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DPChallenge Forums >> Challenge Results >> I'm in a slump - Help me get out!
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10/05/2005 01:19:25 PM · #1
I have scored in the 4's two out of the last three challenges. My average after almost fifty challenges is 5.5 with no fours this year until now. Seems my eye has not been there, I'm picking the wrong shots. Can you help me?

Here is my entry from The Ground Up challenge. I know the perspecitve is not perfect but I thought it had a pretty good feel to it that would grab your attention. Why so low a score? Can't just be from perspective as there are many above me that are even less "From the ground ...

' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/383/thumb/237260.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/383/thumb/237260.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

And maybe my outtake will help you see my selection process. Did I make the wrong decision? Or are they both off the mark?

' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/19936/thumb/240691.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/19936/thumb/240691.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

No complaints, I'm just trying to get better at composition and training my eye. Thanks in advance.

Message edited by author 2005-10-05 14:54:53.
10/05/2005 01:21:07 PM · #2
I like your outtake much better. The first one just seems off to me... lots of noise.
10/05/2005 01:27:35 PM · #3
I don't know if this will help much, as most of my scores are extremely low, but here goes...

The first one, in my opinion, has too dark a sky. To me, it looks a bit forced (overprocessed perhaps) and does not sit well with the rest of the frame.

The second one has lots of lovely detail in the ground and the sky, but I get a sense of looking horizontally, not 'from the ground up'.


10/05/2005 01:37:21 PM · #4
I think your entry is pretty good. Good tones, good sharpness, interesting subjects.

But it doesn't shout the theme, which is something DPCers like. Personally, I think the portrait mode with a lot of negative space in the sky hurts the perspective effect, since rather than looking BIG and tall, as a from the ground up shot would be, you see smaller people. Also, while the perspective looks low, perhaps people didn't feel it was low enough.

I am going through a similar "transition" with my 4.8 score on my "return" shot in Complementary Colors. But after a two month hiatus, I have decided that what's most important is to stay true to yourself, and make yourself happy. It's not only the challenge score that's important--you have to end up with a picture you would be proud to hang in a gallery with your name on it. Conforming to the site "mold" doesn't necessarily get you that.

So use the theme to motivate yourself, or just shoot and see if anything fits. Then the tough part comes: to decide whether to submit. The question will be whether or not that gives you important feedback. If it does, submit and don't worry about the score. If it doesn't, don't submit and post it here, see how many favorites it gets, which gives you a gauge of acceptance outside the challenges. Also, there are other contest sites that aren't so topic oriented: so if you get a good shot which may not do well within the confines of DPC, you can also post it elsewhere (photopoints, photosig, photoforum, image cafe, and even another DPC like challenge site, fotofight).

My two cents.
10/05/2005 01:44:29 PM · #5
Hey,

I am gunna say this, the idea behind your shot is good but not great thats is where you must start. You need to find away to make your shot great and I think the best way to do that aside from having a fundamentaly sound shot is to capture something in your shot that make people think past the shot itself and...well...open there mind I guess...and this isn't easy for anyone. Also the shot looks overprocessed which doesn't help it, remember keep it suttle. Oh and one last thing your photo is yours it is a reproduction on how you see something so when it is being judged remember that everyone sees thing s in a different way, so ultimatly you decide weather your shot is good or not.

I meant no bad in this by the way...I have been in a photographic rut for sometime to.

Matt
My site
10/05/2005 01:44:38 PM · #6
Seems you're basing the criteria on your score and not whether YOU like the images submitted for challenges. If the score truly is the case, this thread put up by scalvert (Shannon) some time ago is a good one.

Win a Ribbon! (long post)

I'll think I'll take another peek at it too...it was a good read.

Smile and keep having fun! ;^)
10/05/2005 01:53:33 PM · #7
Keep 'em coming. Great comments. To clarify it is not a score thing but a feedback thing for me. I'm fairly new to more serious (but amateur) photography and how people perceive what I enter is part of the process. For the most part I enter what I like and many times they are shots of opportunity rather than planned out, although the tree shot below was planned. I guess the main thing I'm trying to train is my eye. Am I seeing things properly, etc?
10/05/2005 02:05:17 PM · #8
Let's look at the image separately from the challenge, OK?

' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/383/thumb/237260.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/383/thumb/237260.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

The first thing that jumps out at me is the skewed angle. It's really noticeable. That's not bad, it just jumps out at me. Second thing I see is that immense, empty, dark sky. Third thing I notice is the man with the beard.

Now, what's your subject here? Is it the sky? Is it the skew? Is it the man with the beard? I have to assume it's the latter. It better not be the building or the bikes, 'cuz those are WAY second-fiddle in this shot. It better not be the sky, 'cuz there's nothing there for me. Nope, it's gotta be the bearded dude.

Now look how dark bearded dude is dressed; and look at that bright white under his feet. The dark sky robs bearded dude's dark clothing of any power it might have, and the white foreground robs bearded dude's white face and beard of any power THEY might have.

See my problem with liking this any more than the little bit I do? You're confusing me visually, and yet all the external markers point to what should be a stark, simple image.

Hope this helps,

Robt.
10/05/2005 02:19:38 PM · #9
Bear I would like a critique just like that on every image in my portfolio please! I'll give you a quarter!

I wish I could see my work as clearly as you just described that, I don't know if it helped jpsmithana, but I learned a lot!

Thanks for sharing -
10/05/2005 02:21:25 PM · #10
That does help Bear, thanks. The bearded dude is of course the supposed focus. I in fact turned it to black and white and upped the contrast to add drama but I now see that instead I needed to make my subject stand out without distraction. He had such character that I should have focused only on him and maybe the back of the guy next to him. In the full size version you can see his eyes looking sideways at this guy.

Goes along with Shannon’s post last year on keep it simple with minimal distraction. Eliminate all unnecessary things in the shot. Guess that is what I need to train my eye to do both taking the shot and then in editing.
10/05/2005 02:24:17 PM · #11
A simple word of encouragement -- two out of three is not a slump!!

15 or 20, now that's a slump.
10/05/2005 02:38:28 PM · #12
Originally posted by karmat:

A simple word of encouragement -- two out of three is not a slump!!

15 or 20, now that's a slump.


Thanks Karma - I feel better already. : )
10/05/2005 04:10:04 PM · #13
You didn't say how you converted this to B/W. Maybe try re-processing it using the suggestions give here. Using the channel mixer for the B/W conversion, you have a lot of flexibility in the tonal ranges of the RG&B channels separately (you could lighten the sky so the guy's clothing/hat stand out more) and still maintain a lot of contrast. Also, try cropping out some of the sky, so the guy is more prominent. Just a thought.
10/05/2005 04:58:45 PM · #14
Maybe you need a "slump buster"
10/05/2005 05:03:41 PM · #15
Tim - I just got finished reprocessing it and even leaving it in color. Still have the same issues of too many distracting elements, even when cropped down. There is quite a bit of clutter in the background that I can not get rid of and maintain the perspective of "From the Ground" (what little there is). I still like the shot but not for this challenge. I would have to reshoot it with all these comments in mind and then I think it could work. But that is not going to happen as it was a shot of opportunity. Thanks to all for the comments.
10/05/2005 05:04:05 PM · #16
Originally posted by louddog:

Maybe you need a "slump buster"


LOL - that will do it!
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