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Thread: Mini Comp for duffers

  1. #1

    Mini Comp for duffers

    First of all, apols to Colin & co if this idea is completely irregular and unacceptable
    (and if that is the case, then by all means feel free to bin this thread, or whatever
    it is you would do).

    However, having seen the images in the mini comp # 16 I feel there ought to be
    something for those of us (me?!) who are still technically at the shallow end of the
    pool so to speak... when I saw Steve's "bird on stick" image, frankly I had to go
    and have a chat with the Siberian hamsters for a while (they don't understand,
    but at least they have the advantage of listening... and don't eat too much)
    I can only assume there's an excellent taxidermist in Steve's neighbourhood?
    (only jesting...)

    Well, that's the speech out of the way so I shall start things off (same rules etc
    as the mini comps) - thinks: "urrrgh, what have I done?"

    camellia.jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 23rd October 2009 at 10:51 PM. Reason: add image inline

  2. #2

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    Re: Mini Comp for duffers

    In many ways I do agree with your sentiments. There is always a risk that this sort of event becomes dominated by a small clique of top notch experts who regularly produce perfect work which leaves the majority thinking 'There is no point in me even attempting to compete with them'.

    And this particularly applies to keen but inexperienced trainee photographers and those who can only afford modest kit and have limited free time.

    However, the problem as I see it, is how do you decide who joins each group? So as an alternative, I wonder if an 'Interesting but imperfect photo competition' or something similar which is open to all might be more practical.

    Currently, I am busy attempting to identify and categorise unknown insects and many other general photos that I haven't sorted out any suitable for inclusion into the current competition yet, although I always vote. But I keep looking at some of my images and thinking that is an unusual or interesting image but it would be destined to come last.

    And I always think that continued failure is bad for one's ego.

    I'm not really sure which way to go here, but I think you have started off an idea which may have some merit so let's see what others think about it.

    OK then I'll just pick one image at random for an example of something that might be unusual but I know that there is just too much wrong with it too have any hope of being a prize contender.

    Mini Comp for duffers
    Last edited by Geoff F; 23rd October 2009 at 07:17 PM. Reason: photo link added.

  3. #3
    veloman's Avatar
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    Re: Mini Comp for duffers

    Well said that man.Quite a lot of the photographs displayed are the result of some pretty serious 'tweaking' in PP with expensive tweaking programs.I,for one,don't possess a sophisticated program and can only display pic's with little or no PP enhancements,so voting becomes a very one-sided affair which appears to be decided on over rich colours,impossibly sharp focussing and unnatural perspectives with content taking the hindmost(in some cases).As mentioned this should be a lighthearted affair with posting room for comments ,instead of moving forward at a rapid rate to the next mini comp'.I am relatively new to the taking of photographs but have spent many years appreciating the art of photography(I'm a sculptor).Perhaps voting for the 'best' digital photograph is an oxymoron in these days of electronic images .Maybe,to give the mini comp's an edge, a judge could be appointed and declare a winner and the reasons given for the decision.I'm not a traditionalist and celebrate the day that digital photography arrived for me,as there are some truly inspiring and artistic effects created by relative beginners.Lets keep the comp's going but in a different format to voting.There,I've had my rant so I'm going for a lay down in a dark room with a box of chocolates

    V

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    Alis's Avatar
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    Re: Mini Comp for duffers

    I think it is actually better to have just one competition for everyone:

    First of all, you do not have to win all the time, I mean you do not have to be on top all the time and you do not have to win right away. If you are in the shallow part of of the pool, myself included, wait and try harder and you will get to the top. This is like life, we do not win and we know we are not going to win and we are OK with our limits.

    Second, I think having those good examples are an invaluable thing to have. You know that is where you should get to! A high bar is a good thing...

    Third, even if you have a separate competition for technically "challenged people", me included , you are not going to eliminate the possibility of someone dominating it all the time. There will be differences between them too, although I agree random occasional goodness will help some to get on top a few times.

    Fourth, people who vote will unconsciously take improvement into consideration. That is how it should be. If Jim B produces the same quality all the time, he will go down after a while as people get used to his usual level of excellence. He will go up again if he tops himself. That is how I vote. That is why Colin does not win all the time

    Anyway, I think everyone is a winner here. Enjoy the Fall colors while it lasts!
    Last edited by Alis; 24th October 2009 at 04:25 AM.

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    Re: Mini Comp for duffers

    Interesting discussion folks

    Some thoughts that come to mind ...

    - I've always found that with photography (and many other things in life) there are always going to people who are both better and worse than where I'm at, which is very humbling (unless you really are the best in the world - definately rules me out!)

