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Peter_Bauer
09-02-2008, 07:32 PM
I received my video critiques today. Three were reviewed by Keith Howe and were very informative, detailed, and (most of all) helpful. The fourth print was reviewed by a different judge and the feedback wasn't so helpful. "I wasn't in the room when this print was judged, but I imagine there was quite a bit of discussion," the judge said. The judge's only substantive comment on the artwork itself was that when a subject is "pasted" onto another background you have to be careful. (This image is not a composite.)

So, if anyone was in the room when this image ("Tulip: X-rayed") was judged -- and remembers any of the comments, I'd love to hear them.

Thanks,
Pete

Heather_L._Smith
09-02-2008, 09:50 PM
Hey, Peter - I wasn't in the room, but I've always wanted to enter something like this with a title like "This Isn't a Composite"

Peter_Bauer
09-02-2008, 10:13 PM
Hey, Peter - I wasn't in the room, but I've always wanted to enter something like this with a title like "This Isn't a Composite"

Other titles I've considered recently:
"Not Photoshopped"
"Yes, I Really Took This Photo"
"It's Not Out of Focus, That's Depth of Field"
"I Didn't Oversharpen, I used a $2,000 Lens"
. . .

Goodness -- this could turn into a hilarious thread if everyone jumps in!
(And it's all your fault, Heather.)

Cheers!
Pete

Keith_A_Howe
09-02-2008, 10:19 PM
Peter, I am sorry you found the fourth print review less than helpful. Usually we tried to wait until all four prints were available before critiquing a case, but when it got down to the last day, we got done what we could get done rather then sit around and wait and then we let someone else finish the last print if necessary. I am hoping what that judge meant was be careful in where you place the image on the background mat or be careful what color mat you select. I personally am not seeing any thing that looks like compositing but of course I am looking at a small low res file here, not the actual print. It makes a world of difference when you see real prints. That's why I would be against ever going to a competition that is all just file submission. But I am digressing -

So if you are comfortable with a public critique I will be happy to post my thoughts here. Otherwise PM me and I will send you a private response. It would be helpful to see a high res file before I commented.

Keith

Keith_A_Howe
09-02-2008, 10:22 PM
I want to enter this and title it

400mm NOT a zoo

http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p308/imager410/Intent.jpg

Keith

ImanWoods
09-02-2008, 10:38 PM
I love the flower shot, it has a very dramatic sky that some people would use to replace a ho-hum sky.

(not to hijack the thread but!)

Holy cow, Keith! That's a GORGEOUS shot! How on earth did you get that?

Liz_Vance
09-02-2008, 10:38 PM
So this one was called "There's Something Wrong With The Baby", and it merited at state and won journalism/best of category. But during the discussions, they said, "Well, if this really happened..."

So my title would be, "Yes, there really WAS something wrong with the baby, you doubting Thomases!"

Don_Chick
09-02-2008, 11:06 PM
Peter, didn't they teach you in the Judges Workshop to never "assume"?

Very nice image, btw....

Peter_Bauer
09-02-2008, 11:13 PM
. It would be helpful to see a high res file before I commented.

Keith

Keith, thanks so much for your generous offer -- Indeed, I would love to send you a high resolution copy and get your feedback. How large can I send?

The other judge, by the way, was indeed talking about copy/paste of the subject onto a new background rather than talking about the mat.

Pete

Peter_Bauer
09-02-2008, 11:14 PM
I want to enter this and title it

400mm NOT a zoo

Keith

Glad the title isn't "50mm NOT a zoo"!

Peter_Bauer
09-02-2008, 11:16 PM
So my title would be, "Yes, there really WAS something wrong with the baby, you doubting Thomases!"

"Doubting Thomas"
Such a polite phrase . . . .
Pete

Peter_Bauer
09-02-2008, 11:20 PM
Peter, didn't they teach you in the Judges Workshop to never "assume"?


That was a lesson we worked on quite a bit, always with the thought that the maker of the print could be in the room.
"heavy-handed burning" vs. "dark area"
"blurry" vs. "use of focus"
"cloning artifacts" vs. "repeated element"
"obviously Photoshopped" vs. (any one of a number of alternate phrasings)

:-)
Pete

Peter_Bauer
09-02-2008, 11:21 PM
I love the flower shot, it has a very dramatic sky that some people would use to replace a ho-hum sky.



Sometimes it's just a matter of waiting for the right day and conditions....
P.

Keith_A_Howe
09-03-2008, 12:07 AM
Holy cow, Keith! That's a GORGEOUS shot! How on earth did you get that?

I climbed a mountain in 14 degree weather, wind chill at h*ll freezes over level, through some knee deep snow lugging a backpack full of equipment. There was a man standing next to me with a very big hand gun.

