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Rebecca_Willoughby
05-23-2008, 03:20 AM
I am thinking of submitting some wildlife images to state this year (Louisiana). I was going to last year, but became very ill and was not able to attend. Here are the four bird images I have chosen. Feel free to make any suggestions on cropping, titles or culling. I posted the two flamingos last year in case they look familiar to some of you.

Thanks,
Rebecca

Rebecca_Willoughby
05-23-2008, 03:21 AM
Here are the pelicans.

Cheri_MacCallum
05-23-2008, 03:27 AM
Rebecca, I think the first two are great! On the third one, does your original image include the reflection? If it does, I would recommend a different crop including the reflection with the bird more to the top of the composition.
I would eliminate the last one simply because of all the stuff going on in the background.

Rebecca_Willoughby
05-23-2008, 04:15 AM
Thanks Cheri. Here is the complete Pelican image with the whole reflection.
I agree with the last one. I am just trying to fill that spot. I have a couple of other flamingo images, but I don't want to overdo the flamingo thing. Wouldn't want anyone to think that I am a one trick pony. I'll dig and try to pick another image.

Rebecca

Cheri_MacCallum
05-23-2008, 05:10 AM
I like the reflection, but it doesn't work compositionally! I would suggest cropping the image closer to the top of the flamingo and moving the image up on the background.

Erin_L._Clark
05-23-2008, 11:25 AM
lovely shots Rebecca. I love watching pelicans. The last one would be interesting to see without the wires.

Heather_L._Smith
05-23-2008, 02:43 PM
I don't want to overdo the flamingo thing. Wouldn't want anyone to think that I am a one trick pony.

Rebecca - I pulled this comment becuase I think it's important to remember that competition should be our very best of our very best work - regardless of subject matter. If your four very best images are flamingos (but not the same flamingo), then that is what you should enter. It's my own personal opinion on competition, but I don't think you should enter a lesser quality print for FEAR of being seen as a "one trick pony."

Now, if you want to stretch yourself and do something different, then that should be your goal. But don't do it out of fear... do it to grow and become a better photographer.

Ultimately, I think you should enter the best of your best... regardless of subject matter.

Keith_A_Howe
05-23-2008, 04:44 PM
Heather has brought up a topic that I think about alot. First off I want to remind Rebecca that her four images won't be judged one right after the other. The judges will have no idea if four flamingo images are all by the same maker or by four different people. So that shouldn't effect what you enter.

I think your choices should be based on what your goals are. When I was going for my Master's I would pick my four strongest prints, regardless of subject matter. After I got the degree I started setting different goals, like a merit on a commercial print or a studio head and shoulders. Those images weren't always my strongest but they were my best at whatever it was I was trying to get a merit on. I know a photographer this year that set out to enter a print in four different catergories, portrait, wedding, commercial and illustrative. His goal was to win a Gallery award and he wanted to give himself the best chance. I know another photographer who was proud that he earned his Master's from one roll of film. They were all ballerinas photographed in our state capitol building. While there isn't really anything wrong with either way, I have to admit I have more admiration for the guy who entered in different catergories than the guy who found a subject and location that worked and just repeated it over and over.

Rebecca's remark about a one trick pony did make me think about several photographers I know that do repeat the same ideas over and over for print competition. They usually do quite well and you can spot their prints a mile away. After a couple years there are usually several copycat type images in competition also. It's not my place to decide what those photographer's goals should be. Maybe their aim is to have the highest scores they possibly can, so they do what they know will make that happen. I can't say that's wrong, but I know I have a lot more respect and admiration for the people who continually stretch and try new things. Rebecca's remark also made me think about my own prints over the last few years. I have a merit image, B&W on watercolor paper (something I love the look of) from each of the last three years. I think next year I will make sure I do something else.

So if I am noticing when photographers enter the same thing over and over, maybe there is some validity to Rebecca's concerns? But certainly not from a judge's standpoint. And certainly not a concern when you are first starting entering. But maybe if the opinion of your fellow photographers is something you are concerned about?

I do know I have seen competitions where extremely similar subject matter has been DQ'd especially if it has been treated in a very similar style. I have also seen where one or more makers were on the same trip or at the same session and have entered extremely similar images. In the one case I am thinking about nothing was DQ'd because there is no rule that says two or in this case 3 makers can't each enter images of the same subject. I know this year I had several wolf images I considered. They were different wolves, but I didn't want to take a chance that the print chair and JC would decide they were the same and DQ one. So Rebecca I would encourage you to make sure if you enter several flamingos, that they are dramatically different images.

In conclusion - I know you are all saying about time he concluded - I don't know if Rebecca is right or wrong to be concerned. I just know there are different ways of looking at it and it's an interesting question. I hope someone else will chime in with their thoughts.

Keith

Mark_Levesque
05-23-2008, 07:18 PM
I agree that it all depends on what your goals are. I have heard various opinions from photographers that range the gamut from "I want to become a master the fastest way possible" to "I want to become master the purest way possible." And everything in between.

As one who does not yet have the title but who aspires to it, I totally get the idea of sending in your strongest 4 prints regardless of subject matter. Makes total sense to me, from the "let's get there" perspective. I am pretty goal oriented, so I can identify with this approach. And yet there's a part of me that sees beyond the title, and knows that there's no next title to get, really. So that sort of makes me think that the process of getting to master has greater importance than if it were a merely a waypoint on the way to a greater accomplishment. There's no SuperMaster or anything, so if you race to become a master, yes, you get there faster but have you learned all the lessons along the way that you could have? Is the idea to get the title ASAP and then do your real learning after the fact, when the heat is off?

I have heard Michal Gan and Don Chick make a strong case for achieving your masters on client work. It's the purist's approach, and it likewise makes a lot of sense. It might take you a little longer, but you will learn a ton along the way- out of necessity! Does it mean more? I dunno. If you can rush to your masters in 3 years submitting your best stuff regardless of what it is, and after you get the title you work hard on getting all your client work to be as good as it can be, are you any off in two years than you would be if it took you 5 years to get your masters all on client work? I don't know. I guess it's an individual journey, and each of us who embarks on it has to decide for himself or herself what the goals are. Is it the title or how you get there? Or both.

Rebecca_Willoughby
05-23-2008, 10:41 PM
Wow what a great discussion. I take pictures of children, seniors and pregnant women all day and although I enjoy it, it is the weekend and travel images that I do for myself that I want recognition for. I get recognition for the people portraits when the order is made. I think that is why I always want to enter wildlife prints.
Here is the pelican and abandoned lighthouse image reworked without the wires, etc...

Rebecca