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I guess someone has to say it


Guest Jaybee

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Guest Jaybee

This post will either be deleted, get me kicked off the forum or put me in front of a firing squad without a blindfold or last ciggy but having had a few emails and pms from people who feel the same way I do I'm prepared to put "pen to paper" and state that the judging of the nature competition was an absolute travesty.

First I'll congratulate Peter for winning as is right and non of the below applies to him whatsoever. he was in the final three and the members voted his image top so all credit to him. We have spoken on the phone a couple of times and I am sure he may well be aware a post from me was on the cards.

 

Everyone enters a competition to win, me included, and if we do win we are delighted - if we dont we are disappointed but shrug our shoulders, congratulate the winner and try again next time.

That only applies if we see that the competition was judged fairly and on merit. From the communications I have recieved the competition blatantly didnt get judged on merit.

To see superb images like Jans grasshopper and wasp, Steves Wall brown butterfly, TubularBelles web shot, Peters chaffinch, NurseJudys bramble shot and my own two images not even make the final makes an absolute mockery of the competition title Wildlife and Nature and leads me to believe that not an ounce of thought was given to who deserved to be in the final.

 

I think at the very least this should make it part an parcel of judging that a brief reason be given as to why the final three were chosen.

I think also that certain criteria should be used AND followed so that those entering the competition feel as if they at least have some chance of winning. The competitions are for fun but the fun element is soon lost when clearly the best shots dont even get through to a vote.

If it sounds like sour grapes then of course it is but I suspect even if my kingfisher had been juggling an eel on the end of its beak and at the same time reeling in sticklebacks with a Penn rod and fixed spool reel it still wouldnt have got to the final three.

 

The criteria I would personally like to see would be :-

First - eliminate all entries that dont adhere to the title of the competition and in this competition I'm sorry NurseJudy but I would have eliminated your clematis. It's a cultivated flower and thus by default not nature or wildlife in the strict sense of the word. Had the competition been titled flora and fauna then no problem.

Same with Cliffs goldfinch which I know he was shocked not to see in the final (the best tecnically taken image in the competition in my opinion), but wildbird on a feeder never stikes natural to me.

Hellbelly and Clifftops shots I cant comment on because I dont know the flowers so am unaware if they are wildflowers or not.

Second - once the entries are thinned down to those that qualify then a quick scan for those which technically are too bad to overlook - out of focus, half a head missing etc etc.

Final phase - selecting the three finalists - this should be a balanced and off setting of technical attributes, composition, eye appeal and judges preference. Bearing the above in mind my finalists would have been.

My kingfisher shot - this could easily have gone out under the final phase as technically it was very poor. A crap day meant no shadow detail and no depth in the colour so it certainly wouldnt make a wall hanging but it was in focus and had enough interest to out weight the other points and be kept in the final.

Jans grasshopper because it meets all of the final phase criteria (could even have been pushed to a silhouette which I think would have been stunning)

Cliffs curlew which composition and colourwise is absolutely brilliant - reminds me of a large print above the fireplace that shows a pride of lions on a hot dusty African plain.

My personal favourite to win from those would have to be Cliffs curlew.

 

Now I know everyone has their own likes/dislikes etc and everyone on the forum could come up with a different trio but as long as it is done with thought and consideration to the images themsleves then no-one would have any issues.

 

Maybe Finepix did pick the three she personally thought were the best entires but when you look down through the images I really cant see what direction she was coming from.

 

I would prefer this to be discussed rather than be yelled and screamed at and accept you may all have different points of view to me - if so then thats what makes us tick.

 

Oh I had better add that this isnt a personal attack on Finepix (though it appears to be) - I simply do not agree with or understand how she reached her decision - and yes I do know it was her decision but I think in this particular instance that decision has to be questioned.

Edited by Jaybee
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Jaybee - if we ever get to the point where a thread is deleted simply because it raises objections to something and avoids personal attacks, the forum will be in big trouble. If we ever get to the point where a user is tossed off for posting an objection, then the forum is probably finished.

 

I personally liked the 'bird looking at a fish looking at a bird' shot as well as any wildlife photo I can remember. In fact, even though Jan & I were happy with her pics, we thought that yours and several others were better.

" My choices in life were either to be a piano player in a whore house or a politician. And to tell the truth, there's hardly any difference!" - Harry Truman, 33rd US President

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I am not going to give voice on what should or should not be done in reguard to this matter ..... nor do I offer a comment or opinion.

 

But did you notice that some time ago I stopped entering the photo competition ....

Edited by MrWiggly

The Older I get .. The better I was.

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Pm from Finepix before she went on holiday, where she is now.

 

Hi Steve

 

Well I'm off in the morning and thought I'd drop you a quick message regarding the challenge.

It's looking quite close so could easily be a tie.

 

If this situation does happen then my final choice of the three is 'Down in the Mouth' by Rabster.

Hopefully though there will be a nice simple win come Saturday.

 

Have a good few weeks.

Julia.

