Mini Challenge #178 - Pets - The results

Alans GrinAlans Grin Major grinsRegistered Users Posts: 346 Major grins
edited December 12, 2013 in The Dgrin Challenges
Thank you everyone who took part, I really enjoyed the images. As ever, judging is never easy and always to some degree subjective - so, sorry if I get it wrong!

Before announcing the winners here are a couple of images which I want to mention simply because I've a comment to make, not necessarily because they are better than the others.

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I really liked this photo - nice setting, sharp and a lovely cat, but I think it is cropped slightly too tight with the cats ear touching the frame edge.
Also the left side of the face is just slightly too dark, especially the eye and if you have reasonable post production software such as Photoshop etc you could easily lift it a little.
I appreciate not everyone likes post shoot adjustments, just my view and still a very nice shot though.



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I really liked the unusual angle on this one producing the exaggerated size paw. Bob's feral cat is also very nice.


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For me this is a really fun shot. I have several shots like this where the dogs inquisitiveness just ends up with the lens being smeared or licked! It brings a smile to my face.


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I agonised over this one - the content is simply priceless with the long suffering expression on the dogs face. The composition is what lets it down with the paw clipped, slightly too much tilt (I don't mind some tilt) and some white bit of furniture intruding on the right hand edge. The content is excellent though and I love it.


I had a lot of difficulty placing what I considered the best three because I really like them all for very different reasons and they are quite different. But alas I must choose a winner...


3rd Place - Untitled - by jmphotocraft (Jack)

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I would have liked the camera rotated (edit - panned) just slightly to the right to see a bit more of the horse and give it more "standing" in terms of importance, but a lovely quality photo of the pair of them.


2nd Place - But I forgive you - by ShootingStar (Claire)

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This is one expressive dog! A lovely moment captured and expresses what having a pet is all about.


1st Place - Cotton at 6 weeks - by slpollett (Sherry)

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This is a lovely quality portrait shot of a lovely kitten. This is not just about the cuteness, which is undeniable, the lighting and exposure is excellent, sharp where it needs to be, good catch-lights and a great blurred out background which matches the colours in the cat. All together it works to create a great image. I will forgive the slightly clipped whiskers (not as import as the tip of an ear or paw) .... but then again I would forgive this cat anything I think!

So well done slpollett and over to you Sherry.

Alan

Comments

  • grandmaRgrandmaR Major grins Southern Maryland Registered Users Posts: 1,723 Major grins
    edited December 11, 2013
    When I read your comments, I thought that they were very true and wondered why I had not thought of it myself. You saw things that I think I should have seen. Anyway congratualtions to the winners, and thank you for your comments and helpful advice.
    “"..an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered." G.K. Chesterton”
  • Alans GrinAlans Grin Major grins Registered Users Posts: 346 Major grins
    edited December 11, 2013
    grandmaR wrote: »
    When I read your comments, I thought that they were very true and wondered why I had not thought of it myself. You saw things that I think I should have seen. Anyway congratualtions to the winners, and thank you for your comments and helpful advice.

    Thank you for your very kind words grandmaR. Many times over the years I've sat through live competition judging (by really good photographers with lots of letters after their names) critiquing the images on projector or as projector + print. I also compete in such competitions and sometimes ask my photographer friends to critique mine before submission because I have become "too close" to my own image - it is easy to miss things.

    I'd like to think that a little of that has rubbed off on me, but I never presume to be correct and always keep in mind composition rules are there to be broken from time to time. As I mentioned in my judging sometimes technicality and composition can simply be trumped by really strong content.

    Alan.
  • slpollettslpollett Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,084 Major grins
    edited December 11, 2013
    I enjoyed seeing everyone's pet pictures in this mini. I expected a lot more entries--doesn't everyone have 100+ pictures of their pets???? mwink.gif Still I enjoyed every entry. Congratulations to all the winners.

    I also loved Christmas kitty, feral kitty, & Shooting Star's shots of the dog and little girl. The expressions on that dogs face! Loved them!

    Now, I was pleasantly surprised to see my simple little pic of my boy Cotton is the winner. I squealed with delight (& sort of embarrassed myself doing so) because this made my day. This is the first time I have ever won any kind of photo challenge or contest or anything with a photo, so to say I am excited is, well, and understatement. :D I'm going to spend a little while this evening doing a happy dance before I panic over the thought of coming up with the next theme. I will try to get a new theme chosen & posted tomorrow.

    Story of Cotton:
    We had two kitties that we loved and that was enough. One day, a stray kitty found her way to our back yard and decided she liked it there. I guess she knew two suckers lived in this house. Well...turns out the stray was pregnant. And...it happened to be springtime in Texas where oftentimes are some pretty strong thunderstorms...and it happened to be one of those weeks when the weather was nasty every day for days on end. Being the tender-hearted suckers that we are, we brought the stray in the house, made sure the vet said she was healthy enough to be around our other cats, and let her have the kittens in a warm, dry, safe place. We weren't planning to keep the stray and we weren't planning to keep any of the kittens. Well now, we all know what happened here, right? Yep, we fell in love with Momma (named her Abby) and just had to keep her. Then, after we SWORE we weren't keeping any of the kittens, we found ourselves too attached to Cotton and couldn't give him up. He is the sweetest kitty--totally into mischief--yet will melt your heart when he looks at you with that sweet face. So that makes 4 cats, which my husband constantly complains about yet loves them all.

