View Full Version : CC for Competition

07-21-2011, 02:31 AM
Hello all, I'm fairly new here and have decided to take the plunge. I would like to enter some of my work for competition, and possibly merit awards. It's been a very long time since I've put anything out for Show-(local galleries in the early 1980's)- and I've only recently become familiar with modern equipment and techniques. I would greatly appreciate constructive feedback as I feel it could help me hone my abilities, and produce more competitive works. Thank you all in advance for any advice or insights offered.

I've reviewed the Larger Image Sticky, but in all honesty, I don't even know how to open an FTP to begin that process. So, I'm posting links to my works hosted on Zenfolio in the hopes this is allowed.

Titles, in order:

"The Drake", "Shadow Hunter", "On The Bank", "Camouflaged", and "Winter's Hawk".






07-21-2011, 03:32 AM
Welcome to the forum/
As to how to post larger here on the forum - this is the method I use.
As to your images- I would really like to see them larger because there are some that look promising but I think I am seeing some issues caused by the technique that you have used. So before I go farther I would like to see them larger.

07-21-2011, 03:34 AM
Nice work. Hopefully Joe Campinellie (sp?) chimes in... he's the ultimate in avian photography. But welcome to the forums!

07-21-2011, 04:35 AM
Keith, Stephanie-thanks for the warm welcome.

Keith, thank you for taking the time to do this. I appreciate what you're saying. I created a folder over on Photo.net- If you Left click on the image it gets larger, left click again after that it goes to 100% of the cropped file size (too big for reality as the minimum print size of the original file would be 5-6 feet on the long side, larger if the image is a cropped one-but some people insist on viewing this way). I hope this is satisfactory-I down rezzed the images from 300-350 to 250-275.


Stephanie-I would enjoy viewing Joe's work, a new perspective is always good!

07-22-2011, 04:27 PM
Winter's Hawk - I think this is the strongest IMO. Consider flipping the image so that you read into the hawks head rather than the back and wing feathers, try it and see if it reads stronger. The Technique is pretty heavy but I think it works in this situation. I would suggest enhancing the eye, head and beak areas.

On the Bank - Here I feel the technique is distracting. All the grainy texture and lines in the background are distracting from the subject. There are a lot of areas on the bird that are soft in focus. This may be from the technique but it lends to technical excellence. I get the feeling that it wasn't sharp in the original capture and the technique may have been an attempt to improve the image. Granted this may have been caused by the technique. Either way it hurts the image IMO.

The Drake - Again I feel the Technique hurts the image. When you look at the background and you are seeing gradient lines etched in the image it distracts from the drake. Again there is several areas in the bird that appear soft. I realize and accept that there can be movement from the wings in flight but for this type of image I would expect a great capture would have beak, head neck and body sharp. Here the technique has the appearance of over sharpening (especially evident along the bottom of the neck down along body). This then makes the viewer look at the shine of the feathers, they look more over sharpened than natural in areas as well. This then makes the soft mushy areas jump out and beg for attention. I don't mean to be overly critical but for competition judges will be considering all of the 12 elements. If the image is pretty sharp in the original, consider a different technique. I know you like the painted look but consider a different option or maybe even use a program like Painter and actually digitally paint the image.

Shadow Hunter - Try this image flipped as well. We tend to read from upper left to lower right. Here we are reading into the back of the birds head and neck. The light appears to be coming from high camera right. So I think that if the image was flipped we would be seeing a stronger dominance of the head and beak. The water fall would then tend to draw us back into the image rather than pull the eye down and out of the image. The only way to tell for sure is to try it and see which way you feel it is stronger. Again there are areas with in the bird's feathers that appear soft and out of focus. I know egret's tend to have some fine feathers that can appear soft but here it has a mushy look. It may have been caused by the technique used or it could be that the original capture has some softness to it and the technique is dramatically sharpening the sharpest areas in the capture. Either way the soft areas need to be addressed IMO.

Camouflaged - I do feel this is an interesting image however I am distracted by the brightness of the petals of the pond vegetation. Another thing, when I am looking at the image I feel it is slightly forward focused. It feels like the frogs right eye is sharp but starts to soften at the top of the eye lid area and the area between the eyes (bridge?). If you look at the leaves on the tip of his nose on around to the right side (frogs left) it looks to be getting soft in focus as well. I think you are correct to use a narrow depth of field in this situation but that the critical point of focus is just slightly off. I feel that the technique is a bit overly heavy here and that by going a bit lighter on the technique may have helped this image.

Just my thoughts. I hope others will chime in here for you as well.

07-22-2011, 04:31 PM
Here is the link to Joe's Nature gallery on his website. Enjoy. Keith

07-23-2011, 04:32 AM
Keith-First, I want to thank you for the rather in depth analysis. I sincerely appreciate the effort you've made in reviewing these pieces and enlightening me on what to look for and be aware of. It would seem I'd be better off submitting more traditional works as the alterations do tend to exaggerate the extremes. I havn't had a chance to review the original files on these just yet, but I will. I'm the first to admit that I have a lot to learn, and in all honesty-that is where I'm hoping to benefit the most from all of this.

I poked through Joe C's galleries-quite impressive to say the least.

This weekend is all booked up, but by midweek I hope to be able to get back on track and implement some of your suggestions.

Thank you again for the time and effort -Randall

07-23-2011, 03:11 PM
It would seem I'd be better off submitting more traditional works as the alterations do tend to exaggerate the extremes.

I do not want to discourage you or to give the impression that a more traditional approach is the only way to go. Some times exaggerating the extremes adds impact and is the best way to go. Some times the technique also emphasizes weak elements. We as the makers have to decide which is best for the image or if an image is right for competition. Entering competition is a tool for us to learn and improve our work. It doesn't mean that the judges view points are the only way to go. I truly do not want to discourage you from doing painterly or impressionist style work. Just look at both sides of what a technique does for an image.
Hope to see more from you.