You know, each first Saturday of a month I meet with some other photographers for our monthly roundtable. We’re not only sitting somewhere and talking. But, we meet somewhere to walk around and take some photos. Later we’re visiting a restaurant for having dinner.
Currently, this isn’t possible because of the governmental restrictions because of the Covid19 pandemic. Although the restrictions here in Germany are not so hard as they are in France, Spain or Italy, where you’re not allowed to leave your home for other topics than going to work, doing your groceries or walk your dog (only very short distances are allowed). Here in Germany, we’re still allowed to go out, but we need to keep a distance of at least 1,5m (~5 ft.). Only the essential stores are allowed to open: supermarkets, gas stations, pharmacies, doctors, hospitals. Everyone else should work from home, wherever it is possible. Even doing your groceries is quite hard under these circumstances. Some products are rare in the supermarkets and out for weeks now like flour, toilet paper, pasta or yeast. But, most products are available even though not in every supermarket.
Back to our monthly photographer’s roundtable. We met yesterday as usual, but not at about 14:00h as we usually do. Instead, we met at 19:00h. And we did not meet in person somewhere, but we set up a video conference to see each other and talk a bit. To have a specific topic to start with, I organized a theme for us. As I have some inspiring cards for photographers, I drew one card for each participant and transmitted a photo of the card via messenger last weekend. So everyone had one week to prepare some images to show during our video conference. As everyone had a different topic to work on, it was very interesting to see the results. 8 of us 10 regular participants were there. The two missings were prevented for private reasons on short-notice. Nevertheless, it was a nice evening (considering the circumstances).
My topic was “backlit”. All images are taken with my DSLR camera and were not a result of post-processing or some other graphical works. All images are taken last week. The images are looking way better in a bigger size. So you can resize them by clicking on then.
So, being not allowed to leave your home must not hinder you to take your camera and take some photos. In case you don’t have an idea, drop me a line and I’ll give you an assignment for the next week 😀
Take care and stay healthy
Recently, I was a member of a jury for an international photo contest, themed “Water”. Ten-thousands of participants sent in their photos and we were supposed to select the best ones. It was a hard and exhausting job.
I was really shocked about the vast amount of really bad images: no balanced horizon, stains in the sky or cut of parts at the edges of the frame, blurry images or long-exposure images taken without a tripod. It was so annoying.
In addition, I was shocked about the huge amount of images, where the sender didn’t pay any attention to the topic of the contest. Either, the image was completely off-topic or the main subject of the image was something different and the water only padding or an accessory part.
Lets dig a bit deeper. For this competition, I expected to see images, where water is the main subject. Water can have one of 3 states of aggregation: gas, liquid or solid. Show them to me: i.e. Rain, rivers, ponts, fountains, the ocean, waves, a shore, snow or ice. Be creative.
But, keep in mind, water has to be the main subject. So, people rushing through the streets during rain won’t match the subject. But, raindrops on the surface of an umbrella will do. Or, the tire of a car splashing water from a rain poodle in the street while rushing through it, will do, too. Another example might be: not a glass of water standing on the table, but the detail of pouring the water out of the glass or in the glass.
My advises for sending in photos to a photo-contest are:
- read the rules carefully and understand them. Even such an easy-looking theme like the one I mentions above can be very, very tricky
- pick images with the topic as the main subject
- make sure, the chosen image has perfect quality (no stains, no dust spots, straight horizon, no blurs, no motion shake but intentional, …).
When it comes to lens flares: check, if they support the main subject. If not, avoid lens flares. They are often considered as a flaw, too.
- pay attention on how to compose an image (foreground, middle-ground, background; as well as where to place the part of interest). There are guides on how to compose an image available at the internet.
- focus on the message of your image. Include as much as possible, but not more than necessary. Just like Robert Capa said “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough”
- put your emotions aside. I know, your feelings and you memories come back when looking at you images. But, someone else won’t feel them just like you, because no-one else knows, what you felt while taking that picture. Everyone else simply sees the image and judges based on the image. So, put your emotions aside when selecting an image for a photo-contest.
- check the legal side: are you the author of the image? Are you allowed to publish / send in the image? Do you have property and / or model releases?
You know, by sending in an image to a photo-contest, you also have to hand over some legal rights!!
Check the fine-print of the photo-contest. Are you fine with all of the regulations? What about the GDPR?
- usually your gear isn’t important for an image to be eligible for a certain contest. But, sometimes the regulations say i.e. only cell-phones, no cell-phones, only taken with gear by a certain brand, no edits, only edited with a certain software
- What about watermarks? Sometimes the regulations say no logo or watermark. Obey the rule for not being disqualified. You know, I also use a small watermark as my signature, just like a painter. It’s neither a weapon against image theft or a working concept for documenting your ownership. Even without such a watermark you keep your rights. If you really want to have such a watermark, keep it unobtrusive. Otherwise it could ruin your image.
- double-check your image again against all of these advises!
You see, taking part in a photo-contest is not that easy, as it looks like first.
If you want to, you can take this as an example and for you own training.
If you want me, to judge one of your images, drop me a note and a link to the image in the comments below. The review can be public as well as private. It’s your choice.
Christmas time means winter and thus we have cold weather, snow, ice-covered lakes and rivers. Temperature are far below 0°C (32°F).
This year’s summer was extremely hot and dry. Over summer, many plants died because of the lack of water. Also the Christmas rose. All leaves were laying flat on the ground. There was no hope of seeing any blossoms this year or even see the Christmas rose surviving this hard time. The image above is from last winter.
But, surprisingly, the leaves are standing upwards again and many white blossoms are currently blooming 😳 What a surprise!
More of my images can be seen at my own blog.