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General Chat: Discuss Reflections on Photography....Here is a TV program featuring history of ARDS CAMERA CLUB. I was never a member of this club but ...
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Old 21-06-2017, 13:54   #1 (permalink)
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Reflections on Photography.

Here is a TV program featuring history of ARDS CAMERA CLUB. I was never a member of this club but knew a lot of the members and attended a few meeting in the past. It is well worth a look and some great images. Enjoy.
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Reflections of Photography | NVTV
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Old 21-06-2017, 14:13   #2 (permalink)

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Re: Reflections on Photography.

Colin, have you watched the new photography program, on sky arts channel, it is called masters of photography. They are given a different assignment every week, they have a pro photographer, helping them with editing etc. The judges decide on the best and the worst photos,
they eliminate the photographer who has produced the worst photo every week, i think there are seven or eight of them left now
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Old 22-06-2017, 13:12   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Reflections on Photography.

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Colin, have you watched the new photography program, on sky arts channel, it is called masters of photography. They are given a different assignment every week, they have a pro photographer, helping them with editing etc. The judges decide on the best and the worst photos,
they eliminate the photographer who has produced the worst photo every week, i think there are seven or eight of them left now
Woody, No I have not seen it as I no longer subscribe to SKY. I just use Freeview and have a recording box on which I can record any programs that I was unable to watch at the time. It is a good way to go as it costs nothing and there is always something to go back to especially at weekends when there is rarely anything worth looking at.
Good to see you back.
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Old 23-06-2017, 13:53   #4 (permalink)

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Re: Reflections on Photography.

Thank you colin, have not been on here for awhile, as i was concerned with the numbers of people, signing up on pixalo, with some really unbelievable user names, some of which were repeated, but with slight alterations, this concerned me quite a lot, as it would appear that their reasons for coming onto pixalo, had nothing at all to do with photography.
It would appear now, that this has now stopped, which i am pleased about, as i think this practice, was stopping all genuine members from coming in here.
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Old 24-06-2017, 10:17   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Reflections on Photography.

Woody, I have been watching this series of Master of Photography on Sky Arts. While I do not subscribe to Sky, this channel comes with my virgin media cable package.

I think the assignments are tough as they have very limited time and the assignment may not be their strongest area. I think the photographers have done well in this high pressure situation. Some of them are professionals but some are amateurs. It is tough to go out if you have one bad week but I assume they do take account of the previous performance when choosing between the bottom two.

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Old 24-06-2017, 11:30   #6 (permalink)

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Re: Reflections on Photography.

DAVE CANON, I AM SURE THAT THE JUDGES TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE PREVIOUS WORK OF THE PHOTOGRAPHER THAT THEY ARE SENDING HOME.

I WAS JUST GIVING COLIN, A BRIEF OUTLINE OF WHAT THE PROGRAM WAS ABOUT.
I AGREE, IT IS VERY TOUGH FOR THEM, BUT I THINK IT HAS TO BE TOUGH IN THESE TIMES, AS THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE COMPETEING FOR JOBS IN THE PHOTOGRAPHIC INDUSTRY. THERE IS ONE CANDIDATE, IN THE PROGRAM WHO SAYS SHE IS A PROFESSIONAL, BUT I THINK, THERE ARE SOME OF THE AMATEURS WHO ARE PRODUCING BETTER WORK.
ITS AN ENJOYABLE SERIES, BUT MUST HAVE COST A FORTUNE TO PRODUCE, AS ALL THE DESTINATIONS THEY FLY THEM TO AND EQUIP EACK ONE, WITH LEICA EQUIPMENT.
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Old 28-06-2017, 14:47   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Reflections on Photography.

I don't know how many have watched the whole video or what opinions were held. But there was one point made a Carol Watson who is an excellent photographer when she stated " I mostly do landscapes but they seem to be going out of fashion now in favour of other subjects".
I would to know what the thoughts of others are on this point especially any camera club members.
Comments please.
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Old 28-06-2017, 18:03   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Reflections on Photography.

