Weekly #554 - Have another go! Competition

Competition Details
Closing Date: 25/02/2018
Judge: Abe_Normal

This competition is for you to demonstrate an improvement in your picture-taking and/or editing skills.

The subject is: anything you submitted to a previous competition on PentaxUser and did NOT win.

Following the criticism of the previous judge, this is your chance to 'have another go' by submitting a reworked picture. For example:
- you revisited a location when the light was more favourable
- you found a better angle to minimise distracting backgrounds / foregrounds
- your skills have improved to control what is in or out of focus
- you are familiar with the editor and can improve colours / contrast.

I expect more than just a refined crop or straightened verticals. Please mention which competition, and under what title, you entered previously.

Here is a thread for questions about this competition. If you are unclear, please ask before submitting an entry.

Standard weekly competition rules apply:
Pictures must be taken with a Pentax camera or closely-related clone.
Entries may be shot for the competition or taken from your archives.
The winner is expected to select the following week's topic and judge the competition, giving comment on each entry.

The competition closes at midnight GMT on Sunday, 25th February.
Competition Entries


Link Posted 26/02/2018 - 00:54
Thanks to those who entered. The winner is Nigelk.

I've a busy day ahead on Monday, so the write-up probably won't be posted until the evening.

'Night all.


Link Posted 27/02/2018 - 08:50
Congrats NigelK, Lovely light and composition. Worthy winner! Thanks are due to Abe_Normal, interesting challenge, pity so few entrants.


Link Posted 27/02/2018 - 13:05
(Apologies for the delay: I wanted to cogitate a while longer over my made-up numbers)

This is going to push my descriptive ability as we cover celestial mechanics and botany, and I try to find the right word for the thing. You know... the Thing. The Thing!

Remember: I'm just some guy on the internet.

Red Squirrel reworking by Perspicador (Previous image here)
The lower left quarter of the image is good: the squirrel's head is larger in the frame and it's looking in our direction (if it had been kind enough to turn its head another five degrees so that its second eye could be seen properly, then it might've been great). Cropped so that the twig forms edge of frame, it's pretty strong.

I'm sorry to say that, taken as a whole, I prefer the earlier photo on all counts:
- the colours are more vibrant
- the zone in focus is more interesting (it covers the bushy tail and the tree bark)
- the squirrel stands out (in the latter image the sheen on its fur camouflages it against the bark)
- the background is more interesting (blue sky and tree in blossom versus grey)
- the squirrel is making a curious shape, mirroring the top portion of a question mark
The common weakness that both images share is lack of space ahead of the squirrel, space for it to move into.

If the images had been the other way around, so that the previous picture had been entered in this competition, it would have been a very strong contender.

A Splash of Colour by mudge (Previous image here)
My eye sees this as a pattern of dark shapes on a white background. This doesn't work for me as it is not one of the repeating elements that is all of a sudden in colour: it draws attention to 'what should be a patch of plain background', instead of to the pattern.

Why only one? by Mag07 (Previous image here)
I think perceived softness in the previous image would be mostly down to the slow shutter speed.

I'm afraid to say this entry fails to overcome my prejudices on the movement of the heavenly spheres. Why two rows of moons, the near one either so close that it's not in focus or moving at speed? Why parallel? What is the streak of light that is both almost perpendicular to and near the centre of both rows? Perhaps it's an axis of rotation that all the moons are turning about, like a ring of beads seen side on. It can't be that; the moons are a consistent size in each row. (And so on...)

However, I read your write-up and it got me thinking how to create the image I envisioned. A back row of six moons; and a front row of four covering a shorter distance. The level of zoom would change between shots, hopefully without affecting focus. I'm not sure whether the front row should have motion blur (it might be easier to fake it later). Since the moons would be apparently growing or shrinking between shots, a larger time gap should be allowed for: I'm guessing for the back row 6 smaller moons where 8 would fit currently; and for the front, 4 bigger moons where 7 would fit.
The back row is meant to be in an arc bowing away from us, so focal lengths (from left to right): 225, 200, 175, 150, 180, 210. Front row: 260, 300, 280, 240.

Be There Spirits In This House by Nigelk (Previous image here)
When I first saw Nigel's entry two weeks ago, I thought he should be docked a mark for hinting at but failing to include a cocktail recipe. Something along the lines of TNT: 1 part absinthe, 1 part Cognac, half part Cointreau, dash of Angostura bitters (which I've spotted Nigel owns). This time round it's three bottles of gin; however, I suspect it's not the done thing to mix them together.

As a picture it's 90% percent great, though it took me a while to unpick. The taller aspect ratio suits it: long reflections below the bottles and space above. Minor distractions are the hole in the tabletop and the candleholder in the top right. One major distraction is the horizontal top of the chair back between Gordon's and Copperhouse, which appears to continue behind the bottles almost to the right edge: it's a noticable band unlike the table edge which almost vanishes because of its reflectivity.

The other thing that sidetracked my comprehension is the flesh-coloured patch to the right of the Roku label. Together with the four fingers on the bottle, I interpreted this as a right hand reaching in from ... where? Possibly behind the camera.

Dandelion macro by Noelcmn (Previous image here)
It's less recognisable as a dandelion, but the earlier picture also looks unfamiliar (I don't think I've peeked so closely at a dandelion), so makes it within the criteria.

The most obvious flaw is in the jagged edges: is the photo more heavily cropped than it liked or a jpeg processed more than once? In the previous picture, the white brushes are a strong feature; here, my eye is most drawn to the out of focus brush heads as they form a pattern like a peacock's tail fanned out. This is helped by the brighter blue background than in the earlier shot. It's also something I'd like to see more of; thus a slightly less tight crop (allowing in focus white brushes to enter the sides of frame), and the seedhead moved down from the centre, possibly with a taller 4:3 aspect ratio.

Lastly, the nearest portion of the seedhead (in the centre of frame) doesn't seem quite in focus, unlike the earlier image.

Thanks again to all entrants; I hope my reasoning is clear.


Link Posted 27/02/2018 - 16:30
Chers to the comprehensive comments and congratulations to the well deserved winner

My mind wonders to strange places at times haha...now I might have to put your vision to work Abe! This image was crafted as request for a print and as weird as it may be, seems to have gone down well..or they are just tactful enough! Who knows
'Photography...it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten....' (Aaron Siskind)


Link Posted 27/02/2018 - 17:53
Thank you Abe for setting and judging the competition and for my winning spot. The image is just a single 3 sec. shot taken on a 2 sec. timer, within that time I spun the lazy susan, got myself in position as seen, picked up and pretended to drink from the bottle of Roku.
I would have to agree the image is a bit messy with stuff that I should have moved out of the way or cloned post capture. When I have an idea that is all I'm thinking about and the finer details go out the window.
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