Well, like I said last month – I’ve made it into the “big league” of Bloemfontein Camera Club. The 5 star category. If you’ve asked me or my wife two years ago: “Would he make it?” I am sure (and even Prof Gert Lamprecht – beginners and specs photography course facilitator – and my wife) the answer would be “No”. I was so unsure about myself and I did not even know what ISO or f-stop mean. Or what DSLR meant. I remember Prof Gert was just shaking his head during our first ever practical session in his back garden. I am sure he was thinking: ” Just another newbie at photography trying his hand at taking photos and within a few weeks he will be back on the golf course with his 3 regular golf partner with his favourite past time & hobby.” Well, he never gave up on me. But yes, I do agree – I did not know what to do and was very stressed. I remember so clearly how he took a flower and through it into a small pond and said: “Think creatively. There you are – now shoot that! That is something different. ” I am not an “abstract” type of person but photography changed my mind set for ever. Now I do look at my environment differently. Well, just to stress the fact that is hope for all of you out there – newbies like me! I am sure my 3 golf partners are missing me a lot!!
But lets get back to the camera club and evening of July 2013 – my fist submission as a 5 star member. Just to re-cap: in order to be promoted to a 5 star you need to accumulate 12 gold awards, 80 club points and 50 salon points. I got 25 gold awards, 87 club club points and 787 salon point in a period of 10 months (my first submission as a 4 star member was in Aug 2012 if I am correct). Now, the promotion from 5 star to Golden honours (the level just before the ultimate level in the club – Galaxy) is not so easy – it is getting more difficult. For that type of promotion you need to accumulate 150 club points and 200 salon points (I’ve already achieved the 200 salon points) and now you need an additional “qualification” namely a APSSA honours award from the Photographic Society of South Africa (PSSA – our national photographic society). For this APSSA award, you need to have 15 of your images accepted as up to standard by 12 judges from all over South Africa and the evaluation are only done twice a year. You are only allow to try and get the honours award 4 time and if not – you need to start afresh. However, if the judges are satisfied with some of the images, you will receive credits for the said images. It could take up 2 years to get such an award. I’ve submitted my first panel of 15 images on June 25, 2013 for the first round of judging – lets see how it goes.
Now the club evening of July 2013 – it was my second time to be one of the three judges at our club and for the first time I had to give comments on some of the photos. Not that easy when you have to score each photo, think critically about a photo and then provide meaningful comment. Nevertheless, it was said and done – and I hope we do learn from the comments. Luckily I am not allowed to score my own photos as well as the photos of my wife. Here is the outcome of my photo – all 3 photos were submitted in the Nature category this time around:
A. Nature category:
Just a comment or two: Unfortunately the judges only give comments on photos up to the 3 star level – therefore I am not sure why this image received a silver award but I do respect their opinions and scores. Interesting to note is that this image received 4 acceptances in the GASO International Salon in the USA earlier this year. Just to show the readers – never give up and never be negative about your photos. ” If you like your photo – it is a success!” Just make sure the photo is technically correct and go for it. The club judges’ opinion is not the ultimate – use it as an indication but not as the Alpha or Omega.
B. Set subject (kitchen utilities in black and white)
I did not have time or the energy to take photos of kitchen utensils – so I decided to use some of my earlier images taken during Prof Gert’s beginners course at Freshford museum and change some of it into Black and White images. Not a good outcome for me:
I’ll give this image a try in some of the monochrome salons and hopefully I’ll be able to give some feedback later this year on the outcomes.
Message to take home:
I’ve already started to discuss my message under Springbok salute 3. I also provided a comment on a blog posted by a member on Fotoskool about comments received on his photos (if you are interested to read the comments: http://fotoskool.co.za/profiles/blogs/s-maar-net ) and it make some interesting reading. I just want to confirm my point of view:
Everybody is entitled to his/her own opinion and you – as the photographer – should never take comments on your photo personally. It would kill you and you passion for photography. Also, camera and photo clubs are not the ultimate in photography – YOU ARE. Therefore – keep enjoying what you do best and remember, it is just a hobby.
Until next month – keep on shooting and enjoy it!!!