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DPChallenge Forums >> Challenge Results >> What makes this photo less than a 5?!?!
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04/05/2006 12:38:40 AM · #1


It's abstract...it's macro, and I felt that it was a well-taken photo. 19 votes of 4 or less, and not one comment on how it could have been improved. Now I see why so many people stay pi$$ed off on this site. Please, offer me some insight.
04/05/2006 12:41:38 AM · #2
Well at least I'm feeling better about my 5.2 image. Not really sure except I'm guessing not enough people were moved to happy tears when they viewed your photo and mine. ;)

Message edited by author 2006-04-05 00:42:00.
04/05/2006 12:42:58 AM · #3
Actually, 38 4's and 19 3-or-less... It just has not much "eye appeal", friend. Macro challenges almost demand vibrancy and luminosity. This is just a staid, solid mass with not a lot of visual interest, I'm sorry to say.

R.
04/05/2006 12:47:17 AM · #4
Ok, I'm going to be honest. Not (hopefully) hurtful or blunt, but honest and constructive. At least, that's what I'm aiming for, so please be forgiving with me!! :-)

Technically, it's a good shot. Meaning it's in focus, your composition of the subject you chose is well done, the lighting looks good and all that fun stuff.

In all honesty, what I think hurt you here is your subject choice. Now, understand, that's a pretty subjective part of photography. Is it a bad photo? No. Absolutely not. Will it hold everyone's interest? Well, apparently not everyone. You obviously have all the basics of making a great photo down, so don't get discouraged if people didn't get your subject choice. Sometimes there's a big difference here between taking pics that you're proud of and taking pics that get scored well.....man, if I could figure out WHY that is, I'd have people paying me lots of money!

But, in general, on THIS site, photos with more color and something that moves the eye, something dramatic tend to do well.

I hope that that helps. There are a lot of GOOD things about your photo! So, while I understand being disappointed, please don't give up!
04/05/2006 12:50:57 AM · #5
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Actually, 38 4's and 19 3-or-less... It just has not much "eye appeal", friend. Macro challenges almost demand vibrancy and luminosity. This is just a staid, solid mass with not a lot of visual interest, I'm sorry to say.

R.


Hey mine was vibrant and luminant but it didn't do much better. :(

Message edited by author 2006-04-05 00:52:17.
04/05/2006 01:22:26 AM · #6
The image is not what I would call an abstract, even though anyone should be challenged to tell what it is a part of. If I had to assign a genre for it, I'd probably consider 'product' photography or something similar (mainly because of the generous inclusion of the brand name).

Given the harsh, unflattering light highlighting the scars on the iron and blown fixture bolt(s) (top left at diagonal), I cannot help feeling that the choice of subject alone is what motivated this shot. I also cannot help feeling that the photo owes its existence solely to the challenge topic (and its description), which would be a meagre premise for a photograph.

Outside of the challenge the shot bears no visual, aesthetic, sensory or remotely emotional interest to me. Even if I considered a riddle, I'd expect some degree of puzzling enchantment, in whatever form it appeared. Instead, the manner of the image appears carelessly brutal (I say 'careless' because no steps have been taken to avoid or eliminate the blown highlights. Much ambiguity (via shadows and background) have been invited into it, and this without apparent purpose or direction).

The object (or the part of it portrayed here) reveals a random pattern of wrench marks and scratches, which could lend itself to some sort of utility, both in aesthetic and inherent utility, which could speak to us about the nature of the object and the material it is made of. A soft sidelight might have been useful for such a purpose.

I would have given this entry a 3, had I voted. The score it did receive was generous, IMO.
04/05/2006 01:24:03 AM · #7
Originally posted by yanko:

Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Actually, 38 4's and 19 3-or-less... It just has not much "eye appeal", friend. Macro challenges almost demand vibrancy and luminosity. This is just a staid, solid mass with not a lot of visual interest, I'm sorry to say.

R.


Hey mine was vibrant and luminant but it didn't do much better. :(


Vibrant, luminant and contrasting colors seem to do it now a days.
04/05/2006 01:27:40 AM · #8
Originally posted by faidoi:

Originally posted by yanko:

Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Actually, 38 4's and 19 3-or-less... It just has not much "eye appeal", friend. Macro challenges almost demand vibrancy and luminosity. This is just a staid, solid mass with not a lot of visual interest, I'm sorry to say.

R.


Hey mine was vibrant and luminant but it didn't do much better. :(


Vibrant, luminant and contrasting colors seem to do it now a days.