As Camera Club member (and I enter national and international competitions), you do become aware of trends. In recent years most of the winning images in open competitions were constructed images ranging from those you could not be certain that they were constructed through to surreal images. During this period a landscape, however good, had little chance. In the last 2 years trends have changed again. Constructed images have not gone away but Judges expect to see a story or purpose to the image so just places a few interesting objects on a suitable background is no longer enough. At the same time, good landscapes are now doing rather better. In the last year, more than one judge has intentionally chosen the award winners from a selection of genres which is proving quite popular. I have no idea if there has been new guidance or it is just a trend. Good portraits are still popular and the standard for nature photography is incredibly high so very difficult to succeed in nature sections. Surprisingly, reenactments are still popular with judges but you need much more than a snap.
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Old 30-06-2017, 12:39   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Reflections on Photography.

Dave, Interesting post. I used to enter competitions and exhibitions with some success but now my images would not even get a second look everything is now all highly manipulated PS baring little reality to real life. Some would call it photography some would not, each to their own.
To get the idea look at the NIPA site. [ Northern Ireland Photographic Association ]
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Old 30-06-2017, 15:02   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Reflections on Photography.

See what you mean but in our typical club competitions (I am in a large club), less that 10% of entries would be heavily manipulated. I would suggest less than 10% would have no manipulation and the others varying stages in between. Remember that there was much manipulation in the darkroom but it is somewhat easier to do this with image editing software. One area which is contentious with some is taking a street portrait cutting out and placing on a more appropriate background. The issue here is that a professional photographer may have the resources to take to model to such a background but the amateur may not so the temptation to still achieve the final image by montaging is too great to ignore (this was also done in the darkroom era). So most but not all club photographers are driven to achieve the image they envisage as would a painter and consider record photography a specialism for Nature, Travel and photojournalism. Like many I do both types of photography and enjoy both.

The images from the NIPA site are very high standard and the average club photographer would have difficulty in competing with these. However, this new trend of including a selection of genres in the awards may mean an otherwise good manipulated image losing out to a more conventional but good landscape now.
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Old 30-06-2017, 15:31   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Reflections on Photography.

I just looked at the slideshow on the opening page and to be honest I wasn't impressed except by Laurie Campbell's "Under my wing". Technically they were good, but that's the best I could say of them.
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Old 01-07-2017, 14:23   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Reflections on Photography.

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I just looked at the slideshow on the opening page and to be honest I wasn't impressed except by Laurie Campbell's "Under my wing". Technically they were good, but that's the best I could say of them.
Stephen, Have another look along the top and you will see 2016 exhibition click and have a look at a lot more, you will hardly see a landscape among them. There is one club which dominates they are wealthy members and can afford to hire professional models, makeup artist and hairdresser. They also have access to a professional studio with thousands of pounds worth of lighting etc. The ordinary person can't compete. To join the club you have to be "Approved" then you must actively submit prints that win and if you don't you will be asked to leave. The person in charge a barrister rules with an iron hand it's win win win, to be the top club. This means other clubs get very little selected. I know the person concerned and while he is very good a studio work he could not take a landscape to save his life, I have seen them.
Not my idea of fun.
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Old 01-07-2017, 16:37   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Reflections on Photography.

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Stephen, Have another look along the top and you will see 2016 exhibition click and have a look at a lot more, you will hardly see a landscape among them.
I'll take a another look. I hope that the ones I saw weren't typical of the (mis)treatment though

I suppose that since the EU ruled that chess was a sport (I think it was chess) with reasoning that would include photography, we have to accept as good Europeans (for the moment) that photography is a competitive sport; so winning is the most important thing now.
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Old 01-07-2017, 18:58   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Reflections on Photography.

In the print side: about 6 that didn't strike me as either derivative or Photoshopped-the-hades-out-of; and two on the projected image side likewise.

Many years ago, there were a couple of magazines produced by the sadly long gone Arem Publishing. One of them was Digital Photo Art, and was quite separate to the photography title. Much of this exhibition would have been deemed suitable for DPA but not for a photographic magazine. I know that this is what "photography" has now turned into; local evening classes in art go on about form, line etc. and the work of painters (and discuss paintings); local ditto in photography are about how to get the photos off the camera and into the computer so that they can be digitally ruined. That is clearly what people want to do; and what I consider to be photography is now as much a minority interest as it was in the dry plate era.