Keith

Linda_Gregory
09-03-2008, 12:52 AM
I know the logistics are really against it but it'd be so much more worthwhile if one of the judges who were in the room do the critiquing.

I still learned from my critique but ah, in one, the lady acted like she couldn't really figure out herself why it wasn't loan. Cool, huh? (call me Sally Field, "She liked it, she really LIKED it!")

Keith_A_Howe
09-03-2008, 01:39 AM
I know the logistics are really against it but it'd be so much more worthwhile if one of the judges who were in the room do the critiquing.

I still learned from my critique but ah, in one, the lady acted like she couldn't really figure out herself why it wasn't loan. Cool, huh? (call me Sally Field, "She liked it, she really LIKED it!")

Linda
I can understand what you are saying but even so you could still have that situation. Say there were 10 judges on the loan panel and say there were 9 voting no and 1 yes. You could get the one that voted yes and she may have given the exact same response with the exception that she would be able to say "I voted for loan but . . ." I personally try to state what I like and what I think could have been improved to give the image a better chance, or I try to show the reasons I see that held it out of the catagory. Every judge does the critiques differentlythough. And as far as having the people who actually judged the print do the actual critique - the logistics aren't against it - that would be physically impossible. There are four panels going at most times and also the panels get mixed up between rooms 3-4 times a day. To try and keep track of who judged 8000 different prints so that those judges would be assigned to do those critiques, I am getting a headache just thinking about it.

Keith

Lori_Clapp
09-03-2008, 01:40 AM
I climbed a mountain in 14 degree weather, wind chill at h*ll freezes over level, through some knee deep snow lugging a backpack full of equipment. There was a man standing next to me with a very big hand gun.

Keith

And Keith knew he could outrun Jeff if he needed to...:D

Keith_A_Howe
09-03-2008, 01:57 AM
Peter sent me a higher res file to look at. I am glad he did because it reinforces why I will never give my exact guess as to score from looking at images on this forum. So here goes my critique as close to what I would have said as I can make it:
First off I want to say I really like the concept of the image and the color harmony (yellow against the blue sky creates impact). However there are several issues that I feel kept the image out of the merit catagory. Here is a close up detail of the file.
http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p308/imager410/tulipdiagram.jpg
First off I see technical issues Look at the area marked (B) see the dark line/white line around the stem? This is a strong indicator of over sharpening, or of a file that was processed into differing exposures and composited together, or of some techniques (lucis for one) that leaves these defined edges. That raises a flag in judges minds. You can see this same issue all around the flower (look at areas marked C and D just to make it easier to see). Next look at the area circled (A) It is kinda hard to see here but there is a faint sensor mark or clone mark here that should have been fixed. There is also an issue where the stem is one width where it overlaps the flower and jogs in slightly just below the flower. That's another sign that ususally suggest an image has been composited in some way. These almost outlined effects would make a judge feel it was either oversharpened or composited.

The other challenge with this image is the composition. This is close to a bullseye composition. That can work well for some images however I do not feel it is the best way to present this subject. I would have liked to see a lot more area below the bloom (still against the sky background. Because you are obviously looking up, I feel cramped or crowded in the orginal image. Next I would trim a little off the right side to add to the offset or hint toward the thirds.

This image would have had more "pop" presented on a black background. As it currently appears the blue background drags into the blue of the sky yet is a different enough shade that it almost fights with it. By placing it on black the image stands out. Your eye is not drawn outside of the final gold stroke.

Next I would have liked to see it printed down even a bit more to make it even more dramatic.

This would have been the end of my critique had I been the one giving it.

Here is a rough sample using transform to give you a feel of what I am suggesting even though you obviously could not actually enter something stretched to this degree. This sample does not show the printing down or nor did I do any work to fix the outline/sharpening effect .
http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p308/imager410/tulipstretched.jpg
I was not in the room at the time this image was judged but if I were to judge it in a regional (where there was a category score) I would have been in the above average category because of the reasons stated above. Hope this helps.
Keith

Peter_Bauer
09-03-2008, 03:05 AM
First off I see technical issues Look at the area marked (B) see the dark line/white line around the stem? This is a strong indicator of over sharpening, or of a file that was processed into differing exposures and composited together, or of some techniques (lucis for one) that leaves these defined edges. That raises a flag in judges minds. You can see this same issue all around the flower (look at areas marked C and D just to make it easier to see). Next look at the area circled (A) It is kinda hard to see here but there is a faint sensor mark or clone mark here that should have been fixed. There is also an issue where the stem is one width where it overlaps the flower and jogs in slightly just below the flower. That's another sign that ususally suggest an image has been composited in some way. These almost outlined effects would make a judge feel it was either oversharpened or composited.




