Andrew Macpherson


Are Photo Judges Numerate?

by on Nov.07, 2012, under Camera Club, Competitions

The club used to mark out of 10 for the season league, with half marks.  The range for acceptable photos was 6–10 with the average adequate shot being 7/7.5, and authors of the ‘good’ shots (on the night) scoring 8 or above having their name announced.  9.5/10 also merited a round of applause.  Really poor shots, or dreadful presentation might score as low as 4.

We now have new software, which works in whole numbers only, so to balance with the half-marks of yore, the scoring is out of 20.  Rather than scoring in a normal range of marks from 12 to 20, our judges have confined themselves to 16-20, which should have resulted in every photo having it’s author identified something very much not our intention.  It also means there is little or no discrimination visible when as a club we review the scores and this is highly unsatisfactory.  The claim of “the standard is so good…” does not wash — the range is the range on the night, and the spread should reflect that.

It seems to be a human built-in in some fashion, so much so that we may have to revert to scores out of 10, and do hidden doubling to get a reasonable range and fit with the software.

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The All Year Challenge

by on Jan.14, 2012, under Competitions, Learning, Off the wall

Lens Pro To Go, a US equipment rental company, have thrown down a challenge.

Joint them for a photo-per-week challenge on themes they set.  My photos will accumulate in this flickr set, and the  whole set of entries is in the Lens Pro To Go 52 week challenge.  The exercises are are as hard, or easy as you let them be, so it’s great fun.

Why not join in?

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@Strobist Boot Camp so far.

by on Jul.31, 2011, under Competitions, Equipment, Off the wall, Workflow

David Hobby (Strobist) is running a “Boot Camp” to take people out of their comfort zone in using small flashes to make photos of local significance.  The exercise is as much about interacting with your community as the technicalities of the photographs produced, though to win the associated round prizes, the technicalities have to be good too.

Locally prominent person, Jonathan Forgham

The first exercise was to pick a locally prominent person and take their portrait.  Fortunately Jono Forgham had just been elected chair of the Little Hadham Parish Council, and was in need of one…  2 off camera strobes — one in a softbox to camera right, and a warming low power fill from the left.  The hat needed photoshopped to trim the broken straws round the edge :-), and a little attention was needed for reflections in his spectacles obscuring his right eye.  Of course the exercise is really about getting things right in camera, but this is balanced by the sitter’s available time…  You can see the Round 1 results HERE some pretty impressive s / dramatic shots.

Round 2 has been a bit more challenging:

 For this assignment, you will be required to photograph a local object — something of significance to your community. As with the first, the most difficult part of the job will be deciding exactly what to shoot — and why

The problem is the plethora of things in the area, going right back yo Roman Empire times:

  • Hadhamware Roman Pottery
  • The sculptor Henry Moore lived and worked here, and the Henry Moor foundation is a major attraction.
  • The local shared Roman/Anglican Church with it’s Henry Moore Stained Glass window
  • The Forge Museum with Elizabethan Wall Paintings
  • William Morris’ Cottage (Arts and Crafts Movement)
  • Nettswell House birthplace of Cecil Rhodes and now the Cecil Rhodes Arts Centre
  • United Distillers in Harlow, birthplace of “Bailey’s Irish Creme”
  • Local Tomato producers, pioneers in the use of Bio-gas
  • Smit-Klein-Beecham pharmaceuticals
  • Standard Telephone Laboratories — birthplace of Optical Fibre Communications

(continue reading…)

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Giving too much away

by on Oct.11, 2010, under Competitions, Presentation

Original square photo as entered in competition

I quite like entering photo competitions and was delighted when notified that one of my photos had been picked for the official Bishop’s Stortford Calendar 2011.  I thought it was maybe a little dark, but rather fun, and very nice to be picked out against all the other entrants — especially after encouraging all the photowalk participants to take part.

On Saturday I had an email to tell me that the calendar was back from the printer, so I sneaked out this morning to pick up my copy.

There are some really nice photos in there, but some fail to be calendar photos in terms of colour clarity and just plain “chocolate box” oomph.

I’m afraid that my photo after it had been cropped into the template was one of them (continue reading…)

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Someone likes my photo

by on Oct.02, 2010, under Competitions

Vine Cottage Much Hadham

There’sa slight buzz when someone selects one of your photos.   Recently I put a few photos in to a draw on Weekly photo tips, and Scott was kind enough to pull one out in a post to gee up further entries.  That was a nice follow-up to having another shot picked for the local tourist board calendar for 2011.  It’s validation that one is getting something right.

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World Wide Photowalk reflections

by on Aug.08, 2010, under Camera Club, Competitions

Join Me for the PhotowalkWell wasn’t that fun!  Emma, Sandy and Kevin from the Club came along for the walk, and to offer directions and advice, and were essential as the group spread out along the walk.  Unfortunately we only managed the shorter route in the time allocated, but some really good shots were uploaded to the flickr group for the walk.

Nine walkers (of 22) entered the competition for one of Scott Kelby’s fine, fine volumes, and it was a revelation to me how difficult it is choosing a ‘best’ from a variety of styles and subjects.  John Pugh was a worthy winner.

We were lucky to have another prize to give away, and I asked Tony Auguste to help me choose which of the photos from the group should get the canvas treatment.  Our shortlist is here.

We finished the walk at the Rivermill Chinese Restaurant, and they put on a good selection of finger-food to go with everyone’s post-walk drink.  They also offered a spontaneous mini-competition for a Photo they could use in their advertising.  It was all a great afternoon, and just a shame that some walkers had to rush off to other engagements.  Thanks everyone for making it such a success.

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