 

She was a little concerned about the vote going back to the judge if a draw had happened as she knew she would not be here when the poll had finished. So she let me know who would be her choice if it came to a tie. I did not need to disclose this but feel its necessary as it does show some consistancy of choosing winners.

 

No one is going to delete you or kick you from the forum for saying what is on your mind, over my dead body maybe but otherwise not. You do have some valid points and I think that a few words on each photo a judge picks is a definate step in the right direction as I too sometimes think the odd choice here and there does not fit the criteria as listed by the judge. In the description of the nature challenge Julia mentioned in the first sentence walking up and down a hedgerow, so this is exactly what I did when I captured the Butterfly, something that I ordinarilly would not do.

 

Although I am a keen gardener with a life long interest in plants, flowers etc etc, I did not know that Clematis was a cultivated flower untill recently told. My final three, using the criteria from the post would have been NurseJudys "Blackberries Ready For The Pie", Jaybee's "Seeing eye to eye" and rabsters "Down in the mouth", I would still have picked rabsters shot as my winner. However I will say that I am also drawn to Jaybees "White on Pink" too, and if I had to be the judge on this one it might have knocked the Kingfisher out.

 

We have been doing these challenges just about ten months now and maybe we should look at how it is run, defined, voted and judged on, to improve it overall.

 

Steve...:)

There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs. - Ansel Adams

 

Focal Planet

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I am not going to give voice on what should or should not be done in reguard to this matter ..... nor do I offer a comment or opinion.

 

But did you notice that some time ago I stopped entering the photo competition ....

 

But I guess there must be a reason, or you would not have posted here. And seeing as though you have never mentioned it before but half say something now... If there are issues or problems with this thing then lets get them out in the open and discuss them, find a solution and move on. This part of AN is for everyone, my role is to just organise it.

 

Steve...:)

There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs. - Ansel Adams

 

Focal Planet

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To my eye,(as a non entrant) Jaybees White on Pink" was a superb photo, beautifully composed and technically very good.

 

The Kingfishers I like :), but they can be very obliging when you manage to get in the right position,,..sorry Jay, but they are one of the few birds which will sit and pose for the camera :)

 

The shot of the three gulls (?) was to my eye, simply a snap shot, if I had taken it, I would probably have deleted it from the camera........but.........I didn't take the shot, so who am I to judge?

 

 

Nothing else caught my eye...but then I seem to have stopped entering as well............................. can't seem to find the inspiration at the moment.

 

We all look for different things in a picture, I tend to think (rightly or wrongly) that if you enter a pic of a static object, then it should be perfect, after all there is no rush, you can often come back another day when the light is better.

 

Anything which moves, or is likely to suddenly move or fly off, should be judged differently, and a certain degree of latitude given re depth of field and even a slight blurring of part of the image (due to movement) is acceptable to my eye.

 

There are of course other points in the equation, and these are the amount of time the entrant has available in order to get his or her pics, the equipment availabe, and the experience of the entrant.

 

All said and done though, it is open to all, and therefor it is inevitable that quite a few of the entrants will "fall below the standard" that each of us set ourselves, and even though we may not agree with the selection, it is what the current judge sees that matters.

 

One could also argue that as this comp has been running for getting on for a year, coupled with other pics like we get on "pic of the day" then the standard is there to be seen and has been set pretty high, and so entries should be expected to at the very least come somewhere near to the norm.

 

Or should we abandon any idea of judging on technical quality, and simply go by the content and how it meets the criteria...for example, a blurred shot of a Hawk striking its prey is pretty "wild", but a squirrel sitting on a branch, technically perfect is surely not in the sme class? or is it?

 

Den

"When through the woods and forest glades I wanderAnd hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,And hear the brook, and feel the breeze;and see the waves crash on the shore,Then sings my soul..................

for all you Spodders. https://youtu.be/XYxsY-FbSic

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Firstly I would like to congratulate Jaybee on having the gumption to speak his mind. I'm not saying this will happen here, but once in a work situation I spoke up on behalf of the team only to not get the back up I expected leaving me as the sole voice and that is a big risk you take in this type of situation.

 

I imagine this was extrememly difficult for you to do because no-one feels comfortable blowing their own trumpet but in this case I expect you received many pms from people stating that your Kingfisher or one or two other entries should have gotten into the final three. Every competition we all have slightly different opinions on who should have gotten into the finals but they are generally fairly agreeable. I think that was has happened this time is not so much that there was anything wrong with the ones that did get in, but moreso that there was at least one very obvious and unanimous worthy entry that didn't get in.