That fits my highest scoring photo to a tee but I hate to just keep entering stuff like that. Dammit, people need to just conform to my way of thinking! :)

Message edited by author 2006-04-05 01:28:15.
04/05/2006 01:38:10 AM · #9
I agree with zeuszen about the signature. I gave it a 5 and at the time I dont't think there was one thing that I didn't really like however it just didn't look abstract to me. That was probably because of the logo/signature being in there. Everything else was fine, IMO.

Message edited by author 2006-04-05 01:38:58.
04/05/2006 01:38:58 AM · #10
Originally posted by zeuszen:

I would have given this entry a 3, had I voted. The score it did receive was generous, IMO.


Thanks for the thoughts, zueszen, but a 3...really? The shot was a crop from an antique series that I was commissioned to do. It is a crop of a larger shot that I thought fit the challenge well. Rarely do I take shots just for the challenges. Again, thanks for you thoughts. I always appreciate constructive criticism.

Robert, thanks for your input. Congrats in advance for making the nest round of the MS challenge. I am apparently no contest.

Elizabeth, many thanks for the insight. I will keep your thoughts in mind. I appreciate honesty, even when it is blunt or hurtful, more than all. I never hesitate speaking my mind, and I wouldn't expect anyone else to, either. If it sucks, I just want to know why. I don't see enough of that on here. I learn best when I am being constructively ripper apart.


04/05/2006 01:50:40 AM · #11
I gave it a 5 on the basis of technical competance (focus, lighting, DOF and such) and because it loosely met the challenge (abstract, but not especially a macro per se). My 5's end up being the vast unwashed masses. Not great. Not horrible. Just pixels.

Ladyhawk and zueszen said it well, it's not the image so much as the choice of subject that depressed your score. People will give high scores to photos they "like" to look at, and in my case it was not a subject that held my interest or that I would return to because I liked to look at it.

I encourage you to use and develop you technical talent, but even more so to develop an eye that helps you capture a photo that tells a story, or teases us with new insight, or conveys deep emotion. These characteristics will put you among the DPC Pulitzers.
04/05/2006 02:11:16 AM · #12
ericwoo -

My two cents: As already stated in this thread, your image is technically very good, I think so as well. (Imagine that as a BW entry to a challenge - I think it would score much better than for a color entry.)
However, I think the problem was matching the image to the challenge. The challenge description stated that at first glance, we shouldn't be able to recognize the image. At first glance, I saw plumbing.
I entered a snapshot macro of a globe, and did OK with that. Technically, the image can't compare to what you entered - but IMHO I think I hit theme, so it scored OK.
I've checked out your portfolio by the way - you've got some very good shots - I like them and look forward to other entries from you.
I think it was just timing. Good photo, wrong challenge.

-ralfw
04/05/2006 03:46:53 AM · #13
I agree with all of the other critiques before me...nice shot, but it's not what I would call an abstract macro. It's just a petrol pump with nothing really special about it. I actually gave it a 4, because when you compared it to many of the other abstract macros in the challnege that were vibrant and abstract and macro, it was just a photo of a petrol pump. No offence.

In another challenge, I might have given it a 7 or 8, but in this one, no.
04/05/2006 06:34:36 AM · #14
Originally posted by ericwoo:

Thanks for the thoughts, zueszen, but a 3...really? The shot was a crop from an antique series that I was commissioned to do. It is a crop of a larger shot that I thought fit the challenge well. Rarely do I take shots just for the challenges


I think this explains alot! A lot of people (including me) are tempted to put what they think may be a good image at the time, sort of squeezing into the theme...

Don't feel bad about the score, we all get those 1's 2's & 3's
04/05/2006 06:26:47 PM · #15
First of all, a technically perfect photo doesn't automatically make it very interesting. It lacks punch, in my opinion, no real "ooh pretty!" factor. Don't get so caught up in the technical details - it will only hold you back. In a juried competition at a real live gallery last year, I won a second place ribbon with a vacation shot I took with a 2 megapixel point and shoot, much to the dismay of the guys who actually knew what aperature and white balance were. (I've since learned, but it's not the point.) It made me - and apparently the judge as well - go "ooh!" The tech specs mean nothing. Heck one of the photos that National Geographic named as best of the year has a visibly crooked horizon. How many photographers here would have jumped on that and rated it down for such a flaw?

