>>> LPS#2 Judges Feedback thread

Shay StephensShay Stephens Artist in ResidenceRegistered Users Posts: 3,165 Major grins
edited April 7, 2007 in The Dgrin Challenges
What I like about this photo is it tells a story, a story that is different in everyones mind to be a sure, but it generates that unique story. It says humble to me, it looks interesting, and the misty background adds that unsure feeling about the future. A beautiful photo.


Very striking, though a bit over processed for my taste. But it does have zaz! This photo made my first round pick because I like the zaz and the composition and subject matter, but I didn't keep it for the top ten because I felt other photos better fit the theme by comparison. I would try to keep the zaz, but make the processing look less over-cranked. The part that worked for stately is that it draws the eye out and makes the viewer seem smaller than the environment, though I think more sky would have made that feeling stronger.


This photo really speaks stately. It's stark and singular in its presentation. It just nails the theme home with nothing extra needed. Love the title too. Wonderful!


I remember seeing the spot colored version, and was a little disappointed to see it gone, but the pure B&W, once I got used to the change is a beautiful choice. The composition lifts your eyes skyward and makes you feel like you are witnessing something stately, grand, and ornate. I felt the theme in this photo, I didn't have to guess at it.


Who doesn't love litte kids playing with bunnies! But this photo, as cute as it is wouldn't be the same without the theme coming through loud and clear. I felt "humble" pouring through the photo from the child and bunny, probably more from a size perspective than anything else. I am usually a color guy, but the B&W's this round worked well.


This photo also made my first round, but didn't make it through the second. It is a beautiful photo, but for me the stately part was just edged out by others. But it is wonderful in that it draws your eye up and out, it makes you feel small, and the comparison says stately to me, and obviously to others as well.


This is one of the few dual theme attempts that worked for me, and it worked in a wonderful way, I see by example and comparison both stately and humble. One without the other would not have done as well. A very enjoyable piece.


A simple environmental portrait that makes a clear statement of the humble theme. As a viewer, I feel a part of the what the subject is going through, if only superficially, I feel bored, cold, and maybe even hungy, and getting your viewer to feel something about a photo is a great thing.


This is really beautiful, good honest work that makes the viewer feel like taking a break! Simple theme development but hard hitting impact. I love it.


This photo is as darn compelling as it is beautiful! I had it in my list till the last minute. Something else edged it out, but it was the last one to go. For me it says solitude more than it says stately, but there is an element of stately there and enough for other to have chosen it in their top ten. And like I said, it is an outstanding photo. I would have been proud to take such a photo even if it had not made the top ten, which it obviously did anyway. Just really great work, I love it.
Creator of Dgrin's "Last Photographer Standing" contest
"Failure is feedback. And feedback is the breakfast of champions." - fortune cookie


  • Shay StephensShay Stephens Artist in Residence Registered Users Posts: 3,165 Major grins
    edited April 3, 2007
    From Digital Faerie
    A big thank you to Digital Faerie for providing this feedback:

    First off, I'd like to say that there are some very fine photographs in this group, the theme was interpreted in a myriad of ways, so there was never a dull moment in choosing the top 10 out of about 100. No small task, and I am humbled by the artwork I was priveleged to see today.

    Of course fitting the theme was very important, and there are many that do a fine job, but I feel the top 10 reflect photographs that can stand on their own without the context of a challenge. This is a very important change to the challenges and one that I am glad to see. It's all about pushing yourself to the next level and I am just about intimidated by the best of the best here, I truly am.

    Never have I experienced more vacillations of the heart in choosing between my top 2 for the #1 spot. I spent over 3 hours choosing the top 10, but about 30 mins. of that time was spent on picking between the top 2. It was not easy!

    #1 - Nikolai - humble beginning

    What first draws me to this photo is its beautiful simplicity. The overall monotone values of the background and leafy floor, contrasted with the lime-green sapling that seems to pop off the page...even more beautiful is that the shapes and angles of the humble sapling are echoed in the stately branches of the tree in the background--a very beautiful connectiveness in contrast to the total dichotomy of the photo. It's almost as if the grown tree is a protector of sorts, a gentle giant as welcoming as it can be opposing, making the sapling seem that much more fragile, and submissive to its larger counterpart. Nikolai has managed to capture both themes while emphasizing one, without using props or other over-the-top antics. Simplicity at its finest. clap.gif

    #2 - seastack - against time and tide

    I have never seen anything like this before, so major points for originality here. What I also love about this landscape is the scale could go either way--would a human tower over this structure or be dwarfed by it? That provides a very magical quality. This is nature's majesty, and the rich earthy tones offset by the cooler blues make it really pop. The fog adds its own elegance and provides a nice contrast with the imposing lines of the rock. Well done indeed! bowdown.gif

    #3 - vandana - blessed are the humble, for they shall inherit the earth

    My first thought was "this could be the opening scene to a movie," it really captures the eye. Normally, I prefer shots to have corrected perspective, but the curvature in the horizon makes the earth feel small and seemingly insignificant to the golden heavens above. The contrast of an abandoned wasteland with its overtures of death become softened by a seemingly forgiving sunset, as if to point the way that if you walk just a little further, you might find an aesthetic that fits the glory in the sky. Beautiful balance was achieved here, and I can keep looking at this photo without tiring. iloveyou.gif

