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

And so begin a new year in photography for me. And the first camera club meeting for the year as well. The camera club meeting in January is not the usual first Tuesday of the month but it was held later in the month as to give people the time to get back from their well deserved holidays. My photography year start very quickly with an action packed weekend with Hendrik Louw from Richardsbay and his weekend macro photography course for our Sunday evening speelgroepie. A very interesting and informative weekend. Hopefully we will have even a more interesting year of photography ahead of us.

 

But lets get back to the results of the evening’s meeting. We were requested to submit a few macro images because Hendrik was our guest speaker as well as the judge for the evening. Not sure I agree with the concept of a single judge because judging is so subjective that one needs three judges to get a more balanced outcome per image. However, I decided to support the club and I submitted 3 macro images in the Nature category. All three images were taken during our macro course of that weekend (Botanical gardens, Bloemfontein). The set subject for December was “Hands and feet” and I took a few images on the beach during our long weekend in Kleinbrak Rivier.. Here are the results of my images with some comments:

 

A. Nature category

 

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

 

1.

Dragon sill 1080 300k 72d RGB W

Dragon sill – scored 12/15 (Gold award)

I was thinking how about a silhouette shot of an insect. For that one just not need the fill-in flash. Only a steady hand with the macro lens. Interesting outcome against the blue sky and the leaves of the surrounding trees forming a natural frame. If I decided to use a flash, the sky would also have been black. I am currently entering this image into national and international salons. Awaiting some results as we speak.

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2.

Dragon take off 1080 300k 72d sRGB W

Dragon take off – score 12/15 (Gold award)

I had to sit with this insect for some time before it decided to take off. True to my nature as a wildlife photographer, I need some action in my photos to assist me to tell a story. Not my best action macro image but my only one for the weekend. Still trying to find my way around this field of macro photography. Totally satisfied with the score Hendrik gave this image.

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3.

Red 1400 300k 72d sRGB W

Red – score 13/15 (Gold award)

I saw this little insect with this very prominent red thing underneath its “mouth”. It was sitting on top of a leaf of this vetplant. And I realized that with a fill-in flash, the background would be black. I was thinking on my composition and I decided to use the negative space in the right hand side of the image to my advantage. Hendrik also liked this images and he selected it as the winner of the Nature category for the 4 & 5 star division.

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B. Set subject – “Hands and feet

 

1.

Hand and foot 2 1080 300k 72d sRGB W

Hand and foot 2 – scored 12/15

I’ve asked my wife to assist me with this one. Very symbolic just showing one hand and one foot with impressions in the sand for the rest. For your own opinion. Totally satisfied with the score

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2.

The Walk 1920 300k 72d sRGB W

The walk – score 10/15

Also something I though about but it did not really work out. Still, I like the idea. Maybe with some more practice it might work. So, until next time – satisfied with the score.

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Message to take home

 

Previoiusly I’ve tried my hand at macro photography but it was a disaster. Do not ask me why but the images were just terrible. After a weekend spent with Hendrik, I did realise that I had some important issues missing in my approach to macro photography. One such issue is The act of seeing or visualizing a scene/objective and anticipate how the image/outcome must look like. Visualization is one of those things that really can’t be brought about by technical instruction in the traditional sense; meaning there are no classes on visualization. Ansel Adams himself remarked that visualization cannot be taught, it is be learned. And I did learn a lot about visualization during Hendrik’s course. Not by what he said but by how he presented the topic of macro photography. Weel done Hendrik and thanks again for the course. Valuable lessions learned and taken already to the field.

Summary: Teach yourself to see the finished product before you make the exposure and take the shot

Until next month camera club meeting – keep on shooting

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

I just cannot believe it – this will be the last post for 2014 regarding my salon results as just received the last salon result for the month of November 2014. It is now just about 3 years of active photography salon participation for me. But let’s not waste time and energy and get straight to the results. Much better month because I achieved a 100% acceptance rate in two international salons as well as an increased in the acceptance rate in both national and international salons. “Touch wood” – still no salon with a zero % acceptance rate this month. The details of my results are as follows:

 

Total number of salons entered:

9 (4 national salons and 5 international salons).