    - If you have a seperate competition then inevitably you have a problem of "who should and shouldn't be in it" - and the whole thing becomes a nightmare to administer (let alone administer fairly)

    - If someone doesn't want to enter (and be "judged"), just pop the image into a seperate thread for critique instead. Also - you don't have to review the results if you'd rather not know how you did

  6. #6

    Re: Mini Comp for duffers

    Geoff & veloman - thanks for the interesting responses... at least when they sharpen
    the axe I won't be going alone! :-) And er, veloman - the problem with scoffing chocs
    in a dark room is that if you drop one... well, I expect you know the rest!


    Alis - hmmm... perhaps I ought to elucidate.

    Point 1 - I (and I suspect others too) have little or no desire to 'win all the time' - I think
    that is a particularly unhealthy concept in any form of society, as well as an indication of
    lapses in child-rearing and education.

    Point 2 - A comp such as that suggested surely would not preclude one from admiring,
    or aspiring towards the many examples of excellence scattered about these forums?

    Point 3 - Sorry, I'm unsure what you are trying to say here.

    Point 4 - I think this indicates you've taken my suggestion far too seriously - the very
    idea that someone might wish to top themselves over an on-line photo comp beggars
    belief... especially one entitled "mini comp for duffers"! :-)

    The proposed concept was merely that people could elect themselves into that category
    if they felt overwhelmed by the sheer technical prowess on display elsewhere... and not
    because it was an easier opportunity to 'win all the time'.


    Colin - "and the whole thing becomes a nightmare to administer" - not at all surprised to
    read this... the thought crossed my mind just as I hit the 'submit' button. :-) Have to say
    that the reactions were different to what I expected... regarding the point others made
    about how you decide who is eligible to enter which comp - maybe it's me, but I thought
    the whole idea was that people were welcome to enter any comp? - as already indicated,
    my original suggestion was somewhat lighthearted for those who wished to self-nominate
    themselves into such a category. Regardless, your other suggestion: "just pop the image
    into a seperate thread..." presumably finalises the situation - possibly not?! :-)

    And stone me, but wouldn't you know it? Just as I worked up enough courage (courtesy
    of the Chivas Bros. expertise) you close comp # 16... I know what you're going to say:
    "17's open, Bunter" - but it's still empty... so I can't yet, as I've got stage fright etc. etc.
    he said - clutching one of the wardrobe girls. :-))

    cheers
    B

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    Re: Mini Comp for duffers

    I have a simple question... Wth is a duffer?

  8. #8
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Mini Comp for duffers

    Thank you Bunter,

    Thank you for a most humourous response, you had me going for a minute there, but I ended up literally in tears (of laughter, not despair*)

    * I can see I need to be careful with you Bunter, just as Alis wasn't

    However, there is an element of seriousness to be addressed as I can see the point of view of others.

    The idea of a "competition for duffers" is somewhat socially dangerous, as has been said, who decides who is too good to enter the "duffers" comp? It is devisive (sp?) and not good.

    The concept of "challenged pictures" as Geoff suggests is, I think, what could be best catered for with Colin's suggestion of just post in a new thread and gather comments and commiserations over how the twigs got in the way. We've all been there!

    So, to give the less experienced a chance on a more level playing field, how about this for an idea;

    A competition thread for what are effectively non-manipulated images - let me suggest some closer definition on that (these are optional):
    a) Images should be straight from camera, with no PP, in camera or on computer, beyond possibly the following:
    b) Cropping is allowed (we cannot all afford the 'glass' to reach where we aspire to photograph)
    c) Only whole image adjustments are allowed, e.g. Levels, saturation, white balance, straightening, sharpening, fill light, etc. (so we can do mono and convert from RAW to jpg)

    That's all; so:
    No selectively applied adjustments (brush or masked), even of the kinds mentioned above
    No cloning or spot healing, etc.
    No compositing or blending of more than one image (no HDR)
    No transformations/warps/perspective adjustments
    No use of effects or plug-ins (how will I live without Neat Image )

    This should give members who can't or don't PP at all (or much) a far better chance.
    They are limited the sort of things you can do in free software such as Picasa (yes, I know that can do more, but I don't want to make this more complicated)

    I fully admit that I, for one, make extensive use of PP to make my mediocre captures into something more special, to me, the capture is just the start, so I don't know why everyone else doesn't - but what I believe is my view and other's views are just as important and this is a democracy (until I say otherwise .

    Thus it is unlikely I will be entering much, but I might (within the rules) if I have a particularly good capture.

    There still maybe areas where some, for example, those with perspective correcting lenses, or graduated ND filters, are going to have an advantage, but we'll see how it goes shall we?

