The fourth month of 2014 and hopefully the results of our monthly camera club meeting would not be an April fool joke to everybody. I decided to stay with my three image submitted in the Nature category and the usual 2 images in the set subject category which as “Alternative wildlife”.
Below is the outcome of my 5 images submitted for the month of April 2014– some interesting scores and decisions. Just what one can expected from an evening spend with the judges at a camera club. Just remind the readers (and myself) – I do not take scores and comments personally but rather try to learn from it. Just relax and enjoy the ride!
A. Nature category:
Fish eagle with frog – scored 12/15 (gold award)
This image was taken during our previous trip with CNP on the Chobe River – a few weeks ago. It was very unique photo opportunity with an adult fish eagle taking out a frog from the water. Here is the fish eagle coming back to the dead tree with the small frog in its claw. One of those emotional photo one needs to be very careful (I just loved the experience seeing a fish eagle hunting a few meters from you). Do not let one’s emotions about the photo blurred your judgment on the image itself. Please look carefully and evaluate all aspects of an image before submitting it in a photo competition. In this image some negative aspect if one looks at it without the emotions – the head of the raptor is turned away slightly (no catch light in the eye) and the sun was already a bit high.
Wild dog puppy kill – scored 13/15 (gold award).
Just missing out on a COM award – possibly because it is not easy to see what the puppy is carrying. Also, a bit busy on the right hand side of the photo. However, you would not get an image of a wild dog puppy in better light like this. But once again – be careful with the emotions. Only you as photographer will know how difficult it was to get the shot. The judge would not know it all – only if he/she is experienced enough. And there is no way you can tell him/her that. Therefore, do not rely solely on the fact that it was extremely difficult to get the image. All the technical aspects must be in line too and correctly managed. Well, let’s see how the image did in national and international salons – image already entered into 6 salons with two medals, 1 COM and two other acceptance. Only one salon did not accept it. And hopefully there are more positive news later in year on this image.
Martial eagle with nesting material 3– score 11/15 (gold award)
Another image in a series of a martial eagle carrying nesting material to its nest. Just made it into the gold award category with a score of 11/15. Come to think of it – the image was taken around 11h00 and that time of the day is not optimal for wildlife photography. But then, it is very rare to see a martial eagle gathering nesting material let alone getting the opportunity just after sunrise of just before sunset. But like I’ve mentioned before – you cannot tell that to the judges. If you do have a judge who is very sensitive about the technical aspects of an image (and there are many of them) and not really focusing on the story telling element, then this score is a true reflection of what score the image deserves. Do you agree? Luckily the rules for wildlife photos in a salon is that more emphasis should be placed on the story element than the technical aspects. But is everybody aware of it?
C. Set subject – Alternative wildlife captured in camera (without manipulation in Photoshop/computer software):
The allowed two images, their scores and my comments:
Wildebeest backlight – score 12/15 (gold award)
An image of the mane of a wildebeest with the late afternoon sun directly behind the wildebeest. No manipulation was done – I’ve only enhanced the colour of the mane. Not too bad a score – totally satisfied and in agreement with the judges.
BB jackal panning – scored 10/15 (silver award)
I was a bit disappointed with the score but I am sure the judges had their reasons for giving this image a silver award. All I can say – one of my better attempts at panning. For those you who have tried their hands at panning will know how difficult it is.
Message to take home:
I’ve already discussed “emotional” photos in my post above – so I am not going to repeat myself. Just be careful and make sure about the technical aspects of your images before you start criticising the judges’ scores and crits. I would like to encourage you to experiment with your photography and forget about the judges. If you tend to focus on the judges and their crtis when you are out on a shooting, you won’t be able to develop as an individual photographer. Remember, don’t get stuck capturing the same type of photograph over and over again. Or even worst – try to be a copycat. Rather try sometime different. What about trying to capture a unique image by using a long exposure, a fast exposure, some detail shots, or try different perspectives? You might come home with a variety of images from your photo shoot.
Until the next camera club meeting in May 2014, take out your camera with the aim of getting some “not the ordinary“ shots but keep on shooting!!!