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Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by ezdays, Oct 7, 2007.
Hey! That sounds like a direct jab to me!
Well that's good but,that limits the contestants to the "professional" type of model photographer.
Perhaps we need 2 contest? One for the "professional" and one for us mere mortals that takes amateur photos?
Some of the contests we've run included telling a story. To me that can be as important as the picture. After all, we are creating our own world and we can discribe it both with pictures and with words.
I thought we were all "mere mortals" here, just that some are more experience at it than others. That shouldn't be a factor, yet I can see where some would be intimidated by those that have more experience or have a knack for taking just the right picture. I might disagree with those that don't think their pictures are that good, or that it's a foregone conclusion as to who is going to win that month's contest. I can't remember anyone taking first place more than a few times over the years. I've been entering these since I first came on the Gauge almost five years ago, and I'm more likely to come in last than even in the showing. There are times that I won't vote for my entry because there are others that I like better, but still, I've always gotten some enjoyment out of it and I think it makes me a better modeler and a better picture taker. I can't use the word, "photographer", because that implies I know what I'm doing... But I try nonetheless.
Don,When you are facing expensive cameras, photo floods and a high end photo shop one thinks twice about entering contests.After all one doesn't want to crash and burn every month.
I have enter many model contest over the years and I can count on one hand the ones I won.Most of the time I finish in the top 20.I race slot cars and race in many race series..I won 2 championships in 10 years and I usually end up in the top 10 in points after the series so competition isn't the problem..To be sure some times its the lack of a layout or the need to build a photo prop for the monthly contest but,just knowing my best photos is so/so I drop entering the photo contest because I feel for me its not worth it.I am sure there are others.
What to do?
Don,I don't know..I would like to see more interest in the monthly photo contest but,I don't have any real suggestions on getting there from here other then 2 contest like I mention.
I did not vote because my reasons are not listed. But here's my view for what it's worth.
I think there are too many contests. Having a contest should be special, there should be time to work on things, and it should not happen every month or so. With so many, I think contest fatigue sets in.
A military modelling forum I visit has had the same problem with lack of entries, and their solution was to scale back from 1 per month, to 2 per year. And those guys even have prizes.
Speaking for myself, I also find that in order to make the contests more accessible, they have been dumbed-down to the point where there's no real challenge. Since we are competing for "bragging rights", there's not much incentive anymore if the whole thing is too easy.
Yes, it's possible that some people will be intimidated by the work of others, rather than inspired. That can't be helped. If we want our contests to show the best possible work, then that's the chance you take. On the other hand, perhaps we all need to be coddled like 10 year-olds are these days, where you win a prize just for entering. I hope that's not the case, but it seems that's the direction things have been heading around here.
Finally, I am working on my layout and have no time for a contest entry that isn't directly related to something I need for the layout. I'm sure I'm not alone in this. When hobby time is limited, it has to be allocated where it will make the most difference.
I entered a photo contest on a "friendly" neighboring site and won $75 in gift certificates. That was inspiration.
Well, it would be nice in a photo contest if the commnets were limited to another, parallel thread, so one can just view photos. Along the same line of thinking, it would be nice if the max file size were larger, as I've often had shots that looked good that weren't worth posting once I reduced them.
Hmmm. When I first started entering the photo contests, I offered to withdraw, as it seemed that no one else was entering after I made my entry. I mistook the usual overall lack of interest for people being "intimidated" by my "beautiful" photo. Shows ya what I know!! :-D:-D
While I can be just as competitive as the next person, it's not something that I enjoy (and when I compete, I usually win!). I've always thought of the contests as a showcase for all Members to show off their work, not as a true "contest". I never vote for myself, by the way. I generally view the WPF threads as quick snapshots of people's work (even though many are fine pictures in their own right) while the monthly Contests are a bit less fleeting because they're less frequent. Perhaps Val's suggestion to make the Contests even less frequent might help, although we'd then need to be a little more aggressive with advertising their existence.
Taking a picture in this age of digital photography doesn't need to be a big production, either. I have a relatively cheap camera that has some features that are useless for model photography, and my daughter's even cheaper camera took better overall pictures. I occasionally use a tripod, although most of the time, the camera is right on the layout, and I don't use photofloods (a fact which has been remarked upon in the past). :-D If your first shot doesn't turn out, take another. And another. :-D It's not like you're paying for film! Anybody with a half-decent camera can take a picture nowadays, although the quality can range from peasoup to :goldcup:. I believe that what sets a good picture apart from mediocre ones is composition, and a look at the "winners" of most of the past Photo Contests bears this out. As for a prize for everybody? Here, as in life, that's not something that will contibute to the betterment of anybody.
If the Photo Contests become true contests, I'll continue to contribute to WPF, but otherwise direct my photographic efforts to my own Threads, or as aids in answer questions for others. I've no interest in spending my hobby hours competing with anyone.
I gotta agree with you there Val. You make an excellent point. The only thing is that I wonder why the "weekly photo fun" threads do enormously well. Is it because there's no real competition per se?
Again, I have to agree. When things started to drop off, I asked and most said they didn't enter because they couldn't meet the criteria. Some didn't have a layout, some couldn't find a real railroad, and others couldn't find a camera. Well, I couldn't do much if they had no camera, but i tried to see if I could make it so easy that no one else had an excuse not to enter. Maybe in doing so, I took the challenge out of it for those who really wanted one.
