Bloemfontein Camera Club meeting: Outcome of my images submitted – May 2015

I cannot believe it – already five months into 2015.  And it was time for our fifth local camera club meeting for 2015. I was glad to see that our club decided to use the usual three-judge system to score and critique the submitted photos. All three judges were members of our club. Nothing personal but I would like to see some external people (not members of Bloemfontein Camera Club) from in and around Bloemfontein to be called in to assist with the judging. Surely there are photography gurus around that are not members of our club. But please – no one-judge system! How about 2 local judges and 1 external judge for each meeting? Just to bring some “alternative” perspective into the club. Just thinking out loud.

However, lets go and see what the local judges though of my images – lets look at the results of my images submitted to Bloemfontein Camera Club for the month of May 2015.

Here are the results of my images:

 

A. Nature category

 

Just remember – no manipulation using computer software is allowed in this category

Just take note that the judges are requested to give comments on images in only certain categories and not on all the images. This month the judges gave comments on the 1-3 star Nature and Pictorial categories and not for the higher star members.

1.

Slow wave hole

Slow wave hole – scored 11/15 (Gold award)

Image taken from at Luphathana, Wild coast, South Africa

My first image for the evening and it just made it into the gold award section (gold = a score of 11-13/15). This was a slow shutter image taken of a wave pulling back to sea over the rocks. Not your usual sea scape image. Like I’ve mentioned last month in my blog – what is the Nature category all about. It is not just about wildlife – it is also about landscape and much more. Just to proof a point with this image. Now, if one looks at the score and taken that there were three judges, then a conclusion can be made that 2 judges probably liked the image with both these judges giving the image a score of 4/5 and the fifth judge did not like it giving it a score of 3/5. Giving an image a score of 3/5 means that the judge is of the opinion that this image is not really on salon acceptance standard. Well, hopefully I can proof the judge wrong (and has already done so with an acceptance in local landscape salon) in the near future. Only time will tell.

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 B. Pictorial category

For this month I’ve decided to enter two images in the pictorial category. One cannot just continue submitting images in only one category.

Just remember – photographers are allowed to used some computer software to manipulate images before submitted it in this category. However, I did not do any manipulation on any of the two images I’ve submitted.

1.

Morning glory

Morning glory – score 12/15 (Gold award)

Image taken in Kolmanskop (ghost town), Namibia

This time around it seems like all three judges liked the score – a possible 4/5 from all three judges added up to the score of 12/15. A very well known scene and image from Kolmanskop but I am sure not many photographers had the privilege to have such an image taken in the most beautiful morning light. Hougaard Malan added his magic touch to the building just before sunrise making it possible for us to capture the scene just as the first light entered the room through the broken windows.

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2.

Hockey trap

Hockey trap – score 11/15 (Gold award)

Image taken during the provincial women’s hockey tournament in Bloemfontein held a few weeks again – Go Free State!!!

My first ever try at hockey and I must agree with the judges: not the best hockey photo. I just wanted to see how the image projects on the screen. No the best of light – in fact, it was overcast. Luckily there was some action and a story telling element in the image pulling the image up a level. After about a 1 000 images I had about 5 greta images. Now I do realise how difficult it is to take photos at a hockey game. From now on I will definitely look at hockey photos from a different perspective.

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C. Set subject – “Movie poster

 

In this Movie Poster a movie must be advertised. The movie must have a Name and Subtitles . Manipulation is allowed

 

I’ve decided not to enter any images in the set subject category – just because I am not keen on photo manipulation.

 

Message to take home

Thinking about some of the comments of the judges on the images presented during this last camera club evening, I am of the opinion that photographers should not take all the comments of the judges as the alpha and omega. A photographer needs to think of what he/she wants to tell the “audience” with a certain image. Therefore, you need to learn how to constructively critique your own photography. Such constructive critique can not only help you to think before pulling the trigger and therefore be able to take better photographs each time you pick up a camera, but it will also build your confidence as a photographer. If you are positive about your images and you know exactly why and how you’ve taken the image, only then should you be prepared for the inevitable critiques from the judges, your peers and colleagues. And if you are serious about photography, you will not get away with some sort of critique. So get use to it and use it to your advantage.