    How's that for an idea, it is not new, but it was always tricky defining how much PP was too much, the concept of stopping with whole, single picture adjustements only, is what I bring to the table, so to speak.

    Discuss...?

    Oh, yes; and Bunter PUT THAT WARDROBE GIRL DOWN NOW, someone has posted in #17, so get to it

    Cheers all,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 24th October 2009 at 03:13 PM. Reason: improve definitions

  9. #9
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Mini Comp for duffers

    Quote Originally Posted by KentDub View Post
    I have a simple question... Wth is a duffer?
    Good one; I took it to mean either people or pictures that are not first rate....
    the question is, in who's eyes?
    Some have an overly modest view of their own abilities and may consider themselves duffers when others would not and vice versa.

    What's first rate?

    Search me
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 24th October 2009 at 02:49 PM.

  10. #10
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    Re: Mini Comp for duffers

    Main Entry: duf·fer
    Pronunciation: \ˈdə-fər\
    Function: noun
    Etymology: perhaps from duff, noun, something worthless
    Date: 1756
    1 a : a peddler especially of cheap flashy articles b : something counterfeit or worthless
    2 : an incompetent, ineffectual, or clumsy person; especially : a mediocre golfer
    3 Australian : a cattle rustler

    #2 should actually read JimB. especially the golfer part.

    Dave, +1 for your proposal.

  11. #11
    Alis's Avatar
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    Re: Mini Comp for duffers

    Quote Originally Posted by Bunter View Post

    Alis - hmmm... perhaps I ought to elucidate.
    I am all for trying new things. I am sure it will benefit me more than anyone else

    But "seriously", I still believe that it is better to compete with everyone else and not get overwhelmed at all (what is so overwhelming here anyway? ) and instead of pulling yourself up, not bring the bar down!

    And Dave, is there anyway to make sure no one is entering into your comeptition with PPed pictures? What if people cheat Do you take responsibility for that???
    Last edited by Alis; 24th October 2009 at 03:56 PM.

  12. #12

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    Re: Mini Comp for duffers

    Not sure if this is going to make any sense, but how about a series of competitions where the winner of one competition can't enter again for say 10 competitions.

    Would that help to 'spread the glory' or just reduce the overall standard?

    I'm not really sure on this. But above all else, we mustn't take these competitions too seriously; except as an individual skill learning curve.

  13. #13
    Alis's Avatar
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    Re: Mini Comp for duffers

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    or just reduce the overall standard?

    You guessed very well: after a few rounds, we have to borrow duffers from other forums to keep the competition going while others recover!

  14. #14
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Mini Comp for duffers

    Quote Originally Posted by Alis View Post
    And Dave, is there anyway to make sure no one is entering into your comeptition with PPed pictures? What if people cheat Do you take responsibility for that???
    How could I?
    Anyway, it is light hearted fun, or should be

    Surely it cannot be disputed that if you put non-PP'd shots against fully PP'd ones, 99% of the time, the ones that have had the extra time spent on them will almost inevitably win.

    My suggestion was just an idea, we don't have to do it and yes, the more rules you have, the more chance there is of someone either deliberately, or in plain, simple ignorance, breaking them
    It has happened before, but does it really matter? When it has arisen, I have taken the view that to point it out to the (invariably new) person at the time would have a major detrimental effect, and so was against the whole site's ethos.

    I don't think temporary bans/exclusions for winners are wise; the whole point of the challenges is to encourage people to get out and take photos and improve
    (and 10 is very a long time to wait)

    "Raising the bar" is definitely what we're after here for all members.

    To my mind it doesn't end when you press the shutter, I enjoy the PP too, but not everyone does.

    I would love it for all the non-PP'ers to embrace it and make their good captures better, because it really doesn't have to take long, or require expensive software. It is just a natural part of DIGITAL photography! I suspect with a bit of familiarity, most of Colin's 30 second make overs (TM) could be done in something as simple and cheap as Elements or GIMP.

    Cheers,

  15. #15

    Re: Mini Comp for duffers

    Greetings, Dave

    Thanks for your kind, considered comments - hmm, I do feel (ever so slightly) as if I have
    opened a can of worms here... hopefully not!

    And as for number 17 - you are indeed correct - on both counts... wardrobe girl has finally
    been returned to 'wardrobe' - those coat-hangers are very awkward, have you noticed? :-)

    Right, off I go - to make a complete fool of myself... The Invasion of The Duffers, part 1!!

    BTW - that's a very nice mallard, Dave.

    cheers,
    B

    PS - Done it! - but talk about beads of perspiration.... and I can see it's going to be a real
    tussle for 9th position - oh, well, I'm off for a siesta.
    Last edited by Bunter; 25th October 2009 at 01:17 PM.

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