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LHD Winner

A forum to post any lighthouse pictures you'd like others to see. Feel free to talk about lighthouse photography. Lighthouse-related photos (such as LSS and lenses) are also welcome.

Postby Grover1 » Sun Apr 12, 2009 4:24 am


Frans ... you've eloquently stated what I uneloquently (?) attempted to say over the years in prior posts regarding the contests, most succinctly that very last sentence ...

I would take exception to just one thought though ...
Ordinary shots are ordinary because most people like them that way

I believe the ordinary shots are ordinary because that's all they know ... the first time, maybe the second time they are exposed to a different perspective, say a sunset shot, or a reflectiion shot, or a foggy day shot, hopefully the lightbulb goes off if only to the point where the thought germinates to try that next time ... It can be an internal swtich, such as an accidental surprise during a shoot, or an external surprise, such as a discount coffeetable book at Barnes & Noble of some of the great lighthouse photography seen.

For me, the leap from terrible to almost mediocre was in part due to my wife ("you know, you could try to get a little water in that shot") and part due to seeing work displayed here (Im thinking of Larry's sunrise at Concord Point, maybe Gary's Harbor Beach shots). Im not from the school of patience and technicallity, but I did know, intrinsically and extrinsically (?) there was at least a little more that could be done with what I was attempting to accomplish. So I try.

And of course, there is nothing wrong in taking "just" a snapshot ... us "recordkeepers" have done plenty of that, also
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Postby MontaukPoint » Sun Apr 12, 2009 11:19 am


Just to get back to the original topic for a minute, would anyone actually PAY to buy the winning photo? I wouldn't.
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Postby LighthouseNews » Sun Apr 12, 2009 12:01 pm


MontaukPoint wrote:Just to get back to the original topic for a minute, would anyone actually PAY to buy the winning photo? I wouldn't.

Good point. But then, you wouldn't be able to buy it from the photographer under the LHD rights grab.
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Postby MontaukPoint » Sun Apr 12, 2009 12:04 pm


Good point in return, Sue :lol:
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Postby Grover1 » Sun Apr 12, 2009 12:46 pm


With the same assumption ... that you are wanting to buy it ...

Just guessing but I would suggest, in the mythological slide show I suggested, #51 and #53 would be quite similar to #52, and with a little shimmy and a little shake, would look mighty similar to the one to which LHD now has the rights ...
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Postby Gary Martin » Sun Apr 12, 2009 5:25 pm


On the other hand, if a photographer decided to sell his photo from the cover of LHD, are they really going to be stupid enough to try to sue said photographer?

As far as the would I buy it.... not likely. On the other hand, I could just go to Rockland Harbor and shoot it myself.
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Postby Hersh » Sun Apr 12, 2009 7:42 pm


Frans, you put words to my feelings on LHD exactly. The cutesy factor seems to them to be the most important part of the magazine. I found that out when I proposed a story to them that I never did write and Tim basically told me it needed to be a human interest story rather than the broader historical / cultural narrative I proposed.

I also agree that you can't blame the guy that submitted the photo to the magazine, very likely he didn't know better, and as stated, it was the best photo he'd ever taken. But the judges must have been hitting the bong pretty hard that day.
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Postby Biggy » Wed Apr 22, 2009 11:23 pm


I guess I can chime in for a moment on this topic, since I have entered (twice) and won a category (once) in the LHD contest. When I submitted the first time, I submitted on the basis of what I felt were "quality" photos, from the perspective that they were technically sound, interesting images. When I didn't place in any of the three categories, I went for a different appoach the following year -- an approach with the sentiment, "Perhaps the judges are not seeing the same thing I'm seeing because they are not photographers and just viewers, and are not at all concerned with the technicalities of the image." So, instead of just providing technically sound photos, I went for more "generic" shots, ones that would have appealed to the LHD readership rather than somebody who would hang them on his/her wall because they were such magnificent specimens in terms of photography he/she wouldn't be able to resist. Apparently, that latter philosophy worked. My Pemaquid Point shot that won the lighted lens category that year (2006) was nothing other than me standing on the rocks and taking a simple shot of the lighthouse shining as storm clouds rolled overhead at dusk. I didn't even "try" while taking that shot, and after submitting it to the LHD contest I wasn't shocked it won.

See ... what we "pros" sometimes forget is the audience on the other side of our photos. I've sold many prints of lighthouses during the past four years, and I can say with conviction the "average" person doesn't give a crap about the technicalities by which I shot a particular photo, or the composition I attempted while taking it, or the type of camera I so deftly use in coordination with my own eye for what I think is a good shot. In my experience, I have found that when I have thought too much to take a photo, the "average" person doesn't want it. Very few people come up to me and ask what I did to take a certain shot, or what I "saw" in a particular shot. With that said, it's important to note that, with the LHD contest, from what I know, the judges generaly don't go after technicalities with regard to the photos submitted. The results of the contests tell us that. They are "average" folks who select the photos based on an "average" lighthouse enthusiast's thoughts. The LHD contest is not a Popular Photography contest, and more than likely never will be.

