Weekly #608 - Contre jour Competition

Competition Details
Closing Date: 17/03/2019
Judge: davidtrout

This week's competition is open as to subject matter the theme being 'shooting against the light' or to give it its posh name 'Contre Jour.' The topic can be anything of your choice which hopefully will encourage a wide ranging entry but the shooting method is what I will be judging the the competition on.
The usual rules apply, pictures must be shot on Pentax cameras or their closely related clones, shot new for this competition or trawled from your favourite archives. Entries close midnight Sunday March 17, British time.
Competition Entries


Link Posted 18/03/2019 - 00:18
Weekly competition #608 Contre Jour
Thanks for your entries in this competition, I've enjoyed looking at them all. Sometimes in these competitions a standout winner can be obvious, making it easier for the judge to choose. This time it was one of the occasions when quality and interest were closely matched in many of the entries. In the jargon of the sport of my youth, cycle road racing, this was a bunch sprint rather than a lone break winner. The decision is purely my own, other judges might have selected different award winners.

Kier in reflective mood by John Riley
Classic contre jour photography by an expert. The use of illumination has been arranged with precision to create a beautiful portrait sculptured with well controlled light. I particularly enjoy the rim lighting on Kier's profile and the textured light on her shoulder. I always enjoy seeing beautiful rim lighting in contre jour photos. A very good example to kick start this week's competition.

Edinburgh Twilight by Perspicador
Quite different this one. Beautfully done against the light shooting. I like the silhouetted buildings with their lit windows, the wonderful after glow in the sky.....and the bonus of the crescent moon set against the tall spire.

Rush hour by Paulb531
Great street photography with good use of the contre jour lighting, helped enormously by the light catching the water sulpture. The silhoutted homeward bound figures heading out of the station provide a feast for the eye to explore. Strangely they all seem to be leaning slightly to the right, all at the same angle. Must be a windy place outside Sheffield Midland.

Sunstar Lion by Abe normal
A lot of work has gone into this striking picture. Five bracketed JPEG exposures merged to get an HDR image. You say you might try using fewer RAW images to get the effect you seek. Personally I would never shoot JPEG, not since my very earliest digital photographs. You can get so much out of well exposed RAW images without restorting to spending ages in Photoshop later. But that's just my method of working. We all do things our own way. In the resulting image here the lion sculpture is greatly enhanced by the star burst through its eye and detail has been retained in the subject while the sky is subtly done.

Roker through a 10 stopper by Tyronet 2000
This is good against the light shooting. I like the single sunburst cutting diagonally through the image from the sun through the north pier lighthouse to the bottom left hand corner. A good compositional feature, not overdone. There are strong silhouettes in the piers and two lighthouses at the mouth of the River Wear at Sunderland and I like the subtle detail in the sky and the light just catching the surface of the waves.

Turkish harbour by Pinnimels
Similar comments that I have just mde about Stan's picture . Here though the sillhoutettes are dominant and the colour adds superb drama and a mass of detail to this atractive scene.

Wisteria seed pods by Smudge
Beautiful bokeh, in fact bokeh to die for. And rim lighting! I love the subtle green tones of this image although there is a very slight tendancy for the left hand side of the picture to burn out. Its not a traditional natural history picture in the scientific sense but its pure contre jour and impressionistic. One to hang on the wall .

Sidmouth - February Sunshine by Mike in Devon
Glorious black and white with lots of detail for the eye to explore. The silhouetted figures remind me of Lowry's match stick men characters, each and every one different. And there's even a little dog enjoying the beach sunshine. The hazy cliffs in the background to the sharply defined figures give the picture great depth.

Early morning sailing by Retsoor
Lovely scene, reminiscent of 19th century paintings of sailing barges in the Thames, off the East Anglian coast or the Netherlands. Its full of vintage≠≠≠≠≠≠≠≠ atmosphere which I find very appealing. The flat landscape evident in the horizon supports this feeling. The muted colours are good though the small area of turquioise on the stern of the barge spoils the effect a little. The sky is subtle and not overstated but I wonder if the sunburst is just a little too burned out. Its important to have this feature in the picture but with the gas turned down ever so slightly. Overall a worthy entry in this competition.

Suntree Day by Antony
A strong composition with good shadow lines fanning out across the foreground. Using the tree to prevent the sun glaring straight into the lens is good. I feel though that the picture might have more impact if the exposure is turned down slightly to increase contrast. This can still be done in post processing. I also think a faster shutter speed and, or, smaller aperture might have rendered the foreground grassy bank sharper. There's some lovely small areas of colour in this part of the image.

Hope and Glory by JAK
This is impressive in more ways than one. Firstly the initial impact. Secondly the age of the photo, shot almost 40 years ago. And thirdly, photographed on Kodachrome. Colour transparency film left no room for error whatsoever. If the exposure wasn't spot on in camera there was no opportunity for post process correction. But despite all the drawbacks of the pre-digital age the end product stands up very well. The use of the filter was an inspired idea and the silhouetted trees forming a wonderful vignette work so well. Then, centre stage, there's the wonderful church, if it is a church, with just a hint of light on what could be a pantiled roof. The effect is great.