Overall outcome:

International: 64 acceptances from 104 photos entered = 62% acceptance rate (increased from the 52% last month)

National: 50 acceptances from 92 photos entered = 54% acceptance rate (increased from the 44% last month)

Medals: 6

COMs: 12

 

Now for the individual salons:

 

  1. International salons

 

  1. 121st Toronto International Salon of Photography 2014 (Canada)

 

This was a digital and print salon.

Photos entered: 4 photos entered in the Nature section (digital) and Open (print) = total of 8 entries

Acceptance: 2 COMs & 6 acceptances (100% acceptance rate)

 

Comments: With the four prints acceptances, I’ve achieved my goal of 25 prints acceptances internationally. Now I can prepare the paper work for the EFIAP honours application. Hippo yawn 1 was one of the prints that received a COM award. Just to show you what light can do in an image

1. Hippo yawn 1 W

Hippo yawn 1

Chobe River, Botswana

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  1. SAM circuit1st Exhibition 2014 (Serbia)

 

This was a 6-salon circuit but I’ve already posted the results of the first three salons. However, this is the final outcome of all six salons.

Photos entered: 4 photos each entered in Nature & Wildlife, sections = 48 entires

Acceptance: 3 medals, 2 COMs & 24 acceptance (60% acceptance rate)

Comments: The Vulture and the Jackal 2 received medals in 3 of the six salons but I’ve already posted the images last month. Meerkat looking for love was one of the two images that received a COM award – its third COM award at this stage. Not sure if I am satisfied with the post-processing of the image in Photoshop. So, I think I might visit this image again in Photoshop to see if I can do a better job.

Meerkat looking for love 1080b 300k 72d sRGB W

Meerkat looking for love

Tswalu nature reserve, Northern Cape, South Africa

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  1. 40th Smethwick International Exhibition of Photography 2014 (UK)

 

This was a digital and print salon.

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

Acceptance: 3 acceptances (38%)

Comments: Like I’ve mentioned before – it is not easy to get acceptances in a UK salon. I am not sure why but I think the judges in the UK tend to look at images fro a different perspective. Or they are just looking for something different. If you do get an acceptance in a UK salon – do feel lucky about it. Darter with fish 4 was one of the three images that received an acceptance in the digital Nature section. Only its fourth acceptance in 8 salon entries – like I said – one never knows what to expect from a UK based salon

 African darter with fish 4 1050 300k 72d sRGB W

Darter with fish 4

Chobe River, Botswana

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  1. The Wrekin Salon 2014 (UK)

 

Photos entered: 4 photos entered in the Nature section

Acceptance: 4 acceptances (100% acceptance rate)

Comments: And then another surprise – a 100% acceptance rate in a UK based salon. It was the third time I’ve entered Fox love into a salon and it received its third consecutive acceptance.

Fox love 1400b 300k 72d sRGB W

Fox love

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

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  1. 2nd Three country Grand circuit 2014 (Serbia, Montenegro, Ireland)

 

This was a 3-salon circuit held in the three mentioned countries

Photos entered: 4 photos each entered in Nature, Bird and Wildlife sections = 36 entries

Acceptance: 1 COM & 19 acceptances (56% acceptance rate)

Comments: A very interesting outcome – I did not expect Brown hyena landscape to do that well. The image received 1 COM and 2 acceptances. However, If I look at the “history” of this images, I do realise that I’ve entered this image into 3 previous international salons and 1 national salon – and it received acceptances in all of these salon. I was very lucky to have captured this scene. The hyena sat upright for just a second before starting to walk away. The moment was so short lived – my wife did not even get the shot. I was not sure if the judges would like the out-of-focus frame of the image but that was just as I’ve captured the image – no blur afterwards in Photoshop.

