Why don't you participate in our photo contests?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by ezdays, Oct 7, 2007.

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I don’t participate in the monthly photo contests because:

  1. I don’t have a camera I can use

    4 vote(s)
    7.0%
  2. I don’t have a layout or a railroad nearby and going somewhere else is a pain

    10 vote(s)
    17.5%
  3. I prefer model shots and the contests are mostly for prototypes*

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. I prefer prototype shots and the contests are mostly for models*

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. I hate to take pictures

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  6. I cannot take good pictures; they never seem to come out right

    6 vote(s)
    10.5%
  7. Working with a picture editor to resize pictures is too much of a hassle

    3 vote(s)
    5.3%
  8. I can’t get the forum upload to work right*

    4 vote(s)
    7.0%
  9. Those that enter every month are much better at this than I am

    10 vote(s)
    17.5%
  10. My pictures aren’t good enough to win, so why bother?

    7 vote(s)
    12.3%
  11. I’m afraid that others will laugh at my pictures

    6 vote(s)
    10.5%
  12. The contests never seem to have the right choice of subjects*

    7 vote(s)
    12.3%
  13. We have no input as to what the subjects should be*

    1 vote(s)
    1.8%
  14. I hate contests in general

    2 vote(s)
    3.5%
  15. I don’t like the way these contests are run*

    2 vote(s)
    3.5%
  16. Photo contests shouldn’t have “winners”

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  17. I don’t have the time it takes to enter

    5 vote(s)
    8.8%
  18. There are not real prizes, so it’s not worth the effort

    2 vote(s)
    3.5%
  19. I just can’t be bothered, phooey on photo contests

    2 vote(s)
    3.5%
  20. I love the weekly “photo fun”, let’s just do away with these “contests”

    9 vote(s)
    15.8%
  21. Photo contests? What photo contests???

    11 vote(s)
    19.3%
  22. None of the above, I’m just plain lazy

    11 vote(s)
    19.3%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

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    Yeah, I agree that it's tough to put a street car in an Indy race and expect to take anything but last place, that's why they have different races for different types of cars. Multiple contests can follow that lead. If you recall, we tried that last time with two different build challenges, one was an out-of-the-box kitbuild, the other was a kitbash and it was open to one or the other.

    One question I have though, if we run a simple contest for the less-experienced, most unsure or the less endowed, and a more difficult one for those that have the ability and/or capability, how do we choose who is to compete in the simple one without having the high-end people taking over both contests? I'm not saying it can't be done, I'm just asking your opinion on how we can do it and be fair....

    I think it's a fine idea and I'd like to see it work.
  2. railohio

    railohio Active Member

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    I don't understand the obsession of some here with high-priced photography equipment. If that's another swing at me, Larry, then you are sorely misinformed.

    Yes, there is a need for decent equipment to enter any contest. There is also a need for an understanding of photography as well, though. Any idiot with a DSLR and Photoshop CS3 won't stand a chance if he or she doesn't understand what to do with it. Conversely, a seasoned veteran with a Pentax K1000, the epitome of the simple camera, and a basic knowledge of computer imaging would have no problem putting up a good fight. Somewhere in the middle of those extremes, however, is a middle ground that more people fall on.

    Certainly photographic equipment will be a limiting factor for some, if not many. That works two ways, however. If you all were to have a model contest next I'd have to sit it out because I don't have a thousand dollar layout with trees and little plastic people on it. In fact both layouts I'm currently working on are just short of having their track complete. I would chose to abstain, even if "in-progress" photos were encouraged simply because I know I wouldn't be putting my best effort forward. So no matter what you choose to do there will inherently be people left out. That's just the way it goes.

    I think you'll find that for all the talking I do now I am very unlikely to enter an of these contests in the future, even though I've won some in the past. As I said before, I'm loath to enter if I can't put my best effort forth. At the same time, all my best shots are squirreled away in a Logan slide box for a magazine or a book. That might take thirty years, sure, but by giving them up now they're less likely to be purchased in the future. I don't share my images on the wholesale level anymore simply because of that. They're all online for viewing by my friends and if you're bored enough this winter you could probably find them, but that's just how I prefer to share my work.
  3. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    Brian,

    Those are great thoughts and insights on the matter, and since Larry thanked you for them, I don't think he's taking a swipe at you.

