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DPChallenge Forums >> Challenge Results >> Confessions of a Ribbon Hog
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11/17/2004 08:38:16 PM · #1
Greetings all,

Seems members have lately been debating the validity of the site in terms of fairness and it being dominated by a handful of members, now me included. I would like to take a few moments and give my perspective.

When I joined in April of this year, I jumped in and tossed in a snapshot, hitting a 27%/4.736. I got a little beat up on it, but didn't take it personally. It was the beginning of an education.

One week later I tried again, and hit 74%/5.385 - hey, getting better! I read, I looked at the quality of shots in the top 20 in every challenge. What were they doing that I wasn't? - They were taking good photographs! I needed to work on composition, subject placement & lighting, interest, rule of thirds, and yes, Photoshop skills.

One month after joining I received my first Blue Ribbon with an oddball shot of sorts. It felt GREAT, though I was never really that crazy about the shot, and was luck in my opinion. Sure I did a happy dance - who wouldn't? I wasn't really happy, as I didn't feel it met up to the standards of a good photograph. I had to push harder.

My submissions have been a roller coaster regarding their placement - 27% to 100%. A few shots were the kind that I knew I shouldn't have and wanted to "just because". Luck has played a bit part in many of the ribbons I have in my opinion. I say this because I compare photographic styles of some of truely gifted photographers on this site and know I don't hold a candle to them. I hope to be as good some day, but will never get there if I don't try.

Trying is what it's all about. I get a challenge (task) to photograph something. It almost becomes an obsession until I found what I want. I am looking, framing, composing & thinking shots everywhere I go. Sometimes it doesn't hit until the very end. I may have taken a couple hundred shots in the process, reviewing and critiquing them myself. What went wrong? What do I do to improve it? I get discouraged as easily as anyone else and say forget it, but that just isn't my style and start all over and try harder.

The drive to improve is an obsession or a hobby. In my case it's an obsession. I don't do anything in my life half-assed, or at least don't do so knowingly. Sometimes I know what I want to do, but simply can't due to time, logistics or equipment. I try to work around these in any way I can, as I don't like to give up without trying my best.

Is there a "magic formula" to winning? In some cases yes. In many cases no. I think it is part luck and part obsession. Many members here have found a niche that they have concentrated their efforts on and acheived superb, predictable results every time.

I take each challenge as just that - a personal challenge to learn and immerse myself in the task. I asked myself the following questions:
How can I get better if I don't try? Should I take a chance and try something new that is unfamiliar?
The old saying is "Nothing ventured, nothing gained". I gain each and every time I pick up the camera and try. I get lucky often, as I have no set style/niche/specialty. That would never happened had I not tried.

So how can you move up in the ranks, pull a top 10 finish or better yet, earn a ribbon? Drive. It won't happen if you don't push yourself.

I did, and will keep doing so. Will you?

I plan on adding many more ribbons to my portfolio as a personal challenge to better myself. I hope those that keep getting close, keep pushing harder to better themselves.

Regards,
One of the "Ribbon Hogs"






11/17/2004 08:48:56 PM · #2
I've pushed myself since march, and there hasnt been any difference.
11/17/2004 08:51:45 PM · #3
Originally posted by jmlelii:

I've pushed myself since march, and there hasnt been any difference.

then quit ;)
11/17/2004 08:53:39 PM · #4
Rubbish, people shouldnt be blamming you, they should be working harder.
I have been doing the exact same as you, although I have not improved as much as you (ribbon wise), I have thought about my shots more and developed all my skills. Just take a look at my history of challenges and see what hard work will do for you.

Keep It Up Brad.
You have beautiful work.
11/17/2004 08:54:44 PM · #5
Stoopid ribbon hogs !!! grrr.gifgrrr.gifgrrr.gif
11/17/2004 08:55:33 PM · #6
That was a very stupid thing to say skiprow....very stupid.

Keep at it...don't listen to a moron with very little tact!

I suck....and happily!