Until next month camera club meeting – keep on shooting

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Outcome of my photography salon (competition) entries – Month of March 2015

The month of March was a quiet month when it comes to entering photography salons. I was so busy with all the other admin issues that I’ve decided not to enter all the international salons on offer. I’ve entered only one international salon – a personal favourite of mine because I won my first ever medal in this Germany based circuit way back in 2012. I still remembered the moment when I received the good news – we were in Kieliekrankie wilderness camp in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park on top of the highest dune in the area. I got some cellphone reception for a few minutes and I received the e-mail informing me that I’ve won a medal in this international salon. I had to read the message three times before I was able to understand what it was all about. At that stage I’ve just started to enter international salons in order to get points for promotion in our local camera club. So, what a surprise!

Therefor, during the month of March I was only supporting the local photography clubs in South Africa by trying to enter all their categories for which I do have photos.

The details of the salons are as follows:

Total number of salons entered:

4 (1 international salons & 3 national salons).

Overall outcome:

International: 3 acceptances from 12 photos entered = 25% acceptance rate

National: 28 acceptances from 64 photos entered = 44% acceptance rate (slight increase from 43% last month)

Medals: 1

COMs: 6

Now for the individual salons:

A. International salons

  1. German International DVF cup circuit 2015 (Germany)

This was a 3-salon circuit

Photos entered: 4 photos entered in the Nature section = 12 entries

Acceptance: 3 acceptances (25% acceptance rate)

Comments: Not a very successful salon outcome but I was trying out some new images. At least ALL EARS received acceptances in 2 of the 3 salons. The photo was taken from the squirrel hide during our trip to Norway. It is a typical European wildlife image.

All ears

ALL EARS

Flatlander, Norway

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  1. National Salons
  1. 1st Special theme salon Kathu 2015 (South Africa)

Photos entered: 4 photos each entered in the Windows and Doors, Flowers, Transport, colour explosion, Scapes sunrise/sunset sections = 20 entries

Acceptance: 8 acceptances (40%)

Being a nature and wildlife photographer, this was really a challenging salon to enter. At the end of the day I’ve put some images together and I was able to enter 4 images in 5 of the 6 sections. These sections are not really the normal sections to be found in a photography salon – not even in a international salon. I would love to see the statistics regarding the number of entries for this salon vs. the number of entries for a salon with the normal type of sections. STRAWBERRY AND CREAM is an old image of mine taken in our garage while my wife was experimenting with new photography techniques. Like I said – I had to dig deep into my archives to get some images to enter in this salon.

 Strawberry and cream

STRAWBERRY AND CREAM

Bloemfontein, South Africa

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  1. 5th Sandton National Digital Salon 2015 (South Africa)

 

Photos entered: 4 photos each entered in the Wildlife, Sport, Scapes, People monochrome, Open colour and Open monochrome sections = 24 entries

Acceptance: 3 COM & 7 acceptances (42 %)

Now we are back to normal – with the salon sections to be entered I mean. SEA EAGLE LUNCH received its first COM award with its first entry. We were very lucky to get some images of these white tailed sea eagles taking some fish from the sea in good winter light. It was very difficult shooting from a small fishing type of boat on the sea standing on one’s knees while hand-held a 200-400mm and even at one stage a 600mm lens.

Sea eagle catch

SEA EAGLE LUNCH

Flatlander, Norwee

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  1. 1st Northern Natal National Digital Salon 2015 (South Africa)

 

Photos entered: 4 photos each entered in the Wildlife, PJ, Scapes, People, and Pictorial colour sections = 20 entries

Acceptance: 1 medal, 3 COM & 6 acceptances (50 %)

To my surprise, it was one of my landscape images that won a medal in the Scapes section. TREE ABOVE was taken during our trip to Magoebaskloof in the northern part of South Africa. What is more satisfactory to me, is the fact that my wife and I played around with the composition of this image for a while and eventually I decided on this final composition – all by ourselves. Just to think that 2-3 years ago I was so frustrated in Namibia because I did not know what a proper landscape image was all about. I did not even know what to look for. Thanks Hougaard and Shem!!!