    Your point about experience, not just $$$ spent, is excellent. I lamented the loss of my old Konica totally manual SLR to a thief, and the replacement Pentax that cost several times as much did not make me a better photographer.

    I also like the suggestion about setting out what will be judged - the model in the picture, or the picture itself.

    And finally, I agree with other that stated perhaps a semi-annual or annual contest would bring out more entries and more voters. Even if we did an "offical" panel, we could also do a "member favourite".

    Andrew
  4. brakie

    brakie Active Member

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    Brian,Relax..That wasn't a swing at you or anybody else..Its a well known fact a $200.00 rig picture can't compare to a photo taken by a $1200.00 35.mm SRL camera no more then a 110 camera pitted against a 35.mm Camera. Why? That $1200.00 rig has got the same advantages of the 35mm film camera as far as f stops,better ISO range,better shutter speeds etc.Also compare my "point and shoot" $200.00 camera photos to yours..See? No comparison..sign1 Yours is far better-even your "culled" photos and that's a fact Jack.

    All I am saying let's level the playing field between the point and shooters and the advanced photographers.Sounds fair for all I think.

    For the record many modelers that enter contest or have highly detail locomotives and freight don't have a layout..Jim Six has had many locomotive or freight car detailing articles publish yet,he doesn't have a layout. Last year I entered a local contest for detailed Athearn locomotives and I figured my odds of winning was about the same as a one legged man in a foot race..I finished 17th out of 96.Not bad for a guy with one bad hand.
  5. brakie

    brakie Active Member

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    Don asks:One question I have though, if we run a simple contest for the less-experienced, most unsure or the less endowed, and a more difficult one for those that have the ability and/or capability, how do we choose who is to compete in the simple one without having the high-end people taking over both contests? I'm not saying it can't be done, I'm just asking your opinion on how we can do it and be fair....

    I think it's a fine idea and I'd like to see it work.
    ---------------------------------------------
    Don,Good questions that must be answered.I read your reply last night and been trying to figure the answers.
    There are several ways but,I am trying to sort out the ones that would benefit the point and shooter and the advanced photorapher.

    Maybe a contest for the point and shooters one month and that advanced the next month.That is one thought.I am still raking my gray matter trying to help find workable solutions.
  6. railohio

    railohio Active Member

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    Why does there need to be two separate divisions? By giving the rookies their own separate category the message is that they can't be as good. If nothing else it doesn't give them the motivation to improve their photography in the future. I say let everybody compete together in one contest and if the rookies can't cut the mustard they'll come to the realization they need to improve their technique before the next one.
  7. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    Maybe if there needs to be a division, it should be model vs photograph. That is - is the judging to be done on how good the model is (requiring only a clear, in-focus photo) or how good the photograph is, regardless of the subject.

    Take an example - a photo of an out-of-the-box IHC steam loco.

    If it was photographed sitting on a desk, and submitted to be judged for modelling, it might not "pass", as it was out of the box, no superdetailing, and no real modelling required.

    If it was posed on a sceniced layout, in a nicely composed scene, with Photoshopped sky, steam and smoke, the photo might be judged very favourably in the "judge my photo" category.

    I think I agree with Brian that we should not separate skill levels or equipment levels. However, we could make one concession in the form of "highest placing by a first time entrant", which is a common prize in many contests.

    Andrew
  8. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

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    I don't know about all this, guys. For me, I'll start a thread and post pics of my layout whenever I have something to show. I don't necessarily need to be competing against anyone. The reward I get comes from just being able to "show off" what I have done.

    Now, perhaps when my layout is further along in the scenery department, I'll have a change of heart.
  9. brakie

    brakie Active Member

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    I fully believe thats why there is a lack of interest..Everybody gets tired of crash and burning every month regardless of how hard they try.

