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Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Challenge: Best of 2004 (Advanced Editing III*)
Camera: Canon EOS-10D
Lens: Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM
Location: Hickory, North Carolina
Date: Sep 3, 2004
Aperture: f/2.8
ISO: ISO 200
Shutter: 1/500
Galleries: Candid, Black and White
Date Uploaded: Jan 15, 2005

Picking my own favorite photo from a one-year period was a challenge in itself. I spent a lot of time thinking about it though. At one point, I decided to let my mom pick the one she thought was best. She picked a very nice photo but it wasn't my favorite of the year. This challenge is difficult, and I'm sure others have had the same problems I did. I suppose there is a difference between 'Best' and 'Favorite' photographs where DPChallenge is concerned. I decided to go with favorite. I have other photos that fit the DPC mold a lot better, but this image just haunts me every time I look at it. It says so many things to me on so many different levels. People who don't share my personal feelings about this image won't likely find it as intriguing as I do. At any rate, it is my favorite photograph from 2004.

This photo came from my very first sports assignment with the local newspaper. The image was not part of the package I provided to the newspaper... It's just one that I shot for myself while I was at the football game. The newspaper would have absolutely no interest in this image as part of a sports page package either.

When I arrived at the stadium, I noticed the South Caldwell High School Navy ROTC Color Guard lined up at the end zone gate entry to the football field. There were four cadets with rifles and flags preparing to present the colors during the playing of the National Anthem prior to the start of the game. I moved into position along the fence where they were standing and raised my camera to compose a shot. The cadets were not visible to me because of the flags and the position from which I was shooting. This young man just happened to peek out from behind one of the flags and look directly at me while I had my camera ready, and I fired the shot. He saw me and immediately buried himself in the flags again. This was the only photo I made of the cadets at this event. I returned to this stadium several weeks later to shoot another football game for the news paper. I took several prints, color and b/w, of this image with me in hopes of finding this young man. Luckily, I found him and gave him the photos. He was very happy to get them and his mother called me a few weeks later asking for more, which I glady provided.

"Americana" is a concept that does not usually cross borders very easily. Lots of people do not share the same feelings of patriotism that some Americans do. Everyone holds something dear to their hearts, and this subject is one of those for me.

John M. Setzler, Jr.
Hickory, North Carolina

Place: 131 out of 530
Avg (all users): 6.0917
Avg (commenters): 7.7917
Avg (participants): 6.0763
Avg (non-participants): 6.1379
Views since voting: 1267
Views during voting: 539
Votes: 349
Comments: 30
Favorites: 6 (view)

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02/01/2005 07:20:37 PM
This to me is one of the best in this challenge and exemplifies what I believe alot of photography is about. Capturing a moment, whether it be a sunset or a bird in flight or an expression or emotion and freezing it. An image doesnt have to be rich with color or amazing photoshop inhancement to have impact, certainly we can find those in water colors or oil paintings should that be the goal. This image certainly has "Wow Factor" for me! I gave it a 10 and will be adding it to my favorites WOW!!
02/01/2005 11:40:48 AM
This was a superb photograph, but as we all know, didn't have the wow factor. I sure would have been proud to have taken this and would have probably chosen it as a best of 04 shot too. Was one of my favorites overall.
Keep 'em coming.
02/01/2005 07:59:43 AM
FOUR ones!!?? Unbelievable and frustrating that anyone (...let alone FOUR) could say that this image is the worst of the worst.
02/01/2005 12:28:33 AM
you wuz robbed man. i liked this one the best.
 Comments Made During the Challenge
01/31/2005 02:26:39 PM
Nice photo.
01/30/2005 11:22:46 PM
this is great, love the lines and her almost hidden face--a wonderfully subtle human element. nice capture. :)
01/29/2005 07:25:12 PM
A great shot...works well in b/w I can see why this would be one of your "best" for the year...bumping up to 10
01/28/2005 11:10:40 AM
I miss the colors ..
01/27/2005 06:01:16 PM
Great composition, if just a tad cramped for my taste. Too bad you couldn't get a little bit of light into the eyes.