Tree above 1024 72k 300d sRGB W

TREE ABOVE

Magoebaskloof, South Africa

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Message to take home:

The last salon outcome (my medal in the Scapes section) made me think about my initial frustration with landscape photography and how we did go about it in my early photography years. Luckily, and with the guidance of Hougaard Malan, we came to our senses.

My main message is that any landscape photography needs proper planning. No arriving at a scene with some running around looking for a composition when everything is perfect. One must visit the area before a possible shoot – even if it is in the middle of the day, Look carefully and critically at the scenery and possible shots. Take a few images and review them on your computer afterwards. You can even go back a few times and reconsider your options. You need to plan ahead and consider possible compositions.

Only after proper planning and with conditions perfect – then you can pull the trigger. However, you must arrive well before the golden hour and make sure about your pre-select set-up. Consider all the factors and make sure you ready and your camera settings are appropriate for the conditions. What was appropriate for yesterday, would not be appropriate for this shoot. A few practice shots would be helpful just to be sure for example the composition. Then comes the wait for the right moment and you can take the shot.

I would also recommend that you go back to a place of interest at different times of year – just to get another perspective on how the scene might change with different light, clouds and so on. Do not think: “I already visited that place in the past and got the image – why should I go back?” Does it make your think?

Until next month, keep on shooting

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Bloemfontein Camera Club meeting: Outcome of my images submitted – April 2015

And here we are, in April already. And hopefully the monthly camera club judging will not be an April fool’s joke. Once again, my wife and I could not attend to meeting because of work we had to do. Our friends told us that the club decided to have the usual 3 judges for the evening. So I am sure this month’s results would provide the members with be a more balanced outcome on the images submitted for judging. So lets go straight to the results of my images submitted to Bloemfontein camera club for the month of April 2015. Here are the results of my images:

A. Nature category

Once again – just a bit of background information on this category. Just to remind readers – no manipulation of images in Photoshop or other computer software is allowed in this section. So, any type of nature images can be entered in this category as long as (i) it is an authentic nature image, (ii) there are no prominent human elements and (iii) such image was not manipulated with a computer software program. Therefore, it my opinion that it is totally acceptable to enter landscape images in this category as long as it complies with the three mentioned criteria. Sometimes the nature category in international salons is divided into two sub-categories namely “Nature” and “Wildlife”. If I do see a nature or wildlife image in the Open category, my first reaction is to see what was manipulated in the photo. And I do agree with some of the opinions – nature and wildlife images that are submitted in the Open category do not get the necessary recognition as it would have if they were submitted in the Nature category. So why do we have a nature category?  Just for wildlife? Definitely not! Let us see what will happen next month with the club judging.

For those that are interested, here is the latest definition/explanation that was accepted by the PSA worldwide (why would Bloemfontein Camera Club not be in line with the rest of the world?):

Nature photography is restricted to the use of the photographic process to depict all branches of natural history, except anthropology and archaeology, in such a fashion that a well-informed person will be able to identify the subject material and certify its honest presentation. The story telling value of a photograph must be weighed more than the pictorial quality while maintaining high technical quality. Human elements shall not be present, except where those human elements are integral parts of the nature story such as nature subjects, like barn owls or storks, adapted to an environment modified by humans, or where those human elements are in situations depicting natural forces, like hurricanes or tidal waves. Scientific bands, scientific tags or radio collars on wild animals are permissible. Photographs of human created hybrid plants, cultivated plants, feral animals, domestic animals, or mounted specimens are ineligible, as is any form of manipulation that alters the truth of the photographic statement.

No techniques that add, relocate, replace, or remove pictorial elements except by cropping are permitted. Techniques that enhance the presentation of the photograph without changing the nature story or the pictorial content, or without altering the content of the original scene, are permitted including HDR, focus stacking and dodging/burning. Techniques that remove elements added by the camera, such as dust spots, digital noise, and film scratches, are allowed. Stitched images are not permitted. All allowed adjustments must appear natural. Color images can be converted to grey-scale monochrome. Infrared images, either direct-captures or derivations, are not allowed.

