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Photography Question 
Jim Macino
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/23/2005
 

Photography vs Creativity


I'm wondering what percentage of the photos entered into the monthly contest would be more correctly placed in the Digital Darkroom or Special Effects categories. At what point does an image stop being a photograph? I'm puzzled.


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3/27/2006 6:14:54 PM

 
Brendan Knell
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/17/2005
  It's been said(I think it was Kerry or Chris) that when the focus of the photo is more on the digital effects than the origanal focus, that is when it should go in Digital Darkroom.


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3/27/2006 6:26:47 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  Deja vu


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3/27/2006 6:59:44 PM

 
Nobu Nagase
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/31/2003
 
I would not think that any stats of that sort has been taken nor published. I would think, however, a greater percentage of the Digital Darkroom entries are correctly placed, while some digitally manipulated images have been known to stray into the Special Effects category intentionally or unintentionally (I am guilty of doing so myself).

Although BP has the guidelines how to categorize the entries but does not enforce them. And although this subject has been discussed often in the past (as Greg's short phrase may indicate), it does not seem to be of a very significant issue IMHO...


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3/27/2006 7:58:49 PM

 
Jim Macino
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/23/2005
  I'm not a very good tap dancer. I've seen a few winning "photos" that appear to me to have been signicantly altered. The contest blurb says something about BP re-categorizing entries, and I was wondering if that really happens. I also think that "a greater percentage of the Digital Darkroom entries are correctly placed" by the entrants.


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3/27/2006 8:52:51 PM

 
Craig m. Zacarelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/3/2005
  i wish the catagories were a little more easy to understand. we got landscapes, does this also cover buildings too? or is that elements of design..? would a car go into that catagory too then? also, digital dark room and special efects? so which one do I put my digital masterpiece in? its too confusing to allot of people here and it should be addressed by the staff of BP. not by just saying "read the contest rules page" I have and left it with a headache! Also, I say, limit entries to 1 pic in each catagory per month, not as manay in whatever catagory you choose per month, it makes it more difficult for the judgese to look at and I feel that it might make for a better contest but thats just MY two cents.
Craig-


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3/28/2006 9:44:20 AM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  I wonder if this is about the reflection in the water drops again


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3/28/2006 10:55:54 AM

 
Carolyn  M. Fletcher
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/6/2001
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PickYourShots.com
  Categorizing can be tough. I have a lot of trouble deciding what to do with my cars, too. They usually go into DD, but occasionally I've put one in Design or even in Macro/Detail..I wish they'd bring back that general category they used to have that was kind of a catch all for stuff that doesn't really fit anywhere else.


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3/28/2006 11:22:02 AM

 
John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
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  The first thing to remember is that a camera takes a picture of a subject. Hoepfully, it's the same subject the photographer sees. If the photographer's eye stinks, the camera won't help - regardless of its cost. Automatic cameras, digital included, make it easier to take pictures - and, infinitely more easy to take poor pictures because the photographer doesn't have to think as hard.

When a memory card is downloaded to a computer, when a print or negative is scanned and saved on the hard drive - anything done via an editing program is digital alteration. So, you might say say any digital image should be entered only in Digital or Special Effects.

For hundreds of years the wet darkroom has been used to alter photographs. Cropping, burning and dodging, etc. are clear examples of classic alterations that, now, can be done more easily with editing software. But, I think the real issue comes when major color corrections are made [say, making a black and white striped zebra green and white.]

The problem I see with digital is that once the image is in the computer it too easy and too much fun to play. I note that almost every book I've read suggests sharpening a digital image before it's printed. [I find the Unsharp Mask Tool in Photoshop must be used very judiciously or unwarranted noise appears miraculously, to ruin an otherwise fine shot.]

However, even a significantly altered image is not, in and of itself, required to be placed in the Special Effects Section. Think about an image that's rotated horizontally. And, based on many of the galleries one may visit in BP.com and in the contests pages, many, many images might ONLY be offered in Digital - after all, they were taken with a digital camera.