 

Unfortunately from an extremely amateur photographer point of view, while I was as upset as many it seems that certain entries did not get into the finals, I do think that as the Judge is NOT a professional and as it his/her PRIZE or REWARD for winning the previous comp, that they be allowed to choose the SUBJECT and the FINALISTS, that they should be allowed to do this without questioning. For example, I am not a flower lover, if a comp was entirely about flowers I would have no problems picking a winner but when they are competing against animals for ex in comps such as 'Wildlife and Nature' or 'Flora and Fauna', there would be no chance of a flower getting into the final three if I was the Judge for two reasons. I think animals and insects are more interesting and ulitmately more difficult to photograph, and I think that is the real issue here, anyone can point a camera at a flower and go snap, while moving objects are infinitely more difficult to photograph and these two subjects, from a purely photographic requirement aspect, possibly should not be grouped together. However, the person who chose this subject obviously finds Nature AS interesting as Wildlife or she would not have chosen it. I would never have known that Judys pic was not Wildlife but surely it still fits under the criteria of Nature and I'd be interested in why you think it does not fit, just for my own curiousity. My perception of your reason here is that a rose would have been as unacceptable an entry as a dog or a cat, is that right? HBs entry by the way was a Native Australian Wattle bush found in the National Park.

 

I do agree with half of what you say but I think it is unfair to expect the Judges to judge purely on photgraphic merit. We are not professionals, we don't all know what to look for, and we are entitled to pick what we like. The participants are protected in a couple of ways, firstly, we all get to vote on the final 3, and secondly the Judge changes every time, so if you don't like a certain Judges choices you only have to accept them once. Also, if the person who chose the subject is the same person who chooses the finalists, then that guarantees that what is chosen fits THEIR criteria.

 

I don't expect anyone to be able to remember the Dog Comp as it was so long ago, but I chose that subject for fun and because I like dogs, the subject matter could hardly have been considered a good choice from a compositional skill point of view. Also I chose a photo, after much agonising about it I must admit for this very reason, that was plain awful from a technical view, it was as blurry as **** and only got one or two votes because of this. I knew it wouldn't win but I wanted it in the final three because it epitomised what I had in mind for my comp choice, a dog 'flying through the air'.

 

One last comment with regard to just the whole general 'having your say' thing. I say what I think to the point of annoying moderators and members on ALL the sites that I am a member of. And when you do speak your mind, it is unavoidable that someone will not agree. I personally get very upset when people who give thought out opinions often get strong responses while others who make very unnecessary snippy or 'cheap jab' type comments are left to their own devices.

 

Thanks for your thoughtfull comments Jaybee.

 

P.S.-Wow, I was posting at the same time as Den and we pretty much are saying the same thing.

 

Oh and yeh Wiggles, if you have something to say, nows the time my dear, let it all out, don't be shy.

Edited by TubularBelle
I hate getting up early, I didn't even realise there were two 6 o'clocks in one day!
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Guest Jaybee
The Kingfishers I like :), but they can be very obliging when you manage to get in the right position,,..sorry Jay, but they are one of the few birds which will sit and pose for the camera :)

Den

No need to apologise Den and had you been judging and given that as the reason why you did not select the shot for the final three then I would have been more than happy with that decision.

 

should we abandon any idea of judging on technical quality, and simply go by the content and how it meets the criteria...for example, a blurred shot of a Hawk striking its prey is pretty "wild", but a squirrel sitting on a branch, technically perfect is surely not in the sme class? or is it?

Den

I agree and disagree with this statement.

I agree that a blurred shot of a hawk striking its prey in the wild is a great photo compared to a perfect photo of a hawk eating its prey in a bird sanctuary and the former would win hands down every time for me. But there is a world of difference between a blurred photo under those circumstances and a badly taken photo, and you can have a badly taken blurred photo :)

I disagree with the blanket statement that a technically perfect shot isnt in the same class. For example, I left home at 5.30am this morning and from 6am till 2pm sat on a rock feet from a river, behind a clump of grass waiting for a dipper to appear and feed in the fast flowing water (The only one I saw flew straight down the river :( ) Had one landed and I had gotten a perfect photo then surely the amount of time and effort put into the photo counts for something.

What too of the shots I got of a squirrel that came down onto the rocks in the river and scurried around in front of me for a few brief moments - I didnt envisage a squirrel coming but got good shots of it - however I cant take any credit for getting those shots via planning, waiting etc as it was the squirrel who brought the opportunity not me.

 

I think if this debate does no more than at least lay down some guidlines that all judges are expected to broadly use in determining the three finalists then it will help strengthen the competitions.

Something obviously needs to be done otherwise comments such as MrWigglys wouldnt surface.

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Wait till I get my new camera I will be such a bore :)

 

And learn how to post up pictures :headhurt:

 

 

Fishing digs on the Mull of Galloway - recommend

HERE

 

babyforavatar.jpg

 

Me when I had hair

 

 

Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy

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Guest Jaybee

Just very briefly TubularBelle before I hit that very tempting pillow (been a very long day)

Yes any cultivated flower or domesticated animal would have been given the elbow in my initial appraisal had I been a judge. Cliffs goldfinch even though a wild bird is not in my eyes a wildlife photograph.

I have part of my garden set up as a reedbed with rushes, willow, teasel etc - in amongst that are some 20 feeders and I setup my hide as close as 6ft away. I'll only photograph the wildbirds while they are on one of the "natural" perches before they go onto the feeders BUT I still dont class those photos as wildlife photos.

Nature and wildlife is a much narrower remit than Flora and Fauna in my opinion.

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