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  • Monthly Archives August 2008

    As I sit here in the early morning hours, I can’t tell you what a challenge it’s been choosing the winner, and runners up for contest part of my Worldwide PhotoWalk.

    I was so impressed with the winning entries from around the world, and honestly, you could make a case for nearly any one of them being the winner, because what I was looking at was a collection of 237 local winners from around the world. These photographers images were already good enough that their local leader had chosen them as their best shot from their city, and now I was looking at nothing but winning shots. It’s harder than you’d think.

    I’ve been a judge for many photo and design contests over the years, including my stint for years as one of the judges for the Photoshop World Guru Awards, and I had to lean on some of what I learned in that role. One thing that always stood out to me was now a particular image would “hit” everyone at the same time. For example, when we judge the Gurus, we sit in a darkened room and bring up the images on a projector screen one by one (with the entrant’s name hidden from view). As an image would appear on screen, usually you heard silence. Every few images you’d hear one of the judges say, “I like that one!” or “That’s a nice shot” but mostly it was silent. Then, an image would come up, and almost simultaneously, the whole room would go, “oooooohhhhh.”

    It wasn’t always the sharpest image, or the one that was technically perfect, but it was always a photo that had some sort of emotional impact. Whether it was color, or texture, or composition, or whatever it was, it had it enough that the whole room was moved at the exact same moment to say, “ooooohhhh!”

    So, when I was going through these images, I waited to hear my own “ooooohhh.” They’re all great photos, but I wanted the ones that made me personally go, “ooohhhh.” Each time I saw one of those, I marked it as a potential runner up. I could only choose 10 runners up (each of which wins a copy of Lighroom 2), and of course, I marked more than 10, so I then had to back through those and find out which ones moved me the most.

    Then it came down to choosing just one image from that group to be the Grand Prize Best of Show. I thought from the very beginning that one single image would literally stand out from the crowd, but unfortunately it just wasn’t that easy. As I said, you could make a case for any of them, and I knew that no matter what I chose that, because this is such a subjective thing, that other photographers would say, “He chose that one?” because I’ve done that same thing about the winning choice in other competitions I’ve seen. But at the end of the day, I had to make a pick.

    So, how did I make that pick? I asked myself this, “If I could only choose one of these 10 runner’s up to have framed and hang on my wall, which one would it be?”

    For my Grand Prize winner, (drum roll, please) I chose Suhaimi Abdullah’s shot from the Singapore walk, of a bird flying overhead an industrial-looking street. To me, everything from its composition to its colors told a story. It looked almost surreal, and at the same time, totally believable because we’ve all been in a concrete jungle and have been suddenly reminded of nature and it’s inclusion (or exclusion), and I thought this image just portrayed that beautifully. In the end; I just couldn’t stop looking at it, and it is the one I’d want hanging in my home or office. For whatever reason, it just spoke to me.

    winner.jpg

    So, congratulations to Suhaimi, who takes home the Adobe Creative Suite Premium, Lightroom 2, a $500 B&H Photo Gift certificate, a Wacom tablet, the Peachpit Book Bundle, and MPIX prize package, and more!

    Here are my comments about the 10 finalists (who each won a full copy of Lightroom 2; courtesy of Adobe Systems):

    oslo.jpg

    (1) Hakon Senderland’s photo of the guards in Oslo, Norway (above)
    I really like the reflection in the car’s window; the motion of the guards, and particuarly the way one is looking at the camera. I loved the dark moody sky, and the way all the colors in the photo worked so well together. I also like the fact that you could see past the reflection into the car itself. Just a very clever shot.

    First, did David duChemin's post rock yesterday or what??!!! Take a moment to read some of the comments people posted about it yesterday, and you can see how his words of advice resonated with and inspired so many photographers. Thank you David---that was awesome! Now, onto the news: Apparently the rumors of a Nikon D90 aren't a rumor anymore, as USA Today ran a story on it last night. Apparently it has the larger 3inch LCD screen, 12 megapixels, LiveView, lower noise, built-in sensor cleaning, but the focus of the article was that it is the first DSLR that actually shoots video, too! Here's a link to the USA Today article, and to Nikon USA's info on the new D90 (which sells for $999 U.S.---body only). Canon also has big news; they released their successor to the 40D, the new 15 megapixel Canon EOS…

    Our friends at MPIX (the only photo lab we use a NAPP headquarters) just took the wraps of their totally redesigned site. I've just been through their redesigned site and it's way more than just a new look. The new site is much more visual, even easier to use, has much more functionality all the way around, and it makes the process of uploading, managing, and buying prints just crazy easy. (It's such a big improvement, they're calling it MPIX 2.0. I think it's more like 3.0, or at least MPIX CS3). Anyway, they've got an online tour of the new site you can take, and on the last page they have this little slogan that so nails what they do, that I think it oughta be their official slogan, in huge letters, right on their home page! It reads: "Shoot today. Upload tonight.…

    If my childhood exposure to Star Trek taught me anything it's that you can't mess with the time/space continuum without seriously screwing things up for everyone. Still, the reckless part of me would love to go back and have a heart-to-heart with the fourteen year-old version of myself as I fell in love with photography and began what has been a 23-year passion. Last weekend thousands of photographers converged around the world to walk and shoot, most of them hobbyists still aflame with an enthusiasm for their craft that would humble many professionals. It reminded me of those early days, made me a little nostalgic. Still, if I could go back, give the young me some encouragement and direction, these are the things that I suspect would be foremost in our conversation. We'd probably also have an awkward chat about dating, but that's between…

    My original goal was to try and sell 100 books, which would have meant $4,499 would go directly to the building of the orphanage, but I just got the final tally from yesterday sales and you guys bought 236 books, which raised $10,617.64 to help build the orphanage. Amazing!!!! I'm humbled by your generosity and compassion, and I was so touched by some of the comments you guys posted yesterday, like: I am getting it shipped to Scotland, which took the price up to $65.99 - but it is worth it (and that is before I have even read the book!!) I already have the book on order with Kelby Training so I’ve mailed a check directly to CMCC today. I don’t use Lightroom (yet!) but I’ve ordered a copy anyway. Well, I just bought the book and I don’t even have Lightroom. I…

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