01/26/2005 07:42:29 PM
Only thing I don't like about this, is the drop shadow in the border. It is really not needed and takes away from the beautiful photo. Without the drop shadow, I would score this at least a point higher.
01/26/2005 04:29:38 PM
One of the areas I've seen you improve most in over the last year is your ability to capture good non studio portraits. It's something I really hadn't seen much of from you prior to this year. The challenge is to capture the emotion of the moment, and do it in such a way that you communicate it to the viewer. This shot really does that. Because the cadet is peeking from behind the flag, it makes him appear younger, more vulnerable, and maybe a tad curious. It allows the viewer to read into the image what they want. Do they want to protest war? Feel pride in being American? Or just remember fleeting moments of youth? This shot allows all those things, and that makes it an exceptional portrait. Oh yeah, and color would totally hose it. So there. 10
01/25/2005 04:58:11 PM
nice work
01/24/2005 02:33:15 AM
Hmmm, I never knew what to make of this one Mr. Setzler :).

I like the wary expression on his face - almost suspicious, its a good capture - he almost seems to be seeking refuge behind his nations flag, so I guess it's symbolic on that level. I can't help but think you've probably got 15 images tucked away in that portfolio that I would like better. Still I commend you for submitting the image you liked best and not the one that would necessarily score the highest. Let's face it, personal satisfaction is the best reward an image can provide (Unless you get the the stage where you're selling 11x14's for 10 grand that is :P).

Best wishes for 2005.

01/22/2005 02:42:11 PM
Great black and white capture! Clean crisp and contrast. BOL
01/21/2005 02:39:56 AM
A moment in time, frozen forever.
A superb study of the human element, with a touch of aprehension & innocence.
Magazine-quality image. Gets a 10 from me!
01/20/2005 06:30:38 PM
So young looking... Great image. Very powerful. I think b&w was a good choice because I'm afraid the flag would distract from the face. Well seen.
01/20/2005 11:09:19 AM
Nice patroitic image, I like the choice of B&W
01/19/2005 01:35:13 PM
This is awesome!!!! More awesome in fact each second I look at it. I really hope it is a winner. 10
01/19/2005 12:18:41 PM
Well that was one of my favourite photos, still is. The expression, the B & W tone all perfect. Will prolly get low scores from flag haters. 10 from me.
01/18/2005 07:39:11 PM
a Title would've been nice, but great picture anyway
01/18/2005 04:18:28 AM
I somehow wish it was titled. I'd try "Honi soit qui mal y pense", although it's traditionally used in another context. Either way, it's a good portrait & I think your decision to go B&W is very clever. 7.
01/17/2005 03:18:21 AM
One of my favorites in this challenge. Did you make more than one exposure, and was this the best of them?
01/16/2005 11:52:10 PM
John, this is one of my favorites images in this challenge. Regardless of what other prople might say, Black and White works wonderfully to draw the eye to the young ladys face, as do the stripes on the flag.
01/16/2005 09:50:27 PM
Wonderful composition and capture. Like the conversion to B&W. Well done.
01/16/2005 05:13:19 PM

Message edited by author 2006-05-05 14:03:27.
01/16/2005 03:09:51 PM
Composition is just perfect. I love the tones. The b/w makes us look in the right places! 9
01/16/2005 08:50:11 AM
I hate flag shots and I hate solidier portraits because often they are so poorly done. But this is excellent! I like it how the face pops out from between the flags, the elements in the photo work together and help to tell the tale. B&W is very suitable here.
01/16/2005 04:57:27 AM
Im not sure whethet B/W is the best choise here. However the image has power but I feel a little more contrast would really lift this
01/16/2005 03:19:03 AM
My pick of the challenge. I think this is a Setzler but I can't recally exactly. Says a lot about youth, power, authority and responsibilities. His peeking out behind the symbol of authority into the world is very well portrayed here. Nicely done.
01/16/2005 02:15:38 AM
Composition: 6
Technical: 8
Appeal: 6
Challenge: 10
Overall Score: 6, (weighted) - Would really like to see this in color!

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