    You take a competitor in a slot car race series he will get discourage if the best he can do is in or near last place in points.Of course the majority of the new racers learn right away to use every legal advantage to increase his/her car's speed..This can not be done with a camera.After all you can't sup up a camera that takes so/so pictures.See my picture on page 3.
    I won't mention my early pictures I took with a cheap camera when I first started doing forums way back in 2001..I am to embarrass.
    ----------------------------------------
    Gary,The contest is just another tool for the members to enjoy entering if they wish to do so.
  10. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

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    I agree with Gary on this one. And I'm not too nuts about allowing images that have been Photoshopped or similarily altered, unless they were in a separate category. A capable person could come up with a knockout image without even being a model railroader! :rolleyes::-D:-D (And I'm certainly not denigrating that particular talent.)
    Frankly, I think that WPF has supplanted our current "contests" because no one feels intimidated by what's being shown, even the really high-quality stuff. People are more encouraged to participate, which is what I had hoped would be the benefit of the current low-key "contests". If it ends up being more competitive, I'll have to pass: I'd rather present my images solely for whatever entertainment value they might offer. I personally don't need or want "validation". ;)

    Wayne
  11. brakie

    brakie Active Member

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    Wayne,I agree..I would rather share my so/so pictures in the weekly photo fun then enter a contest where the photos was supped up with photo shop..
  12. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

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    If you check, I think every so often we have run a "photo magic" contest that will allow altering with a photo editor. One contest I allowes minor editing, that being to be able to add smoke and steam or clean up a background... But those were defined as such.
  13. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

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    IMHO, I don't think that a better quality camera/ equipment, or digital editing in whatever way, can neccessarily make your picture a winner.

    I've got proof in my own collection where I've taken a shot- in real life- and just followed the photographic rules of thumb using a 3.5 Megapixel camera and I compare it to my new camcorder's 7 Megapixel stills shots and not all the pics come out that great on the newer camera.

    Look at Jeffery Wemberly's shots that he takes with his so called 'cheap' camera- they look fine. I've seen pics win compititions that were taken in bad light as well.

    I think a sticky thread should be put up giving suggestions and guidelines for taking shots with models, there is no need to go fancy with the proper equipment. Perhaps all photographic compitions can be kept in this thread. All that there needs to be is the shot- whatever that may be- and a short story- "BigBoy Climbing Sherman Hill" for example.

    Here are some suggestions that I can offer and I'm sure that you all are fimiliar with one or two of them:

    1st- MOST IMPORTANT: LIGHT, LIGHT, LIGHT: This is what counts in the end, you need to have sufficient lighting to make sure all the details show up, but not so bright that your shot comes out white on the camera. Besides having as much light on in the room and having lights shine from behind you, place a sheet of white paper, cardboard or styrafoam on either end of your subject, just out of view of where your shot will be focused on. This helps reflect light onto the subject.

    Take the same picture three or four times- your camera has ample space to take lots of pics. You'll notice that each of the pics come out slightly different with a certain detail blurry, or one shot darker than another, etc. Choose the best one from there.

    If you want to, maybe blurr some lights to make the lighting not so strong from that certain light, if you have windows- open the curtains.

    2nd- LOCATION: In real life it is better to take a shot of the same subject- the train in our case- in different locations, than to take of different trains in the same location. Maybe, if you don't have a layout, take it from a different viewpoint or angle. Place different figures and cars (automobiles- and trains wagons I suppose), just to make it look different. If you don't have a layout, ask a buddy or club of yours if you can't take a picture of your train or loco on a section of their track- take whatever's needed along.

    3rd- MAKE SCENES: Normally, when we show our layouts to people or kids, they just look at the train once and they are bored, but if your layout has different scenes, you'll see that they stay interested for longer. A rule I personally stick by is every 30cm (1 Foot). The same goes for a train in a shot, people need to see that there is "life" on your layout- unless of course you're modelling the desert and there's no one around for kilometers (although there are tons of other details a desert can offer). What makes a picture of a BigBoy?- A shot of it going over Sherman hill- it's home terretory (or in steam days talk: it's stamping ground). Yes, we cannot fit Sherman Hill on our layouts but we can certainly fit a BigBoy with three wagons behind it exiting a tunnel portal.

    In real life when taking a shot of a steam loco you normally try to get it so that the connecting rods are as close as possible to the ground so that one can see all the details, etc. On your layout you have the opportunity of you 0-5-0 shunter to place the loco(s) in the right spot and at the right moment so that the conrods are in the "correct" position.