Images used in Nature Photography competitions may be divided in two classes: Nature and Wildlife. Images entered in Nature sections meeting the Nature Photography Definition above can have landscapes, geologic formations, weather phenomena, and extant organisms as the primary subject matter. This includes images taken with the subjects in controlled conditions, such as zoos, game farms, botanical gardens, aquariums and any enclosure where the subjects are totally dependent on man for food. Images entered in Wildlife sections meeting the Nature Photography Definition above are further defined as one or more extant zoological or botanical organisms free and unrestrained in a natural or adopted habitat.  Landscapes, geologic formations, photographs of zoo or game farm animals, or of any extant zoological or botanical species taken under controlled conditions are not eligible in Wildlife sections.  Wildlife is not limited to animals, birds and insects. Marine subjects and botanical subjects (including fungi and algae) taken in the wild are suitable wildlife subjects, as are carcasses of extant species. Wildlife images may be entered in Nature sections of Exhibitions.” (http://www.psa-photo.org/index.php?nature-nature-definition)

My images – last month I was very quiet about the outcome of the judging but this month….:

1. Mum with cub tail

Mom with cub tail – scored 12/15 (Gold award)

Image taken from at the 13th borehole, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

The image was taken under very difficult conditions – overcast and the sun has already set behind the dunes. So it was low light conditions. I had to push my ISO to get a decent shutter speed to freeze the movements. No proper golden light & high ISO made the post-processing very difficult. Therefore, I am very satisfied with the outcome from the judges. The judges in a 4-salon circuit in Greece earlier this year also loved this image and they gave my 1 acceptance, 2 COMs and 1 medal for the image. Very interesting to see the outcome of the salon vs. the outcome of local South African judges.

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2. The Hug 1080 300k 72d sRGB W

The hug – score 11/15 (Gold award)

Image taken in Tswalu nature reserve in Northern Cape

The image just made it into the gold award category – I can just quest that 2 judges both gave it a 4/5 and the third judge gave it a 3/5. Not enough action for your typical nature category  – therefore giving the image a 3/5 score? I would not know – can just speculate. However, just to compare – the image received 3 acceptances and 1 medal in yet another 4-salon circuit in Greece. This club result doesn’t really bother me because I just love to see the different scores and opinions on my images.

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 3. Mom and daughter 1920 300k 72d sRGB

Mother and daughter – score 10/15 (Silver award)

Image taken in the Serengeti earlier this year

Now I am certain the judges would say: “Not enough action in this image”. However, and this is also new to me because I also love action in Nature photography. However, action is not the ultimate in nature photography. A great portrait image, which is telling a different story, can also have a WOW factor. Not that this is a WOW image – I just love the story telling element behind this image. Yes, not everybody would agree.

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B. Set subject – “Natural light portraits

The model or person must be shot in natural light. It can be taken inside or outside a studio, but no artificial lighting may be used. No Manipulation allowed. I’ve decided not to enter any images in the set subject category – just because I am not keen on taken images of people/models and also I did not have the time to prepare such images.

Message to take home

Looking at my comments in this post, I was thinking about these words: “if you make a mistake and beat yourself up about it constantly it becomes something negative. It will create fear and actually stop you from moving forward.” So, the outcome of club evening judging or any type of photography competitions should not be taken too serious. Just because your images did not won a price, does not mean you’ve made a mistake. If you think like that, you will in future try and avoid another similar encounter. And that means that only you will suffer. On the other hand, if we do not acknowledge that we did make a mistake, we will never become well rounded photographers. So, the writer of the article gave some very valid advice: “So the next time you make a mistake when you shoot and you feel frustrated, walk around for a while and think about learning to walk. Then, get up, work out what you did wrong and then go and try it again.”

Until next month camera club meeting – keep on shooting

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Outcome of my photography salon (competition) entries – Month of February 2015

I am a bit behind on my posts regarding my monthly salon entires and results due to several reasons. Two reasons are the administrative necessities regarding the applications for star rating at the PSA, EPSSA honours award and EFIAP honours awards. Also my wife and I had a busy few weeks regarding photography safaris – I almost used all my annual leave for four trips from January up to now. However, now I do have time pn my hands again until our next trip in Aug 2015. ,

Once again – a very interesting month with mix outcomes – 2 international salons with a 100% acceptance rate and a few COMs.