Brown hyena landscape crop 1 1400 1MB 300d sRGB

Brown hyena landscape

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

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  1. National Salons

 

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

 

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

Acceptance: 1 Med, 1 COM & 16 acceptances (75 %)

Comments: One of my highest acceptance rate for a national salon – I usually average around the 40% acceptance rate mark. The medal was once again for the stair trail image taken in the Richtersveld posted in a previous salon result post. A surprise was Fish eagle landing ground that received the 1 COM in this salon (its second COM in 7 salon entries). It is a relatively “old” image that I’ve started using in 2012 but I’ve decided to use it again because I haven’t reach the allowed 5 acceptances per image with it.

7 Fish eagle landing ground W

Fish eagle landing ground

Chobe River, Botswana

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  1. 9nd Krugersdorp National Digital Salon 2014 (South Africa)

 

Photos entered: 4 photos each entered in the Nature, Human portrait, PJ, Scapes, Open colour and Open monochrome sections = 24 entries

Acceptance: 2 medals, 3 COMs & 9 acceptances (58 %)

Comments: A very interesting salon medal winner with Fire fighters in the PJ section. My fourth salon entry with this image and a 100% acceptance rate, so this image is doing rather well on the national salon circuit. However, it was its first medal award. May be it is time to try it on the international photography salon circuit. Like I’ve mentioned last month – this image only received a silver award in our monthly camera club meeting. Once again just to show you – do not rely solely on the outcome of your local camera club judging and scorers/critique. Give an image you like a try at a photography salon. If it does not receive an acceptance after the third entry, then you know what to do with it.

Fire fighters 1 1024 300k 72d sRGB L frame W

Fire fighters

Bloemfontein, South Africa

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  1. 3rd Tygerberg Digital Salon 2014 (South Africa)

 

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

Acceptance: 1 COMs and 9 acceptances (42 %)

Comments: So ever now and again I tend to focus on some of my images that do not receive an acceptance. One such image this month is Red cheetah alert. Just a month ago the very same image received a COM award in another national salon as posted in last month’s salon results post. Not to mention the fact that the image already received three acceptances in an international photography circuit. I cannot put this image on the shelve just because of one non-acceptance. Still a long way to go with this image – definitely I’ll try and entry this image in another few salons because I jus love the colour (taken during the late golden hour) and the intensity of the eyes.

Red cheetah alert 1080b 300k 72d sRGB L W

Red Cheetah Alert

Tswalu nature reserve, Northern Cape, South Africa

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  1. 9th Beachcomber Digital Salon 2014 (South Africa)

 

Photos entered: 4 photos each entered in the Nature, Save the Rhino, , Portrait monochrome, Macro, and Open colour sections = 20 entries

Acceptance: 2 COMs and 6 acceptances (40 %)

Comments: I was one of the three judges in the PJ & sport section – so I was not allowed to entry images in that section. I did not have any great images (or so I thought) of rhinos – so I had to look deep into the archives for some rhino images. And surprise, surprise – Rhino in front received a COM in the Save the Rhino section. Digital manipulation was allowed in this section – however, I do not believe in the manipulation of nature images. So, this image was not manipulated. I was just lucky to have captured this rhino walking towards me. Not sure this image will do well in the usual Nature section of a salon but what the h….. maybe I’ll give it try!

Rhino infront 768 300k 72d sRGB W

Rhino in front

Somewhere in South Africa

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Message to take home:

 

During my recent trip the Kgalagadi (November 2014) and having some discussions with my fellow photographers, I came to realize how important this piece of advice: “Photography is all about compromises especially with wildlife photography – just accept the fact there isn’t a perfect world/setup for photography. Adapt and make the best of the opportunities available to take your favour shot. Do not wait for the perfect conditions to take a photo. If you do, you’ll never be able to take a photo.” I am sure my fellow wildlife photographers will agree with that statement. I’ve captured some award winning images under the most unfavourable conditions. It just like the sport advertisement: “Just do it!”

 

Until next month, keep on shooting

 

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