That said, don't put too much emphasis on how photos are scored. The one I have in a challenge right now is running at about a 4.26, and yet I sold a print of it less than a day after posting it on my site. Pleasing a bunch of self-righteous photographers with their own ideas about what makes a good photo is a lot more difficult than pleasing the general public. ;-)

Becky
04/05/2006 06:39:40 PM · #16
The words ruined the abstract part but hey, the top 3 in the challenge weren't abstract either. Surreal maybe, but not abstract.

Basically, there was no "Hey! That's shiny!!" springtime color or appeal in this.


04/05/2006 07:06:55 PM · #17
I guess that I just look at images differently. I tend to score on how well the image is put together, not just on my "ooh" feeling. That's what I took the site to be about when I joined...learning how to take better photos. Getting 38 votes below four with no constructive comments really helps do nothing. I don't do that to people, and I don't think that anyone else should either.
04/05/2006 07:08:39 PM · #18
From my brief time here, it seems that it is WAY more important that you submit a vibrant, dynamic photo than anything else.

Other concerns--for example, actually meeting the challenge--are secondary. Just look at the ribbon winners for the recent so-called "2 second" challenge.

My advice, for anyone who wants to "score" well, is to find a subject that makes are colorful, dynamic image. For example, a sunset/sunrise, flowers [4 ribbons in March], liquid stop-motion, beach scenes... etc. Then find a "creative" way to relate whatever it is you've photographed to the challenge.

04/05/2006 07:15:08 PM · #19
Originally posted by ericwoo:

I guess that I just look at images differently. I tend to score on how well the image is put together, not just on my "ooh" feeling. That's what I took the site to be about when I joined...learning how to take better photos. Getting 38 votes below four with no constructive comments really helps do nothing. I don't do that to people, and I don't think that anyone else should either.


Agreed,

But the WOW fact is a must for every great picture. If a picture has no feeling, it means nothing. Technicals will only get you so far, you must captivate the audience.

This is something I'm working on myself, but it is true.

Unfortunately, it does seem that people are bending toward the WOW and forgeting the rest, including challenge requirements (no, I am not a DNMC nazi)
04/05/2006 07:21:28 PM · #20
I think some good info has already been posted here so I can't really give any advice that hasn't already been said. However, the reason I think it scored so low (notice I didn't say "placed so low") is because it was an open challenge. Check out the challenge history and you'll see that the actual score numbers are lower than they are in member challenges. In recent member challenges, half (if not all) images on the first page are usually above 7. In open challenges you'll see that the winning image is lucky to be barely over seven while the rest of the first page are in the sixes.

Conclusion: More of those dreaded trolls we hear about are non members. :>0
04/05/2006 07:36:35 PM · #21
Originally posted by dudephil:


Conclusion: More of those dreaded trolls we hear about are non members. :>0


Another conclusion: there are many more plain crappy pictures in the open challenges, and some of the more established members just don't enter them.
04/05/2006 07:37:46 PM · #22
Originally posted by shadowdoc31:


My advice, for anyone who wants to "score" well, is to find a subject that makes are colorful, dynamic image.


You forgot to add anything done prior that did well is a shoe-in for a good score (if the technicals are there). A lot of people seem to just faint over the same old water shots and the like. And what passes for creativity is to just reflect a different graphic in the water and people go crazy over it like they just met the Mick Jagger or something.

Message edited by author 2006-04-05 19:38:13.
04/05/2006 07:40:18 PM · #23
Originally posted by yanko:

Originally posted by shadowdoc31:


My advice, for anyone who wants to "score" well, is to find a subject that makes are colorful, dynamic image.


You forgot to add anything done prior that did well is a shoe-in for a good score (if the technicals are there). A lot of people seem to just faint over the same old water shots and the like. And what passes for creativity is to just reflect a different graphic in the water and people go crazy over it like they just met the Mick Jagger or something.


Or behind the glasses, or behind the teardrop-shaped glass... or... nevermind, now I'm just getting bitter.
04/05/2006 07:52:50 PM · #24
Surly not a 4. I didn't vote but would have went to the 5 or 6 range.

KS
04/05/2006 07:52:53 PM · #25
Photos in the middle range (4.5-5.5) tend to get the fewest comments. I don't think scoring is that much different between the members and open challenges, at least it hasn't mattered in my entries.

You can study the winning entries in previous challenges to determine what it takes to win, or you can just enjoy entering what you like. I go for the latter. IMHO some of my best entries have received the lowest scores.
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