Weeky Competition #71 - Music Competition

Competition Details
Closing Date: 16/11/2008
Judge: gartmore

Open to the widest possible interpretation, of course. rnrnThis could be shots of musicians, instruments or a lyrical interpretation of a piece of music (please say what the music is)rnrnBest of luck to you all.rnrnKen
Competition Entries


Link Posted 17/11/2008 - 11:32
As usual, no one can be disappointed by the consistently high standard of entries which makes the judge's task incredibly hard. Five, or seven if you count the colour images devoid of colour, from the twenty-five entries are monochrome so clearly none of you are suffering from Sound – Colour Synesthesia!


A dramatically lit close-up of a guitarist's hand. The direction of light shows imagination and adds to the overall contrast of the picture which is well suited to monochrome. At first I thought it was a posed picture but on reading the caption it seems to be 'live'. Well done for capturing such a tight sharp and detailed image. I do feel, however, that I would like to see a little more detail in the guitar body and the hand seems a wee bit divorced from the strings.


What an immensely pleasing picture this is. I love the contrast between the texture of the leather and the smooth machined Ipod and the contrast of the warm colour of the leather and the cool metal of the subject. Your control of depth of field is spot-on rendering a pin-sharp image corner to corner, especially difficult with a relatively long focal length lens. Lighting is at a perfect level to balance with the machine's screen.


A dramatic composition with a monochrome piano and musician in monochrome clothes which draws your attention to the skin tones. The montage makes good compositional use of the triangle top left. I'm not sure if the eye-line is right but, having said that, I can't really suggest and improvement. Sadly, it's let down for me by the use of the on-board flash.


Rock'n'roll is here to stay! This captures all the attitude, drama and excitement of a rock concert. For me, looking at this picture is almost like being there. A rock steady picture from a long lens when you were probably being jostled and bumped, a limited palette of black, red and gold and classic triangular composition – eyes, hand, hand, eyes make this an excellent image; the shaft of light is the icing on the cake. Depth of field is spot-on too. I keep going back to have another look at it.


Another arresting image and one that I've been drawn back to again and again. The colour of the organ pipes certainly have the 'wow' factor. I like the way the converging verticals have been well controlled and gradually I came to think, 'Those pipes can't possibly look like that'. Since the surrounding stonework looks quite cool, would I be right in thinking that you've selectively warmed up the pipes to match the tungsten lighting in the organ loft? I suspect this since it seems to be bleeding onto the carved woodwork. Of course, I could well be talking through my hat. Well done.


A well composed shot and I was going to suggest a wider aperture might have helped get rid of the distracting background until I noticed you had used a point-and-shoot! I know how limited your options are with Optios. I think the point of the picture really is the interchange between the two musicians but their faces are a bit dark, you could try lightening them a bit. Sadly, it is all spoiled, for me, by 'litter'. My eye is immediately and always drawn to that sign which is right in the middle of their eye-line and you could so easily remove it.


A good choice of black and white here, colour would certainly have been a distraction. There are lots of pleasing things going on compositionally, like the figure of eight formed by hand, arm shoulder, shoulder arm hand leading back to the chanter which keeps your attention within the image. In a sense, ironically, this is the picture's downfall. I'm always loathe to say things like 'it should be wider', since the viewer wasn't there and has no idea of the picture taking circumstances but I'm saying it! I feel really cheated by not seeing both hands on the chanter. I think it would make the '8' I mentioned perfect. If the chanter could be entering frame in the bottom left corner and the drones leaving top right this would be a cracker of a picture.


When I first saw the thumbnail I was quite excited by this image, I really like the dramatic composition. Sadly, I don't think the photograph stands up to closer inspection. It is soft – camera and focusing problems and it is terribly flat – you could certainly try boosting the contrast. Perhaps it might look better in colour.


Another excellent monochrome image. A real feeling of loud music and energy in the guitarist's expression. Exposure in difficult, constantly changing circumstances is spot-on, sharp too. Unfortunately, two things bother me; firstly the spotlight on the right of frame is terribly distracting, I think the picture is much improved by cropping it out. The second niggle is the guitar head, I wish it wasn't cropped off but I imagine that is how things are and there isn't anything you can do about that.

Dr. Mhuni

A very interesting picture and one that should remind us all that there are pictures waiting to be taken under our very noses all the time. Imaginative shot – did you notice it after you'd dropped something on the floor, I wonder? I like way the eye is drawn in by the zig-zag line of CD boxes but I think a fairly abstract shot like this might work better in mono. Dodging the top left corner would balance things out too.


