Challenges 2007

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Challenges 2007

Postby MHD on Tue Dec 05, 2006 8:39 pm

Can you believe we've just finished challenge 12?
A long time has passed since the DSLRusers challenges grew out of the D70 Pic a day for 31 days challenge

The challenges are going to take a short hiatus and return bigger and better than ever in 2007, with challenge 13 probably starting up at the beginning of Feb (pretty much as soon as I get net access sorted in Melbourne)....

Now is a good time to reflect on the past, what has worked, what has not worked and what we have not tried yet!

I for one would like to thank Birddog, Poon, Gary, Glen and all the other donors of the great prizes over the years....

The mods, admins and I welcome all ideas for the future, from voting and formatting ideas to simple ideas on themes... It seems that choosing a good theme is vital to the success of a challenge.

And thank you to all the members who have entered and voted in the challenges over the years (yes it is years now!)

Let me finish with a link to a random gallery of past challenge entries:
Click here for 20 random images from past challenges and POTY (and some other junk...)
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Postby stubbsy on Tue Dec 05, 2006 10:00 pm

... and thanks to that Scott fella for organising things too :lol: :wink:
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Postby blacknstormy on Tue Dec 05, 2006 10:14 pm

Scott - I look forward to the challenges :)
A big big thank you to Scott for all of the trouble he goes to !!!!! :)
And to Birdy, Poon, Gary & Glen for making us try to get the best out of our cameras :)

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Postby beetleboy on Tue Dec 05, 2006 10:35 pm

Hip hip hooray!
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Postby Geoff on Wed Dec 06, 2006 4:15 pm

Scott - without you, these challenges may have not even happened. Cheers buddy!
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Postby Pa on Fri Dec 08, 2006 8:37 am

thanks to everybody that has had an input into the challenges.i find them to be a learning tool,because of the challenges i'm trying things i wouldn't
normally do.
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Postby radar on Fri Dec 08, 2006 9:10 am

Well said Pa :wink:

thanks for all your efforts Scott.

Looking forward to lucky 13.

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Postby gstark on Fri Dec 08, 2006 9:24 am

Pa wrote:thanks to everybody that has had an input into the challenges.i find them to be a learning tool,because of the challenges i'm trying things i wouldn't normally do.


And that is the primary purpose of these events.

Let's face it: what's the point of just going out and shooting the same thing you shoot every day? Instead, we try to set a theme about which you need to think, and to try to see things is a different way than what might normally be the case for you.

Scott, you're doing well, but as we both know, nothing is perfect, and that's why you've placed this thread here. I'd certainly like to see more comment from members about what changes they would like to see to these, so that we can make them even better than what they already are.
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Postby Geoff on Fri Dec 08, 2006 10:35 am

Maybe I'm being devils advocate here, however...a suggestion perhaps, this is NOT a criticism, not by a long shot:

I'd like to see a tidier gallery, maybe flash or something a little more appealing to the eye. I knwo flash CAN be slow but it's improving. Anyone else feel the same way? There's nothing WRONG with the gallery software that Scott is using but I'd like to see something a little more 'classy'. Opinions? Oh, I'd like to win one too...but that can't be changed that easily :lol: :lol:
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Postby radar on Fri Dec 08, 2006 10:50 am

Geoff,

there are various skins that can be applied to the Gallery software. Scott, maybe you could try a few different ones and get a feeling as to which one looks "nice"? That way Scott can keep his customisations.

For the two part challenges, I find that they drag on. Looking at C12, entries were valid from 10/10 till 13/11 with voting finished on 23/11. I would like this compressed a bit. A lot of people seem to leave it to the last minute, I have, so giving more time does not necessarily mean more entries or higher quality. Same for the single entry challenges, should be all done with voting, etc within a month.

Anyway, my $0.02

cheers,

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Postby MHD on Fri Dec 08, 2006 10:56 am

No, this is what I like to hear...

Geoff: I do not like flash... Only about 10% of the flash apps out there are written right and work...

I may try Gallery2 But last time I checked it did not have a good voting mechanism... But I may rework voting all together

Gallery 2 is much "Scmicher" IMHO

Radar: I agree entirely, but had not though about it for a while...
Two weeks (or less) should be plenty... I guess we went from short to long challenges at the first AA challenge and did not revert back... Good idea...
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Postby sirhc55 on Fri Dec 08, 2006 10:57 am

There is an old adage - quality, not quantity. . .