    Thanks Alan, for choosing my photo as the winner. This one is special to me.

    Stay tuned for the next mini topic coming soon...

    Sherry
  • grandmaRgrandmaR Major grins Southern Maryland Registered Users Posts: 1,723 Major grins
    edited December 11, 2013
    I probably have a 100 or more photos of Crunch (Bob's cat) but all of them had flaws and I had photos of former cats and my grown married children's pets and of course lots of photos of horses. But the former pets were taken with point and shoot film cameras, so not that terrific as photos and I didn't think most of the others were anything special enough to enter.
    “"..an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered." G.K. Chesterton”
  • sapphire73sapphire73 Major grins PennsylvaniaRegistered Users Posts: 1,693 Major grins
    edited December 11, 2013
    Congratulations, Sherry! Lovely photo and great story to go with it!
  • ShootingStarShootingStar Major grins le HavreRegistered Users Posts: 145 Major grins
    edited December 12, 2013
    Hi

    Congratulations to Sherry. This is a really great shot!

    Thanks Alan for your kind words and comments and 2nd place :-)

    I have been thinking about your comments about the ones with the great expression of the dog.
    Sadly I cannot get the paw entirely because I cut it while taking the pictures.
    I am listening about you comment on the tilt (I learn from my brother about portrait photography and he looooves tilt…) and the white furniture. Here is a try with less tilt and a tighter crop. I like it better but maybe then i becomes too centered. What do you think?
    IMG_7994-L.jpg

    Thanks

    Claire
    Nature can be so different around the world but it is always amazing!

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  • Alans GrinAlans Grin Major grins Registered Users Posts: 346 Major grins
    edited December 12, 2013
    Hi Claire,

    The short answer would be ... everyone should shoot crop and develop their pictures for their own maximum pleasure, if someone else likes it - then that is a bonus! Listen to other peoples views, but with only half an ear!

    My apologies for a slightly longer reply and all of what I say is only my personal subjective opinion and by no means "right". I am also talking technicalities and not content, which I repeat "is priceless"!

    One of the many things I look for when judging a photograph like this are distractions in the image from the main subject such as overly bright areas or strong colours/contrast (especially red) in a different part of the photo can pull and distract the viewers eye from the main subject. Another form of distraction can be intrusions into a photo coming into frame.

    The bright white high contrast bit of furniture intruding into your previous crop met both "distraction" criteria. If it had been the same wood as the background cabinet I would feel a little less strongly about it - but only slightly.

    In my view your new crop has removed it well and in my view given that the paw was already slightly clipped I would trade a bit more clip to remove the edge distraction. Also for me a "definite or assertive clip" which looks intentional is better than just a very slight one or "resting on the frame". The other dog close-up in my judging "definitely" has clipped ears! But that is perfectly OK in my view.

    In my view your new crop (and rotate) has a very slight downside in that the little girls head is now almost resting on the frame, but totally acceptable. If you can lift the top edge a tiny fraction I would explore that (edit - but looking again you will probably introduce intrusion so perhaps not). The upsides of your new crop are significant (for me) ... the edge distraction is gone, I feel the girl and dog are better positioned in the frame and the girls elbow has been moved away from resting on the left edge. I'm not sure, but possibly the loss of the flooring in front of the dog is also a bonus, but the tiles did provide context. You have judged your crop and rotate well so as to not start clipping the other paw.

    Capture.JPG

    The subject of "tilt" or "Dutch tilt" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_angle) is even more subject to personal preferences. As I said in my comments, I do not mind tilt but felt yours was too strong for me. I view tilt as an additional mechanism to add energy, tension, drama or unease to a photo or simply to add more interest or creative expression. I feel that your content was already strong enough to not need too much of those things.

    One thing to look out for on any tilted photo (intentionally or not) is strong lines near the edge of the frame which are just off parallel to the frame - it is another form of distraction as it "catches" or "snags" the eye. The upper right corner of your new crop nearly falls into that category and at this point I would be exploring Photoshop to see if it could be cloned out - probably hard and by no means essential. I generally do not like "moving pixels" and usually my post production is limited to adjusting the lighting or distractions. I almost never alter the main subject area.

    I am very conscious that over thinking and analysing an image can remove some of its magic, so please only use half an ear! In summary, I think your new crop is an even stronger image - but the choices in development should and must be yours.

    Once again, sorry for being long winded ... A great shot which I would enjoy seeing time and time again in either form!

    Alan.
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