The first Tuesday of December and it was the last judging at our local camera club for 2015! Unfortunately I was unable to attend the evening because I was in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park for that week. Apparently the judges were more generous with the points allocated to the evening’s images but nevertheless, lets look at the outcome of the five images I submitted for judging.
A. Nature category
Just a reminder – no manipulation using computer software is allowed in this category – so what you see was what I’ve captured (and I do not like the manipulation part of Photoshop or photography for that matter).
Leopard on the rocks – scored 13/15 (Gold award)
This image was taken in during my very fist trip to Mashatu Nature Reserve with Isak Pretorius and C4 Images and Safaris in 2012. The leopard had just finished eating an impala underneath a bush and walked right up to us before lying down to start cleaning himself in the last light of the day.
Meerkat sitting hug – score 11/15 (Gold award)
Yet another image taken of a group of meerkats just before sunset during a trip with Margaret Oliver and my wife to Tswalu nature reserve. It was very interesting to see the almost human-like behaviour of these meerkats. Once again – just to proof my argument you will read below under the third image – a score for this image just made it into the gold award category (11/15) while this image already received 1 medal and two acceptances in salons in Greece and the Emirates this year.
Baboon baby – score 10/15 (Silver award)
Image taken in from Lou Coetzer’s special designed photography boat on the Chobe River near Kasane, Botswana.
And I thought the judges were generous with their scores! It seems like two of the judges did not like this image – I would love to know they thought was wrong with this image. However, too bad for them because I like the image (light and caring action = story telling element) and this image already received two international salon acceptances in France. Just to show you people – do not get upset with the judges’ scores and comments of your local camera club. It is just their opinions. Rather concentrate to learn something from every camera evening – it is not worth taking the judges’ opinion seriously. Some of their scores and opinions may even be very biased!
So, just relax and enjoy the evening watching your fellow photographers’ photos while creating your opinion on every image. With such an approach, the camera club evening will definitely add more value to you as photographer!I know there are photographers who do not want to come to the camera club anymore because they do not want to be humiliated. Please do not be humiliated by the judges of the evening. Just come and enjoy the images of your fellow photographers!
C. Set subject – “Low key photography”
Just to support the club, I decide to enter to Wildlife images in this category.
This image was taken in during one my seven trip to the Kgalagadi in 2013. On the last day of one of my trip, this lioness and her cub were walking towards Leeudril waterhole against the rising sun. This image also won the gold medal in the International Images for Screen competition of the Royal Photographic Society in the UK in 2014
This image was taken in during a photo safari with Greg du Toit to Mala Mala Nature reserve. This male leopard was walking down the road one evening while patrolling his territory. So, we decided to park our vehicle a few hundred meters in front in a low area while waiting for the leopard to appear with the following vehicle and spotlight used as back lighting
Message to take home
I received a very interesting email from my wife while she was in the USA. I think it is very appropriate after my discussion earlier in this post and I want to share it with you. You decide for yourself:
“Years ago, I entered a photograph in two competitions. At the local camera club, the judge told me the photo had no artistic merit and I should consider giving up photography. At the Sydney International Salon, it won first prize. Two different judges, two different opinions! Which one is right?”
Once again and just to conclude this discussion: Your local camera club is not the Alpha and Omega in photography and do not take the points and comments of the judges personally. It will definitely derail and possibly destroy your photography journey. There is much more to photography than just listening to the judges of a camera club.
Until next month camera club meeting – keep on shooting