Photography is a get away for me. Make it like that for you and your images will be that much better.
11/17/2004 08:56:12 PM · #7
Originally posted by Jacko:

Stoopid ribbon hogs !!! grrr.gifgrrr.gifgrrr.gif


Give Jacko a chance to win some too.
11/17/2004 08:58:25 PM · #8
Nice try, Brad. Spread some of those ribbons around, ya' pig!
11/17/2004 08:58:42 PM · #9
Originally posted by jmlelii:

I've pushed myself since march, and there hasnt been any difference.

Oh I wouldn't say that Jeremy.

119107.jpg
is a great photograph, one I would have been proud to have taken.

Keep in mind you may have a more artist eye (read your Bio) than what the masses jump for in a challenge. Don't ever get discouraged and give up. What happens here is virtual. At the end of the day, it goes away with the power switch.

Your highest rated photograph
97652.jpg
was in a botany challenge. It may have been misplaced, as I would have done very well in the framing challenge. It's a great shot BTW!
11/17/2004 08:59:02 PM · #10
Hey Brad. Firstly, congrats on your recent successes!

Yes, I noticed that "BradP" has been grabbing some ribbons lately but I hardly thought, "What a ribbon hog!" I think your write-up is great and will hopefully make some people think about their objectives. I don't see you as being a 'hog'. You earned those ribbons fair and square and deserve every one of them. Voting is anonymous so no one can say it wasn't fair. The people voted so they can't really complain about your ranking.

You certainly don't improve if you don't push yourself, experiment, and accept criticism. If the winning images weren't good then they wouldn't be winning. What kind of challenge would it be if the images didn't provide real competition? As far as I'm concerned, keep doing what you're doing. It's working!

Again, congrats.

Jen

Edit: Grammar

Message edited by author 2004-11-17 21:01:24.
11/17/2004 09:00:32 PM · #11
Originally posted by BradP:

Originally posted by jmlelii:

I've pushed myself since march, and there hasnt been any difference.

Oh I wouldn't say that Jeremy.

119107.jpg
is a great photograph, one I would have been proud to have taken.

Keep in mind you may have a more artist eye (read your Bio) than what the masses jump for in a challenge. Don't ever get discouraged and give up. What happens here is virtual. At the end of the day, it goes away with the power switch.

Your highest rated photograph
97652.jpg
was in a botany challenge. It may have been misplaced, as I would have done very well in the framing challenge. It's a great shot BTW!


Oh I'm not quitting by any means. Besides, my computer never turns on ;)
11/17/2004 09:02:04 PM · #12
Well said Brad! And I wish you many ribbons to come!!

I would like to say that some might think that it's easy for us "ribbons hogs" to win... I can assure you that each photo taken and submitted is an endeavour, brainstorming, creativity, and as you mention, DRIVE!

I consider myself an eternal student and it's in that optic that I try to surpass myself everytime. The day I'll stop learning is the day that I should just sell my camera. I don't beleive that I've "mastered" anything (one of the reasons why I cringed at the title "Masters Challenge").

It took me a while to get a ribbon, an then another longer while to get the second one. My learning curve was as follows...

- Learning the technical aspects of photography such as speed and apperture and how it affected my shots.
- Then self awareness of composition. Not just shooting because it looks alright but really taking the time to ask myself why does it look good/bad (did lotsa reading on this).
- Increased my post-processing skills dramatically. I didn't even know what Curves or Levels were!!
- the rest is simply the 3 Ps of photography (or anything else for that matter): practice, practice, practice.

So if your goal is a top 10 or a ribbon or two, keep that drive alive!!

Good luck
One of the "Ribbon Hogs"
11/17/2004 09:03:09 PM · #13
Originally posted by scalvert:

Nice try, Brad. Spread some of those ribbons around, ya' pig!

Oink! Oink!
I would toss some down to you Shannon, as you certainly have deserved some in cases where I didn't, but you would probably just complain they were used or the wrong color...

ROFL.

11/17/2004 09:03:47 PM · #14
Originally posted by hardwaybets:

That was a very stupid thing to say skiprow....very stupid.

Keep at it...don't listen to a moron with very little tact!

I suck....and happily!

