1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Almost there, but not quite

Discussion in 'Talking Pictures' started by Roger Hicks, Oct 16, 2014.

  1. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    Hi Kate, Thoughts are with you storm-wise today. Hope all will be well. Almost a cheap shot above, I think, and doesn't help in repairing the damage done by some poor or bad judging. :( We've all been mauled unfairly at times. Now, it's ointment time.

    So, there are two lines to be pursued: improving judging and improving photographers understanding of good photography & image creation. I think that going out and judging probably helps me in my own photography. Certainly, I have to try and analyse why some pictures stand out on the easel. Some clubs have the whole entry racked up down the side of the hall - each print then goes up to the easel for judging - and that can be interesting as you notice certain things about the photographs. ;) More later. Cheers, Oly
  2. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    Point taken, but frustration can provoke me...
    I'm still alive, oil tank still upright, roof still on, but it has turned very cold!

    I do appreciate that one can feel very protective of one's images. We know what we wanted to say and if others can't see that, then it can be frustrating. Art is still measured by the tastes of today, however, and if what I produce isn't satisfying that taste, then I can only expect at the very least, that it will not be rated by the viewer. I can't take it out on the viewer, however, and if I want to continue in that way, then I have to expect the same reactions, from wherever they come.
    I have no truck with judges. They have their criteria of what is a 'good' image and I certainly have come to realize that over two years of entering Salons. There is also a definite cultural and geographical bias towards certain types of image - and I accept that too.
    I don't think I know better than any judge.
    The question (for me) becomes one of which genre, level of expertise in producing the image that's in my head, my own satisfaction with the result - and who I want to share the result with. Because I think it's fair to say we want to show our visions to others if only for them to understand us better.
  3. MickLL

    MickLL Well-Known Member

    I don't disagree with you and find the example of the cretinous comment quite appalling.

    I can't help feeling, though, that Mr and Mrs Hicks are far removed from the rest of us. Maybe more highly motivated to seek out and grasp opportunity. Most of us are not serious in the way that you are. For most of us it's a sideline, a hobby and not a job. I, for example, would like to spend more time but I have other commitments and in the interests of remaining a couple have to compromise.

    For me doing a single print, mounted but unframed, or producing a digital file takes just a few minutes that can be fitted between other things.

    Have to go now (family calling!!!)

  4. PhotoEcosse

    PhotoEcosse Well-Known Member

    I am keeping out of the "club judges" quality debate as I suspect it may be fundamentally different down in England to the situation here in Scotland.

    Most of our judges are highly respected by club members, not least because they often perform dual roles - they also provide us with some of our "speaker slots" for club nights. When you have had a superlative presentation by a renowned photographer and then, the following year perhaps, he turns up as a competition judge, members do tend to take his constructive criticism fairly well. It is always easier to take artistic or technical criticism from someone whose own work you admire.

    Our judging is done in points out of 20 which, even if it is almost unheard of for a judge to award fewer than 10 points, does allow for a more meaningful gradation of scores.

    Also, judges always have the prints and PDI files delivered to them about 12 days before the competition night and most would claim to spend between 8 and 12 hours on the task, often going through the images three or four times before arriving at final scores.

    But, out of all of that, I would say that the most important part is that the judges are respected by the club members on the basis of their own work.
  5. KeithLeslie

    KeithLeslie Well-Known Member

    Mick, Roger,
    I have to agree with both of you here. Art has been involved in my job at times, even as an engineer; now I'm retired, it still plays its part - I produce a magazine for a local club (not a photo club, I hasten to add!!) and that is time-consuming.

    I have limitations on my hobby of photography, not least the cost of it. An expensive camera doesn't make a poor photographer good, but it sure makes a good photographer better for some types of photography. But I have other hobbies and interests too.

    As we get old, time is running out for us; do we want to spend hours and hours playing Photoshop games? Well, some do, some don't. I don't like manipulating images much; if I haven't 'got it right' when I pushed the button, I sort of feel that I've failed. But digital photography is so much about post-processing. One wonders what Constable or Picasso would have felt about all this post-processing!

    I don't think I'm particularly protective of my images (quoting Kate here); but I do feel protective of what I was trying to convey with them. Using Beardy as an example, as I shot it (him?) I saw things in him that I wanted to convey in a portrait; manipulating the image to the point that makes the image 'good' from a competition perspective changes his character - for me, anyway - and doesn't convey what I was trying to convey about him. That's quite hard to assimilate.

    I think we, all of us, have to make decisions about what we want of our work/hobby, and that's the REALLY hard bit!
  6. KeithLeslie

    KeithLeslie Well-Known Member

    Different in parts of England, too, I suspect. Our judges get to see the work on the night. I haven't yet seen one of them give a talk! Print comps are better than DPIs - with DPIs, they get a quick flick through, then go through commenting and marking on the fly. Some don't even have websites, so you can't see their own work.