From bitter experience, if I want to see good photography, I go to exhibitions put on by schools and colleges and rarely photographic clubs.
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Old 01-07-2017, 20:07   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Reflections on Photography.

Stephen knows I disagree with him on what is a good photograph. The fact is that photography always comprised technical record photography through to fine art and now to surreal art. Remember Ansel Adams used montages and HDR. I think that the majority of Club photographers (not all) are driven by creating that final image they envisaged and are happy to use a combination of camera and computer. Why would you not use all the tools available to you?

I am sure the traditional painters thought that the Impressionists ruined perfectly good scenes but Impressionist are my favourite painters. I know Stephen has a particular interest in Monochrome (as do I) and Monochrome photography is well known for exaggerating contrast and possibly even more so in the digital age.

However, really good straight images can still do well and Nature, travel and photojournalism must be truthful (limited to cropping and a few tonal adjustments). For other sections, there was concern that photography and digital art may become one of the same. To some extent this has happened. In competitions Club, National and International, they insist that every component of the image must be captured photographically though not all at the same time.
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Old 07-07-2017, 12:07   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Reflections on Photography.

I see we have divided opinion on what is a photograph, after all these are images in a "Photographic" exhibition. My Oxford dictionary [ Now a bit old] gives the definition of a photograph as "Also called exposure of an image of an object, person, scene etc. in the form of a print or slide recorded by a camera on photosensitive material ".
These other images which are not straight photographs which I will call "Digital art" . Are not therefore true photographs but a combination of images which may have been recorded photographically. A person with a "Photographic memory" [of a persons memory] able to retain facts, appearances etc. in precise detail like a photograph. [Oxford dictionary]
So we have two different subjects Photography displaying accurate images of a subject and Digital images giving an impressionist image. Two entirely different things and I do not think they should be competing together in a photographic exhibition or competition in a photographic camera club or association. Each are good in their own right but should be considered as separate classes in competitions etc.
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Old 08-07-2017, 12:24   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Reflections on Photography.

There are still two different but broad categories, Photography and Digital Art. For international, Exhibitions the definition of a photograph is usually now simplified to "Entries must originate as photographs (image-captures of objects via light sensitivity) made by the entrant on photographic emulsion or acquired digitally. By virtue of submitting an entry, the entrant certifies the work as his own (aliases are not permitted)." So you may not create images with your computer as you can for Digital Art. A few Exhibitions do have a section for "Traditional Photography" which allows tonal adjustments and cropping but you must not change the truth (i.e. no montages, cloning, or erasing). These restrictions also apply to Nature, Travel and Photojournalism. However, the most popular sections by far (for club, national and international Exhibitions) are Open Colour and Open Monochrome. Apart from the very specialist sections I mentioned, record photography was always considered to be specialised and most are involved in club photography from an artistic point of view. To be artistic, you need more freedom.

As you could guess, problems arise because of how far you might go in any adjustment. Most traditionalists would be happy with basic tonal adjustments, spot removal and cropping. However, you might make the tonal adjustment by using the fairly crude tools in Photoshop labelled dodge or burn. Alternatively you may use a Plug-in which analyses your images and allows you to use preset adjustments or even manually altered variations. The questions is how far can you go? Cloning seems innocent enough when used to remove TV aerials from an otherwise pretty rural scene. However, inserting a figure into the scene that was not there originally is allowed in open sections but can offend some traditionalists even though they may accept that the overall image looks better artistically. The fact is that for most Club photographers throughout the world are aiming for the pleasing artistic final image. This is not new and the arguments over this topic generally peaked at camera clubs well over a decade ago.

Sadly there is another less attractive aspect to this. It is very easy to cheat in the "traditional" sections and policing this is next to impossible. In fact, a few clubs have dropped traditional sections in international salons because the cheating was so widespread around the world.

Finally, you are not forced to heavily edit your images and many of mine have very slight editing (and would certainly meet traditional requirements) but I enjoy and have success with heavily edited images as well.
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Old 09-07-2017, 18:23   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Reflections on Photography.