 

The details are as follows:

 

Total number of salons entered:

8 (6 international salons & 2 national salons).

Overall outcome:

International: 41 acceptances from 76 photos entered = 54% acceptance rate (slight decreased from the 59% last month)

National: 19 acceptances from 44 photos entered = 43% acceptance rate

Medals: 1

COMs: 9

 

Now for the individual salons:

 

A. International salons

 

  1. Kotor circuit 2015 (Serbia)

 

This was a 4-salon circuit with salons with judging conducted in 4 countries

 

Photos entered: 4 photos each entered in the Nature, Wildlife and Birds sections = 48 entries

Acceptance: 1 COM & 23 acceptances (50% acceptance rate)

 

Comments: Owlet yawn received it first COM award and acceptances in the other three salons. I was not sure about this image because it was really difficult to process the photo in Photoshop because of the busy background and light coming through the branches. But luckily the pearl spotted owlet provided me with enough action. We drove to the owlet spot a few times before I was able to capture his yawn.

Owlet yawn

Owlet yawn

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

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  1. F2 Cities Salon 2015 (Argentina)

 

Photos entered: 4 photos entered in Nature section

Acceptance: 1 COM and 3 acceptance (100% acceptance rate)

Comments: Whistling rat was an image I had to wait until almost the last minute before the gates as the Twee Rivieren camp was supposed to close. I saw the rat close to the road on my way to camp and I realized that I only had a few minutes left before the sun will disappear behind the dunes. So I was waited for the rat to get into the last sunlight and I got lucky. I first salon entry with this image and again – I got lucky.

Rat

Whistling rat

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

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  1. 58th Saguaro Nature Exhibition 2015 (USA)

 

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

Acceptance: 3 acceptances (38%)

 

I’ve decided to enter one of my macro images of a fly captured in the bush in my back garden for the first time in this salon – Bush fly. And luck was on my side as it received a COM award. It took my a while to capture this specific image because the fly was very “busy” and did not want to give an opportunity to capture it. But patience paid off.

 Bush fly 1400 300k 72d sRGB W

Bush fly

Home garden, Bloemfontein, South Africa

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  1. 2nd Digifocus Salon 2015 (India)

 

Photos entered: 4 photos entered in the Nature section

Acceptance: 3 acceptances (75% acceptance rate)

 

Comments: I came to realize that Drop of water is not a favourite amongst the international salon judges. It is the first acceptance it received from 6 previous entries. So, it is time to put the image away – it has already received three COMs in the three national salons it was entered.

Drop of water 1920 300k 72d sRGB W

Drop of water

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

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  1. Coachella Valley Exhibition 2015 (USA)

 

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

Acceptance: 1 medal & 2 acceptances (38% acceptance rate)

 

Comments: A very interesting medal winner – totally unexpected – Jacana chick with lunch. An old image retrieved from the archives because it only received one acceptance previously. Seems like I can use this image more often.

Jacana with lunch 1024 500k 300d sRGB K noise

Jacana chick with lunch

Chobe River, Botswana

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  1. 55th North Central Insect salon 2015 (USA)

 

Photos entered: 4 photos entered in Insect section

Acceptance: 4 acceptances (100% acceptance rate)

 

Comments: It looks like the macro course with Hendrik Louw paid off as I received a 100% acceptance rate in this very interesting salon. However, it was the image Coming for lunch capture with a 600mm lens from a specially designed photography boat that was awarded the COM. And I did won some other award with this image in the past.

Coming for lunch

Coming for lunch

Chobe River, Botswana

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  1. National Salons

 

  1. 2nd PSSA National Digital Salon 2015 (South Africa)

 

Photos entered: 4 photos each entered in the Nature colour, Nature monochrome, Open colour, Open monochrome, Our Country sections = 20 entries

 

Acceptance: 3 COM & 4 acceptances (35 %)

 

Leopard in the dark backlight is also not very popular with the judges – not sure why. Maybe because the judges cannot see what the image is all about. So I decided to turn the image into a monochrome image and entered it in the Nature monochrome section. And it received one of the three COM awards. The colour version of this image only received 3 acceptances in 10 salon entries.

