Weekly Competition #193 - Numbers Competition

Competition Details
Closing Date: 27/03/2011
Judge: Dr. Mhuni

Having consulted the list of previous themes recently updated by GlynMlink I've gone for 'Numbers'. It could be actual numbers (ie. numerals) that appear in a shot or people may choose to interpret the theme more broadly. The word can have different interpretations, so I look forward to seeing what the imaginations and ingenuity of fellow PUFers can come up with. As long as the connection to the theme is clear from the photo itself all will count.

Normal rules apply: Pentax, and Samsung DSLR, cameras only. Deadline midnight 27th.
Photo has been deleted
Competition Entries

Dr. Mhuni

Link Posted 28/03/2011 - 07:12
Apologies for the slightly late result (certainly compared to recent weeks). However I was away over the weekend and had to finish my judging this morning. Interesting to view the images as they came in. While I can understand why people interpreted the theme quite literally, I was slightly disappointed that people didn’t feel free to interpret ‘numbers’ more broadly. Some people nudged towards this (JudithAnn’s three peanuts; Dodge69’s massed statues, but still felt the need to include actual numbers too). Perhaps I should have been more explicit – but wanted to leave interpretation to people’s imaginations rather than make suggestions myself.

Anyway, to the judging...

Hyram – The number 10
Amazingly saturated red in this shot (I like the contrast with the white numerals). Good detail too – on both the paintwork and the encrusted bottom part. I’m not convinced by the composition, though. The main focal point – the tens and the circular bolted area – just seems a bit central.

Geordie01 – sundial
Nice colours again, though much more muted than Hyram’s red. Looks very much as if this was shot during the golden hour, judging from the warm light which is very nice. Not sure about the converging verticals, which spoil the shot for me – though I understand you probably had no option but to shoot looking up at the sundial.

Aliengrove – 256
A simple but very effective shot, which hinges on the composition. I’m not sure why it works, but it does. I guess it’s something to do with a combination of the strong diagonal and the fact that the box containing the 256 falls near, if not on, a third.

GlynM – Cubic numbers
A nice and grungy meter, with some good saturated colours amidst the murk. The detail’s good too. While there is some sense of depth, I find the composition a little too flat to transform the subject into something really compelling, photographically speaking.

Johnriley – The toll of time
I have to confess to not generally being a bit fan of collages, so you’re at a disadvantage here I’m afraid, JR. I can see why you’ve chosen to combine these two images. Conceptually there is a good match, as suggested by your title. And from a more aesthetic point of view, the round clock goes well with the arch in the decayed building behind. Though I think I’d like the clock face to appear higher in the frame – slotting into the arch.

Redbusa99 – Vital numbers
Nice idea for the comp. Was this shot specifically for it? I guess so. Unfortunately, the light doesn’t seem very promising, being rather harsh to the left and a tad dark perhaps on the right. Would milder sidelight have resulted in a slightly less flat image, I wonder? Also, I downloaded it and flipped it, and I think I prefer it with the numbers the right way up.

Axelluther – T83
A really graphic image, which is not entirely a surprise coming from you Axel. It’s an excellent arrangement of lines and colours, and I’m sure the stark processing has brought out the maximum potential of the shot. I do hanker for a little more of the reality of the shot to have been retained – this is a very processed image – but in the end I guess it’s the lines and colours which make it stand out and you have maximised these.

SkyRider – Three at twilight
I can see the potential which attracted you to the shot – the sign standing out from a thrown, slightly darker b/g. However, for me the twilight here is rather murky. I think for this to have really worked you needed much stronger light on the sign. Also, compositionally I’m not keen on the large amount of b/g space in the top left corner.

CardiffGareth – P20
Again, I think I can see what attracted you to the shot, Gareth – I like the warm light on the number. However, the globe rather spoils it, drawing attention away from the number. Also, I would have liked the whole of the sign to have been crisp – as it is the focus appears to start below the sign and go around the top of the 2 thanks to the narrow DOF arising from the wide aperture.

