So, I decided recently that a good way to keep me on my toes making pictures was to enter challenges. The benefits are three-fold:
#1 - There's a deadline, so you have to come up with ideas and go out and shoot them.
#2 - The themes and stipulations are already chosen for you. Don't know what to shoot? Well, this gets you going in the right direction and give you the boundaries in which to be creative (despite what many might say, I don't think limitless potential/possibilities foster creativity, but the other way around).
#3 - You get feedback. Or, at least, that was the plan.
So my first challenge just finished and I was happy with submission. Scratch that, I _AM_ happy with my submission.
The challenge was entitled:
"Still life: Glass, but no bottles no drinking glasses"
and it is part of a series of challenges about nature and culture.
The rule for this challenge generally stipulate that the content had to be new, realistic to out of camera photography (little to no post processing). Furthermore, the challenge owner asked that voters be honest and offer their opinion in the comments along with their vote, should they chose to vote unusually high or low.
Here is my submission; "Cosmic Yin-Yang":
So, how did I do? Well, I came in 60th. Of how many entries, you ask? errr ... 60.
That's right, dead last. Why? Well, I'm not quite sure, to be honest. No one left a single comment, yet obviously this picture rubbed most of the voters the wrong way.
Do I care? No, not really.
I'm a bit disappointed though, and not in myself or my "ranking". I happen to be proud of my submission, and other people's opinion doesn't change that. I AM disappointed in the community - DPReview - of which I have been a member (off and on) since I first owned a digital camera (~2003). For all the challenges that are going on, and all the people eager to submit, it's a shame no one can be bother to share their thoughts, comments, critiques, criticism and all the other bits of info that make people want to be a part of the site.
60 people submitted photos, 983 voted.
Of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place images, there was only ONE comment that was not by me. If you can take the time to submit, I think you ought to take the time to vote honestly and openly.
For the record, here is my explanation/description of my submission:
Glass? This felt like an easy one to me. We all know about glass, right? It's what we take our pictures with; We all love "Good glass"! So I wanted to capture "our" glass in a way that was not so obvious, no "here is my favourite lens" photos. I came up with this after looking at the glass itself, and playing with angles of light from a lamp. The title: "Cosmic" because it reminded me of a hubble photograph or the northern lights. Nature. "Yin and Yang" - because it resembles the symbol. Culture (and natural philosophy). Yes, It's just an OOF lens, close up.
Shot with Sigma 17-70 @ 70mm/f7.1, manually (de)focused by hand. ISO set to H1.0 (6400) to get the most grain, gain, and least DR possible. Photo is completely untouched, save for 5 hot pixels that came out at that high ISO. Colours are ALL NATURAL.
I will continue to submit, for reasons 1 and 2 mentioned above. It's fun, and a great opportunity to push myself. Hopefully, in the future, more people will see fit to share their words, as well as their photos.