A view of my world in Central Illinois and places we go.

2012 News-Gazette Photo Contest

The annual News-Gazette Photo Contest is coming up (submission deadline is Saturday). If you shoot several thousand photos over the course of a year, it is difficult to pick your favorite. For this photo contest, we are allowed up to three entries; picking your top three is no less difficult. Or more precisely which three best fit the categories: Animals, Architecture, Black and White, General (photo-realistic – meaning not manipulated), Manipulated, Nature, and People.

I came up with several possibilities and narrowed them down to five images. I am getting these five printed and mounted as I write this and tonight will decide on the final three and come up with titles. Past experience from previous years’ entries tell me that the image title can be very important in the judging, as a “blah” title that does not help convey the message of the entry will be detrimental and a good title can greatly help an otherwise (in my mind) so-so image [I tend to disagree with this, but these contests are all quite subjective and so can understand how a good title can be effective.]

So here are the five I am having mounted with tentative titles and the category in which the image will likely be entered. This first one is a definite entry and absolutely one of my best this year. It has a great combination of color and interest with winding road and the bent over oak:

"Bend in the road" in the General category

This next one is quite likely another entry. This is one of my cousin’s grandkids, named after our mutual grandfather (Max). We were on the beach in Pentwater and he did not know me from Adam and so was very suspicious of this old guy taking pictures of him. It took him a couple of days to warm up to me, but this one was one of the first I snapped and I just move his look (and the out-of-focus background created by using a large aperture).

"Far out curls" in the People category

This next one is of our boy Finn earlier this summer. My how he has grown since then! But this definitely captures a “dog smile” and again, the large aperture makes for a pleasingly out-of-focus background.

"Finn" in the Animals category

These next two are still possibilities, but are less likely for various reasons. I like this one for the detail in the dragonfly and the added interest of the coneflower (again out of focus). I think if the flower were in focus, it would be too distracting for the viewer and not allow the eye to eventually settle back on the dragonfly. Unfortunately, I think the dragonfly may be overexposed a touch and I have not got the time to work on it.

"Dragonfly with coneflower" in the Nature category

And finally, this one of a bed of tulips in one of our local parks, taken last spring (of course!). I’m still wondering about the best title for this one – any suggestions? So far, I’ve settled on “Outstanding” as the one flower that is in focus is slightly taller than the rest (I intentionally focused on that flower by the way).

"Outstanding" in either the Nature or General category

Here are a couple more than did not make the final cut (I did not print them). While I like the colors in this next one, it just does not say enough to the viewer.

"After the sun goes down"

Here is another shot of Finn, this time on the beach at Pentwater. Could be a good entry but I did not think as strong as the previous one of him. I do like the juxtaposition of his face and the frisbee, though, and you can see that he is dripping wet and just challenging the viewer to do something. Actually, maybe this is better than I thought…

"C'mon let's play!"

And, another shot of the dragonfly and coneflower, slightly different composition with a lot more distracting twig.

"Dragonfly and coneflower (2)"

And, finally, another shot of the oak tree, corn and winding road, this time looking back up the road from the opposite side of the tree. Just not a as strong an image…

"Bend in the road (2)"

Got any opinions? Would love to hear from you! And there is another contest coming up – to support the Ludington Arts Council. Clink on the link and check out the entries so far.

2 responses

  1. LOVE all of these, Al! Of course, I am a tad partial to the Finn photos! And the “Bend in the Road” is simply spectacular! (Another photo of yours that I just adore is that of Henry and Cooper running and playing together on the beach – it captures pure dog joy!). Love your blog and the photographs! Linda


    February 19, 2012 at 5:43 PM

    • Thanks, Linda! Bend in the Road was taken a few miles south of Mahomet and west of Rte. 47, so not too far from you. All the photos entered into the contest are now viewable at Lincoln Square mall – there are several hundred entries and many are quite exceptional. Needless to say, I did not win anything…


      February 20, 2012 at 10:44 AM

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