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Photo[shop?] Contest

December 31, 2012

Have you noticed that there is a trend in the past few years on photo contests organized by reputable magazines and organizations? Photo contest has turned into Photoshop skill set contest.

The judges did not pick the most original – straight out of the camera – great composition, great light type pictures. They tend to pick the most Photoshop engineered ones. One may say this is the same as burn and dodge in the darkroom back in the old days. However, the winning pictures were manipulated by more than the simple burning and dodging. Those pictures are the product of a combination of many Photoshop filters and action packages.  In other words, it is not a competition of good composition and good light. It is a competition on altering the pixels with weird colors, or buying and using all these add-ons.  Or, one may say those should rather be classified as electronic art contests.

A few months ago, I found a photo contest organized by the Smithsonian Magazine. To me, it was a fresh air. It offered five categories. There was only one category called Altered Photo. The other four were for lightly touch-ups (burn, dodge, corp, sharpen, etc. These were allowed) photos. I praise the magazine for respecting the “shoot it right the first time” concept. Yes, I am from the old school. I started with film. Those films did cost money. I had to be sure what I was doing before I pressed that shutter. In my young age, I quitted photography for about 10 years because I simply could not afford them. Nowadays, I am pure digital. My DSLR can shoot 4 or 5 pictures per second. But I still have the habit of taking time to find the right light and composition.

By the way, I did enter the contest in late November. The results will not be released until next March. So, wish me luck!

Below is one of the entries. The adjustments I did were to lighten up a little and sharpen it.



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