April 2017 Saint Paul Camera Club Salon

Once again I was out of town for the salon. However, this time I found a friend to take notes, so I have some idea what the judges were thinking.

Prints: Open monochrome

As usual, finding and creating suitable monochrome images was a challenge

Leaving the courtyard

I took this shot in a castle in Varberg, Sweden. The museum there must have costumed interpreters, because there were quite a number of people in costume. I liked the fact that these women were dressed in colors that complemented the architecture around them. I also liked the lines, the sense of the wind blowing through the courtyard, and the muted palate.

Varberg castle Sweden - www.explorationvacation.net

Or rather, I liked it when I shot it.

(This is the original I was working with.)

I didn’t really like the final image in color or black and white.

But I thought it had potential, so I cropped it and started experimenting in both Topaz Texture Effects and Impression. I manipulated at least a half-dozen presets before getting a couple images I liked. Unfortunately, that was when I realized I should have used Phopshop to remove the modern-era downspots BEFORE I started editing in Topaz. Dang.

Eventually I had an image without downspouts that I mostly liked.

Varberg castle - www.playingwithphotography.com

Lane told me I needed to take out the window at the top because it was too distracting, but I was out of time and energy, so I left it. The judge agreed with him. He thought he would have put it into the awards if I had either taken out the window or cropped it out.

Ancient dwelling in Arizona

I’ve been trying to create good monochrome prints from the images I captured at the Palatki ruins (near Sedona) since I shot them a year ago. They seem like they need to be monochrome, but nothing I tried worked the way I envisioned.

I finally decided to just take the “best” of my many attempts and enter it because I didn’t have anything else.

Palatki cliff dwelling - www.PlayingWithPhotographhy.com

The judge liked it enough to put it in the awards with an 8, and I was pretty happy with that!

Digital: Travel photography

After my utter failure last month in what I thought would be an easy category for me (Photo Journalism), I was a little worried about how I would do in what should be another easy category for me. Of course, that meant that I second-guessed all my initial decisions about what to enter.

I ended up changing my mind at the last moment and entering two images I’d not even considered entering earlier. I’m not sure why I did that, except I maybe figured I didn’t have anything to lose and that everyone else would enter scenery shots, so I would try something different.

Signs of life at the Sultan’s tomb, Meknes, Morocco

The Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail is a gorgeous place, with the actual tomb reached through a series of sublime coutyards. This was taken in the innermost of those courtyards – the mausoleum with the tomb (a sacred space for prayer) is on the other side of the doorway in this picture. The traditional Moroccan shoes indicate that a couple of people are paying their respects inside the mausoleum.

I’ve always loved this image even though I’ve never been sure exactly how to crop it.

I printed it on canvas several years ago and think it is one of the best images I have, but it’s never sold, so I wasn’t quite sure what to think. I figured it would be helpful to hear what a judge has to say.

Inner courtyard Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail - www.playingwithphotography.com

The judge liked it, although he seemed to think the door frame wasn’t quite straight and that I could fix that in Photoshop. (It probably isn’t exactly straight, but that’s probably a construction issue, rather than a photo editing error.) For that reason he “only” gave it a 9.

Waiting in Sapa, Vietnam

 Our seminar the month before included a section on what made a good travel image. A strong sense of a specific place seemed to be important. I wasn’t convinced this image of the Red Dao hostess at a restaurant was technically good enough to be a winner (it’s a tad noisy). However, it has a lot of emotion and a very strong sense of place, so I decided to give it a try.

Waiting in Sapa Vietnam - www.playingwithphotography.com

Apparently the judge thought it worked because he gave it a 10.

 

Needless to say I was much happier with this month’s digital competition!

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