My thoughts are that you can combine both with challenges that do not go beyond the ”it’s too hard” category.

A classic example was the egg challenge - indeed a challenge, but fun also. There was a classic example of quality and quantity.

What has to be remembered is that the majority of forum members have a job, family, etc., and this limits the time that can be spent on entering a challenge unless it has a theme that precludes brain surgery.
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Postby sirhc55 on Fri Dec 08, 2006 11:00 am

Scott - totally agree with you on Flash - I call it a wankers’ paradise :roll:
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Postby Geoff on Fri Dec 08, 2006 11:13 am

sirhc55 wrote:Scott - totally agree with you on Flash - I call it a wankers’ paradise :roll:


:oops: :oops:
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Postby greencardigan on Fri Dec 08, 2006 11:25 am

Firstly, thanks to everyone involved in running the comps. They are not only challenging but are also fun.

Secondly, I've been a bit disapointed with some of the themes though. Especially the theme for Challenge 12. So much so that I was not inspired enough to put an entry in. I'd much rather have a more broad theme. Something more similar to those used by DPChallenge.com.
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Postby stubbsy on Fri Dec 08, 2006 11:38 am

sirhc55 wrote:Scott - totally agree with you on Flash - I call it a wankers’ paradise :roll:


Hmm. Now I know why people call me a wanker. I like some flash stuff. eg THIS is a very nice thumbnail gallery thingy using flash and if I had the need for my own gallery site 'd probably be using it.

As for the challenges here is some comment on that:

I'm interested in something that challenges me photographically not linguistically. I found that for the last challenge we over clevered ourselves (and yes as a mod I was party to that process and partly responsible). My view is that we should have simple unambiguous challenge themes. Then we don't need lots of words to try and head off at the pass people asking weird and wonderful questions about what the $@%$#% does the theme mean :lol:

I'd also like to see the challenges cover a range of styles. A mix of say landscape, portrait, indoor and outdoor themes. I didn't enter a number of challenges this year because my interpretation of the theme was that I'd need to do some studio/lighting work to get a competitive image. That was TOO challenging for me since I'm a landscape kinda guy.
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Postby macka on Fri Dec 08, 2006 11:55 am

I'd also like to thank Scott for hosting the challenges. :D

As for suggestions, I personally prefer themes that relate to techniques or style, or broader content.

Lots of the recent themes have been very specific in terms of content, eg. the Egg, and the streetlight + living object.

If the themes are going to be content-based I guess I'd prefer something a but more open to interpretation, such as "Fire," "Action," "Red," just to name a few off the top of my head.

I also like themes related to style/techniques. Eg, "b&w," "high contrast," "long/short exposure," or even "inversion." :wink:

I'm not saying there shouldn't be any really specific themes, just that we should mix things up a bit.
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Postby gstark on Fri Dec 08, 2006 4:12 pm

MHD wrote:did not revert back... Good idea...


How else would one revert, Scott? :)

I too dislike flash: I think it's overused and overrated, and I suspect that it's really an excuse for a lack of real content. :)

Coming up with a "satisfactory" theme is probably a greater challenge than actually creating an entry.

While I like to see greater, rather than lesser, entry lists, this is really a situation where one person may see a myriad of opportunities, whereas another may be at a total loss in seeing where it may go.

I don't know that there's any easy way around this, and given that we have 12 minds' input into each of the themes - and some of those minds beling to very experienced and competent photographers - I'm not entirely sure how we can better address this problem.

I am not in favour of, for instance, suggesting say three possible themes to the masses, and then allowing voting to select a theme. I think that would be a dog's breakfast. That said, that is basically what we currently do, but with the much smaller (and more manageable) KMs group.

Stubbsy wrote:My view is that we should have simple unambiguous challenge themes


Yes, except what, precisely, defines "unambiguous"? As one who has written a very large number of technical documents and a couple of books as well, I can assure you that finding a suitable wording that is totally and clearly unambiguous is one of the greatest challenges that any person involved in these tasks can face.

In the most recent challenge, for instance, we (I?) wanted to convey the concept that we wanted a streetlight, plus a living object, in the image.

