The most beautiful month of the year in South Africa – September. So, we are moving into spring season as we speak with still a few cold fronts expected. But the Bloemfontein Camera Club meeting of the month of September 2014 was not one of those cold fronts. In fact, the meeting and presentations were rather “hot” with some great images and scores even though we had a late start due to some electricity issues at the venue. Because of the time factor – late start – the judges did not give the usual comments/crit on some of the images.
But lets get back to the results of the evening’s meeting. I’ve decided to share some interesting photos with the members with 2 images entered into the Nature category and 1 image in the Pictorial category. The set subject for September was “Shadows” and I had to look deep to find some images with shadows while also telling a story. So, here are the results of my images:
- Nature category
Star trail Richtersveld – scored 13/15 (Gold award)
Taken during our photography safari with Hougaard Malan in the Richtersveld earlier this year.
Very interesting outcome – seems like people do enjoy this image because this photo already won 2 medals and 1 COM award in the three national salons entered as well as 1 COM and 1 acceptance in the two international salons that I’ve entered this image. Luckily we’ve convinced Hougaard to do the star trail on our last night in the Richtersveld (no clouds and moonrise time was around 21H00 – so there was enough time for a 1,5h star trail exercise)
The Vulture and the Jackal 6 – score 13/15 (Gold award)
Taken during my first ever visit to the vulture restaurant at Giants Castle, Drakensberg in 2011.
I was still a novice in wildlife photography back then but luckily our good friend Margaret Olivier was also in the hide to assist us – Thanks Ekke! I just love the look of the jackal below the wings of the vultures, which forms a very nice line. During the club meeting, the image did not project very well – way too light in certain part of the image but that was just the projector because everything in the image looked fine on my screen. Just to show you – your image could look great on your screen but not on a projector. That could also be why some image do great in some salons but not in others.
- Pictorial category
What now – scored 10/15 (Silver award)
Taken during this year’s Varsity cub soccer tournament here in Bloemfontein.
I’ve decided to “review” my approach to photography and the fact that one needs to have a diversity of skills. Not just concentrating on one aspect of photography namely Nature photography. I know that this image is not the best soccer image but one needs to start somewhere. I just loved the expression of this young player of the UFS – so typical of the soccer players. They just cannot do anything wrong. Too bad about the busy background but that is Sport photography – you cannot get every perfect like in a studio. Yet to use this image in a salon but I’ll give it a try.
- Set subject – “Shadows”
Chain shadow – scored 10/15
Taken during a Kiekie safari arranged by the club earlier this year at the War memorial in Bloemfontein.
I just love the simplicity of the image with the two strong lines but it seems like this image is not everybody’s cub of tea. So be it – I like it. No hard feelings – score accepted!
Grave of a soldier – score 10/15
Taken during a trip with the late Johan Kotze to Phillipolis in the Southern Free State in 2011.
I re-visited this image and I’ve tried another development process. Not sure if it was successful but luckily my name was mentioned during the club meeting ala Jan Reyneke (he said that if a image is so bad and it scored 6 or less points, they do not mention your name during the judging process – they just announce the score for the image and leave the photographer’s name out in order not to embarrass the photographer).
Message to take home
After a talk with Johan Botha from Johannesburg, I was thinking (once again) of the purpose of a camera/photo club meeting. Therefore – just a few thoughts of mine on camera club meeting:
I can think of many reasons why photographers and members attending these meeting but I think it should be for the right reasons. Otherwise, it is downhill all the way for you as photographer. It is my opinion that the main reason to attend the camera club meeting is DEFNITELY not to participate in a competition with your fellow members. It should be a learning experience – learning from each other.
Photography is very subjective and every photographer has his/her own style. Camera clubs must remember it but even more important, you as participating member must remember it. Yes, there a few basic principles that are important for your for example: correct exposure, not clipping the highlights, certain areas must be in focus, not to over sharpen your image and so on. But sometime the judges may mention issues such as “ I would have cropped the image differently” or “I would have used another adjustment layer or Levels or Curves to create a stronger image”. These are all subjective advice you can take home or leave with the judges. Therefore, I would encourage photographers to participate in clubs meeting to develop their own style and not to be molded into a typical camera club style.
To summarise: Please do not be ashamed with or even intimated by the scores and critique of the judges. Rather learn from it and use it to your advantage within your own unique style.
Until next month – keep on shooting