One thing that I can think of to really screw up the works is to offer a tangible prize. I had run a graphic design contest on a DTP forum and got the sponsor to donate a copy of their latest software. it was a decent prize, and most entrants were civil about it, but it was still a struggle and I never did it again. Also, there was a recent experience on another train forum where they offered a cash prize.... Uh, that was disastrous and they had to put a halt to it. I certainly don't want anything like that to happen, plus if we offer real prizes, then the Gauge staff could not, in good conscience, enter.
That's why I'm asking these questions, I don't think we should get rid of these photo contests, but we do need to make some changes. We've also had problems getting people to enter the building challenges and "parties". We've had a bit of success with dual challenges, maybe we need to do the photo contests the same way. We've had more than one suggestion along that line.
Anyway, thanks for taking the time to give us your input. I'm sure it will help shape the future of what we do.
Here is one of my favorite pictures..Yet,I would not enter it in a contest.
Why? It lacks depth of field for the rear units and scenery.
Great Comments and info Thanks for the post!!! I agree with ezday's post above - we'll have to think about all this info you & everyone else have submitted
Is this "contest" just for th RR guys? (I'm new to Zealot, having come from cardmodels.net)
These contests are open to any registered member of Zealot, although the themes are generally related to trains, you are welcome to participate.
Okay, now that Larry drug me into this kicking and screaming I might as well add my buck-seventy-six worth.
The contests never seem to have the right choice of subjects.
If it's a contest, let's see how creative the contestants can be. How about giving a little more abstract challenge? If the contest prompt is "Bridges" then every photo will have a bridge in it and it'll be harder to judge simply on the fact that thy all followed the one rule.
There needs to be a distinct goal for each contest. Should the winner be chosen because his subject is the best in the category or because his photo was the best executed? It needs to be clear, especially with the model contests what is being judged: subject or photography.
I don’t like the way these contests are run.
With a contest every month their simply not special enough to worry about bothering with. There will always be one the following month. Why not make it annual? That seems to work for the magazines, they never have a shortage of entries it seems.
Another problem is the voting. Having, for example, fifteen entires and thirty-six votes isn't much of a contest. If the winning photo only got five votes of those then that only proves the winner had more friends registered on the forums. How about setting up a judging committee from the staff for volunteers? They could pick the winners based on a set of criteria or maybe pick out three finalists for public voting.
There are not real prizes, so it’s not worth the effort.
No doubt we're setting ourselves up for a Catch 22 here. We want the contest to be special enough to make people go out of their way to enter it, but at the same time, what's their motivation to do so? Recognition online? Anybody can post photos online and with a few bucks from their own pocket promote their web page. How about working out a deal with a magazine to showcase the photos? How about offering some real prizes?
Brian,I am glad I "dragged" you into this.sign1 Those are great thoughts on this matter.:thumb:
Good points Brian. Referring back to that military forum I mentioned, although they do have actual prizes, which I don't think we should do for many reasons, they also have banners - kind of like prize ribbons that go under your sig. Designed and placed there by the forum admins for all to see. That might be an idea worth copying.
See example below.
Oh neat!!! I like the banner I know how to do that too!! I've done it on a few web sites.
That's a fine idea. I'm very much opposed to awarding tangible prizes as well, I thik I've made that very clear as to why, but we need to provide some sort of reward, some recognition and the banner idea is a good one.
I think what's happened here is that in an effort to make it easy for anyone, we've taken away the challenge for those that want a challenge. Instead we tried clever ways to change these contest and wound up, as Val says, "dumbing down" them to make them more accessible and easy to enter. I have to take responsibility for that poor piece of judgment. We cannot keep lowing the bar, like in our school systems where we can't use a red pen anymore, and we've eliminated any sport or challenge where there could possibly be a loser and hurt feelings. No, I think we need to go back to where if you don't think your picture is good enough, you'll try harder until it is. And if you think that a few people win all the time, well, you just improve to the point that they're not the only ones winning anymore. That's got to be the basis of entering these contests and challenges. No only to showcase what you have done, but to provide a means that you strive just a bit harder to move up a notch or two each time you enter. This isn't work, but it does take work to improve yourself and show everyone how much better you are, and it should be fun and satisfying in the process. And it's no shame to be starting out, everyone has at one time or the other and they didn't get better by just sitting back and doing things at the same level an not improve themselves each time.
We're getting some very good input here and I guarantee you, it will result in change.
Why not have the admins vote for us "normal status Gaugers" (if that's the right set of words) in the contests (since I assume they all know each other and can, perhaps, liase- by that I mean by way of PMs-with each other quite easily). The admins can then have a seperate challenge where they enter their own annual contest and let us "normal status Gaugers" vote for their pics via a pol (since not all of us "know" each other, it would be more difficult to liase so that's why I suggest a pol).
If we do vote on a pol I think we should only be allowd a single choice when choosing a winner between them.
:thumb: BTW, thumbs up for the banner idea! :thumb:
Don,You're forgetting one thing..All cameras are not created equal my $200.00 job can't compete with a $1200.00 35mm digital super camera with a SRL lens backed by a $999.00 photo shop.
It is my opinion that one can bust his/her fanny trying to do better and gain nothing due to the differences in cameras and the difference between a low end and high end photo shop.
I don't think there is anybody that wants to compete when the odds is not even..Kind of be like taking a box stock slot car and racing it in the modified box stock races..In other words a one legged man in a foot race would have the same chances of winning.
Now if leveling the playing field by having 2 contest(could be rotated) is dumbing down the contest then leave the contest as is.