Annual 2017 Competition

This is a forum for, primarily, monthly (or so!) photographic competitions that complement the annual competition.
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Pete Eeles
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Re: Annual 2017 Competition

Postby Pete Eeles » Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:27 am

petesmith wrote:does keeping the exif data available with the photos cause problems in terms of the file sizes?


No, it doesn't, and I agree that it could be useful for others to see.

Cheers,

- Pete

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Re: Annual 2017 Competition

Postby Pete Eeles » Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:30 am

petesmith wrote:The exif data doesn't seem to be available now that the competition has ended


Not sure where you're looking, but if you go to the competition albums, then all of the EXIF data is there (just click on an image to go to the appropriate page, and you'll see it). Apologies - I missed this post!

Cheers,

- Pete

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Annual 2017 Competition

Postby Neil Hulme » Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:10 am

Hi all, and thanks for that comment, Pete. :D

Firstly, congratulations to all the winners and runners-up. I particularly like John’s Small Blue with water droplet, but there were many other great images that didn’t quite make the final cut.

I think cameras are so clever these days that the playing field has been greatly levelled, particularly for certain subject matter (including butterflies and plants) under favourable lighting conditions (cheaper gear soon starts to struggle in poor light). I think this gives everyone a fighting chance.

In many cases the better images will be produced by those photographers who own more advanced equipment; not necessarily because of the gear they use, but because they generally take photography more seriously, and hence have invested more time in honing their skills. That said, photography is as much an art as a science (science can be learned, but I don't think art can, at least beyond the basics), and as Gruditch points out, there are plenty of people who have spent lots of money on equipment, but might never produce great pictures. Not that it matters.

I simply ran out of time this year, so never managed to post the competition entries I'd prepared, all of which were taken with an eight-year old Lumix FZ38, which is today worth virtually nothing and is in embarrassingly poor condition. I wouldn't have expected to challenge for the top spot, but on the other hand I probably wouldn't have considered entering unless I thought that I had at least a chance of a podium place. For some, even that might seem over-competitive, as the key ingredient is undoubtedly 'having fun' …. and improving with time.

These would have been my entries, had events not prevented me from beating the deadline: Queen of Spain and PBF for 'Butterflies in the UK' and SPBF for 'Behaviour'. The most important things for me are that I got to see these beauties in the first place, and that I'm pleased with the results.

I tend to photograph the butterflies that I see during my travels, rather than going out specifically to photograph butterflies. The difference may be subtle, but is probably sufficient to always give a ‘proper’ photographer the edge.

UKB 2017 Comp - QoS, Piddinghoe 27.8.17.jpg
UKB 2017 Comp - PBF, New Forest 9.5.17.jpg
UKB 2017 Comp - SPBF pair, Bentley Wood, Eastern Clearing 3.6.17.jpg

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Re: Annual 2017 Competition

Postby MikeOxon » Sat Dec 09, 2017 6:48 pm

Hi Neil, I think you have demonstrated Gary's point very well.

The important thing is to have a vision of what you are trying to achieve. Your photos show that the 'old' Lumix FZ38 can achieve that 'soft background' look that always seems to be favoured in competition photos. A more expensive camera, with a larger sensor and wide aperture lens, may achieve the effect more easily but, with a little thought, it can be done on more basic cameras.

A degree of prejudice against 'cheap' cameras was even more absurd in film days, when the quality of the lens and of the film were all that mattered, and a Zenith was as capable of producing a fine image as the most expensive Nikon!