The problem, as a wordsmith, was that we wanted the streetlight. Not the lightpole, but the bit up at the top, where the light source was housed/established/contained/mounted .... how many more words can I use in this context? :)

So, we didn't really want Fred leaning against a lightpole. Not unless, as well as Fred, and the pole, the actual light, at the top of the pole, was also included in the image.

That's why I bacame somewhat impatient with some of the comments that were made during the early part of that challenge. To me this seemed to be fairly clear and easily understood, but it presented a number of photographic challenges that needed to be overcome.

The light is, typically, about 30 feet in the air, but there aren't too many living objects that tall. Wide angle lenses, and creative composition, might need to become a part of the equation.

Is the light actually on? What of exposure?

And so on: as I said, there is lots to consider from a photographic perspective, and hence it still, to me, represents a very wirthwhile challange. And many of the entries submitted addressed the theme in a very significant and creative way.

One suggestion was made to provide an example of how to address the theme. I believe that this would constrain, rather than help, matters. I suspect that many might attempt to emulate the example, rather than work on their own to address the issues presented. I think that would not be a desirable outcome.

Then we don't need lots of words to try and head off at the pass people asking weird and wonderful questions about what the $@%$#% does the theme mean


While, in principal, I agree with this sentiment, actually achieving it is an entirely different thing. Most people would say that the Egg challenge was an easy theme to understand, yet we still needed to DQ several entries for non-compliance.

No entries were DQ'd from "Stella". Go figure that one out! :)
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Postby greencardigan on Fri Dec 08, 2006 4:35 pm

gstark wrote:I am not in favour of, for instance, suggesting say three possible themes to the masses, and then allowing voting to select a theme. I think that would be a dog's breakfast.

Personally, I think a simple poll on say half a dozen shortlisted themes would be an ideal way of selecting a theme.
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Postby gstark on Fri Dec 08, 2006 4:47 pm

greencardigan wrote:
gstark wrote:I am not in favour of, for instance, suggesting say three possible themes to the masses, and then allowing voting to select a theme. I think that would be a dog's breakfast.

Personally, I think a simple poll on say half a dozen shortlisted themes would be an ideal way of selecting a theme.


I'm curious: we have a team of 12 who already discuss and vote upon a number of different themes under consideration.

I don't see that opening this discussion to the greater masses as being beneficial, and I especially don't see that a poll of the greater masses would bring any benefit to the table.

Are you able to tell me why you think this may be the case, or is this just your opinion? I'm not trying to flame or belittle you: I seriously wish to better understand your PoV.

And if this is simply your opinion, that is great: this is exactly the sort of discussion we're seeking.

Thanx.
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Postby sirhc55 on Fri Dec 08, 2006 4:48 pm

gstark wrote:No entries were DQ'd from "Stella". Go figure that one out! :)


That’s easy - by the number of entrants it would appear to be a self imposed DQ situation. :wink:
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Postby greencardigan on Fri Dec 08, 2006 5:04 pm

Gary,

Yes, that's just my opinion.

As you stated, you already use some sort of voting system. I cannot see how an open voting system would make things any worse.

I'm guessing that most, if not all, members participating in the challenges would like the opportunity to have input into the theme selection.

In any case, I think your current system isn't producing the desired results.
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Postby Aussie Dave on Fri Dec 08, 2006 5:05 pm

An interesting discussion.

I too would like to see more broader themes (as Macka's examples...B&W, long exposure, 1/1000 shutter speed) etc..

I think (and this is only my opinion), that many forum-goers would be more likely to submit an entry if it were broader. The more specific they get, the more limiting they become and although many of us can probably push ourselves to get out there and find a good shot....it's not always possible & we end up with less participants (which isn't a good or bad thing). By having a theme that's open to very wide interpretation, lends itself to more people being able to participate...which I think should be the primary goal (remember it's not about winning !).
Should we need people to screen our entries before submitting them, in case they don't fit into the theme ? I don't think so. If this is the case, the theme is not broad enough....IMHO.