    Look at the pictures in magazines of model and real life trains the shots are, normally, close to the train. I've got an old back issue of December 1989 Railroad Model Craftsman (wow, I was only three then). On the cover is a snow scene, with two cars stopped at a railway crossing. 3/4 of the Susquehana SD45 is showing, the railroad crossing board, the roof and one side of a goods shed is showing with a wagon on the other end and a whole lot of trees to close the scene, in my opinion, that's a good shot. If you have digital and are modelling the US with their different light codes you can activate lighting effects while the train is standing still.

    Lastly: Yes, I know we don't all have layouts and we don't want to go maybe to that extra effort with lighting, but these are just suggestions. As far as I'm concerned, digital smoke and backrounds don't make the picture always look better. Believe in yourself as well that just maybe people will like this shot, I know I've put stuff up here that I didn't really like myself, but it's all I've had to offer, and people have given some great comments (of course everyone here has great personalities).

    REMEMBER: We're all here to have fun, not stress who's looks better, or whether or not people are gonna appreciate a picture as much as you do. If you want to stress, go to work. . . .
  14. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

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    For me I just dont have a camera to use all the time, and when I do have one to snap some pics with, I take all the pics that I wanted to take for that last month or whenever the last time I have a camera to take pics was and I usually forget about taking the shot for the contest until I come back on the gauge and I see the threads and I dont have a camera no more :oops: wall1 :curse: wall1 :eek: :eek:

    Well all thats going to change, I just started my first job 2 weeks ago at Lowes. Im going to save a lil of my paycheck ($40) everytime I get it to put towards a nice new camera. Ill be participating in a lot more contests in the upcoming months as soon as I can get my new camera :thumb: :mrgreen: :thumb:
  15. santafewillie

    santafewillie Member

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    I voted too lazy. It's really not enough time. I have hundreds of photos but I work 50 hours a week, commute 10 hours, and maintain a farm on the weekends. That's why I don't participate. Like others have said, I post occasionally when things click at the right time. Here's my thoughts on the contests. Prizes...NO NO NO! Doesn't fit the spirit of this forum. Banners, great idea. I like the idea of "first time entrant" whoever mentioned it. I am also intrigued with the separation of subject vs. photo quality idea. I dislike the "gab" with the contest, as someone said, maybe a separate parallel thread would garner more interest in the contest itself. My thoughts only. PS I have photos that I think could compete with DrWayne but I don't like posting photos with a glue bottle or screwdriver in the background (or foreground). He is my inspiration.
  16. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

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    Thanks for the kind words, Willie, but lots of my photos have the overhead lights or second-level benchwork in the picture, or unfinished scenery, even. If you're getting glue bottles or screwdrivers iin your pictures, then you must be getting your inspiration from the wrong part of my pictures. ;):-D:-D
    I agree that the banners would be a good idea, and definitely, no prizes, and for the same reason that you cited.

    Wayne
  17. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

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    Not to mention that big ol' hole in the sky above GERN Industries Gibson Works.
    :eek:
  18. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

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    Brakie, as you know if you're planning to enter a slot car race, you're going to get the best slot car you can. Same thing applies to a photo contest. It all comes down to priorities. If you want sharp, detailed photos, then you'll invest in a decent camera.

    We already have weekly photo fun that allows people to post photo's that may not be contest quality - although many are.

    I'm flat out opposed to the lowering of standards for the sake of getting a few more entries. A contest should be special, winning it should actually mean something, and those who want to compete at the highest level know that this takes an investment of time, effort, and money.

    Not interested in making that kind of investment? Don't enter the contest.

    It's funny to me that there's such a huge debate about this here. On the 1/6 military forums I frequent, no such "level the playing field" mentality exists, and quite frankly, the entries are much better as a result.

    Val
  19. railohio

    railohio Active Member

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    I got a BIG high five for Spitfire! If it's just another photo to post for everybody why even bother looking at the entries?
  20. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

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    I don't remember anyone ever complain about losing a contest or taking a nitpick to the winning entry, although there were some jokes about tartan sky. Since there are no actual criteria, anyone can win as long as they meet the title.
    (I've heard the organizers of a railway show complaining that the crowd-pleaser had won the popular choice ballot again.)