Photography is a get away for me. Make it like that for you and your images will be that much better.

i'm sorry if i offended you...i guess i should have put the wink in bold ;) as was, i didn't think it would be so overlooked
11/17/2004 09:05:46 PM · #15
My bad skiprow....my apologies to you for overreacting....in my defense though...i hate it when people poo poo on others and i didnt realize you made your comment in jest...

i hope you will accept my apology...
11/17/2004 09:08:42 PM · #16
Originally posted by hardwaybets:

My bad skiprow....my apologies to you for overreacting....in my defense though...i hate it when people poo poo on others and i didnt realize you made your comment in jest...

i hope you will accept my apology...

no sweat. i mean, if i could that easily get someone to quit, i'd be better spending my time figuring out how to get the other 25000 users to quit rather than trying to improve my entries ;)
11/17/2004 09:10:32 PM · #17
Thanks for the encouragement Brad. Your work is stunning and I am striving. As a pharmacist I have just a little free time to pursue this crazy hobby, but I'm getting better with time. I wouldn't feel ashamed in the least for 'grabbing' ribbons - you've earned them all!
11/17/2004 09:11:16 PM · #18
Jeremy, I think Skiprow meant that in jest (he's trying hard too)

Your own scores can be a good indicator of what you need to do. You placed well in Botany (and underrated on that one) because you had a compelling, unique subject and a dynamic composition. Your lower-scoring shots are generally "so what?" subjects shot at from an expected angle. Strive for really original subjects, mix up the angles and look for unusual lighting. Three of your personal bests have come in the last 7 challenges- now THAT'S improvement! Keep going!

Brad, I hope you're having as much fun winning as we are poking fun at you. ;-P
11/17/2004 09:11:54 PM · #19
Originally posted by Damian:

Give Jacko a chance to win some too.

If and when I reach Jacko's level, I will have graduated. LOL

Message edited by author 2004-11-17 21:13:33.
11/17/2004 09:12:47 PM · #20
Originally posted by BradP:

I would toss some down to you Shannon, as you certainly have deserved some in cases where I didn't, but you would probably just complain they were used or the wrong color...


...or they smell like bacon.
11/17/2004 09:16:54 PM · #21
Now kiss and make up boys!

I'm still pretty new here (16 challenges) with 4 ribbons. If I keep up this rate (hopefully) then when I've done 100 challenges, I too can call myself a "ribbon hog" with 25 of them hanging on my profile page!

Until then...

you hogs! give other people a chance!

P.S. (this is posted in good humor, not meant to offend anyone) :-D
11/17/2004 09:17:05 PM · #22
Originally posted by Jacko:

Stoopid ribbon hogs !!! grrr.gifgrrr.gifgrrr.gif


You are one of the hoggiest of ribbon hogs that is out there hogging! ribhog2.gif

Message edited by author 2004-11-17 21:19:29.
11/17/2004 09:19:45 PM · #23
I have always wondered how much better I would do at DPC, or at photography in general if I live in a "pretty" place. Where I live is not the most visualy stunning to say the least.

I know there are many photographers that have done great here at DPC living in "boring" places.

I just always wanted to know what it would be like to drive somewhere close, and get a breath taking photo of rolling hills or a mountain at daybreak. (not saying you can just click, and its great)

Not taking away from anyone who lives in a gorgeous part of the country, or world...its just something I have always wondered.

I dont do much set up photography inside the house, it just does not appeal to me.

Maybe I should move. :)
11/17/2004 09:23:01 PM · #24
Ya' know Riggs, you made a good point there.

I am very fortunate to live in the San Diego area. One could spend weeks wandering and be amazed at the scenery. The Ocean, the Mountains and everything in between. I'm sure it helps.
11/17/2004 09:24:53 PM · #25
Glad you posted this Brad. I've only been here a few short weeks and trying hard to even enter a challenge against 600 other posters is daunting enough, but in that time frame, I have noticed a lot of talk about how unhappy some are at the repeat ribbon winners.

I for one like to see the repeat winners as it gives me a chance to look at what they are producing and either practice mimiking them or learning form what their eye saw and produced so that I might look at a common object later and catch that unique perspective on my own.

So while I'm taking the time to post, who are the top masters? I'd like to visit their sites and decide who to add to my favorites lists so I can learn a little more a little faster.
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