I didn’t do that well Tuesday night at the Sierra Camera Club, in Sacramento, competition, but then I expected I wouldn’t. Sometimes pictures look great on the monitor, but not so great when they are printed. That was my predicament.

When I looked at the prints, I was dismayed. I decided to enter them anyway. After all I’m there to learn, and I did. The scores range from 8 to 12. I got two 10s and two 11s. I’ll confess that the judge didn’t give a score under 10! Print is just one of several categories, and for me, the most difficult. I’m not the only one printing out 8 x 12 images, but we are in the minority. However, I don’t think I’m ready to invest the money in larger prints.

In the digital categories, I have been awarded 12s, but never made it to the golden “13.” But, I’m happy. I joined this group to learn, and I have. I’ve also learned how to look at images. It’s amazing what details the judges see that I haven’t trained my eye to look for.

Toastmasters has trained me not to take critiquing as an assualt on my abilities. So, I understand that judging is subjective. There have been a few times when I dissagreed with the judge; but, after a few weeks, I saw that the judge was so right! Sometimes we get attached to our product and what we see in it that we don’t view it with a critical eye.

I thank the fantastic members of the Club. They are most eager to help, and just seeing their work gives me something to shoot for. Most of all, I feel great when my images are competitive with theirs.

If you are a new photographer, I urge you to join this type of club. There’s always something new to learn. You’ll find some of my entries below.

 

 

First print competition and lessons

It’s not easy putting your work out there and have it judged. But for me, it was great. I didn’t do as well as I did last time at the Sierra Camera Club in Sacramento, but this was for the print division and a different judge. I entered into the Monochrome and Color categories. We are allowed two images per category. The other category is artistic–I’m not ready for that!

Here’s how my images were judged on a sliding scale of 8 – 12. I’ll give you a hint: 3 were 10’s and one was 11. I’m not upset, but I’m excited. I learned terminology I’d never heard. The judge not only graded, he explained why and gave ways to correct the problem he saw. He was teaching. He was surprised and said at one point that he hadn’t  seen any eights or nines!

Here’s one that got me a 10.

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He thought the figure was too dark and got lost. He suggested I work with the dark and light to add more depth, and that the scale was not that impressive. Well, I can disagree with the scale not being impressive. I guess you had to be there.

Here’s the one that got me an 11:

people (14)Here’s the one that I got an 11 on: Well, it’s not exactly the one. I couldn’t find the one I had printed. I cropped off my copyright for the competition image and he said he would have liked to see his whole foot. He also said that the guy was centered–another distraction, and I agree. He suggested that I could have shot the picture from the other side and then the guy wouldn’t have been centered. Who knows what it would have looked like. I did learn not to put a copyright on an image that I might submit, but make a virtual copy. Also, take a candid, which this was, then ask if I could take his picture. Then I could have taken several shots and moved around. However, he did say that the tonal values were right on. That got me the 11.

I’m loving this camera club and learning a great deal. I took 3 1/2 pages of notes at this meeting, and I’m looking forward to once again putting my work out there and have it judged.

PS: The top image rated a 10. I submitted it without the copyright.

 

Allergy? Cold? More!: Ironstone Vineyards, part 2

Allergy: Yesterday Laura and I went to visit the Jepsen Prairie Preserve (You’ll see it soon.) to see their vernal pools. As soon as I stepped onto the area around the pools. I started sneezing and couldn’t stop! Did I have tissues with me? No. It wouldn’t have mattered because I could not have brought enough. I had to use my shirt I use as a light jacket. Oh my.

Cold: When I got home, the sneezes kept coming. I finally realized it must be a cold. I’m not sure how this allergy/cold affected my shooting. I looked at my images briefly last night, but didn’t get them into Lightroom.

More: I’m preparing prints for juried competition for the first time at tomorrow night’s Sierra Camera Club meeting. I’m a little nervous. But, it’s all part of the learning and growth experience. I’ll let you know how I did.

Now, back to Ironstone Vineyards in Murphys and their beautiful grounds. This winery has a museum, tasting room, cafeteria, amphitheater and hosts events. When you’re there, it’s time to relax and rejuvenate. That is unless you have an allergy or a cold. Next time I go out, I’m bringing a whole tissue box with me!

 

A big step: Empire Mine, Grass Valley, California

I move slowly–I know it. So, when people started telling me I should enter my photos in competitions, I was reluctant. I didn’t know how to prepare them, didn’t know where to enter, etc. To help push me along, I joined the Sierra Camera Club.

This is a big step for me because they have two monthly juried competitions. Last week I put two images in competition. Wow, that was intense. I was really looking for guidance and constructive criticism. Scoring was 8 points at the low end and 12 at the high end. I really did not have any expectations of what score my photos would bring, I just wanted to hear what the judge had to say.

He went through more than 100 images in the open category and half that in the artistic category. I learned a great deal that night from listening to him. Oh, my images scored an 11 and 12. Below is “Capitol Moon” the one that earned 12 points. Not bad for the first time. And the expertise of many members is tremendous. Their photos were outstanding. Some of them warned me from experience not to get upset when I score my first “8” since judging was subjective.

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Next month, I need to print out some pictures for the competition. I’m still looking forward to it, knowing the judge will be different and may be more tough. For me it’s a big step towards learning more.

For this post, I’m taking you back to the Empire Mine State Historic Park in Grass Valley. My Tuesday group went there recently. I was hoping that with all the rain, the flowers would be blooming. No such luck. So I tried to shoot close up and do a little HDR. We did take the Cottage tour, bringing us inside the cottage (not the small cottage you may be picturing). See it again, but differently, through my camera lens.