Leopard in the dark 1 light frame BW

Leopard in the dark backlight

Mala Mala nature reserve, South Africa

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  1. 1st Ermelo National Digital Salon 2015 (South Africa)

 

Photos entered: 4 photos each entered in the Nature, Birds, Sport, Scapes, Open colour and Open monochrome sections = 24 entries

 

Acceptance: 1 COM & 11 acceptances (50 %)

 

The only COM award for me in this salon was O mommy.

O mommy 1080 300k 72d sRGB W

O mommy

Tswalu nature reserve, South Africa

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Message to take home:

 

Because my main interest is in Nature photography, I want to focus on the following issues today namely hesitation. Sometimes you may find yourself (sometimes) in a habit hesitation. It is really not a good habit because if you hesitating too long to capture an image of a certain situation, it can prevent you from getting that perfect shot. So, what would you hesitate. There are a few different reasons but after you’ve read my last few blogs, you might realize that one reason is:

You may be too concerned about what people may think of your image. Especially salon or camera club judges.

My advice – do not take/capture images just for the judges. Such an approach will “kill” your photography and you would not be able to develop your own style. Do what you do best and just enjoy it.

 

Until next month, keep on shooting

 

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Photographic Society of America (PSA) 5 star rating – March 2015

Just received the confirmation document that I do have have now an official 5 star rating with the Photographic Society of America (PSA). This star rating was achieved in the Nature division – therefore, only images entered in Nature division of international salons/exhibitions (only PSA recognised salons) were used in the application. This is the first step to achieve recognition in the PSA’s Recognition of Photographic Achievement (ROPA) system.

An explanation of the exhibition and star rating system of the PSA on their website:

“Exhibitors in PSA-recognized International Exhibitions enjoy receiving “acceptances.” Generally, an exhibitor will enter 4 projected images or prints in one section of a PSA-recognized photographic exhibition. A panel of judges may then select one or more of those entries for inclusion in the exhibition (public show). Each of those entries that are chosen for the exhibition is given the “acceptance” designation.Those images that are “accepted” for inclusion in an exhibition are eligible to be used by PSA members when applying for a PSA Star Rating” (http://www.psa-photo.org/index.php?awards/recognition-of-photography/star-ratings)

 

With this 5 star rating I can now apply for the PPSA award in the ROPA system. Just the following on the ROPA system form their website – the first two levels (the third level is 1500 acceptances – currently out of my reach):

“In order to qualify for any of the ROPA Distinctions the following proof of acceptances in PSA-recognized International Exhibitions is required:

  • PROFICIENCY (PPSA):  288 or more acceptances supported by Star Rating certificates from one or more PSA Divisions.
  • EXCELLENCE (EPSA): 700 or more acceptances supported by Star Rating certificates from one or more PSA Divisions”

(http://www.psa-photo.org/index.php?awards/recognition-of-photography/psa-distinctions-ropa)

 

Now I can apply for the next level of star rating – Galaxy star rating in the Nature division – and my aim is to achieve an EPSA award. Quote from the PSA guidelines for explanation purposes:

“The Nature Division Galaxy Award Program was initiated in 1991 as a method of providing successful star exhibitors with a form of recognition. Acceptances must be achieved in International Exhibitions sections recognized by the Nature Division.” Only 3 acceptances per image are allowed.

 

Here is the certificate:

PSA 5 star certificate

 

 

 

 

 

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Bloemfontein Camera Club meeting: Outcome of my images submitted – March 2015

Three months into 2015 and still going strongly – photography-wise. Strongly because we just returned from our third photography safari for the year. So I do have a lot of photos to process. But lets get back to the results of my images submitted to our local camera club (Bloemfontein camera club) for the month of March 2015.