If you happen to be a technophile, like me, then a new camera can provide an incentive to try out new ideas, which helps to get me out taking photos :)

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Re: Annual 2017 Competition

Postby rolf f » Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:57 pm

Chris Jackson wrote:
Pete Eeles wrote:
........ I'm proposing to shake things up next year ......... but have a year to think about it ..... - Pete


Hi Pete,
"Butterflies in their landscape" is a good idea.
If we know in advance the types of challenging categories envisaged before next year is over (or even at the beginning of 2018), we could then rise to the challenge accordingly ?
Cheers,
Chris


I'm a newcomer to all this - butterflies came into my life a couple of years ago and I have been thoroughly enjoying them ever since and photography has become part of that pleasure. And one thing that has surprised me is what I perceive to be an apparent rather narrow photographic mindset that the "butterfly on a stick" image is the default photographic style that all should aspire to. And in a away I suppose it is not surprising. Like a studio portrait of a person these images display the beauty of butterflies more effectively than any other style of photography IMO. But, like studio photographs, they don't display the character of the creatures as well as those that place the object in its natural habitat and they ultimately tend to look a bit samey (the need to place the butterfly subject square on to the lens to deal with the limited depth of field doesn't help here). Lots of people have studio portraits done of themselves but they don't put them on their facebook pages because they say so little about their subject. And it does seem a little odd that we go to the trouble of getting out into the naturalish countryside and then focus on exorcising that countryside from our pictures to take a shot that could almost have been taken indoors!

But it is a lovely style and I am starting to get the hang of the butterfly on a stick photo. I would like to do it properly and create my own personal album of such pictures - it feels like the modern way to recreate the collections of the past and many of these photos do look like the illustrations in Victorian butterfly books (which, notably of course, used dead specimens as their subject!). But, to me these photographs lack something that more natural looking images have. So it will be nice if there is a "butterflies in their landscape" category next year but perhaps not much point if the judges don't really, deep down, appreciate those images themselves; after all, virtually every winning shot in the competitions history follows exactly this same recipe.

It would also help if decent image sizes can be handled in the comp. For my shots, I got really close (28mm wide angle at antennae prodding distance!) and it is a shame to capture all the scale detail and then lose it in image size reduction. The wide angle does give you the opportunity to control background detail but of course is a challenge due to the need to get really close and that you still need to worry about intrusive detail in the background. But if I do get any good stick shots this coming year I will be back! Incidentally, for that purpose I am using a mid 80s Tamron Adaptall 90mm lens on a Fuji X body. The lens will fit any DSLR or mirrorless camera and can easily be bought in nice condition for less than £100 and it is renowned as an outstanding lens even by modern standards. It is light and compact yet has a large maximum aperture - I don't think that spending £1400 on the new much heavier Fuji 80mm would improve my efforts noticeably if at all. Butterfly photography doesn't have to be expensive.

Hope this isn't seen as meanly negative - not the perfect first post on a forum but I spend enough time on forums as it is so I've been trying to fend off getting addicted to another but I couldn't resist this!

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Goldie M
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Re: Annual 2017 Competition

Postby Goldie M » Sun Dec 10, 2017 4:54 pm

I'd just like to say congrats to all the winners and runners up, I think their shots were great :D
I myself never expect to win, I'm not joking it's a fact, I enter because I enjoy doing so and if it means I'm improving each year that's good enough for me, it would be nice to have some feed back but I know with so many entries that's not possible, so I'll press on regardless :lol: I just love taking shots of Butterflies :D I'm a afraid I'm one of those described, a person with a £300 camera who would do no better with one at £5,000 :lol: But I don't care!!!!! Goldie :D :lol: Merry Christmas Everyone. :D

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Re: Annual 2017 Competition

Postby Gruditch » Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:05 pm

Hi Rolf,

http://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/competit ... ?year=2013

2013, 3rd place overall, the judges do appreciate other styles. But no one successfully nailed a shot like Neil’s before, or since.

Cheers Gary

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Re: Annual 2017 Competition

Postby Pete Eeles » Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:33 pm

rolf f wrote:It would also help if decent image sizes can be handled in the comp. For my shots, I got really close (28mm wide angle at antennae prodding distance!) and it is a shame to capture all the scale detail and then lose it in image size reduction.


This hasn't been an issue to date.

At the end of the day, this is a photography competition. We can "spice things up" by having different categories, but we can't compensate for those that take photos that are not as good as others. And so, once again, this is a request for suggestions on different categories.

