I was in town for the March Saint Paul Camera Club salon, so I could hear for myself what the judge had to say. In hindsight, maybe I should have gone on vacation somewhere instead!
Prints: Open color
I hate to repeat myself, but I love shooting the state fair midway rides at night and I had a few more images I wanted to try printing. I printed this one on metallic paper, so the print has a lovely sheen to it.
The judge couldn’t believe it was a single image (has he never been on the midway at night?), but he put it in the awards with a 9 because he thought it was cool regardless of whether it was a single long exposure or a composite of multiple images.
Morning along the river in Hoi An
The morning light in Hoi An, Vietnam, was just amazing, and I thought these boats showed it off well. I was considering this image for the upcoming Photo Travel competition, but thought I would Photoshop out the people and garbage bins in the background. That would have made it ineligible for Photo Travel. As it was, that Photoshop exercise was too complicated, so it ended up almost a straight shot.
The judge also liked this one enough to put in the awards, this time with an 8.
Digital: Photo journalism
For once I was excited about the digital competition. I see myself as more of a photo journalist than an artist, so figured this would be an easy one. Still, I struggled with what to enter.
Women’s rally supporting equal rights
A shot from the recent Women’s March in Saint Paul seemed like a logical choice. However, despite the number of shots I took, there were only a handful that seemed any good.
This was my favorite because it had an interesting looking subject, a clear message, and the capitol dome in the background – with only a little distraction from the construction cranes. (The cranes were positioned in a way that made them almost impossible to avoid.) It actually took me a long time to work my way into a position where I could get a protester with a sign and with the capitol visible in the background. It was a lot harder than it looks!
The judge hated it. He couldn’t articulate why, but he really hated it. He suggested maybe there wasn’t enough contrast in her outfit or maybe the capitol could have been better framed, none of which really made any sense. He really didn’t have a reason, he just hated it. (Sometimes all you learn from competition is that judges have biases they can’t or won’t explain.)
End of the Season at Port Superior
With the women’s rally having just occurred I could easily have entered two shots from that. However, I figured there would be a lot of shots from this or other political rallies and events, so I wanted something different for my second entry.
With that in mind, I decided to enter a shot I took up at Port Superior last fall.
I love this shot. I’ll admit I struggled a bit with how to crop it: whether or not to leave in the boom that the boat is suspended from. With any crop, I love the way the boat seems to move toward you out of the fog, how the overall scene feels cold and lonely with just one guy working beneath the boat and all the other boats sort of adrift in the soft light. It feels like the end of the season.
The judge hated it almost as much as my women’s march photo. Again, he wasn’t precisely sure why, but his recommendation was to zoom in and show just the upper half of the guy and the portion of the boat where the water is hitting it. Frankly, that’s a dumb crop if your story is about the end of the season at a marina – with that crop you wouldn’t even know he is cleaning a boat!