If someone submits a great picture it can be a winner in any category. Frankly, the problem is, in my view, that we can submit too many images. That makes it almost impossible for the judges to give any picture a fair evaluation. They must, almost by definition, give a cursory "In" or "Out" to whittle down many thousands of entries to a manageable number for more meaningful assessment. Perhaps - one entry/category/member/month would be more appropriate.

And,Craig - if the category was "Blue," would you question whether there's a difference in "category" between a very deep blue of a subject [sky using a polarizer] vs. a light blue [sapphire stone in a ring?] I think not. Landscapes includes seascapes - is that hard to comprehend? A shot of one's pet cat's face is a portrait, just as the shot of a spouse's. There's really nothing difficult about categorizing.

Relax and Be Happy.


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3/28/2006 1:42:55 PM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  The way I've always interpreted these two seemingly very similar categories is this way:

Special Effects:
Effects or surreal illusions created in-camera, when the photographer has a general idea of what he or she is trying to portray before the shutter is pressed.

Digital Darkroom:
When an image is captured and downloaded...then analysed by the photographer to see how it could be altered or manipulated into something surreal.


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3/28/2006 4:37:54 PM

 
Kay Beausoleil
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/31/2004
KayBeausoleilPhotography.com
  Bob, I'd always assumed that Digital Darkroom was where you went when the image took some kind of skill at processing in PS or the like.

This month, I entered an image (Evening at the Sunrise Café) in Special Effects because I took a straight image and did only one thing to it other than the usual RAW processing -- applied the Glowing Edges filter. Not much DD skill involved, but it is a special effect.

More and more, Special Effects seems to be limited to zooming and shaking the camera. If digital special effects aren't admitted to this category, maybe it's time to rethink the whole category list. Like others, I have still lifes which, I suppose, could squeeeeze into Design, but I'd much rather see a catch all category to replace Special Effects. Or a blending of SE and DD.


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3/28/2006 5:51:36 PM

 
Craig m. Zacarelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/3/2005
  so john, where would you put a picture of an old farm tractor in a field of corn? in what catagory? all im saying is, its time to update the catagories a bit. Maybe something like Buildings, stills,landscapes, digital darkroom (it can stay) portraits, animals, blahh blahh blahhh!
Is that too much to ask?
Craig-


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3/28/2006 6:21:08 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  New categories is going to mean confusion over new categories.


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3/28/2006 7:09:52 PM

 
Larry Lawhead
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/15/2002
  Well, Jim, if you want to know the percentage of shots you consider over-manipulated, you'd better start counting. With 24,000 entries last month, it might take you a while, though.

Meanwhile, the BP folks are the judges (literally) of what they consider acceptable.


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3/28/2006 8:11:06 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  These pictures include landscapes, outdoor scenics, nature images, sunsets, urban landscapes, seascapes, cityscapes, and farms - to name a few.

Tractor-farm.
Corn field-farm.
Corn field-outdoor scenics
corn field-landscapes
buildings-urban landscapes
buildings-city scapes
Not to mention architecture is all about design, form and function. Buildings-elements of design.

It's never been a hard thing to do.


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3/28/2006 11:26:40 PM

 
John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
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  Craig -

It's a landscape - pure and simple. Stop trying to make things difficult and, further, stop trying to suggest you know something more than the rest of us.

There's really nothing too difficult with the existing categories and, you know what, if you place your image in the wrong place - it'll be judged with the same scrutiny afforded every other picture.

Your work, by category, is no better or worse than anyone else's when the judges are asked to review 20,000 or more images every month. I take my hat off to them - it's an almost impossible task.


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3/29/2006 4:59:39 PM

 
Craig m. Zacarelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/3/2005
  John,

tell me then? what do you have against change? Things change from time to time. All Im suggesting is that maybe its time to re-do the contest catagories here at BP? What? do you think thats wrong to do? Theres no reason to get snippy here, And I am in no way suggesting "I know more than anyone else here" god, you make it seem like im trying to take over the forums.. Ya know, being outspoken is one thing but to attack an innocent poster with accusations is just uncalled for!
GROW UP!
Craig-


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3/30/2006 4:28:27 AM

 
John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
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  Craig -

There's a saying: If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!

