January Forum Contest - Theme - Eyes

26 posts / 0 new
Last post
Robert Fehnel
Robert Fehnel's picture
January Forum Contest - Theme - Eyes

The January theme is: Eyes

The Judges description: 

"Eyes"-- "The eyes are the windows of the soul" "An eye for an eye" "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" "all in favor say..." (better skip that one). Human, animal, insect, or whatever, the eye does not need to be the entire image, or even a major part of the image, but it must clearly be the focus of the image.

 

Rules can be found here.  Keep in mind this is just for fun and has no impact on points gained during our regular monthly competitions.  

 

If you are unsure how to post a photo visit this post here where you can learn how to add a photo to your reply.  

 

Submissions are due by January 22nd 2014 by 6 P.M.  

To submit simple reply to this posting.   

If you have any questions or problems uploading a photo please email Robert Fehnel at rrf2c@virginia.edu

 

 

Toni Zappone
Toni Zappone's picture

Rory's Eyes

Liz Marshall
Liz Marshall's picture

Summer eyes!

Robert Fehnel
Robert Fehnel's picture

Two of a Kind
Two of a kind

George Beller
George Beller's picture

An Eye-Popping Sight

Ken Porter
Ken Porter's picture

Got My Eye On You

Stan Kaslusky
Stan Kaslusky's picture

East Jerusalem

Ginger Ferrell
Ginger Ferrell's picture

Bird's Eye View

Alda Vidrich
Alda Vidrich's picture

A little humor from the insect world.

Judy Edwards
Judy Edwards's picture

Quinn Sees the World

Jim Demas
Jim Demas's picture

Video gaming isn't for the inattentive

Dave Metcalf
Dave Metcalf's picture

Eyes of the Epiphany.

Anton Largiader
Anton Largiader's picture

Oh my gosh, it's Mama.

Howard Gutgesell
Howard Gutgesell's picture

Fred the Fox

Robert Fehnel
Robert Fehnel's picture

Below are the Judge's Notes on each image entered this month.  The judge graciously added some edits for some of the photos.  These can be found in the pdf here.  The notes below are from the judge with the winner listed at the end.  

 

Toni Zappone – Rory’s Eyes - Can I borrow Rory for a photoshoot?  Incredible cat eyes and spot-­‐on         focus (I’m a sharp-­‐focus freak).  I love the detail and the clean catch lights.  This is an image that demands a second look.  It would be my second choice for first place, if seconds were allowed. 

 

Liz Marshall  - Summer eyes! -  Also, a beautiful and striking image.  I like the perspective of the eyes and their sharpness, an important if not THE MOST important part of images involving faces.  The background is blurred and not at all distracting from the main subject.  The curved sweep of the hairline provides a natural end point and keeps my attention within the face.  I’m a little uncomfortable that a few of her hairs seem to touch the subject’s right eye, although that does not seem to be bothering her, so it must be OK.  No real technical issues here and the longer I look at it, the better it gets – a lovely picture.

 

Robert Fehnel – Two of a Kind – Beautiful image!  The foreground bird is razor sharp, particularly the eye, and the presence of the slightly blurred second bird lends a sense of depth to the image.  Also the parallel alignment of the birds and their common expression – to the extent that birds actually have expressions – imparts a sense of symmetry.  To my eye, a slight curves adjustment (see attached) enhances the contrast and highlights the eye region of the first bird, but that is just a matter of personal taste and not a technical criticism.  I suspect this was not an easy image to capture but the photographer managed to put it all together – exposure, composition, focus, background … to make a striking photograph.  Well done! Best of Show!

 

George Beller – An Eye-Poppin Sight – Read the comments on the Got my Eye on You entry minus the part about boyhood.  In this case, one has the feeling that the photographer might have been able to (gently) reposition the crab (?) to a more favorable position – although from movies I’ve seen, these little critters can really scamper when they need to.  Well focused, but too much front baggage. 

 

Ken Porter – Got My Eye on You – This photo brings back pleasant memories of my boyhood summer visits to the local creek.  The image has wonderful selective focus, which is spot on the eye.  The problem is the offending object in the foreground, which muddies the composition and is not removable by simple editing.  I assume the photographer could not easily move the object or the main subject.  Sometimes ya gotta take the image you’re given, but those shots rarely win the prize. 

 

Stan Kaslusky – East Jerusalem – A difficult photo under a bright sun near midday with harsh shadows and a bright cluttered background.  Also there is a seemingly unrelated and incomplete face in the lower left corner.  The partial face is easily removed by cropping (edited image), which also improves the cohesiveness of the image, but the hard shadows, especially over the eyes, and the cluttered background, are not easily fixed.  A curves adjustment offers a slight improvement but doesn’t work very well because of the harsh lighting.  Ideally in a situation like this you would relocate the subjects under an awning or some kind of cloth overhang to soften those shadows – easier said then done if you’re in a busy marketplace photographing passersby. 