 

My wife and I could not attend to meeting because we were on a photography safari up in the Serengeti. Very interesting to see that the camera club decided to use only one judge for the evening – the guest speaker for the evening from outside Bloemfontein. So, it was the same judging system used as in January 2015. And once again, I had to disagree with the club on this approach (and I am sure I am not the only one). And my disagreement is not having an outside judge – in fact I did recommend such an approach. However, my disagreement is with a judging system where only one judge is used. Photography is so subjective that it is almost impossible to get a “fair/balanced” outcome with only one judge’s opinion/score. Therefore, I am not even going to comment on the scores I’ve received for my images this month because I do believe it is not a true reflection . Since I’ve started photography, I haven’t come across a photography salon/exhibition/competition where there is only one judge. Makes one think about it. So, here are the results of my images – you be the judge:

 

  1. Nature category

 

Just remember that no manipulation of images in Photoshop or other computer software is allowed in this section.

 

1.

Wet bullfinch 1024 300k 72d sRGB W

Wet bullfinch – scored 7/15 (bronze award)

Image taken from the squirrel hide in Norway

I said earlier I am not going to comment but …..just to say this is my first bronze outcome since I was a 2 star member of the club.

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2.

Goshawk shake 1024 300k 72d sRGB W

Goshawk shake – score 10/15 (Silver award)

Image taken from the squirrel hide in Norway

No comment – just asking myself – really???

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3.

Sea eagle 600 1024 300k 72d sRGB W

Sea eagle 600 – score 11/15 (Gold award)

Image taken from Ole Martin’s boat in Norway

Definitely no comment from my side

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  1. Set subject – “Selective colour

 

I’ve decided not to enter any images in the set subject category – just because I did not have the time to prepare such images.

 

Message to take home

 

While I was looking at the scores for all the images as judged during this particular evening, I think it was maybe a blessing that I was not at the club that specific evening. I can only think a quote I read somewhere on the Internet:

“There will always be those who look only at technique, who ask ‘how’ while other of a more curious nature will ask ‘why’.” (Man Ray)

Yes surely, a judge must look at the technical aspects of an image but that is not the only aspect that is judged. The message that the photographer wants to convey must also be considered – the story telling element of the image. I did not attend this specific judging evening but looking at the overall scores of the evening as well as the images that are posted on our website and some comments I’ve recently, I’ve asked myself the question: “Did the judge just focus on the first part of the quote above or what?” The more reason to have more than one judge per session/competition/exhibition.

 

Until next month camera club meeting – keep on shooting

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Outcome of my photography salon (competition) entries – Month of January 2015

The first post for 2015 regarding my salon results. I did not do a post on my salon results for December 2014 because it was a very quite month with only 1 international salon. Also, the national salon circuit in South Africa is taking a break – so this month I’ll only have international salon results. A very interesting month with mix outcomes – 2 international salons with a 100% acceptance rate but unfortunately (after almost 1 year) I do have one salon with a zero % acceptance rate.

 

The details are as follows:

 

Total number of salons entered:

8 (8 international salons).

Overall outcome:

International: 26 acceptances from 44 photos entered = 59% acceptance rate (slight decreased from the 62% last month)

National: None

Medals: 1

COMs: 3

 

Now for the individual salons:

 

A. International salons

 

  1. Yorkshire International Salon 2014 (UK)

 

Photos entered: 4 photos entered in the Nature section

Acceptance: 3 acceptances (75% acceptance rate)

 

Comments: The image below was one of the three acceptances but is not a-so-recent/new photo. I’ve decided to re-visit the photo just because it is something different. Image was shot in not so perfect light conditions – almost in the middle of the day. Also, not a good composition because I had a convertor on my 600mm lens when the action occurred and the jackals ran straight towards me. Nothing one can do but just keep shooting and hope for the best. But to show you that the story telling element in Nature photography is as important as the technical aspects of the image.

BB Jackal surrendered 3

BB jackal surrendered 3

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

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  1. 3rd EMPA international digital salon 2015 (Serbia)

 

Photos entered: 4 photos entered in Nature section

Acceptance: 2 acceptance (50% acceptance rate)

Comments: Very interesting that I do struggle to get these kind of images accepted in salons – nationally and internationally. And it is not often that one gets the opportunity to be next to mating lions with a clean fore and background. Mating lions are not that common but I’ve seen a few great images in the literature. However, I am sure you do have your own opinion about the images below. Acceptable quality?

