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.

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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.

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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

 

4 Comments

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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

 

3 Comments

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

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

 

Total number of salons entered:

8 (3 national salons and 5 international salons).

Overall outcome:

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

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

Medals: 0

COMs: 3

 

Now for the individual salons:

 

A. International salons

 

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

 

This was a 4 salon circuit.

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

Acceptance: 9 acceptances (56% acceptance rate)

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

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Baboon family

Mashatu game reserve, Botswana

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  1. Vukovar 1st Exhibition 2014 (Serbia)

 

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

Acceptance: 11 acceptance (46% acceptance rate)

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

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Fire fighters

Bloemfontein, South Africa

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

 

This was a 3 salon circuit.

 

Photos entered: 4 photos in Nature section

Acceptance: 6 acceptances (50 %)

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

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Drop of water

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

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

 

Photos entered: 4 photos entered in the Nature section

Acceptance: 2 acceptances (50% acceptance rate)

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

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Brother and sister

Tswalu nature reserve, Northern Cape, South Africa

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  1. Mississippi Valley Photography Salon 2014 (USA)

 

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

Acceptance: 5 acceptances (63% acceptance rate)

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

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Young baboon

Mashatu game reserve, Botswana

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  1. National Salons

 

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

 

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

Acceptance: 14 acceptances (58 %)

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

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Horse panning 3

Moolmanshoek, Eastern Free State, South Africa

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

 

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

Acceptance: 9 acceptances (38 %)

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

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What now

Bloemfontein, South Africa

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

 

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

Acceptance: 3 COMs and 7 acceptances (50 %)

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

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Red Cheetah Alert

Tswalu nature reserve, Northern Cape, South Africa

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Message to take home:

 

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

 

Until next month, keep on shooting

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

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

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

  1. Nature category

1.

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

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

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

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2.

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Owl look – score 12/15 (Gold award)

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

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

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3.

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Lions Tail – score 12/15 (Gold award)

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

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

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  1. Set subject – “Minimalistic

1.

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Tree squirrel head – scored 12/15

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

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

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2.

04-01-WillemKruger-Stop engine

Stop engine – score 10/15

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

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

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Message to take home

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

A. Nature category

 

1.

Baboon family 1080 300k 72d sRGB frame W

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

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

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

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2.

Father love 1080b 300k 72d sRGB W

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

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

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

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B. Pictorial category

 

1.

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

Fire fighters – scored 10/15 (Silver award)

Taken during a fire fighters’ training session in Bloemfontein.

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

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C. Set subject – “Running wild”

 

1.

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

Horses panning – scored 10/15

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

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

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2.

 

BB Jackal panning 1

BB jackal panning 1 – score 10/15

Taken during a Kgalagadi trip in 2013.

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

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Message to take home

 

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

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

 

Until next month – keep on shooting

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

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

 

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

 

Total number of salons entered:

7 (1 national salon and 6 international salons).

 

Overall outcome:

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

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

Medals: 6

COMs: 4

 

Now for the individual salons:

 

A. International salons

 

1. SAM Circuit 2014 (India)

 

This was a 3-salon circuit

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

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

 

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

 

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

The jackal and the vulture 2

Giants Castle, Drakensberg, South Africa

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2. 2nd RTANJ Digital Circuit 2014 (Serbia)

 

This was a 5-salon circuit

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

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

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

 

Almost 2 crop 1 1920 300k 72d sRGB Y W

Almost 2

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

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3. Tallaght International Digital Photographic Art 2014 (Ireland)

 

Photos entered: 4 photos in Nature section

Acceptance: 2 acceptances (50% acceptance rate)

 

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

 

Lion mating 4

Mating lions 4

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

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4. 11th German Mega Circuit 2014 (Germany)

 

This was yet another 5-salon circuit

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Jacana chick long legged

Chobe River, Botswana

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

Three horses turning 1920 300k 72d sRGB W

Three horses turning

Moolmanshoek farm, Eastern Free State, South Africa

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6. 2nd Olympic Photo Circuit 2014 (Greece)

 

This was a 4-salon circuit

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

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

 

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

 

The Hug 1080 300k 72d sRGB W

The Hug

Tswalu Nature Reserve, Northern Cape, South Africa

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B. National Salons

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

LF vulture take off 1024 300k 72d sRGB W

LF vulture take off

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

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Message to take home:

 

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

 

Until next month, keep on shooting

 

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