    #4 - Swartzy - humble poet

    Sometimes my first instinct in photoshop is to test black point compensation to really make the contrast richer and more defined. But the black of the poet's jacket here is a tad bit on the washed out side here, and it works so well for the subject. It seems to compliment the sweeping emptiness of the sidewalk around him, with no hope of any change (in more ways than one) coming his way anytime soon. In fact, the pedestrians in the background reinforce his insignificance, a social pariah in the world's eyes, but made so human by his attempts of survival to write poetry--which in my opinion, is the written word's equivalent to a photograph on the page. It's a sad irony he is huddled against the wall, isolated, and asking for help to make a pilgrimage. :cry clap.gif

    #5 - sunione - polishing the stairs

    The tonal ranges of this B&W draw me in, the blurred action in her scrubbing hand is a nice touch and really emphasizes the effort of her work. But it's the absolutely blank look on her face -- an expression that tells me she's done this for so long she barely knows anything else, an undefinable sadness that evokes my empathy. Yet she's not ashamed, she may be hunched over, but she seems to be paying careful attention to her work, telling me that she cares about it. I love the emotional impact of this photograph. iloveyou.gif

    #6 - davev - capital

    I cannot find a single technical thing wrong with this photo, in fact, the tonal values are broad and rich, every details flys off the page and screams "stately" at me. The balance is nice, too, not only the left and right symmetry, but it's as if the sky has to give the building a wide berth for the grandeur the architecture commands. I suppose the biggest thing that kept this picture out of the top 3 for me was that it lacked the sense of originality some of the others conveyed. But this really is a beautiful photo. thumb.gif

    #7 - kingmamaof2 - the humbleness of a child

    Ahh, the magic of a child, caught in the right moment a photograph can take on a life of it's own. The DOF is great, the softness of the focus on her, and the slight "glow" all come together quite nicely. This little girl seems so intrigued with the bunny....but in the end, the bunny is what causes consternation in me as a viewer because of the way it's positioned, making it difficult to tell it was a bunny at first. Maybe one day, humankind will learn to speak to the animals so that we can direct their poses better...but on the other hand, it's capturing that perfect moment that makes photography such a challenge, and the rewards so gratifying. Imagine if the bunny was staring straight back at the little girl....it's capturing a fleeting moment like that scenario that can catapult a photo from "really good" to "that is absolutely fantastic!" :D

    #8 - pyroPrints.com - (untitled)

    I'm a huge fan of cathedrals, especially B&W, and this photograph does all the things a great B&W should do, from its richness to the diagonal lines of the building, but this falls into the "seen something similar" category, and when judged side by side with those that have the "it" factor, it's hard to compete. Part of me wishes I could see the lower buildings brought out and not so darkened, and at an angle where the camera is brought to the left more and aimed to the right, which could play more on the abundant angles here because it can be so nice to see complimentary parallels and contrasting perpindiculars. But it still made it to the top 10 for a reason! cheerleader.gif

    #9 - mwalters - Witley court, humbled by fire

    This building haunts me, and the last thing I think of when seeing it is "humble." I want to be dared to go inside at night and see just how long I'll last before running away like a big chicken. The tonal values, darkness, and overall expansiveness of the structure and how you've filled it across the viewing plane is very striking, and keeps the eye looking....but the overly blurred grass in the foreground distracts from the majesty of the architecture. A slight softness would've sufficed if for some reason you felt it to be distracting, but oftentimes, the same texture can serve the same purpose as a white or black background in portraiture. IMHO, I think the prickly texture of the grass would've been a great compliment to the phantasmal aura this building has -- like goosebumps on your neck. thumb.gif

    #10 - gefillmore - goin the speed limit (or less)

    I really like the subject matter here, the elderly man with a cane is so priceless in juxtoposition with the speed limit sign. I suppose if I were to meet this man he just might have a shy smile and courteous wave to offer me in passing. But I really wonder about moving the camera to the right side of the road (or center line), perhaps the curvature of the road could take a little more prominence, and that angle might provide an even foggier background for the man. A tighter crop containing the sign, curving road, man and foggy background might have really strengthened this shot. I feel that the left half of the photograph is a bit like dead weight and doesn't contribute to such a strong subject. But kudos to a great attempt on a very challenging theme indeed! thumb.gif
    Creator of Dgrin's "Last Photographer Standing" contest
    "Failure is feedback. And feedback is the breakfast of champions." - fortune cookie
  • davevdavev Getting older by the day Registered Users Posts: 3,116 Major grins
    edited April 4, 2007
    Thanks for your insights, time and effort that you folks put into this challenge.

