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
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.
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.
B. Pictorial category
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.
C. Set subject – “Running wild”
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!
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.
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