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

2013 News-Gazette Photo Contest Possibilities

Some of you local Champaign-ites have probably seen in the paper their announcement for the upcoming 2013 Photo Contest. Not sure, but I think I’ve entered photos the last 4 years and have not won anything significant…a couple of honorable mentions for photos from Paris a few years ago. So, once again this year I am “excited” to enter with the idea of seeing if my photography has improved, not just by myself but by a panel of judges.

I estimate I have taken 10,000 images in 2012 – spending two weeks in Italy, two weeks on the beach in Michigan, and long weekends in DC and Long Beach make for wonderful photo-ops and LOTS of photos. To pick three images out of 10,000 is quite a task, although most of these are quite honestly not contest-quality photos. But, after whittling the number down to 50-60 images, the trick becomes selecting the images that best fit the contest categories:

  • Animals
  • Architecture
  • Black and White
  • General
  • Manipulated
  • Nature
  • People
  • Youth Division (ummm…I am ineligible for this one!)

AND that I feel will catch the eye of the judges. That is a real trick – judging is a very subjective process and there’s no telling what the judges are going to like. Well, that’s not necessarily true…there are some common aspects that good, quality photos should have and I hope that I have a good feeling for what those things are. Things like focus and composition are important. But, even more importantly, the image has to convey something…a feeling, a sense of place, all those intangibles that come into play when a person looks at an image. If I’ve learned one things, it is that the image has to speak to the person looking at the image, and not just personally to me (by this I mean, I have a lot of photos that mean something to me and perhaps my family and friends, but have little connection to anyone else).

One other thing. Format. The contest rules call for images no larger than 11×14 inches. My feeling is, the larger the better and there should be no problem with enlarging images from my camera. However, the problem comes in that my camera takes images in a 2:3 ratio, so that to keep the same ratio, an image 14 inches wide is only 9.66 inches high. Or, if I want an image 11 inches high, then I need to cut off 2.5 inches in length to keep the maximum dimension at 14 inches (i.e., normally, for a 2×3 ratio image 11″ high, it’s height would be 16.5 inches). In some cases, this is not a problem, but in many cases, I hate to crop those inches and am forced, therefore, to submit an image that is smaller than the maximum allowed. [Not to get off-track, but it also bothers me that standard photo prints are NOT in that 2:3 ratio. After 4×6 inch photos, which is in the 2:3 format, you go to 5×7 inches and 8×10 inches which are obviously not in the 2:3 format. For portraits, that may be OK, but for landscapes, not.]

To further complicate things, this year I have a number of photos in a panoramic format, meaning they are much longer than high, perhaps 2:1 or 3:1. Sometimes, the final image is stitched together from several separate images taken by panning the camera while allowing some overlap in each image (remember doing this in the old days by cutting and taping images together?).Nowadays, digital technology allows this to be done on the computer and the software also does an excellent job of blending the separate images together. Other times, I crop the image to eliminate foreground or background (such as a boring sky) to draw focus on a certain portion of the photo.

So, here are a bunch, probably way too many. Honestly, it was fun looking back through all of these and reminiscing on the year via photos. Some of you reading this were there when I captured some of these images; many I captured with no one around. Which ones do you like best?

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And, here are a few more pano format images:

Albergo Lorelei 14x

Albergo Lorelei


IMG_0445 b&w_14x

Prairie Solitude

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