Already the third month of the year and the first Tuesday of the month means it was again time for another Bloemfontein Camera Club meeting. This month I was one of the judges, so I was not allowed to score my own images or those of my wife. So, it was up to the other two judges to score my 5 images 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 close portrait – scored 12/15 (Gold award)
Nikon D4 camera, 600mmf4 lens, f8, ISO1600, 1/2000 of sec, -0.67 exposure comp, WB = Daylight, Aperture mode, about 8meters from leopard.
This image was taken during a previous photography safari trip to the Greater Kruger National Park with Byron Serrao last year. We followed this leopard for a while and at one stage he decided to rest behind a anthill (unfortunately because there was no sunlight). He looked up to us and with that he provided me with the opportunity to get a close-up portrait of him. It was one most magnificent male leopard I’ve ever seen – I think he is called the Puva male.
Mongoose look – score 10/15 (Silver award)
Nikon D4 camera, 600mmf4 lens, f8, ISO1600, 1/3200 of sec, -0.67 exposure comp, WB = Daylight, Aperture mode, around 10meters from mongoose.
Like I’ve mentioned in my previous post – always be ready to capture the moment with your camera. One afternoon I had a visit from a Cape grey mongoose in my backyard. I was photograpghing the birds and all of a sudden all the birds disappeared. I did not understand what was happening but after a few minutes it became clear – the mongoose was approaching. I was ready and now I do have a lot of images of the mongoose. However, I do like this image – not the usual image of a full-length mongoose on the tree trunk (I do have a lot of those) but I thought to show the club members something different. Seems like this kind of image is not what the judges of the evening were looking for. Too bad for them – I still like the alert eye of the mongoose as it climbs over the tree trunk. The judges’ scores and their opinions are not going to change my opinion of this image. Just remember – I was not allowed to manipulate the image, therefore the background (I was shooting into a dark bush as background) was not Photoshopped.
B. Pictorial category
There are just the two categories in the camera club that the photographers can submit images for judging. In this category, anything type of images can be submitted except Nature and wildlife images.
Church in fire – score 12/15 (Gold award)
Nikon D800 camera, 17-35mmf2.8 lens @, f17, ISO100, 1/5 of sec, 0 exposure comp, Manual mode, WB = Daylight
Image taken of a small church used a “plaas skooltjie” near Elliot. We are staying at the local hotel (just before the Elliot pass) next to the main road a few kilometers from this church. That morning we could not see what kind of clouds were around (before sunrise – very dark) but we decided to try our luck. And we were very lucky with some amazing clouds building up and with sunrise it created magnificent photo opportunities. This image was not manipulated in Photoshop – it is true reflection of the situation – it was absolutely amazing. This image is dedicated to all those people who do not believe to start very early in the morning (and I know a few of them – you will know who your are). See what you are missing!!!
C. Set subject – “Bush/landscape with NO human elements in it”
Just to support the club, I decide to enter to two images in this category.
Tree at sunrise – scored 12/15
Nikon D800 camera, 17-35mmf2.8 lens @, f17, ISO100, 1/20 of sec, 0 exposure comp, Manual mode, WB = Daylight
This image was taken of a well-known tree (Cecil John Tree) in Mashatu nature reserve, Botswana during a wildlife photography safari (can you believe it – doing landscape photography during a wildlife safari!) with Albie Venter. Unfortunately one cannot order the weather and there were no clouds around at sunrise. But we did the best we could with what was available.
Tree in Nossob River – scored 10/15
This image was taken during on our many trips to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in 2013. I remembered that there was not much going on re: wildlife, so we decided to keep ourselves occupied with some landscape photography. Not too bad an image taken from my vehicle with limited maneuvering space. Already received a few salon acceptances with this image.
Message to take home
While I was driving home after the camera club meeting I was thinking once again re: the purpose of a camera club. I do have my own opinion about it but here is not enough space in this post to discuss it. However, two things do stand out for me about camera clubs – (i) everybody is entitled to his/her own opinion and we are individuals with different opinions and (ii) do not take the scores and critique of the judges too seriously – it will kill your passion for photography. Continue to develop your own style of photography but do remember this piece of advice I read somewhere on the Internet:
“I always thought good photos were like good jokes. If you have to explain it, it just isn’t that good”
We had very interesting talk during the camera club by Willem van den Berg (freelance photo journalist now working mainly for WEG magazine) and the photos he presented on the screen during his talk were like good (no, rather excellent) jokes. There was no need to explain – emotions captured in every image!!!
Until next month camera club meeting – keep on shooting