I'm not sure if a poll on choosing the theme is such a great idea. Perhaps it can be similar to the ES exercises we have (or used to have), where the 1st entry got to choose the next theme....the winner of the challenge gets to decide the next theme ? That could be the punishment for being a smarty-pants and winning the challenge :lol: :lol: :lol:

In any case, a big thanks to all that spend a lot of their own personal time to make the challenges what they are. I appreciate your efforts, as do the rest, I'm sure !
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Postby radar on Fri Dec 08, 2006 5:08 pm

sirhc55 wrote:That’s easy - by the number of entrants it would appear to be a self imposed DQ situation. :wink:


DQ myself, dropped my camera on a rock :oops:

But I'm ready for the next one.

gstark wrote:The problem, as a wordsmith, was that we wanted the streetlight. Not the lightpole, but the bit up at the top, where the light source was housed/established/contained/mounted .... how many more words can I use in this context?


To me that was not obvious that the lightpole itself was not wanted, sorry. To my non-English native language, streetlight is the whole thing to me.

It is not easy to come up with a theme. I had to come up with one after winning challenge 8.

Writing instructions is like developing software:

You can't make something foolproof because fools are so ingeneous :wink: :wink:

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Postby gstark on Fri Dec 08, 2006 5:43 pm

Aussie Dave wrote:An interesting discussion.


It is, and for more reasons than you might imagine. :)

By having a theme that's open to very wide interpretation, lends itself to more people being able to participate...which I think should be the primary goal (remember it's not about winning !).


This is somewhat correct, and entirely valid ...

but ... ;)

Should we need people to screen our entries before submitting them, in case they don't fit into the theme ? I don't think so. If this is the case, the theme is not broad enough....IMHO.


How then do you address the situation where some members might complain (comment, observe) that a particular entry does not fit the theme?

While I agree that the prizes are not the issue nor are they (or should they be) the reason for entering a challenge, we do have to face the problem that, when something of value is on the table, we must try to be fair to all entrants. If you think your image complies with the theme, and you win the prize, but Fred, Bill and Harry all think your image is non-compliant, and therefore you don't deserve the prize, it's Scott and the Mods and KMs that have to try to deal with the fallout from that. :)

I'm not pretending that I have the correct answer to this one, but I do feel that this is an important point that bears consideration, and discussion.

Perhaps it can be similar to the ES exercises we have (or used to have),


Have: there's one currently under way. :)

the winner of the challenge gets to decide the next theme ?


Which is exactly how it originally was.

However, a couple of the themes that were chosen were felt by some to be weak and/or very ambiguous, and it was sometimes difficult to get the winner to suggest a theme: see Radar's comment on that.

Consequently we've evolved to the current system, and while I think we certainly accept that it's not perfect, the problem, really, is coming up with what seems to be the best compromise.

There's our challenge! :)

Radar offers one other observation: he's not a native speaker of English, and while we try to remain cogniscant of that sort of situation ....

Sorry, Andre. :)
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Postby macka on Fri Dec 08, 2006 6:05 pm

I don't know if images need to be disqualified for not meeting the challenge. Surely if an image does not meet the challenge it will be punished by the voters anyway? Something more obscure might be a clever interpretation to some, while others won't get it, and the majority will win.

Perhaps there can also be a stickied thread where people can post ideas for the challenges throughout the year, and the mods can pick and choose from there.
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Postby gstark on Fri Dec 08, 2006 6:12 pm

macka wrote:I don't know if images need to be disqualified for not meeting the challenge. Surely if an image does not meet the challenge it will be punished by the voters anyway? Something more obscure might be a clever interpretation to some, while others won't get it, and the majority will win.


One might think that to be the case.

One would be wrong. :(

Perhaps there can also be a stickied thread where people can post ideas for the challenges throughout the year, and the mods can pick and choose from there.


I think that this is certainly a worthwhile thought that the mods need to pursue
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Postby phillipb on Fri Dec 08, 2006 7:13 pm

macka wrote:
Perhaps there can also be a stickied thread where people can post ideas for the challenges throughout the year, and the mods can pick and choose from there.


This though has occurred to me too, but rather then a sticky, Maybe a more anonymous way of sending in your idea for a theme may be better, that way if a particular theme appears a few time, the mods will know that it's a popular one.
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Postby MHD on Sat Dec 09, 2006 8:39 am

It would be quite easy to set up an email address for submissions...

These are all good suggestions!
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Postby Pa on Sat Dec 09, 2006 10:15 am

i think camera details should be hidden,in some cases it's possible to put image to photographer.
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