    As I've said, I think the current system, especially open comps, is unfair to judges AND entrants.
  7. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Keith,

    Highlight: Eh? It's a lot LESS trouble than developing and printing film! For that matter, Frances can spend half a day or a day hand colouring a print -- and she hates digital. Unless you enjoy it, why do it? I don't enjoy electronic PP, so I don't do much of it: I absolutely disagree that digital photography is all about PP. The analogy with painters is hopeless too: EVERYTHING Constable did was "post processing". How could it be otherwise?

    Otherwise: Yes, the big difference between most people who are really good, and those who are competent and win the occasional competition, normally comes down to a single word: application. It's the old "The more I practise, the luckier I get". Let's say I put 10x as much effort into my photography as the average club amateur, or even 100x. It doesn't matter. I know plenty who put in 10x to 100x as much as I do. By an extraordinary coincidence, they're the ones with the exhibitions, the monographs about them...

    In the words of the old Spanish proverb, "Take what you want, and pay for it, saieth the Lord."


  8. KeithLeslie

    KeithLeslie Well-Known Member

    Missing my point, Roger?
    1. Yes - but you also lose the anticipation!

    2. It is not 100%, but probably 90% about PP if you want to win competitions!

    3. No, no, no!! Constable et al did sketches and then committed to canvas (as I once did!!). They didn't create the oil painting then go back and start adjusting it, did they (nor me!)? At least, not in the major way that Photoshop does!! Photographers grab the 'final' result, then the real work starts, surely?
  9. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Keith,

    1 -- Never seen the attraction.

    2 -- Bear in mind my remarks about competitions...

    3 -- No, no, no. Sketch; underpainting; painting; revision. Days or weeks of work. Look at the countless X-rays of paintings which show different hand positions; holding book; holding ferret... Photoshop does MUCH less than that. Crop; colour balance; exposure; sharpening (if at all); a minute or two the lot. Sometimes add grad, dodge, burn: usually no more than 5-10 minutes at most, unless you are trying to rescue the unrescuable or add tricks that in most cases shouldn't be added.


  10. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    1. Yes, anticipation. But - did you never manipulate that print? From the film you used, the developer, the manipulation under the enlarger, the type of paper - what do you call that if not post processing?

    2. Silk purse out of a sow's ear springs to mind here. You'll never have a winner if what you start off with is no good.

    3. I suspect the first strokes were not the last! Plenty evidence (x-ray) for pretty major changes having taken place - and I wonder how often paint was scraped off and reapplied. The finished vision was in his head and he had to make it appear on the canvas.

    From one (you) who is currently lauding add-ons in post processing, how much auto PP are you relying on?

  11. Thunderer

    Thunderer Well-Known Member

    I am amazed that anyone can expect anyone to talk sensibly about, say 100, prints and DPIs having seen them for only a few minutes before having to perform. The judges that disappoint me are those who have had the images for 10 days or so then fail to talk in anything but cliches and often start their comments with " YES.......WELL...... Hmmmm..". And really irritating are those that insist on holding a card in front of a print to show how they would crop it, which is a bit of an insult. Done for at least 50% of prints a couple of weeks ago.
    Having said that it is an impossible task to award art marks out of 20 and comment with interesting thoughts but if that is what members want so be it.
  12. KeithLeslie

    KeithLeslie Well-Known Member

    Yes, Roger, but it's different technology.

    Photoshop does MUCH less than that. -I don't think that's really true: Would you go all over an oil painting to "change the exposure"? Don't think so! Photoshop does things, many things, that you can't do in a painting, especially when you consider all the effects you can use. (If you're mad enough!!! Or if your job demands it)
    a minute or two the lot I've found myself spending hours on PS at times; trying various things, not satisfied, save, go back, try something different, etc., etc. I've also often thought that the first attempt was the best, but computers tend to seduce one into thinking that it could be just a little better if... Damned things are addictive, especially when you spent the last 30+ years of your working life chained to one a lot of the time, as I did. (I travelled a lot, worked in various facilities abroad, etc, but everything since about 1980 has involved a computer. And I have the wrist injuries to prove it...) The problem, IMHO, is that you CAN! And human nature being what it is, if you CAN, you WILL.

    And now I have to spend about two hours mounting prints.....that I printed yesterday. And my printer had a blocked nozzle...so an hour and a half and ten sheets of paper later, it finally worked properly again....another afternoon largely used up for little gain.:eek::rolleyes:
  13. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    Well, although I'm talking to myself here, I can honestly say I did more producing a print from film than I ever do using post processing of a digital image.
    If you get your settings right in the first place, and compose carefully, and use the light appropriate to your image, there should be little to correct afterwards.
  14. KeithLeslie

    KeithLeslie Well-Known Member

    I have a recollection of saying that in my formative years of photography I used positive film mainly. I did make manipulations in terms of pushing the ASA and processing accordingly; but that's only one aspect. Yes, I did some dodging and burning when printing, and an occasional collage and re-photograph - but that's nothing like PS is capable of.