Cheers,

- Pete

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Re: Annual 2017 Competition

Postby petesmith » Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:41 am

Butterflies in their landscape definitely sounds good.
How about "cryptic butterflies"as a category - i.e. photographs demonstrating the camouflage that some of our species can show?
And maybe a category for mating pairs?
Also, perhaps a category for aberrations?
Just thinking out loud here really...
pete smith

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Tony Moore
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Re: Annual 2017 Competition

Postby Tony Moore » Mon Dec 11, 2017 12:20 pm

'In flight' would be a challenging category...

Tony M.

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Re: Annual 2017 Competition

Postby Gruditch » Tue Dec 12, 2017 4:46 pm

Way back, we used to run monthly competitions, but during the off season ( October- March) we ran themed competitions. Before we come up with some potentially great new categories, only to find we receive just a couple of entries. It could be worth the time trawling through them, to see what categories we had back then, and which ones were popular. :wink:

Regards Gary

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Re: Annual 2017 Competition

Postby Pete Eeles » Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:06 am

Gruditch wrote:Way back, we used to run monthly competitions, but during the off season ( October- March) we ran themed competitions. Before we come up with some potentially great new categories, only to find we receive just a couple of entries. It could be worth the time trawling through them, to see what categories we had back then, and which ones were popular. :wink:

Regards Gary


Great idea - thx!

Cheers,

- Pete

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Re: Annual 2017 Competition

Postby rolf f » Wed Dec 13, 2017 10:44 pm

Pete Eeles wrote:
rolf f wrote:It would also help if decent image sizes can be handled in the comp. For my shots, I got really close (28mm wide angle at antennae prodding distance!) and it is a shame to capture all the scale detail and then lose it in image size reduction.


This hasn't been an issue to date.

At the end of the day, this is a photography competition. We can "spice things up" by having different categories, but we can't compensate for those that take photos that are not as good as others. And so, once again, this is a request for suggestions on different categories.

Cheers,

- Pete


Worth remembering that 1200x1200 pixels is equivalent to 1.4 mp; ie what a good digital camera would boast 20 years ago! You're throwing a lot of technical development away with that size limitation. If bandwidth really is that much of a limitation then fair enough but you (and we) aren't seeing the entries at their best (unless there are folk out there still using 1.4 mp cameras!)- and surely that is the point of a photo comp?

Different categories - replace behaviour with the suggested mating butterflies category. Everything else in behaviour seems to fit in the main category and putting the amorous pairs somewhere else stops them from stealing that show!

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Re: Annual 2017 Competition

Postby Gruditch » Thu Dec 14, 2017 5:04 pm

800 x 1024 pixels is plenty enough for viewing pictures on a pc screen. Even when I was in a camera club, competition entries projected onto a big screen, were restricted to 768 x 1024.

Regards Gary

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Re: Annual 2017 Competition

Postby Charles Nicol » Sat Dec 16, 2017 12:09 pm

Well done to all the competitors !

Maybe there could be a category of "camera cost under £100" to encourage the less affluent snappers among us :wink:

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Re: Annual 2017 Competition

Postby Pete Eeles » Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:15 am

Charles Nicol wrote:Maybe there could be a category of "camera cost under £100" to encourage the less affluent snappers among us :wink:


Aside from the fact that most would agree that it's the photographer and not the equipment that results in good photos, I have no idea how anyone would determine how much a camera cost. If I buy a DSLR and lens for £100, does that count? :)

Cheers,

- Pete

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David M
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Re: Annual 2017 Competition

Postby David M » Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:11 pm

It's impossible to impose a restriction relating to cost. Images can be extremely good from a cheap camera, and they can be poor from an expensive one.

Best to just throw everyone in together and see what turns out.

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Re: Annual 2017 Competition

Postby Ian Pratt » Sat Dec 23, 2017 10:37 pm

Despite disappointment in the 2017 annual photographic competition I was pleased when Hants and IOW Wildlife Trust contacted me for one of my photos for their 2018 calendar. It is a back-lit small pearl-bordered fritillary, now sadly extinct on the IOW. :D :D
14692092989_b37b197026_z.jpg
.


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