Quite a few interesting points here, which I'll need time to respond to

I both agree and disagree with both Dave and Colin, but I suspect not at the points that they might expect! My biggest problem with the images that started this discussion was not so much what had been done to create them but the actual result of that process. The exact same steps but carried to a different point I think cuoild have produced some fine images. But apart from the processing, many were unoriginal in treatment and seemed designed to catch the attention (necessary if you only have 90 seconds to attract a judge) and not designed to give anything for the long term viewer. But this is an aside - I'll be back!
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Old 10-07-2017, 10:26   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Reflections on Photography.

Just to help feed that thought Stephen, while a Club judge might take 90 seconds or more to view an image and thus may well see greater depth to the composition, this is not true for national or international Salons. There judges take an average of 5 seconds to view and score and not surprising as they judge several thousand images in a day. So Club photographers tend to use high impact images for Salons and keep their more subtle work (needing longer viewing) for Club competitions or print appreciation discussions. I also notice on the few occasions we have offered prints for sale in a Gallery, some of the subtle images sell well.
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Old 10-07-2017, 10:59   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Reflections on Photography.

Thanks for that additional information, which is very interesting.
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Old 10-07-2017, 13:23   #21 (permalink)
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Re: Reflections on Photography.

Everything seems so evasive and complicated nowadays. Straight photography and digital art are entered in the same class although completely different. B&W and colour are still separated A judge marks an image in five seconds hardly time to see if it is focus or not never mind anything else. Just looking at impact, I presume that will mean bright bold colours and strange shapes. So does this mean that traditional photography is on the way out as it will have no place for those who enter competitions.
I remember in the club competitions when digital first came out the judges who had no knowledge of digital and definitely did not approve as it was not proper photography would lift a print hold it up close to his nose and say I don' know if this is digital or not but if it is it has been well done .
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Old 10-07-2017, 15:40   #22 (permalink)
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Re: Reflections on Photography.

Colin, I prefer to work with the dots that my camera took. I can do composites and am guilty of using context aware fill to remove things I wish I could have chainsawed out but cannot due to property rights.

I think the classes should be separate. If you didn''t make the majority of your image presentation in the camera you should not compete against those who do. But I don't make the rules. (I should, I would be a most benevolent dictator....).
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Old 10-07-2017, 20:15   #23 (permalink)
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Re: Reflections on Photography.

I have sat through some international judging (as a spectator) and I am amazed how fast they work but it is not as crude as you think in that they are really sifting out the chaff and give lower marks based on issues they immediately recognise and only very experienced judges are used. They do not have a fixed time but for projected images, an image is displayed and each of three judges score between 2 and 5 and only when the third judge has scored (electronically) is the score recited (a computer voice) and the next image immediately displayed. The longest dictates the time which usually starts at around 5 secs but by the end of 60 mins it can grow to 9 secs as they tire; breaks every hour are mandatory. Prints are dealt with differently but they still manage a similar overall speed. However, it is important to know that the highest scored images say the top 5% are then reviewed slowly to award medals, ribbons and certificates. In some cases the judges may take some time to discuss the merits of specific images. However, as I said in the last post, if you enter an images with obvious errors or low impact then you are unlikely to get through to this more considered review stage.

Those that regularly enter such competitions will accept that there is a degree of luck involved but the same people consistently do well in many countries so it is not entirely random.
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Old 10-07-2017, 20:37   #24 (permalink)
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Re: Reflections on Photography.

Loyd, at my club and many others, we have long debated this separation but everyone has a different opinion where to draw the line. I have heard the odd person suggest that the image must be straight out of the camera but most cameras heavily process the JPEG output images. Most of our members use Raw and thus to apply these same process manually is making there own choice. So straight out of the camera is not possible unless you ban Raw and then different cameras process in different ways so you still do not have parity. In some of our competitions we do make a category "Open" so anything goes as long as it is based on your photographs. In some competitions we try to separate the "Creative" work by using a Creative section. The open sections are restricted to "Believable Reality". This would allow you to add a person into a different background or change an unattractive sky but this was also done in the darkroom era. However, if the image is unbelievable then it does not qualify; this does give us an occasional headache but generally the vast majority cope with this distinction. As I said previously some sections like Nature require the Truth so cloning and montaging is not allowed.