A pile of leaves by davidwozhere
There are wonderful autumnal colours in this photo but I don't get the feeling of back lighting giving the leaves a translucence which would have added further quality to the image. However the foreground leaf is beautiful (is this sycamore)? There are some patchy areas of very bright light which distract a little. Shot on an istD combined with the F 70-210 zoom and then the EXIF scrambles: I wonder if this like JAK's entry is a vintage picture.

Little geranium by GlynM
There's glorious back lighting in this superbly composed image... and to my delight some excellent rim lighting in the pin sharp hairy bits of the leaves. (I'm sure there's a scientific botantical name for this plant feature). I also like the fact that light is filtering through some of the leaves to give texture to the internal structures. A lot of work and thought went into this picture and overall its a a joy to view.

From darkness into light by Noelcmn
Nice idea Noel, I'm all in favour of a bit of tunnel vision every now and then. The driver of the miniature train seems a bit spooky but that's not a criticism of the photo. But he also seems to be shaken up, not unexpected as miniature train rides can be quite bumpy. I wonder if you shouldn't have used a faster shutter speed as this is just half a second, presumably hand held. You could have increased your ISO from a mere 400 to sharpen things up a bit and then this would have been more dramatic. Modern cameras, including the K30 cope well with high ISOs - mine has been used to shoot at up tp 12,000-pus with quite acceptable results. But I do love the idea behind this picture.

Backlit skipper by Drofmit
Nature once again demonstrates a remarkable abilty to match colours with the moth (?) and seedhead in perfect harmony here. The background is superb with abstract detail suitably rendered out of focus. I feel a faster shutter speed might have helped improve sharpness as even with a fairly wide angle lens 1//150 sec the slighest movement due to the breeze or the moth moving would show up in the image when the subject is so close. A higher ISO than 200 might have helped.

1, GlynM.
2 Smudge
3 John Riley.
HCs: Paulb531, Retsoor
Last Edited by davidtrout on 18/03/2019 - 00:26


Link Posted 18/03/2019 - 01:37
The detail on that geranium is amazing and the bokeh on Smudge's is certainly something again. And John's portrait? As David said, a beast f a job to judge this lot. Congratulations to the podiums!

To answer David, the leaves are acers and it is a modern shot from last autumn. (I often use the *istD).. I've no idea what happened to the EXIF - it's fine on the original!
Both the *istDS and the K5 are incurably addicted to old glass

My page on Photocrowd - link


Link Posted 18/03/2019 - 01:50
Some great shots this week, the judge certainly inspired something special from everyone. Especially well done to the podiums and David the judge.

As to davidwozhere's 'A pile of leaves', the unscrambled exif from the image is:
Make PENTAX Corporation
Model PENTAX *ist D
Orientation Normal
Software *ist D Ver 1.12
Exposure Time 0.0013s (1/750)
Aperture É/6.7
Exposure aperture priority (semi-auto)
ISO equivalent 400
Exposure Bias none
Distance 0m
Metering Mode Matrix
Flash Fired No (enforced)
Focal Length 200.0mm
FocalPlaneXRes 0
ExposureIndex 0
Date 2018-11-15 13:28:03 (no TZ)

John K


Link Posted 18/03/2019 - 07:00
Oh, wow, many thanks David for the unexpected win in such a brilliant collection of well crafted images. Thanks also for your, as always, excellent reviews.

Congratulations to my fellow podium members Philip and John, HCs Paul and Kevin and everyone else for another grand set of beautiful interpretations.

I will have a think and hopefully come up with a new subject shortly.


Link Posted 18/03/2019 - 07:56
Congratulations to the Winner and other podium places. Thanks to David for the interesting subject the prompt judging and the comprehensive comments.



Link Posted 18/03/2019 - 09:27
davidwozhere wrote:

To answer David, the leaves are acers and it is a modern shot from last autumn. (I often use the *istD).. I've no idea what happened to the EXIF - it's fine on the original!

I should have known they were acers. Just last autumn I was photographing some fine examples of these at Thorp Perrow in North Yorkshire with lovely autumn light.

PS I don't know how he did it but it was helpful of JAK to restore the EXIF on this picture.
PPG: http://www.pentaxphotogallery.com/artists/davidtrout
Last Edited by davidtrout on 18/03/2019 - 09:28


Link Posted 18/03/2019 - 09:35
Great winning image by Glyn. Thanks to David for the judging.

Yes David I know I should have straightened up the picture but my obsession with filling the frame left me no choice if I wanted to keep peoples heads.


Link Posted 18/03/2019 - 20:07
Great competition David, good judging and very relevant comments with some excellent entries. Congratulations to Glyn with a wonderful photo and to Smudge, John Riley and Paul.


Link Posted 19/03/2019 - 19:36
Congrats GlymM, fabulous image, worthy winner. And extended to Smudge and Johnriley, not forgetting the HC's paulb531 and Retsoor. Thanks David for the Challenge and C&C's, always appreciated. As an aside, shooting as a "passenger" on that train was challenging- from harsh sunlight to dark tunnels, so settings were a challenge at any one time. And I did want a "spooky" effect!
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