A very good abstract photograph from a interesting angle It almost looks as if the scratch plate is floating in mid-air. The almost total absence of colour in this colour image is even better than a pure black and white one be and the restricted depth of field works very well but unfortunately you should have wiped the dust and fluff from the pick ups! Shame too about the blown highlights. A very enjoyable picture all the same.


An excellent macro shot of tiny intricate object showing a real understanding of how to photograph this sort of thing, f32 I notice. This could have been a contender in Hefty1's fortnightly competition too. Rich warm colours from the mahogany case to the gilded mechanism. Well done.


A nicely observed and slightly humorous shot. I particularly like the 'half' soldier in the foreground which might not be to everyone's taste. It is an image that certainly is worth looking at again. It took me a few views to realise that all the soldiers look a bit like the instruments they play – tall thin bassoonist and tubby brass player for example. There is a pleasing rhythm to the pattern of hats and tunics too. As I said it is very well observed and executed.


I cant see the wood for the trees, or mike stands, here I'm afraid. Some serious cropping would focus the viewer on the drummer but then you notice his expression is very pedestrian. This is certainly a case where a subtle blink of flash would put some sparkle in his eyes. I think it would be more effective if the motion blur was on the cymbals rather than the drum sticks; a case where the shutter was pressed at the wrong moment perhaps.


The only way I know it is a piano is because you've told me in the caption! A missed opportunity I fear, the interest lies in the rich colours and textures of the wood and the lettering but the shallow depth of field denies us that enjoyment. You were struggling in low light I think so something subtle like bounced flash may have helped.


Another gritty rock'n'roll shot, excellent composition and lighting. You've captured a great moment and I think you've added grain in post although its a bit harsh for my taste and perhaps it is over-sharpened a little, but these are really just a matter of personal taste which don't mar an excellent photograph. I am sure the musician would be delighted with it too.

Father Ted

'My daughter practising violin', I have to say I would never have known, when I first looked at the picture I though the instrument was sitting on a chair or something. Violins have a fantastic shape and I'm sorry but I think you have missed an opportunity here. A bit dark too, I think.


This made me smile, it doesn't even need the caption! I like the composition and the colours but it is illuminated rather than lit but that doesn't take way from the humour, well done.


One of those strange objects that, some time ago, my daughter looked at and was amazed to learn that it held music, she was in equal wonderment at seeing a typewriter for the first time! I like this picture very much and I'm not sure why. It is simply a pleasing composition with an excellent tonal rendition. On close inspection I wonder if a close-up of just the grooves might be even better.


It is nice to see an interpretation of some music but what a shame it is let down by poor technique – squint and shaky. Sorry.
Belinda B

A well composed, exposed and focussed close-up but I really think it would have benefited by a subtle amount of additional lighting.


Knock-out composition and good lighting, I think it would be great in monochrome too. When I looked at it full size I noticed some edges which shouldn't be there! I think you've removed the background and introduced some artefacts unfortunately. Still a powerful image and well worth sorting.


I filmed this guy once, I cant remember his name but he is really brilliant. Great picture too, you must have been in pretty close and I think I might have preferred some eye contact. Once you've noticed his shoe is off you cant stop wondering why.


Nicely composed sharp and well exposed but it feels a little dead to me, he looks more lost in thought than playing the trumpet. Judging by the way he's dressed I get the feeling he's in a trad jazz band and maybe that makes me expect a bit more engagement. I'd be inclined to cool the colour balance a tad.

R o b

When I saw the thumbnail this didn't do much for me – how wrong I was. Well done, everything here is spot on with excellent choice of shutter speed and aperture; nicely lit too. A real feeling of 33 rpm.

Continuing the musical theme: roll of drums, fanfare of trumpets, the results are...

1st place Cabstar
2nd place Davidtrout
3rd place pkleiner

commended Prieni
commended Mikew

A hard job but an enjoyable one, over to you Cabstar.
“We must avoid however, snapping away, shooting quickly and without thought, overloading ourselves with unnecessary images that clutter our memory and diminish the clarity of the whole.” - Henri Cartier-Bresson -

Dr. Mhuni

Link Posted 17/11/2008 - 11:48
Thanks for the excellent judging Gartmore - and congrats to the winners.

Inspiration didn't come from dropping anything - just desperation as I had nothing else to shoot for this theme. I tried it in black & white, but interestingly felt that didn't work as well (when like you I had anticipated otherwise). You're dead right about the dodging but my pp'ing skills as yet are minimal to say the least.

Last Edited by Dr. Mhuni on 17/11/2008 - 11:50


Link Posted 17/11/2008 - 12:00
Excellent judging and congratulations to Cabstar - a worthy winner in a very competitive field!
Joining the Q

Father Ted

Link Posted 17/11/2008 - 12:01
Thanks Gartmore and congratulations to the winner ( although I must say, it wasn't the one I expected ).