I am not sure what is meant by traditional photography is on the way out as it has not suddenly changed; these developments have taken place over the last two decades. Almost all of our active club members produces images with almost no processing right through to heavy editing but each chooses what portion suits them.
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Old 11-07-2017, 04:58   #25 (permalink)
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Re: Reflections on Photography.

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Originally Posted by colinmac View Post
Stephen, Have another look along the top and you will see 2016 exhibition click and have a look at a lot more, you will hardly see a landscape among them. There is one club which dominates they are wealthy members and can afford to hire professional models, makeup artist and hairdresser. They also have access to a professional studio with thousands of pounds worth of lighting etc. The ordinary person can't compete. To join the club you have to be "Approved" then you must actively submit prints that win and if you don't you will be asked to leave. The person in charge a barrister rules with an iron hand it's win win win, to be the top club. This means other clubs get very little selected. I know the person concerned and while he is very good a studio work he could not take a landscape to save his life, I have seen them.
Not my idea of fun.
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Clubs are supposed to be a fun way to learn and share aren't they? This one sounds perfectly awful!!
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Old 13-07-2017, 14:28   #26 (permalink)
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Re: Reflections on Photography.

Willow, You are right, it is all about getting am image placed whether it be first or third or highly commended to bring points to make the club "Top club" If your images are not scoring. you are taken aside for a quiet word.
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Old 14-07-2017, 19:21   #27 (permalink)
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Re: Reflections on Photography.

So many posts since I went away to consider! I think that this reply may actually be rather too brief to cover all the points that occured to me, but here goes. I haven't attempted multiquotes, as it was easier to just copy and paste into Notepad.

My idea of what comprises a good photograph starts with the idea that it should look like a photograph! It should look as though it reflects what was there, even if it doesn't. Specifically, that rules out in digital things like HDR that is obviously HDR, and in a conventional darkroom things like bromoil.

Before we got Photoshop, there were still plenty of darkroom workers who had no confidence in photography as a fine art medium, but wanted to appear to be artists. So they tried to make their photographs look like paintings, or indulge in lots of handworking to give a "unique" effect. Paintings are, after all, unique (if they weren't there would be art forgers, wouldn't there?) and photographs aren't. Everyone can exactly reproduce a print in a darkroom, can't they - even when the developer is more exhausted, the temperature slightly different and the light source slightly variable? I'm currently reading Edward Weston's Daybooks ("daybook" appears to be American for "diary") and he often says that a new print he's just made from an old negative is better than the first. Not the first attempt, mind, as he would repeat until he got it right (although he took very few attempts to do this). Ansel Adams reprinted earlier photographs and produced a very different print.

I have no objection at all to people modifying exposure and development to change the range of contrast of a scene; nor have I any problem with the same being done in Photoshop. It's not a "departure from reality" (Ansel Adams' phrase to describe his prints) that I mind, as a departure from realism. I'll even pass Jerry Uelsman's darkroom prints, since they do at least have an internal consistency of lighting etc.

So, I'm not looking for anything unmanipulated; just something that looks natural.

"Cloning seems innocent enough when used to remove TV aerials from an otherwise pretty rural scene. However, inserting a figure into the scene that was not there originally is allowed in open sections but can offend some traditionalists even though they may accept that the overall image looks better artistically." - Dave Canon

Cloning is surely never just removing something, unless a white (or black) area is left behind. There's always something inserted to take the place of the removed object. I therefore have no problem per se with cloning figures in, if it improves the image. But it is very difficult to match lighting and shadows, and to get the scale right. Even apart from edge haloes if badly done.

"while a Club judge might take 90 seconds or more to view an image and thus may well see greater depth to the composition, this is not true for national or international Salons. There judges take an average of 5 seconds to view and score and not surprising as they judge several thousand images in a day. So Club photographers tend to use high impact images for Salons" - Dave Canon

I find this both sad and unsurprising. It's sad because it is encouraging a one dimensionality into photography; making a "good" photographer essentially a one trick pony who can produce IMPACT - even if the result (on long term viewing) looks like it was the result of a car smash! I gave up on Flickr when they changed the way images were displayed. I'm sure that they thought it was easier to have the maximum number crowded together on a (large) page, but the net effect was to make only images with impact stand out, with the rest ignored. This was, to my mind, a firn push on photographers to move in the wrong direction.


