Learning more from photo competitions

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009 at 11:50pm

Today is the first Tuesday of the month, this means it is judging night at the camera club, when I find out how the photos I submitted a month ago have been judged.

This is also the deadline for next month’s competition – topic of ‘Blue’ this time- so that has been dominating my thoughts for the past week or so. But those photos are done and submitted, so it was time to listen for feedback.

As the September competition was open, aka no topic, there were a record number of entries. Good for the club, good for learning, bad for me individually as there is more competition.

Then it was announced who the judge would be: Pele Leung. After seeing that he was interested in architecture I didn’t expect this fairly safe image of the Sydney Opera House to get much of a reaction:

The house on the point

In his comments Pele said that although technically quite good, it was a pretty standard shot and would have been better from an different perspective than everyone else. Despite this he awarded it a merit.

Earlier that same night I took this photo:

Bridge at night

The judge back in May gave this a highly commended award. Significantly because of the interest created by the unusual angle. He said that at first he didn’t recognise it as the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

And my three (because I am entering the full two printed and two digitial) other entries?

On the club outing to Macedon I took this photo low to the ground down from the waterfall in Stanley Park:

Close to the ground

I quite like the shallow depth of field and for me the small green leaves are the item of interest. However Pele didn’t agree, he wanted something of interest amongst the leaves.

My third entry was from the War Memorial which we visited on the third Melbourne Photo Walk:

Late afternoon in the forecourt

This is actually a cleaned up (some cloning to not have floating body parts) version of the photo for which I received an unexpected prize:


If I hadn’t received the prize I would have entered this photo of the flagpoles on the other side of the forecourt:

Flagpoles in the forecourt

I had spent some time in GIMP to correct the perspective from this:


Maybe I should have entered this one as in this case the feature (the flags flying from the flagpoles) are nicely backlit. The comment from the judge about the other photo was that he considered the Cenotaph to be the feature, yet it is too much in shadow.

And my final image? As I wan’t sure what to enter I chose an image of the peacock from Montsalvat for the humour aspect:


This is a modification of this photo:


For the competition entry I increased the crop, rotated the image further and added a vignette. I like the quirky aspect, but apart from that it’s nothing special.

I believe that I am learning from this experience and hopefully my photos perform better for the ‘blue’ theme. But as they have been submitted I need to think about the November competion.

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