Sandinista – Tape
Well you certainly nailed it title wise! I think the tape and the black b/g work very well – the black seems to accentuate the crispness of the IF parts of the tape, as well as the way the focus tapers off front to back. My problem is that this just doesn’t seem the most interesting arrangement of the tape – I have an inkling if you’d played around with it a bit more you might have arrived at something more graphically pleasing. A closer, lower angle may have enhanced the shot too.

Prieni – Growing numbers
Yes, I remember this well Ralf. A delightfully odd shot which at the same time is rather visually pleasing. The detail (and well controlled highlights) on the typeface (is this what you call them?) is great, as is the contrast between the cold metal and the organic earth. Excellent exposure. I like the random arrangement too, though I do kind of hanker for something in the space between the 9 (or 6?) and 2, top leftish. Perhaps the leaf could do with some desturation too as it is quite dominant. But all in all a nice shot.

Malcolm Leader – Train spotting
Well I guess one’s reaction to this hinges upon whether you like the effect. I’m ambivalent. I think if the composition had worked better for me I might have liked it, but as it is the balance doesn’t seem quite right – notably the top right corner. The trainspotter seems rather superfluous in that position too. Is that smoke coming out of the top – I can’t imagine it would be in that seemingly cramped context, but it looks like it?

VonBatCat – Pentax by numbers
I’ve seen this kind of thing before but the adoption of Pentax models is a neat twist! The choice of the original image is very appropriate for what you’re doing, and you’ve done a pretty good job connecting the two parts of the final shot. Where the colour ends does look rather staged, but I’m not sure how you can avoid this (I certainly couldn’t with my rudimentary pp-ing ability).

Gunner – Number time
Another timepiece – quite a distinctive watch judging by this shot. I do find my eye wanders around this photo trying to latch on to a focal point, but without any success. I’m left confused. I guess the focus is on the small 6, but personally I don’t see much reason for this to be the focal point. Where did you have in mind Gunner?

JudithAnn – One for the money...
Kudos, JudithAnn, for your ingenuity and patience! I’m not sure what to make of this one. I’m not generally a big fan of contrived shots – and this is clearly contrived. I’m not a huge fan of animal shots on the whole either. But this is oddly compelling. Clearly a great deal of skill has been involved in its production. The – again quirky – composition works pretty well, with the frame divided – appropriately enough – in three, and the squirrel entering from the left frame. There are some blown highlights but they aren’t critical. Meanwhile the detail on the fur/post is pretty good. The main technical problem is the angle of the light, which results in the eye being shaded - and possibly as a result of this the eye appears a little soft.

ArsenAl – I’m number one
You’ve done an excellent job tracking here, with the bike rider retaining lots of detail. However, I find the oof areas retain a little too much detail also – I would prefer the background to be much more blurred, which would make the rider stand out more. Perhaps a longer exposure would have worked better in this regard – though then the rider might not have been so sharp. I’d clone out the figure in the b/g btw. I find the front wheel is a little close to the left edge too.

Alexfilipov – Middle of the track
Interesting colours you’ve produced here – is it a film conversion? A moody image with effective composition. I like the partrs which are well lit, however, I find it rather dark overall. The (haloed?) border of the treeline in the b/g isn’t pretty.

Darlene – One happy island
A nice light-hearted snap, Darlene, but I find the composition rather cramped. Moreover the composition should, if nothing else, be balanced – with the same amount of tail-light in either corner.

BelindaB – Glass numerals
I’m not generally a big fan of this kind of processing but I think it works well with this subject. The colours are good and I like the accentuated detail on the numbers very much. I’m not all that keen on long, narrow frames but I can see your options were probably limited here.

Tozza27 – Dash for the line
Nice light and colours here, but for this to really work I think you need greater sharpness (the smaller numbers on the right dial seem rather soft, for eg.). Perhaps this would have been a time to somehow use a tripod in your car.

