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FishyFish

rllmuk photo contest

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ISTR someone proposing something about a rllmuk photo contest a while back but I've not seen anything come of it. Anybody interested in doing something?

My suggestions would be a monthly contest on a set theme; No restrictions on the kit used - as long as the picture can be seen here then it doesn't matter if you use 5 grand's worth of pro DSLR, or a Kodak Instamatic you bought for 20p at a boot sale; One entry per person; Judging to be done by way of a poll. Subject matter picked by previous winner.

It could run on a calendar month basis. e.g.

First day of month - first contest starts.

last day of month - first contest closes

First day of second month - voting begins and second contest starts.

Fifteenth day of second month - voting closes and winner of first contest announced.

last day of second month - second contest closes

and so on.

The first two month's subjects would need to be chosen in advance. e.g. Light and Shade, Buildings, Winter, Laughter, Water, Toys, Silouhette, Perspective, or whatever.

We have a similar contest a work and it's good fun - having a subject to focus on, and being able to compare results, techniques etc with fellow entrants is a great way to improve your skills and add interest to photography.

EDIT: Current rules (for discussion / amendment)

Rules (we can tweak these as necessary as the thing goes on)

- Photographs must be taken by you - no nicking them off the Web. tongue.gif You can use older shots if you want - you don't have to take new shots especially for the contest.

- One picture per person.

- No excessive digital manipulation (i.e. adding a more dramatic sky from another photo to your picture). Playing with levels, saturation, cloning out small unwanted elements etc is ok though.

- Equipment: Anything goes as long as the results can be seen from here.

- Give your picture a name, and provide details of how it was taken (equipment, location, exposure, aperture, any manipulation made etc) as applicable.

- Voting takes place when the contest closes.

- The winner of the contest gets to choose the next subject.

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I think it's a great idea, I'd totally be up for it.

Doesn't need to be quite so complicated though - why not just run it on the same basis of the writer's corner? Contest closes on the 31st of the month (or whatever), voting runs to the 5th of the next month(just by posts in the thread, although I guess photography might end up with more people involved), and then the winner picks the theme for the next month. Seems to work okay.

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Comments on rules:

- Cloning out areas is allowed? Disagree.

- I think it would be better to stipulate the shot should be taken during the month.

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I don't mind some small degree of cloning i.e. removing a lens flare, or a small out-of-focus bird in a landscape scene etc. Disagree with any extensive cloning (removing large objects and so forth).

I don't mind people using back catalouge images, and I'm not sure how we could prevent this happening other than relying on trust, but the idea of going out specially to take a picture does appeal. I don't have much of a library anyway, so it's no skin off my nose either way. I would expect people to state if it was an older image though.

Happy to change the rules on either issue. Hopefully, if the contest gains interest, then the rules will get revised and balance themselves out over the coming months.

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Can we limit entries to standard aspect ratios please? Either 4:3 or 3:2.

Any particular reason?

Cropping is a good and simple way of making the most of a picture. I can't see any real benefit in restricting the aspect ratio of a shot.

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You can make practically anything look good by cropping out the elements that you don't like and making your print an irregular shape. If you stick to the aspect ratio you need to get it printed at a standard print shop, it encourages you to think a lot more about what elements to include in the shot, and were you need to take the shot from to get the picture you want. Basically it's about seeing the shot in your head, and realising a print that's as close to that as possible.

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I understand where you're coming from but I still think cropping is a valid way of improving a shot (certainly for the sake of this contest) - in some cases I think that considering how you could crop a picture from its native aspect can be a part and parcel of the composition process itself. Sometimes it's not possible to compose a shot without extraneous elements creeping in, maybe because you're stuck with a fixed lens, or because it's not possible to get in the right position to take the shot without something getting in the way. Plus, what's to stop someone cropping their picture while still keeping a 4:3 ratio?

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To me, cropping within 3:2 (for DSLR) or 4:3 for point and shoot is fair game. As you say, perhaps you're on fixed lens/where you need to be is inaccesible. Perhaps I didn't stress enough that my complaint is not the act of cropping, but modification of aspect ratio in doing so.

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Surely that's my point exactly? Take a photograph, don't butcher it from the dimensions that define a photograph. Then surely you've just made an image?

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Its aspect ratio isn't what defines it as a photograph.

You might as well suggest a painting contest but limit everybody to having the same shaped canvas. Daft.

What if somebody wants a photograph of a purely circular object? Taking the photo to your rules means there's going to be dead space for no other reason other than that of sticking to some arbitrary ratio defined at the camera designers office.

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Your comparison with painting doesn't hold as canvas is easily cut and framed to any size, whereas photographs historically are tied to an enlargement of the negative printed onto standardised paper size.

Anyhow, enough of this discussion.

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Disagree. Obviously you can make the projection of the latent image larger than the paper size you're developing onto, and of course you can then cut the final print to whatever aspect ratio you want. But why would you ever want to change the aspect ratio on the enlargement?

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Why? To cut out unnecessary information of course.

I've seen myself in the darkroom with templates to chop off the top & bottom of a print, giving a more panoramic feel. It's really not that big a deal.

In fact to highlight the silly nature of sticking to your films' aspect ratio - you've then got the variance in the film stock itself (such as 6X6, 35mm, and 617 giving ratios of 1:1, 1.5:1 and 3:1 respectively) as well as the difference in your enlarger, and that's before you've applied the ratio of the paper. If you take my earlier example of wanting to shoot a perfectly circular object and then compose it a square format, then by your logic I'd have to go out and buy a 6x6 format camera. What's the point when I could just crop the one I've got?

A photograph isn't defined by its aspect ratio simply because there are so many cameras, film stock and paper stocks with various (competing) ratios.

What you're looking for here is an application of photographic purity - the old 'what you shoot is what you have' school of thought. Which is all very well if you're looking to explore creativity within a very strict set of rules, but if you ask me, such conformity is a historical notion best left in the past.

It's all about the final image. How you created it doesn't matter.

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For your circular object, just shoot medium format. You'll argue that it's a archaic 'purist' aspect ratio, stifle creativity etc. So let's just agree to disagree.

I shall consider myself able to crop freely for my future submissions.

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Tim you n00b. Cropping is ok cos it's not changing the image subject. You're only removing parts that needn't be in. It'd be like saying "NO BORDERS COS A PROPER PHOTO WOULDN'T HAVE THEM"

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So, how's best to handle voting then?

Do we go with the method I proposed in the original message, or do we have, say, a five day voting period following which the new competition starts with whatever subject is chosen by the winner?

I'm easy either way but now's the time to decide.

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For your circular object, just shoot medium format. You'll argue that it's a archaic 'purist' aspect ratio, stifle creativity etc.

Nah, I'll argue that it's a daft expense when I could just as well crop an image from my 350d. :D

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Did we agree that shots should be taken specifically for the contest (no old pictures allowed)?

I never changed the rules for March, but will do so for April onwards if people agree.

Cheers,

Fishy

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