"I remember in the club competitions when digital first came out the judges who had no knowledge of digital and definitely did not approve as it was not proper photography would lift a print hold it up close to his nose and say I don' know if this is digital or not but if it is it has been well done" - Colin

And I'd phrase it that I don't care - if it's been well done.

"If you didn''t make the majority of your image presentation in the camera you should not compete against those who do" - Loyd

I prefer to think of getting the best starting point in the camera for the final image. If time taken for afterwork counts against a print in that way, a lot of Ansel Adams' photographs would become digital art - because of the amount of afterwork done.

"However, as I said in the last post, if you enter an images with obvious errors or low impact then you are unlikely to get through to this more considered review stage." - Dave Canon

Which is a great shame - it still comes down to impact in the end...

"Clubs are supposed to be a fun way to learn and share aren't they? This one sounds perfectly awful!!" - Willow

Agreed. But when you have competitions, you're declaring photography to be a competive sport. And that requires winners and losers. Not many people like being losers. At least, not all the time. And therefore they will change their style to conform and win. Or so I read human nature.
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Old 14-07-2017, 20:18   #28 (permalink)
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Re: Reflections on Photography.

Im entering the local fair again this year (deadline is tomorrow, I just blazed through my library and found 20 that I want to display)

I've come to be both respected and hated in the fair photography community. I get at least 3/4 blue ribbons on what I enter.. the rest seconds and a couple best of shows, and the trifling third here and there.

I displaced and shook up a static community when I started participating. I over heard last year a guy grumbling that this Craft fellow had taken first in every class he had entered himself, and saw a pile of 2nd place ribbons.. and called me a colorful name saying something about my mother" I smiled said "Hi Mr Johnstone - you sure come close to winning a bunch of blues.. I'd pass on your regards to my mother but she passed... Any way I'd like to thank you for admiring my photos."

he turned beet red and walked off..

I feel a little bad for the kids (this is 20 and up and I'm officially not a kid any more)... who are competing at a completely different level and may be disappointed.. one was admiring one of my photos and. noticed she was also a painter. I asked if she could work from her computer screen - id send her a digital copy of the image and Id maybe look forward to seeng a painting of it this year. She indicated no she could not. cruddy small monitor. SO I pulled one of my blues out of the stack and handed it to her. said give it back when you see me in 2017.. maybe she'll do well. I hope so..

I'm leaving some of the classes alone this year and trying categories I haven't traditionally entered. (not everything but 1/3 of my entries are in new categories to me... ). Partly planned while deciding what to shoot in the past year.

The horse people know me. I go with a 5 gallon bag of cut up carrots and hang at the horse barn a couple hours. (gonna take sugar cubes too this year)

I'm entering one of their photos of a 9ish year old girl and her young pony... they told me I better enter at least one of them in the competition or they'd want to know why.

this is turning into a ramble..

my photos going into the show are 95% original. not counting the B&W's which is a filter process.. they're still done the same way as the others.. just using spot removal tool for blemishes and basic exposure.. no creative exposures.. no removing wires no matter how badly I want to.
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Old 19-07-2017, 09:32   #29 (permalink)
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Re: Reflections on Photography.

I post the odd pic on Photo crowd.
You get your photos judged but also you get to rate other peoples.
This can be thousands if you have the time. Their point system i think of is 1 star 'Meh'. 2 star 'ooo'. three star 'wow'.
When you go through a lot of them. As said. Some of the processing jumps out at you. But sadly when you study the image for a bit longer. The images tends to lack little else than pop.

Hi Guys.
I am still about but my camera has gathered dust a bit.

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Old 20-07-2017, 14:59   #30 (permalink)
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Re: Reflections on Photography.

Hi Fiztastic not heard of the Photo crowd thing.

Loyd - good luck and lol at the response to the whinger!
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