    Basking in the shadows of yesterday's triumphs'.
  • JohnCJohnC Nikon D300 Shooter! Registered Users Posts: 222 Major grins
    edited April 4, 2007
    Thanks for sharing! thumb.gif

    I do hope other judges share their thoughts as well. :D
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  • SwartzySwartzy Right Brained Scientist Registered Users Posts: 3,293 Major grins
    edited April 4, 2007
    Yes, a big thank you
    Not only are your efforts freely given but also your continued willingness to volunteer, sharing your insights, encouragement, and passion. Your selfless participation/administration is touching more lives than you can imagine. Yes, a giant thank you is in order.....WE APPLAUD YOU. clap.gif
    NAPP Member | Canon Shooter
    Weddings/Portraits and anything else that catches my eye.
    Model Mayhem site http://www.modelmayhem.com/686552
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Registered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited April 4, 2007
    Thank you guys!
    Very much appreciate your time and efforts! thumb.gifiloveyou.gifbowdown.gif
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • SystemSystem Registered Users Posts: 8,195 moderator
    edited April 4, 2007
    Nikolai wrote:
    Very much appreciate your time and efforts! thumb.gifiloveyou.gifbowdown.gif

    me too-
  • KhaosKhaos Mr. Creative Pants Registered Users Posts: 2,435 Major grins
    edited April 7, 2007
    I apologize for not posting this earlier but it's been one of those weeks.

    I'd like to start by addressing the "what the judges are looking for" comments that keep popping up after the results for each contest get posted. That should be the something you should never even consider. No one should be looking for a formula that will ensure them success in an artistic endeavor. It doesn't exist. The fact that we all differ in what we like is a good thing, and not something that needs to be defined. If your only goal in this is to win as opposed to create and see what happens, then you should reconsider what it is that you love about photography. Enjoy the ride and don't get focused on the destination. The destination isn't the win, but the photograph that you enjoyed creating.

    What do I look for when I judge? I want a photograph to engage me. Anyone with training and practice can take a nice picture. And we all enjoy looking at nice pictures, but to get a nice picture that evokes a response other than, "ooh nice", is not that easy to obtain. Give me a view I normally don't see or show me something that pulls me in and lets my mind wander. That's what I look for.

    That said, here were my picks and what I thought when I chose them.

    01 - 30 - Nikolai - humble beginning
    The angle, the selective color, the DOF that allowed the tree to play a supporting role and also help convey both of the contest's themes is what really drew me in. The humble, small, but beautiful, young tree rising up through the shedded leaves of the stately older tree is beautiful. It's fragile and can become stately like its neighbor, but it can also be easily stepped on and destroyed. What is its fate? A lovely shot.

    02 - 78 - JimW - humble prayer
    I like the motion and simplicity of a private moment of giving oneself over to something else. The candle can symbolize anything and lets the viewer decide what it is.

    03 - 32 - Swartzy - humble poet
    I can feel the cold and the sense of being humbled and lost in a world you wish to escape but don't know how. The use of negative space really powers the shot. That's something you unfortanetly don't see very often. A powerful shot.

    04 - 08 - gefillmore - goin the speed limit (or less)
    The irony is that speed limit sign didn't speak to me. That shows a photograph that can have multiple meaning to multiple people. That's special. The humble old man on his trek into the cool mist. Is it his final destination or is he still a long ways away? The curved leading lines are nice along with the beautiful, dreamy mist that hides what's ahead for him. You want to join him and learn where he lands up.

    05 - 39 - sunione - polishing the stairs
    Someone in the results thread stated they should of taken a picture of themselves with a mop and that would of ensured them of being picked like this shot had. Well, if that mop picture would convey seeiing a humble soul who looks like she has worked hard all her life not for glory or success, but simply because it was what was needed to be done, or if it has very nice angled light and strong shadows that show great mood, then yes, it would of been chosen. Odds are though, it would of just been a shot of someone holding a mop. This photo is beautiful and strong.

    06 - 43 - fashiznitsngrins - humbling heights
    I like differnet angles and views. I like viewng from a different perspective something I normally see regularly. I use stairs everday and don't remember what it was like to see them like a huge mountain to climb. I would be humbled by the task of scaling to the top of a mountain just like this child is by these "mountain" of stairs.

    07 - 71 - imax - humbled by man
    Stuck in a life she didn't choose. Humbled by circumstance beyond her control. The look of defeat yet longing for something else really jarred me. I would liked to see the top fence part removed and have the fence softened to emphasize the female orangutan's face more.

    08 - 25 - rddphotos - mountains and sky
    It's a beautiful shot. It's the shadow of the clouds on the mountains that really does it for me. The mountains may be stately, but they are still humbled by something much larger; the heavens above. It isn't ranked higher, because even though it's beautiful, it's a shot that relys more on nature's beauty than on the photographers creativity or vision.

    09 - 79 - howboucha - (untitled)
    I like the photojournalistic look of it. The humbled citizens of a city are definitley the homeless, lost people most of us don't want to deal with, nor know how. I wanted to see more though. Something that shows me the personality of the people in the photo and not just their plight.

    10 - 96 - jimgoldstein - Yosemite valley with snow
    Another gorgeous landscape. It makes me want to be there. It's majestic, and I checked, majestic is used in the American Heritage Dictionary's definition of stately. But again, if anyone has mastered the technical ability of taking a perfectly exposed photograph, they can arise at the proper time and take a beautiful shot like this. I really like it, but the contest is in my opinion more about creative expression.

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