Crossed up – It’s all about the numbers
Good subject for the comp, and I like the way you’ve managed to include the three sets of photographic numbers in the frame. Good exposure. I’m not entirely convinced by the composition. I think I would have liked the line of the camera to run parallel to the bottom of the frame though I understand this might have complicated the inclusion of all three number sets.

DrOrloff – Vienne (Haute)
Another well (in fact perfectly) exposed shot. The muted colours are very nice, and there’s some nicely quirky vehicular details in the frame. But I’m not convinced by the way they all fit together compositionally – nothing is really where I want it to be (the number plate/wheel too close to either side and the lights rather central).

Stephanie0812 – Picking the number
Another good subject for the comp – well chosen. There’s a lot in the frame here, and I’m not sure where I should focus my attention. I guess the eye is drawn to the soft toys, but I think it would be better if the eye was drawn to concentrate on the lottery forms/pen as the subject of your shot is ‘picking the number’. Actually, I’m confused by the soft toys – what is the connection to the lottery (perhaps my overseas location is resulting in my missing the link here)?

DoctorJeff – Alpha-Numeric
I would have gone for more contrast in pp-ing with this one. As it is, it just seems a little flat – photographically that is. Also the sharpness is lacking (with some of the writing on the keyboard being visibly soft) – which is critical for this kind of shot.

Dodge69 – Stack em high, sell em low
Great subject – I love the massed Statues. The differential DoF on them is good too, though in this composition I think I would have opted to focus on the front row to the left rather than the ones behind. Meanwhile, what’s in the rest of the frame spoils it rather. A shot zeroing in on the statues alone would have worked well. Even for this comp, the price sign wasn’t required IMO – the statues are clearly massed in ‘numbers’. As expressed in my preamble above, I was hoping some people might have gone for this interpretation of the theme – lots of things or people (massed numbers) in a frame – rather than simple numerical figures.

David Trout – Fresh paint
Lovely red you’ve got here David – hardly a surprise as colour is one of your (many) strengths. I quite like the composition too with the number to the left of the frame – though is there a tad too much space on the right? I would have liked a bit more detail in the white areas, which look quite blown on my screen (though I always make these comments with trepidation knowing the minefield that monitor calibration is – though mine is Pantone adjusted, so SHOULD be okay).

Right to the result...

The winner is:
Prieni – A tonally attractive, subtle image with oodles of eccentricity which raises all sorts of questions in the viewer’s mind. Best viewed large by clicking through to the larger size. Perhaps not an obvious winner – it’s not a dramatic or flashy shot – but I find it a most absorbing and interesting photo.

Second goes to JudithAnn – I still can’t make my mind up about this one aesthetically, but much effort and skill is clearly evident in the shot. With better directional light it might have been the winner, as it was a clever (multi-layered) interpretation of the numerical theme.

Come to think of it, I really should have given spot no. 3 to JA's shot, but unfortunately I think it merits second!

Third equal are Aliengrove and Axelluther, which is appropriate as they both produced nicely graphic compositions.

Over to you Ralf... And well done to all!

Last Edited by Dr. Mhuni on 28/03/2011 - 07:23


Link Posted 28/03/2011 - 08:29
Congratulations to Ralf for the winning entry - good to see him back.

Many thanks to Dr. M. for the competition and judging.