Keith, thanks so much for your feedback! Another great insight into the workings of a judging mind. (This is actually a single exposure, adjusted for tonality and saturation, with some use of the Clone Stamp in the sky and the Color Replacement tool to hide blemishes in the bloom itself.) It was captured with the Canon 5D and a 50mm f/1.2L USM lens.

The areas B-D that you indicated are actually in the original Raw file. The sun is behind the bloom, creating the "x-ray" effect, and also producing almost rim lighting in several places (including the left side of the stem). I left those areas untouched and natural as part of the backlighting of the bloom. Obviously, in the future, I'll need to keep an eye on areas of an image that can be misinterpreted.

Thanks for pointing out area A -- it does exist in the original Raw capture as well, and looks like moisture on the filter.

As for composition, that's something I'll probably have to address next Spring when I take another shot (so to speak) at this concept. (Assuming the tulips bloom again.)

The lesson with which I walk away is this: Look at every pixel in an image. Look at it in different ways. Does it contribute to the image? Does it detract from the image? Can it be misinterpreted by those viewing the image? Can that pixel be changed in a way that makes it contribute positively to the image without any chance of being misinterpreted?

I'll also take into account your suggestion that the image be presented against black, although the original critique included "I do like the contrasting colors, putting the yellow against the blue ... and the mat was a nice presentation."

Was it Abraham "Ansel" Lincoln who said "You can please some of the judges some of the time, but not all of the judges all of the time"? :-)

Thanks again for your feedback -- and have a great vacation!
Pete

Lori_Clapp
09-03-2008, 03:33 AM
Keith,
Thanks for the critique on this image. It is always nice to hear how things are judged - I think some of us (mostly me), look at an image that didn't merit, and wonder what the heck those judges were thinking - but we don't take the time to "study" it, and notice all the little things about the image. We look at it more from the "customers" perspective - if it would look nice hanging on the wall, it should score well. It's impressive that you judges take it seriously enough to spend the time actually looking at every aspect of a print, and deciding if something occurred naturally or if the maker enhanced it. Every time I see/hear a critique like this, I am reminded that the judges take their position very seriously - and that's nice to know!!

And by the way everyone - while Keith was going back and forth with Peter on this image critique, he was also helping me with a camera issue, and at the same time, still posting on the forum!! He is a man of many talents!

Keith_A_Howe
09-03-2008, 03:37 AM
He is a man of many talents!

Holly says that all the time!!!!!:D

Peter_Bauer
09-03-2008, 03:49 AM
Keith,
I think some of us (mostly me), look at an image that didn't merit, and wonder what the heck those judges were thinking

Lori, you are far from alone -- from the off-line feedback I've received, many folks are looking for additional insights -- and the judging clinic was a wonderful experience for me!
Pete

Lori_Clapp
09-03-2008, 03:59 AM
Holly says that all the time!!!!!:D

Where are those forum censors when we need them??

Keith_A_Howe
09-03-2008, 04:02 AM
Lori, you are far from alone -- from the off-line feedback I've received, many folks are looking for additional insights

That's why I always say to pull the judges aside after a competition is over and ask questions. Get the critique when you enter national. Sign up for the print mentoring at IUSA. Post images on this forum. Get the Loan and Showcase books. There are so many ways to get feedback. If someone doesn't get feedback on thier images it's because they didn't make any effort to take advantage of all the opportunities out there.

Keith

Liz_Vance
09-03-2008, 01:18 PM
holly says that all the time!!!!!:d

tmi!!! Tmi!!!!!

D._Craig_Flory
09-03-2008, 01:30 PM
I highly recommend all who want to hone their skills, at competition, to belong to their state prof. photog. association and to enter the competitions there. Sit it on as much of the judging as you can. Then go to the print critique (usually the next day here in Pa.) and listen to what the judges say. If possible ask to have one or two of your prints discussed. I asked to have a blue ribbon discussed last year and am glad I did. Even though it was 80+ it still had room for improvement.

So, check out your state associations.

Noelle_Zaleski
09-03-2008, 01:33 PM
I did not get mine yet:(

Mark_Levesque
09-03-2008, 02:10 PM
He is a man of many talents!
holly says that all the time!!!!!:d
tmi!!! Tmi!!!!!

But Liz, it's not bragging if it's true! LOL



I did not get mine yet :(

The hazards of having a last name starting with Z. ;)

Heather_L._Smith
09-03-2008, 02:28 PM
I did not get mine yet:(

Me either, Noelle. I'm guessing it'll come today... or tomorrow :)

Noelle_Zaleski
09-03-2008, 02:39 PM
DUH!! That "Z" thing again! My poor kids will always be last in line.

Liz_Vance
09-04-2008, 01:04 AM
I haven't got mine yet, either. The V thing, while 14 years old, still hasn't sunk in. I still FEEL like a mid-alphabetter.