 

Ginger Ferrell – Bird’s Eye View -  A really well executed shot of a wise old bird with pin sharpness on the feathers, especially around the eyes.  I wish the left one were a bit lighter and the catch lights were less fuzzy, both factors not easily controlled in the field.  I think my edited version (PS curves) has a bit more punch and increases emphasis on the eyes.  This is also one of the best of the contest entries. 

 

Alda Vidrich – A little humor from the insect world – Half a bug is better than none in this undeniably interesting photograph of a mean looking insect peering out at the photographer from between two lush and slightly out-of-focus water drenched leaves (focus is not a problem in this case).  I would have removed the vertical stem (see attached crop) and cleaned up the background.  A more extreme crop (attached crop 2) would better emphasis the bug and it’s peek-a-boo eye. 

 

Judy Edwards – Quinn Sees the World – A beautiful baby, but he/she looks a little intimidated by the camera and flash(?).  The eyes are nice and sharp, though the double catchlights are a bit distracting.  I would like to have seen a little more chin, more of the ruffled collar and a little less background.  While the background (blanket?) is not really cluttered, it diverts attention from the face and eyes.

 

Jim Demas – Video Gaming isn’t for the inattentive – These are the eyes of a young girl deeply involved in some mysterious imaging process such as TV, or more likely, a computer screen.  Could she be learning the mysteries of Lightroom?  In any case, the idea is good, but the photo is flat and the face a bit zombie-like.  While framing and focus are good, I believe the face needs a bit more contrast and also more color – perhaps tinted with light that is coming from whatever she is watching.  The accompanying edit in which I made a slight curves adjustment in PS, illustrates one of many possibilities. 

 

Dave Metcalf – Eyes of Epiphany – An interesting and colorful photo from an exotic part of the world, but to me it looks a bit busy.  There’s too much going on and eyes are but a small part of the action.  For this competition, I would have made a vertical crop isolating the right half of the photo, as in the attached edit.  This has the effect of removing much of the irrelevant clutter and emphasizing the four turbined gentlemen.  An even tighter crop would put still more emphasis on the lead figure and his compelling eyes. 

 

Anton Largiader – Oh my gosh, it’s Mama – I like this image quite a lot, especially the wonderful expressions of joy and surprise on the faces of the two subjects.  It’s a warm mother-child bonding photo.  However, there are several hot spots that I find distracting.  Ideally, the light would mainly illuminate the two faces.  My edge vignette edit takes a step in this direction, but does not really solve the highlight problem, which is a difficult one for all photographers as repairing blown highlights is quite challenging.  To avoid this problem I tend to underexpose my portrait image, which is counter to the advice of the experts.  However, my personal preference tends toward well-lit portraits where the deep shadows are of marginal interest. 

 

Howard Gutgesell – Fred the Fox – I salivate when I view this image as I have been trying to photograph a fox on our property for years and have gotten no closer than several hundred feet on the rare occasions when I have spotted him.  This is an excellent photograph, which I believe could be slightly improved by a tad more contrast and some edge vignetting.  I used a PS curves adjustment in my edited version.  Definitely one of the best submissions.

 

All of the above. 

The “hair in the eye”, the fox, and the owl would be in my third first choice group for this competition and I would have a hard time ranking them individually.  Luckily, competition rules do not require me to do so.  As is the case in all CCC competitions, all who enter should remember that “Beauty is in the eyes of the Judge”.  And now I think I need a nap.

 

Winner: Robert Fehnel – Two of a kind

 

Robert Fehnel
Robert Fehnel's picture

The judges critiques and choice for winner are above. Please feel free to comment and critique and discuss the photos now by commenting on this topic. I thank you all for entering this competition and I hope to see more of your entries next month.

Alda Vidrich
Alda Vidrich's picture

Want to thank the judge for taking the time to not only offer comments on how to improve the photo but also for providing a visual example of same.

Minor point - insect looked pretty comical peeking from behind the leaf but, I suppose, one had to be there. Anyway, thanks again.

Liz Marshall
Liz Marshall's picture

Wow! This was really well done. I love the comments and suggestions AND the edited images to see. Thank you. I think you are an excellent judge, whoever you are!

Robert Fehnel
Robert Fehnel's picture

Yes first off I need to thank the judge for putting all the time to giving really informative critiques, and all the time put in to doing edits and showing where photos can be made better.

 

 

There are a few photos that stood out to me. I think Toni with Rory's eyes that really stood out to me. The eyes really want me to look again and again. Your blacks are black but you still have the texture and detail needed. It is almost symmetric except for some stray white hairs on the one side of the face. The other thing i noticed as typing this the eyes are slightly slanted and pointing toward the corners. I am not sure if this is really what gives it a dynamic feel and makes it even more interesting. I would highly hope to see this at a regular competition.

 

 

On Alda's funny bug photo. With your title you really gave me the feeling you were trying to capture. I think it is a great capture because you had to be at just the right angle to get it and to get it as perfectly focused i think it took alot of skill. I think your photo is a perfect example of how a title helps guide the photo to the viewer on what/how to look at it. That was some of the thinking behind allowing titles on photos during our regular competition.

