Bloemfontein Camera Club meeting: Outcome of my images submitted – April 2015

And here we are, in April already. And hopefully the monthly camera club judging will not be an April fool’s joke. Once again, my wife and I could not attend to meeting because of work we had to do. Our friends told us that the club decided to have the usual 3 judges for the evening. So I am sure this month’s results would provide the members with be a more balanced outcome on the images submitted for judging. So lets go straight to the results of my images submitted to Bloemfontein camera club for the month of April 2015. Here are the results of my images:

A. Nature category

Once again – just a bit of background information on this category. Just to remind readers – no manipulation of images in Photoshop or other computer software is allowed in this section. So, any type of nature images can be entered in this category as long as (i) it is an authentic nature image, (ii) there are no prominent human elements and (iii) such image was not manipulated with a computer software program. Therefore, it my opinion that it is totally acceptable to enter landscape images in this category as long as it complies with the three mentioned criteria. Sometimes the nature category in international salons is divided into two sub-categories namely “Nature” and “Wildlife”. If I do see a nature or wildlife image in the Open category, my first reaction is to see what was manipulated in the photo. And I do agree with some of the opinions – nature and wildlife images that are submitted in the Open category do not get the necessary recognition as it would have if they were submitted in the Nature category. So why do we have a nature category?  Just for wildlife? Definitely not! Let us see what will happen next month with the club judging.

For those that are interested, here is the latest definition/explanation that was accepted by the PSA worldwide (why would Bloemfontein Camera Club not be in line with the rest of the world?):

Nature photography is restricted to the use of the photographic process to depict all branches of natural history, except anthropology and archaeology, in such a fashion that a well-informed person will be able to identify the subject material and certify its honest presentation. The story telling value of a photograph must be weighed more than the pictorial quality while maintaining high technical quality. Human elements shall not be present, except where those human elements are integral parts of the nature story such as nature subjects, like barn owls or storks, adapted to an environment modified by humans, or where those human elements are in situations depicting natural forces, like hurricanes or tidal waves. Scientific bands, scientific tags or radio collars on wild animals are permissible. Photographs of human created hybrid plants, cultivated plants, feral animals, domestic animals, or mounted specimens are ineligible, as is any form of manipulation that alters the truth of the photographic statement.

No techniques that add, relocate, replace, or remove pictorial elements except by cropping are permitted. Techniques that enhance the presentation of the photograph without changing the nature story or the pictorial content, or without altering the content of the original scene, are permitted including HDR, focus stacking and dodging/burning. Techniques that remove elements added by the camera, such as dust spots, digital noise, and film scratches, are allowed. Stitched images are not permitted. All allowed adjustments must appear natural. Color images can be converted to grey-scale monochrome. Infrared images, either direct-captures or derivations, are not allowed.

Images used in Nature Photography competitions may be divided in two classes: Nature and Wildlife. Images entered in Nature sections meeting the Nature Photography Definition above can have landscapes, geologic formations, weather phenomena, and extant organisms as the primary subject matter. This includes images taken with the subjects in controlled conditions, such as zoos, game farms, botanical gardens, aquariums and any enclosure where the subjects are totally dependent on man for food. Images entered in Wildlife sections meeting the Nature Photography Definition above are further defined as one or more extant zoological or botanical organisms free and unrestrained in a natural or adopted habitat.  Landscapes, geologic formations, photographs of zoo or game farm animals, or of any extant zoological or botanical species taken under controlled conditions are not eligible in Wildlife sections.  Wildlife is not limited to animals, birds and insects. Marine subjects and botanical subjects (including fungi and algae) taken in the wild are suitable wildlife subjects, as are carcasses of extant species. Wildlife images may be entered in Nature sections of Exhibitions.” (

My images – last month I was very quiet about the outcome of the judging but this month….:

1. Mum with cub tail

Mom with cub tail – scored 12/15 (Gold award)

Image taken from at the 13th borehole, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

The image was taken under very difficult conditions – overcast and the sun has already set behind the dunes. So it was low light conditions. I had to push my ISO to get a decent shutter speed to freeze the movements. No proper golden light & high ISO made the post-processing very difficult. Therefore, I am very satisfied with the outcome from the judges. The judges in a 4-salon circuit in Greece earlier this year also loved this image and they gave my 1 acceptance, 2 COMs and 1 medal for the image. Very interesting to see the outcome of the salon vs. the outcome of local South African judges.


2. The Hug 1080 300k 72d sRGB W

The hug – score 11/15 (Gold award)

Image taken in Tswalu nature reserve in Northern Cape

The image just made it into the gold award category – I can just quest that 2 judges both gave it a 4/5 and the third judge gave it a 3/5. Not enough action for your typical nature category  – therefore giving the image a 3/5 score? I would not know – can just speculate. However, just to compare – the image received 3 acceptances and 1 medal in yet another 4-salon circuit in Greece. This club result doesn’t really bother me because I just love to see the different scores and opinions on my images.


 3. Mom and daughter 1920 300k 72d sRGB

Mother and daughter – score 10/15 (Silver award)

Image taken in the Serengeti earlier this year

Now I am certain the judges would say: “Not enough action in this image”. However, and this is also new to me because I also love action in Nature photography. However, action is not the ultimate in nature photography. A great portrait image, which is telling a different story, can also have a WOW factor. Not that this is a WOW image – I just love the story telling element behind this image. Yes, not everybody would agree.


B. Set subject – “Natural light portraits

The model or person must be shot in natural light. It can be taken inside or outside a studio, but no artificial lighting may be used. No Manipulation allowed. I’ve decided not to enter any images in the set subject category – just because I am not keen on taken images of people/models and also I did not have the time to prepare such images.

Message to take home

Looking at my comments in this post, I was thinking about these words: “if you make a mistake and beat yourself up about it constantly it becomes something negative. It will create fear and actually stop you from moving forward.” So, the outcome of club evening judging or any type of photography competitions should not be taken too serious. Just because your images did not won a price, does not mean you’ve made a mistake. If you think like that, you will in future try and avoid another similar encounter. And that means that only you will suffer. On the other hand, if we do not acknowledge that we did make a mistake, we will never become well rounded photographers. So, the writer of the article gave some very valid advice: “So the next time you make a mistake when you shoot and you feel frustrated, walk around for a while and think about learning to walk. Then, get up, work out what you did wrong and then go and try it again.”

Until next month camera club meeting – keep on shooting

  1. #1 by ziggibson on April 19, 2015 - 3:28 pm

    Absolutely stunning pictures, Willem – they are all so emotionally evocative / have a human component as you suggest – the lion cub reminds me of my home life and my wife with our kids (grumpy? protective?), and the meerkats look like an old group of mates from my youth watching something that astonished us! You have huge talent – keep them coming! (-:

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