Lions after mating 1

Lions after mating

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

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  1. 5th Rockland Exhibition 2015 (USA)

 

Photos entered: 4 photos in Nature section

Acceptance: 4 acceptances (100%)

 

Like I’ve mentioned before – it is not easy to get acceptances in a UK salon. So I am so satisfied to get a 100% acceptance rate in this salon. Also and at last I did get an acceptance for Lion portrait. I was not very success with this image – only its third acceptance in 11 salon entries. Maybe I did use not the correct aperture (f4) when the photo was taken resulting in the fact that the entire face is not perfectly in focus. Next time I’ll think about it before pulling the trigger.

 Lion stare  1050 300k 72d sRGB Y&R W

Lion portrait

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

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  1. 47th Howrah Salon 2015 (India)

 

Photos entered: 4 photos entered in the Nature section

Acceptance: 1 COM & 1 acceptances (50% acceptance rate)

 

Comments: Darter with fish 08 is an image I used in 2013 in salons and I’ve received 2 international and 1 national acceptance in its 3 entries (100% acceptance). Just received its third international salon acceptance, so now the image is placed on the shelf re: international PSA recognised salons. I was not very sure about this image but it seems the judges like it. Lets see how it does in national salons from now on.

African darter with fish 08 1024 300k 72d sRGB K

Darter with fish 08

Chobe River, Botswana

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  1. Bristol salon 2015 (UK)

 

Photos entered: 4 photos entered in Nature section

Acceptance: 4 acceptances (100% acceptance rate)

 

Comments: Yet another 100% acceptance rate in a UK based salon – not too bad! And I’ve used four totally new images in this salon. Lions tail is an image captured during a overcast day and it was very late in the afternoon. So the light was very poor and I had to increase my ISO to an almost unacceptable level just to get descent images. And it was really difficult to do my routine post-processing on this image. So, I had to work hard to make it looks acceptable. However, I am very satisfied with an acceptance in this salon with this image.

Lions tail 1080b 300k 72d sRGB W

Lions tail

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

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  1. 4th Port Talbot salon 2015 (Wales)

 

Photos entered: 4 photos entered in Nature section

Acceptance: 3 acceptances (75% acceptance rate)

 

Comments: Another image I was not sure about – Two elephants in water. However, it received its third acceptance in the three international entries (100% acceptance rate for the image). I am sure it is the light and the interaction that makes this image an acceptable image. I cannot use this image anymore in international (PSA recognised) salons because after a 5 star rating, one is only allowed 3 acceptances per image. However, I think I’ll give it a try in our national salons.

Two elephants in water 1400 300k 72d sRGB W

Two elephants in water

Chobe River, Botswana

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  1. Green eye 2015 (Hungary)

 

Photos entered: 4 photos entered in Nature section

Acceptance: 0 acceptances (0% acceptance rate)

 

Comments: The disappointment of the month or even better – of the year. Not sure what the judges were looking for but even Family of five did not receive an acceptance. Maybe the post processing of this images is not up to standard – need to be re-visited. No further comments – you be the judge

Family of five 1024 300k 72d sRGB YW

Family of five

Tswalu game reserve, South Africa

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  1. 3rd Greek circuit 2015 (Greece)

 

This was a 4-salon circuit

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

Acceptance: 1 medal, 2 COM & 5 acceptances (50% acceptance rate)

 

Comments: Much better results as the previous salon. Just to show you how wrong a photographer can be about his/her own work. Here is an example – another image I had by doubts was Mom with cub tails. However, I’ve just decided to enter the image in this circuit to see what the judges think about it. Surprise, surprise – the image received the PSA gold medal, 2 COM as well as 1 acceptance in the 4 salons. The image was captured during the same conditions as Lions tail display above in this post – so it was hard to get a decent image.

Mum with cub tail

Mom with cub tails

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

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Message to take home:

 

I’ve just realized that I’ve posted 7 images in this post and all of them (except for one image) were taken in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and on the Chobe River. So it is not just in real estate but also in photography that one can look at the following criteria for a good home and photo: Location, location and location.

 

Until next month, keep on shooting

 

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