I did have other shots with Emily in shot, but I'm not used to doing any type of portrait yet and found they didn't look right, so settled for the one without her.
You're right about the shape, maybe I'll get it back out and try a few more angles. I'll put them up for C&C
Getting there! Thanks to you guys

Pentax K10d, *istDL, Kit lens ( 18-55mm ), 50mm f1.7 lens, Tamron 70-300mm lens, Prinzflex 70-162 manual lens, Various old flashes.


Link Posted 17/11/2008 - 12:23
Well judged and considered comments by Gartmore and some great images made this an exciting competition. I thought it was a super subject with lots of photo opportunites but I was a bit disappointed there weren't a few more entries. Having said that it was a great win by Cabstar so well done to him.
I loved the black and white rock entries and thought MikeW's cello shot fantastic. Am I alone in finding it an erotic image?
Thanks for my second place, I've had a few of those lately, and you were quite right, I did selectively enhance the colour in the organ pipes and clumsily let it bleed into the surrounding woodwork.
PPG: http://www.pentaxphotogallery.com/artists/davidtrout

R o b

Link Posted 17/11/2008 - 13:06
Thanks for the enthusiastic comments on my picture, and for all the effort you've put into judging - it must have been hard to decide between such a diverse set of photos. pkleiner's picture was slightly ahead of the rest for me, but fortunately we're all different .



Link Posted 17/11/2008 - 13:17
Congratulations to cabstar.

Thank you Gartmore for the judging - various takes on the subject of "music" this week.

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 17/11/2008 - 14:07
Congratulations to cabstar and thanks to Gartmore for the judging.

May I ask if this is better than the submission - I am very still learning how to do these things.




Link Posted 17/11/2008 - 17:22
Congratulations to the winner.
Thank you Gartmore for the judging and your comment on my photo. It must have been difficult to choose this week's winner as there are a lot of very good photos.
Actually I did not intend the mike stands to look like trees, if I understood you well that is what you tried to see. The photo had to be taken on the spur of the moment (certainly a favourite expression among Jazz musicians), I was surrounded by other photographers (some of them professionals) pushing me to get the best spot and then I was asked to leave and go back to my seat. That’s why I am quite happy with the photo as it is certainly the best I could do in such a situation, however I agree with you, it is not entirely satisfactory as I should have tried to get the motion blur on both the cymbals and the drumsticks. Moreover, the expression on Al Foster’s face is not satisfactory either.
Anyway, I find this weekly competition very interesting, being a new member, it is the first time I have taken part in it and I will try to improve myself next time.


Link Posted 17/11/2008 - 20:22
Congratulations to the winner. cabstar - thank you for comment

Gartmore - thank you for excellent judging and your comment. You are right it is "live" photo, taken on Behemoth concert at ULU London. It was my first time, when I was shooting death metal concert.

Thank you
K-7,ME Super, SMC 18-55 AL WR, T 70-300mm f4-5.6 AF Di LD, SMC M 50 F2, SMC-M 135mm F3.5, HOYA HMC 24 2.8,HELIOS-44M-4 58mm F2, HELIOS 44-2 58 mm f2, Industar 50-2, Pentacon 50mm 1.8


Link Posted 17/11/2008 - 21:21
I have just noticed what cabstar does for a living

I guess he was off to a flying start on this week's competition

I am envious of anyone who can make a living from their hobby

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
Last Edited by Hyram on 17/11/2008 - 21:25


Link Posted 18/11/2008 - 13:49
I see Cabstar hasn't logged on since last Thursday. I wonder if he's aware he's last week's winner and has the job of selecting and judging the next subject.
PPG: http://www.pentaxphotogallery.com/artists/davidtrout


Link Posted 18/11/2008 - 21:07
davidtrout wrote:
I see Cabstar hasn't logged on since last Thursday. I wonder if he's aware he's last week's winner and has the job of selecting and judging the next subject.

Could be your lucky day

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 18/11/2008 - 23:11


Link Posted 24/11/2008 - 02:18
Thanks gartmore for judging.

Thanks guys for your nice comments, sorry I was away when the result came through. I really didn't think I would win this one, there are some excellent images for this round.

Rapala I can't believe that image was from a death metal show, it looks so tranquil & gentle, I really liked that image.

Hyram unfortunately although I do the gig photography professionally it does not pay the bills yet
PPG Wedding photography Flickr
Concert photography

Currently on a Pentax hiatus until an FF Pentax is released
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