it is important that the person gives constructive critique in order for you as photographer to go out and improve. I also like people to comment secondly on the story telling elements of my images. If the comments of people are that they do not get the story or that they do feel confuse about the image – then I know I must go out and practice more.

 

How do you take the score and critique of the judges/people on your images? Definitely something to think about but do not get upset about it. It is not worth it.

 

Until next month – keep on shooting

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