Sorry you did not like the crop. I played around with many crops and this one is the only one that works containing all the elements that I wanted

Bodies: K20D (2), K10D, Super A, ME Super, Auto 110 SLR, X70, Optio P70
Pentax Glass: DA* 300, DA* 60-250, DA* 50-135, DA* 16-50, DA 70 Ltd, FA 31 Ltd, DA 35 Ltd, DA 18-55 (2), DA 12-24, DA 10-17, M 200, A 35-70, M 40, M 28, Converter-A 2X-S, 1.4X-S, AF 1.7, Pentax-110 50, Pentax-110 24
Other Glass: Sigma 105 macro, Sigma-A APO 75-300
Flash: Metz 58 AF-1 P, Pentax AF160FC ringflash, Pentax AF280T


Link Posted 28/03/2011 - 08:45
Well done Ralf and congrats also to JudithAnn, Axel and Jon for the shared podium places. Above all thanks to you Andrew for selecting an interesting theme for the competition and for the detailed and carefully expressed critique.
PPG: http://www.pentaxphotogallery.com/artists/davidtrout


Link Posted 28/03/2011 - 08:58
Many thanks for the competition and subject Dr Mhuni, great incisive judging well done to winner Ralf and places.
Great simplicity is only won by an intense moment or by years of intelligent effort. T.S Eliot

Gear Not enough!!

My not so new website


Link Posted 28/03/2011 - 10:49
Congratulationss Ralf, a quirky and very unusual shot! Congrats to JudithAnn and Axel too, and thanks for my joint third place!

My Website


Link Posted 28/03/2011 - 12:09
Nice one Ralf - brilliant interpretation and well executed shot - some great ideas out there too.

Splendid judging Doc and thanks for the comments - I have trouble getting in and out of the car as it is , so the tripod might have been a step too far !!

K20D,*istD ( now a dedicated M42 digital ),K100D,MZ5N,P50,ME Super,Spotmatic 1000,Spotmatic,ESII,ES,H2.18-55 II,18-55,75-300 FAJ,35-80 FA,80-200 F,28-105 FA,Sigma 24-70 AF Aspherical,Sigma 28-300 Hyperzoom , Praotor II 500 M42,Centon 500mm mirror,and a few Pentax M42 Taks,super-Taks,smc Taks,A and M lenses.Benbo trekker,7dayshop monopod and a Lowepro rucksack.

I am now on Flickr which is nice !


Link Posted 28/03/2011 - 12:51
Great topic as it opens the gate for wide interpretation (and the entries showed, people did). Again a judging that helps to think about the work as a photographer - so thanks Dr. Mhuni for the overall good ecperience. Ralf - a great image with a very special composition - congratulation for winning this competition (and to the others on the podium ).

Colors are the lack of darkness

You find more of my pictures here: http://www.pentaxphotogallery.com/artists/axelluther or on my web page: www.axel-luther.com


Link Posted 28/03/2011 - 17:02
Congratulations winner and runners up and thanks for the very well considered judging (I knew that compo wouldn't cut it).
You can see some of my photos here if you are so inclined

Belinda B.

Link Posted 28/03/2011 - 20:09
Thank you Dr. Mhuni for the competition and congratulations to Prieni for the winning entry.
Belinda B.


Link Posted 28/03/2011 - 20:37
Well, it was a surprise to see that I won this one. Hadn't taken part for a while and had forgotten all about it today. Thanks for the reminders.

Great selection of entries, so congratulations to all of you. And thanks Andrew for picking my entry as top of the bunch. Seems I will have a busy week ahead...

How inappropriate to call this planet earth when it is quite clearly Ocean. - Arthur C. Clarke
Prieni's PPG page


Link Posted 29/03/2011 - 01:48
Well now Doc, that is a real mixed message...Sooo I get second, and if the lighting had been controlled better I might have taken first...But come to think of it I should have really taken spot number 3...unfortunately you thought it merited second!!!:
Okay Boss...I do believe I confused ya...so I guess you set out to do the same to little old me!

Congrats to my podium shared winners.

Onward to next weeks topic.
Last Edited by JudithAnn on 29/03/2011 - 01:48

Dr. Mhuni

Link Posted 29/03/2011 - 18:40
Sorry if you're confused JA. I'll be more concise next time.

You did get the third reference was a joke, didn't you?



Link Posted 30/03/2011 - 20:48
Man oh Man Doc....How in the world do I continue to miss that British humour?


No Worries...I am growing very fond of you all..
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