As for testing LH Digest's "rules" with regard to rights to the photos, I can offer the following. My winning shot of Pemaquid ... I've sold it many times over, and not a peep from anybody connected to the magazine about it. And several gentlemen connected to the magazine know I've sold it. Furthermore, of the dozen photos I've submitted for the contest, none have been used in the magazine, and I sell or have sold at least seven of them in bunches. No problem. In fact, several of them are in my first book. 8)

Anyway ... carry on. :D
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Postby wheland » Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:32 am


David,

Thank you. I agree with your take on this subject. I've hesitated to voice it because I'm closer to the average joe photographer than to the serious or Pro photographers who have spoken here.

I did not want to sound like a critic- but someone of your stature can say this and it has a different connotation.

I liken the feelings expressed by some of the others to similar sentiments that surface on some of the music groups I participate in.

In the case of the music it's certain fans that while a big fan of an artist will be very negative towards anything that smacks of commercialism or popularity. I see it as the concept that if so many people like it it can't be that good- or at the very least it's when the artist sold out to make a buck.

The connection here is that while I'll agree that many of the photos that win in the LH digest contest are pedestrian or common type shots as David points out that's what the core audience of the magazine enjoys. It's smart to play to your audience.

This topic also reminds me of the brouhaha of a couple of years ago about the NJLHS Photo contest and how some were tresating it.

It's a number of steps above the type of contest that the LH Digest runs but it is several steps below a serious photo contest and the majority of participants understand that. The core audience is lighthouse enthusiasts- not serious photographers (this is not to say that many of those entering or voting are not both).

I think it's important to judge things by the correct standards and not get too overly excited about some of these things.

The bottom line for the LH Digest Photo contest is that it's a fun excercise that includes any who wish to participate- the novice to the pro. You just have to understand what you are participating in and if it's not your thing don't join in.

I'll add one more example to help illustrate the point I'm trying to make.

There is a venue near me called Grounds for Sculpture (supported by Seward johnson of the J&J family) which supports many of the creative arts- painting, sculpture, music of all stripes, etc.

They put on many musical shows I appreciate. they have many other exhibits and art works there that do nothing for me- although my wife and I are members. I simple in some ways- I find it difficult to appreciate art if someone needs to tell me what it is and wht it's supposed to represent. I describe much of what is shown there as "pretentious crap".

This is my opinion but I support the existence of the place and having it available for those who do appreciate that type of art. I choose what parts I wish to enjoy and leave the rest for others to enjoy.

I only offer my opinion if asked about the artwork. I say I like some of it but not most of it.

Sorry for the length of this- it's one reason I had not responded prior to this. I was afraid i'd ramble.

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Postby Biggy » Fri Apr 24, 2009 7:28 pm


Dennis ... No need to worry about your rambling. Some of us have no trouble following along. :wink:

The short of this is, the folks who generally subscribe to LH Digest are not looking for photographic perfection with regard to the magazine. Therefore, there's no need to judge the photo contest based on that. Most of the photos submitted probably come from lighthouse enthusiasts first, photograhers second. Many of them probably have no idea what even makes a photo a great photo in terms of the technicalities. The bottom line is the magazine is a lighthouse magazine, not a photography magazine. The only thing important in a photo submitted is the lighthouse, that's it.

Anyway ... Hope you're doing well, Dennis.
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Postby Hersh » Fri Apr 24, 2009 7:58 pm


I have to disagree with the underlying theme of the last couple of posts. To say that only a professional photographer can appreciate a technically good photo is ludicrous. The reason technically good photos are good is because they look, well... Good!
What purpose would there be to making a technically good photo that wasn't attractive?

For me, when I take a photo I use the skills I have and apply them to the final object of making a beautiful print. I don't have it in my mind to impress geekphotogeeks with my amazing prowess with a camera, I want that picture to take someone's breath away. And I know that if I ever want to sell a photo I'd better make it appealing to people. That doesn't mean (to me) dumbing down.

If you would put Gary and a snapshot shooter side by side in front of the same scene; generally (maybe not always) Gary's photos will look better in the end. Because of his higher quality equipment, and more importantly, his ability to use it, he will make a better photo. Will it take a pro to recognize the better photo? I don't think so. A pro may see technical details in it than the casual observer will miss, but that's expected.

In my opinion, saying that because the target audience of the magazine isn't professional photographers makes it understandable that they choose poor quality images from time to time doesn't hold up to the light of logic.
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Postby wheland » Fri Apr 24, 2009 8:16 pm


Hersh wrote:I have to disagree with the underlying theme of the last couple of posts. To say that only a professional photographer can appreciate a technically good photo is ludicrous. The reason technically good photos are good is because they look, well... Good!
What purpose would there be to making a technically good photo that wasn't attractive?

For me, when I take a photo I use the skills I have and apply them to the final object of making a beautiful print. I don't have it in my mind to impress geekphotogeeks with my amazing prowess with a camera, I want that picture to take someone's breath away. And I know that if I ever want to sell a photo I'd better make it appealing to people. That doesn't mean (to me) dumbing down.

