On being a Photo Contest Judge

BPI Camera Club had invited me to be one of the judges in their monthly photo contest which was held yesterday, May 3, 2007. It was my first. Isa Yñiguez, Caloy Zamora, Nick Olayao and I were asked to select 10 entries per theme based on their given criteria. I selected and eliminated images based on their visual impact and weaknesses. But as the judging progressed, I find it all the more difficult because we are compelled to select 10 photos even if what were left are redundant ones.

A digital infrared entry caught my attention as it’s the only monochrome image among the pack. But on close scrutiny, it appears to have a ‘murky’ tone and lacks the tonal beauty - stunning clarity, surreal and serene look of a true infrared print. Some of the photos, while properly exposed, its composition was poor making the image appear as an ordinary snapshot. Right cropping would make a big difference. I also noticed photos that have blown highlights and appear grainy. Some heavy vignetting was also evident on the edges which I think was added to emphasize the subject however, that didn’t helped since the image looks to be heavily dodged/ burned-in. One was an image of a tree with a sunset behind but one thing I notice was that it looks to be heavily saturated making it appear unnatural - its whites turned slightly grayish.

Isa cautioned to veer away from shooting passé subjects such as the perennial anahaw leaf but if there are no choice, Nick recommends bringing a frog or lizard when shooting said subject to further add interest.


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