    2. You're putting words in my mouth with that.

    3. I very much doubt that any major painters did what people do with PS.

    I was pleased with one plug-in, that adds a function to PSP. Remember, PSP is 1/10th the price of PS - it isn't as sophisticated a tool! Some of the other Topaz plug-ins look useful - but I don't think I would buy them unless I had a specific need. And "auto PP"? As opposed to? If you are asking do I use 'smart fixes' in Elements - never. Nor in PSP without manual intervention, and then only one, and only occasionally.
  15. KeithLeslie

    KeithLeslie Well-Known Member

    After your comment above, I'm out of here.
  16. beatnik69

    beatnik69 Well-Known Member

    Many of the old masters did go back and rework their paintings. Analysis of some paintings has shown that paint was scraped off and painted over. Sometimes all of the paint was removed and the canvas reused for a different painting. I bet they would have loved Ctrl+Z :D
  17. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Keith,

    Indeed. And I CAN stop. So I do.

    How does it take longer to mount inkjet prints than silver halide?

    Finally, how long does it take to paint a picture? A good deal longer, in most cases, than even the most exhaustive Photoshop session. So I can't quite see your argument.


  18. KeithLeslie

    KeithLeslie Well-Known Member

    "How does it take longer to mount inkjet prints than silver halide? " It 's not the mounting that takes longer (Didn't think I said that anyway) but you didn't have to mess about trying to get your printer to work properly with silver halide...! Had the same annoying problem this afternoon. Took more than an hour to get it to print properly again today, so I only mounted half the number I intended to.

    On your second point: in terms of time, you can't compare the two technologies. But they have a fundamentally different premise; the artist strives to get what he saw in his mind on the canvas, whereas the photographer should have done that when he/she pressed the button. Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems to me that the use of PS by hobby photographers has far more to do with the aim of doing well in competition - something, in general, that the artist wasn't trying to do.

    I'm not denigrating the use of PS, but the use of it is coming out of a different mindset. If that's the way to put what I'm trying to say. I know photographers who are absolutely hooked on it, and their photography itself is almost secondary to playing with PS. Each to his own, I guess.

    I try to minimise what I do with it (well, PSP); maybe that has a big part to play in my not doing as well as I would like in club comps. But even so, I don't see PShopping an image as a five or ten minute job, if I want a good result.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2014
  19. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Keith,

    What takes you so long? What do you do? What are you calling a "good result"?

    I treat digital images as improvable and easily cropped colour slides. Perhaps decades of shooting slides accustomed me to trying to get it right in camera. Colour balance is much easier to set in PP than it was in the days of filters in front of the lens, and takes seconds. Same with grads. Instead of bracketing I can adjust exposure slightly in PP.

    And: I'm trying to realize an image, just as a painter is. I can do a lot by careful selection of viewpoint and focal length, things a painter can cheat with, much slower, later.

    Sorry about misunderstanding "mounting prints", but as you said you had to spend a couple of hours doing it, you can see why I misunderstood. As for the time taken sorting out your printer, the time spent in mixing and replenishing chemicals is at least comparable with the time spend wrestling with printers -- and unless you have a full-time darkroom, there's the set-up time with a real darkroom too.

    Digital photography is, in its nature, quick'n'easy. Beyond a certain point, as Kate pointed out, it's silk purses and sows' ears. If a picture doesn't work: accept it, and move on. Take a better picture next time. It'll be easier to process, too.


  20. KeithLeslie

    KeithLeslie Well-Known Member

    As you did, so did I - decades of slides. So I expect to get it right in camera. I like to take spontaneous shots where possible, and they do tend to need more work, hence more time, if I want to submit them in a comp. Witness: 'Beardy'. Maybe I should have left him in colour, but you can't put a colour shot in a B&W comp!! I don't generally try to make a poor shot good, as you say, you can't. But please remember the title of this thread: "Almost there, but not quite". I played with Beardy for a long time, on and off; mainly because I couldn't get the effect that RMike put up. I went through hoops trying to get that effect, until I installed Topaz and bingo - it was a very quick result.

    I was conscious that it wasn't perfect when I first put it on here, and did make some adjustments, as much as I could. I didn't think it should have been marked as low as it was in the comp, especially compared with the image 'Kirsten', and with what I have submitted before and received much higher score. I was puzzled by the low score, and the inane judge's comment didn't help one iota; whereas comments here have been very helpful.

    Also, though, many digital cameras don't give results in camera that are good enough for competition; with slides you got a good 'un or not - period. I find a lot of adjustments are compensating for limitations of the camera itself.

    Gotta go - dinner's ready.

Share This Page