But - what's wrong with the categories in the contest?

These are really easily understood categories, except perhaps by you, that are used by reputed organizations on the national and international level [PSA] and statewide [e.g. CT Council of Camera Clubs, NJ Federation of Camera Clubs.] I have nothing against change - heck, I just about ready to buy a digital camera. But, I do subscribe to the axion, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

And, because this Ancient "grew up" years ago, I also know that "Buildings" is really part of that well recognized photo contest category "Architecture," that Greg mentioned.

I repeat, the judges will look at all the images submitted with a very cursory screening first and, then, with a more discerning eye for the "initial survivors." 20,000+ images a month remains a daunting task.


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3/30/2006 6:21:00 AM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
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  I have seen "Buzzed" finalists and winners probably in every category there is with the possible exception of Special Effects. Personally, I'd like to see such images compete in the Digital Darkroom category only, but realistically they can be placed anywhere a entrant wants to post them and still place.


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3/30/2006 6:45:31 AM

 
Craig m. Zacarelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/3/2005
  I understand but time and time again I see posts here about "what catagory should I enter this in?" I know I DO have trouble deciding in what catagory a certain shot is supoposed to be in and it's probably allot easier for "Pro's" to know what goes where but dont forget, this is a site for people just starting out and maybe dont have the experience that some of the older or long time members have.. is that fair? I know the judges look at all the shots entered.. but it also says ( I believe) in the rules that the shots should be entered into the correct catagory. This seems to be a bit unfair if the catagories are going to be so general... but not. How is a new person here supposed to know? Anyway, it is pretty pointless to argue about this anyway, BP wont do anything about it so as of now I consider this case closed.
Thanks for your input John, even if it does'nt seem so, I appreciate it.
Craig-


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3/30/2006 6:52:33 AM

 
John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
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  Sharon -

I guess I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "buzzed." I guess - minor editing with the computer.

The fact remains that, in photography, editing has taking place for years in the wet darkroom. Most of Ansel Adams' masterpieces wouldn't have made it if he was a darkrom master. If you check out the images in his book, "The Making of 40 Pictures" [I think that's the correct title, if not it's close]you'll probably ask yourelf whether he used sandwiched negatives to place the same moon in several of them.

In the darkroom, printers have used burning, dodging, cropping, developing time adjustment, different chemicals, different paper, etc. to achieve the images that have become timeless nd priceless. [Did you hear that a photograph just sold for $2 million at Southerby's?]

Photoshop and other editing software gives us a way to achieve most of the effects that have been produced in the wet darkroom for over 100 years. In that respect, these prints need not be segregated in my opinion. However, when changes like the green and black zebra I mentioned above are entered into competition, they should be segregated.

Oh, for all of us dieters, have you checked out the tool in Photoshop [it's in Elements 3.0 and 4.0] called Distort>Liquify. In a photo of a good friend in his book Digital Imaging Workshops, Rick Sammons uses the tool to work a weight reduction miracle. But, you know, I don't think the resulting image would be correctly entered in Special Effects!


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3/30/2006 7:07:27 AM

 
Kerry L. Walker   "I guess I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "buzzed." I guess - minor editing with the computer."

No, that's when you have a few beers before you sit down at the computer to Photoshop.


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3/30/2006 7:41:57 AM

 
John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
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  "No, that's when you have a few beers before you sit down at the computer to Photoshop."

Absolut on the Rocks. No olive, I'm on a diet.


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3/30/2006 8:06:49 AM

 
Carolyn  M. Fletcher
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/6/2001
Contact Carolyn
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PickYourShots.com
  The buzz is just a plug in filter.


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3/30/2006 9:02:45 AM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
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  Carolyn is right. Simply a plugin filter. It makes images look as though they've been painted. Very neat effect really, and I have my share of them in my gallery.


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3/30/2006 9:11:04 AM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  I like Kerry's description better.


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3/30/2006 3:14:37 PM

 
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