 

 

As for some of the other photos. I would be happy to have opportunities to capture some of the animal photos shown here. Again i think the level here was quite high. For the photos of people i am just lacking in my portraiture and perhaps photojournalism skills. I think these covered those areas and I really enjoyed seeing them in this competition as it gives me something to try and work on to reach those levels.

Toni Zappone
Toni Zappone's picture

CONGRATULATIONS TO ROB for being the first winner of the online competition!! Well deserved, indeed. And kudos to all the participants...a very nice collection of photos. Emphasizes how competent and creative our camera club is. My thanks to the secret judge; I enjoyed all the critiques and am printing them out so I can go back and refer to them later. However, both Rob and the judge referred to attachments and edits, but none showed up on my screen. Did I overlook them somewhere?

Robert Fehnel
Robert Fehnel's picture

Sorry Toni i may not have made it apparent. In the post above that includes the critiques there is a link labeled "here". I have increased the text size now so it should be more visible. It is a pdf that was compiled using the judges edits.

Anton Largiader
Anton Largiader's picture

We shouldn't get spoiled and expect that kind of attention from every judge, but that was great feedback. Thanks!

My thoughts:

Rory's Eyes are great. The symmetry is fanatical. I'm a cat person and I've taken a lot of kitty pics (and a great eye macro) and it is very good. I just want to keep looking at it. Ideally the catchlights might be slightly different; maybe even smaller (to lose their clearly circular nature) with a bit of starburst. Or eliminated; those eyes have all of the light they need.

Liz' Summer Eyes are intriguing. I love the partial face and while I want to see what the whole face looks like, the mystery is great. I think the cropping is exactly right on all four sides. Yes, the hair in the right eye might be a tiny bit too much. The trees seem to have some motion blur but without it they would be too sharp.

Two of a Kind is a technically great wildlife photo. Very good exposure from very light to very dark, very sharp where it needs to be, good composition. There is some sort of a distraction in the lower left corner. I can't say the image really speaks to me, though.

The crab, the frog and the bug are amusing but they all have compositional problems with their surroundings and I can't say they stand alone as great photos.

East Jerusalem - the first thing that I can't get past is that the photo has a yellow cast to it which doesn't help the mood. Also the eyes aren't meaningful enough, and as the judge mentioned, the picture needs to be centered farther to the right.

The owl, to me, is nearly devoid of detail in the eyes. I have seen owl pics where the eyes are just hypnotizing. And without that detail, the rest of the owl is very flat.

Quinn is very obviously being hammered by direct flash (look at the shadow under his ear) which isn't flattering for anyone. You can see the effects on the forehead, nose and under the eyes. Without context, the picture doesn't really convey anything other than him maybe being dazzled by the flash. The video gamer suffers some of the same unflattering light, but in that case there is context for it: the blue glow of the implied mesmerizing TV. Her pic would be better with more of a hint of the video gaming aspect, though. Maybe the catchlights could be the TV image itself. Without the title, the context isn't all that evident.

The Eyes of the Epiphany, that's a really interesting shot. It needs to be cropped all the way to the second drum on the left, though. The eyes of the men on the right of the image are great - really piercing - and I just wish the shot had been taken from a bit lower to both get rid of the tourists and make the subjects more imposing. Clearly the framing was a challenge in that crowded street, though. You get what you get. I'd find a way to darken or eliminate the faces under the horse's right ear and surrounding the guy in the yellow garb.

My shot, again you get what you get and I know the lighting was from the wrong direction. I did lighten the baby's face and work on the eyes a bit. And yes, the lower right was irrecoverably blown out.

Fred the Fox could use a bit more exposure and a little more saturation. The focus is right where it should be and the head tilt is perfect for a fox. I think a higher quality version of that image could go a long way; hopefully you have a RAW of it.

Beth Bass
Beth Bass's picture

Wow! Impressive entries and solid, detailed, helpful critiques. I couldn't get my act together enough to enter in January, but since feedback is one of the most important ways to improve, am very encouraged to do so next month. Congratulations to Rob and kudos to the judge.

Ginger Ferrell
Ginger Ferrell's picture

Thanks for taking the time to go over these images with such care and attention to detail. Thanks also for doing edits as it is so helpful to see what the judge is talking about. It is fun to see so many participating.
I do have a serious issue with my image however, the first with contrast. I think my monitor needs calibrating, as I have noticed some consistency with my images being on the dark side when printed so this is me. The second is focus. When comparing my original jpg with the image on the forum, the focus on the forum is greatly softened, up to bland. It is true the depth of field is mostly on the beak and feathers and the eyes, which are more important, are not as sharp (auto focus) in my origional, but the loss of detail in the feathers makes me wonder what happened to the sharpness of the image. Any thoughts? Is my jpg disintegrating?

Ginger Ferrell
Ginger Ferrell's picture

Actually looking at the first version on the entries, the image on my computer is ever so slightly sharper (hardly noticeable), but the two examples in comparison are less sharp. Please don't think this is a moan anybody. I know I need to get a tripod.
Thanks for doing this Rob. Really enjoyed seeing so many entries.

Ginger Ferrell
Ginger Ferrell's picture

Rob would it ever be possible to see all the entries together like on a Pinterest page?