If you would put Gary and a snapshot shooter side by side in front of the same scene; generally (maybe not always) Gary's photos will look better in the end. Because of his higher quality equipment, and more importantly, his ability to use it, he will make a better photo. Will it take a pro to recognize the better photo? I don't think so. A pro may see technical details in it than the casual observer will miss, but that's expected.

In my opinion, saying that because the target audience of the magazine isn't professional photographers makes it understandable that they choose poor quality images from time to time doesn't hold up to the light of logic.


Mike,

Please reread my post. I never said anywhere that only a professional photographer could appreciate a technically good photo.

The basic point was that many of the audience for the LH Digest and it's photo contest don't look at the photos in quite the same way as many of the posters in this thread.

You see a poor quality shot and so do many of the others that look at things with a more critical- and yes knowlefgeable eye- others look at a photo and can't tell you why they like it but they just like it.

The definition of poor quality is somewhat subjective to begin with - you may use a different set of criteria to make that judgement than another person would use. The difference can be increased when technical aspects are given more weight than just the simple fact that a person likes what they see.

One part of the difficulty here is that nobody- well at least not me- ever said that you or anybody else should dumb down anything to appeal to anybody . You should do what makes you feel good about your photos. You should also do what past practices shows you is what any group is looking for in the event they promote.

If the parameters that seem to be in place for a photo contest don't meet your standards then you should decide not to participate in it. Why cause unneeded aggravation to yourself?

Art of any type- photos, paintings, sculptures, etc is something that is truly in the eyes of the beholder. You may look at something and see it as ordinary while another person looks at it and sees something that pleases them. It may not fit your definition of a proper technical photo and it may not take your breath away but it may still have that effect on someone.

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Postby Biggy » Fri Apr 24, 2009 8:40 pm


Mike ... I don't think this is a matter of dumbing down to people as it is the expectation. When you and I, and I guess we'll throw in Gary since you brought him up, think photo contest, we automatically have a different expectation than the average LH Digest subscriber, and possibly even the judges involved in the process. We as guys who sell our work have a different standard in terms of what we'd even submit. Sure, if you put us up against a point-and-shooter, our photos should look better with the end product, based on what we know, how we use our equipment, etc. ... and of course, the fact we really care about what that end product looks like.

And that's part of the point I thought I conveyed in my first post -- that as professionals, we have different expectations because we don't try to and more than likely won't sell bad photos to people. But with the LH Digest contest, the judges aren't trying to sell the work. They're simply selecting photos based on their personal perspectives and likings, and it's quite obvious that the perspectives many of the judges have has nothing to do with technically great, or even great-looking, photos. It's something else within the photo that appeals to them, and I'm almost certain it has much more to do with the lighthouse than anything else.

I really think it is that simple.
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Postby Biggy » Fri Apr 24, 2009 8:59 pm


Hersh wrote:For me, when I take a photo I use the skills I have and apply them to the final object of making a beautiful print. I don't have it in my mind to impress geekphotogeeks with my amazing prowess with a camera, I want that picture to take someone's breath away. And I know that if I ever want to sell a photo I'd better make it appealing to people. That doesn't mean (to me) dumbing down.


One more point from me, Mike ... I understand your point here. Of course, I do. But I'd be fairly certain that you've come across a person who finds one photo breathtaking, and another person viewing the same photo doesn't get the same impression. I don't know about you, but I find it very difficult to figure out exactly what's going to appeal to people. 8O ... To the point where I've almost stopped trying. :lol:
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Postby Grover1 » Sat Apr 25, 2009 3:17 am


If you would put Gary and a snapshot shooter side by side

One, if the "snapshot shooter" is me, it better be an awfully wide spot from where we're shooting "side by side" ... Im cutting a pretty wide swath these days ...

Secondly, so many times its been said here it isnt necessarily the equipment ... in Mike's hypothetical, my belief is Gary's shot will be better becasue his vision is better ... looking at the same scene he will "see" it better, wait for the compliant cloud, unleash his pet gull, wait for the wind to furl (or is it unfurl) a flag, waiting for the geese to fly by (was it at Bodie?), incorporate an indigenous (?) bird house into a shot ... and so on and so forth ...

Thirdly, I speak for "snapshot shooters" everywhere ... while I would prefer "record keepers" as the assignation of choice, what term is really starting grate is "cutesy." I will hazard a guess that this winning photo, in this person's mind, was a composed thought of a lighthouse at an angle not usually seen and it struck him as digital worthy ... It required thought and it required compositon. Nowhere did HE think it was cute ... nowhere did HE think it "just a snapshot" As I wrote elsewhere, to him, it was one of the best photographs he ever took, so much so he took a major step and submitted it to a national magazine for the judgement not only of the contest, but from critics of both the "pros" and the "snapshot shooters" here and on similar forums ...

Lastly, will one of the "pros" here speak to the topic of the number of frames shot on a shoot. Many times, as these accounts are relayed to us, its in the hundreds and the number is spoken with pride ... what were the criteria of those that pass muster and those that dont ...
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