-e

D._Craig_Flory
09-04-2008, 12:31 PM
I haven't got mine yet, either. The V thing, while 14 years old, still hasn't sunk in. I still FEEL like a mid-alphabetter.

-e

Hi Liz;

My wife's maiden name was Hetrick. When we got married, in 1973, she moved from the H's to the F's. *S* So she has ever since been called or selected earlier.

My advice is to have your name changed to Acme or Aardvark or something so you get stuff much quicker. :D

Rick_Massarini
09-05-2008, 02:37 AM
I want to enter this and title it

400mm NOT a zoo

http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p308/imager410/Intent.jpg

Keith

.... And it's at times like this that the judges just have to give you a merit just for not getting EATEN while capturing the image...

Peter_Bauer
09-05-2008, 06:11 AM
That's why I always say to pull the judges aside after a competition is over and ask questions. Get the critique when you enter national. Sign up for the print mentoring at IUSA. Post images on this forum. Get the Loan and Showcase books. There are so many ways to get feedback. If someone doesn't get feedback on thier images it's because they didn't make any effort to take advantage of all the opportunities out there.

Keith

And don't forget about the judging clinic! Not only does it provide insight into the judging process, you can take a case full of prints to be used in the practice judging sessions.
Pete

Rose_Mary_Cheek
09-05-2008, 11:55 AM
Hello Pete.... gosh that's a great shot, know our Judges class would have done better for you :)

Rose Mary

Peter_Bauer
09-07-2008, 04:48 AM
Hello Pete.... gosh that's a great shot, know our Judges class would have done better for you :)

Rose Mary

Yeah, right! Remember how our clinic's panels treated "The Apprentice" and "Depth: The John Singer Sergeant Technique"? :-)

Hope all is well,
Pete

Al_Audleman
09-28-2008, 03:51 PM
You guys are so right about judgings at competitions these days. A lot of judges assume that you used photoshop to create the image. That often dilutes the impact of the image. So, Don, when they teach you to never assume, how to you make that happen? I have a very interesting shot of a waterfall, done with a long exposure like it should have been, and the result was the rock formation seriously looked like a hand with the water flowing over it. I went WOW and entered it, titled "God's Hand" and guess what, they assumed it was photoshop and scored like a 78. Well :(

As a photoshop instructor, I appreciate what people (and my students in particular) are doing to make images better with photoshop. But it has seriously changed the "image of imaging" as we all knew it. I don't see anything wrong with creating images using the camera and photoshop as tools. But it seems to upset us when our work is not recognized as pure photography. Is that surprising? Should it be? Should we not use the tools we have? Should be create a category in competition for "pure photography" and exactly what IS that? Should judges be required to judge the image as presented without second guessing the maker and the role of photoshop? How do you do that? OK, playing devil's advocate here but it may start an interesting discussion.

Al_Audleman
09-28-2008, 03:53 PM
BTW, I entered an image once titled "93" and guess what? It didn't work either! :D

Jane_Lydick_Staid
09-28-2008, 08:20 PM
Just had to say HI AL!

I took his class at NEIPP about 5 years ago and was absolutely one of the best I have ever taken. I use his book for reference quite frequently and would love to see him at NEIPP again.

Michael_Gan
09-28-2008, 10:47 PM
I'm not sure if "pure photography" ever had a role in the PPA competition...or even "Art" photography historically. I seem to recall sending my negs over to Visual/Alfa/Photic in the 1970's-90's to have them prepare and enhance my images for PPA print competition standards. The only difference I see is that the enhancements are done, moreso, with the actual maker.

Rick_Massarini
09-28-2008, 11:37 PM
Even Adams and Weston dodged, burned, and spotted their images before displaying them. Negative retouching has always been a part of portraiture, only now it's done in the computer instead of with dyes on a negative. Jerry Ueselman used to combine different negatives into a new creative image using multiple enlargers. Creativity is creativity - It's just a different medium now...

Al_Audleman
09-29-2008, 01:20 AM
I have to agree with you Michael ... but we still have those that thing we should compete at that level. I am one that says use the tools and use them well ... and photoshop is a tool. But I also have to agree that it might be nice to at least recognize good photography in it's true form

And Hi Jane. Nice to hear from you. Thanks for the great comments ... and I hope to get back to NEIPP again. Not sure why I was not asked back this year because i was supposed to .. but alas, life goes on! Hope things are well with you. Congrats on the CPP! LOL

Sandra_Pearce
09-29-2008, 12:28 PM
Hey Al,

Glad to see you on the forum. You have lots to give. Look forward to hearing your comments.

Sandra Pearce

Al_Audleman
09-29-2008, 12:48 PM
Hey Sandra ... I have come and gone. Now that I am back from my teaching travels, I will try harder to participate more often. Thanks!