As you know, many of you have had trouble getting the photos you submitted to the past few contests - June's 'My Backyard', July's 'Need for Speed', August's 'Center It', and October's 'The Color Green'. It's a problem that has plagued every department here that uses the photo submit tool, from News to Sports to A&E.
One of our newsroom developers has given us a snippet of code to add in front of the code for the form you fill out to attach and submit your photos. Early reports are that it works. So I've added it to our August and October contest forms; if you have tried to submit a photo, but didn't get a confirmation or see your photo in those galleries, please try again.
Here are the links to those pages:
Sorry for the hassle you've had to endure ... meanwhile, we've signed a contract with a photo-upload company called Cell Journalist whose software we think you'll like. I'll let you know when we switch to that platform.
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I have added it to the entry describing this month's contest, or you can just use this link:
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October is our color theme month. I was tempted to use red or blue, since they are nice, strong colors. But this being an election year, choosing one of those colors is fraught with danger. So lest I be accused of favoring Democrats or Republicans, let's go with green.
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Back in February of 2011, I posted a note from Janet Claffey of Newburyport telling us of the passing of a dear friend of hers who was a RAW enthusiast - Barbara Bailey. Recently, Janet took Second Place in "The Color Yellow" contest, and sent me this note:
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The color yellow commands attention, both in nature and on man-made objects.
Watching the Euro soccer tournament, I noticed that the warning cards are yellow. Yield signs, police crime tape, and school buses are yellow. Lance Armstrong is being accused of doping during his Tour de France races, in which he wore the leader's shirt, a bright yellow, many times.
In nature, the stamens and pistils of a flower are often yellow to attract those pollinating -- and yellow -- bumblebees. Autumn leaves turn yellow. Many flowers and fruits are yellow. And of course, there's our glorious sun.
So you had a fun challenge in the 'Yellow' contest. And our judge John Blanding, assistant chief photographer for the Globe, had just as much fun choosing the winners. Here's what he said:
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Photographer Paul Marotta has sent me the results of his judging of the "Outdoor Sculptures" entries, and John Blanding, assistant chief photographer for the Globe, sat with me last night and judged "The Color Yellow" contest.
I'll post the Sculpture results today and the Yellow results tomorrow.
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Hey, folks ... the deadline for the October 'Yellow' contest is near: midnight Sunday, Nov. 6. So far we have 83 great entries, and are awaiting another 5 - those photographers' images didn't show up with their submissions.
It does help if you're able to reduce the size of your photo a bit before you try to submit it ... our photo upload tool chokes on massive image files. But if you don't know how, and a second try fails, then I let people email the photo to me and I'll post it for them.
You can check out the October photo contest entries here.
PS The November contest theme is Famous Places. More tomorrow.
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The color yellow, in US culture, is the color of optimism, energy, warmth, happiness, creativity. The sun is yellow, are as school buses, taxis, lemons, and most pencils. (it's also the color of cowardice!)
Artists say that yellow emerges from colors surrounding it, so use that to your advantage.
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First, August contest news:
Some of you wrote to me asking if the deadline for the August "Rule of Thirds" contest could be extended because so many people in New England were without power for several days after Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene struck. And you can lose even more days just getting back to normal after a situation like that.
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FIRST PLACE - $100
by Ellen Cahir-McFarland of Newton
Judge Steve Chong said: "I love the idea of the toning! The purple balloon and string fitted the theme very well, and the composition made the image very dynamic! I could feel the energy in the image."
SECOND PLACE - $50
by Leslie Gibson of Cambridge
Judge Steve Chong said: "A wonderful idea. The author turned something so simple into art, while at the same time not forgetting the theme. Simple, but nicely composed."
THIRD PLACE - $25
by Mike Murowchick of Boston
Judge Steve Chong said: "Shooting lightning is hard. I admired your getting such a nice effect, and at the same time, I was jealous. And the colors were so brilliant!"
I'm very grateful to Steve for taking the time to judge our contest.
Here's a gallery of all Top 10 winners.
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"It was an honor to be invited as the judge for the competition," our October judge, Steve Chong, wrote to me over the weekend as he finished his judging of your entries in last month's "Purple Power" contest. "I find the images were of very high standard. As far as the theme is concerned, some photographers have been really pushing the envelope."
I asked Steve, as I do all the judges, to offer a critique of the images overall so that we can learn how to get better. Here's what he said:
"I find there is room for improvement on some of the images.
1 - Do pay attention to the corners or sides of the frame. Having some unwanted or unintended subject appearing at these places only creates unnecessary competition with the main subject.
2 - Move / zoom closer and put more emphasis on the main subject. In other words, create a tighter composition. As the saying goes, keep it simple.
3 - Technically, brush up on the techniques of exposure and focusing.
4 - On some, the composition could be more creative. Do not always put the subject at the dead center. Try the Rule of Thirds, albeit old, but it always works.
"Learn the rules before attempting to break them!"
Here, then, are Steve's Final 50. We'll post the Top 10, including 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, on Thursday. Congratulations to these finalists:
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You'd never know by looking at his images, but 45-year-old Steve Chong has been taking pictures for less than 10 years. He was asked to build a website for his hometown, and used a point-and-shoot to take local images for the site. He was smitten. His story:
"Thus begun the journey of an inspiring, interesting, and philosophical quest for better photography. The process involved started from the inspiration, to the intense attention and concentration required before pressing the shutter, followed by the eager anticipation of the final print.
"I read extensively on anything to do with photography and art. After reading the series by Ansel Adams, my smoldering passion for photography was fueled further. His dedication for perfection in photography truly amazed and inspired me.
"I bought an entry-level Canon EOS/88 SLR camera and before long, I discovered that my needs had outgrown this faithful camera. After much research, and with due consideration of my budget, I finally upgraded my gear to Canon EOS/1V plus a few more lenses and accessories.
"After more than a year into experimental photography, I found a comfortable niche in conceptual and surrealistic photography. Creating an idea and turning and seeing it materialize is such an exciting process. It is like pointing the camera into the real world but shooting my subconscious.
"As far as conceptual photography is concerned, especially for those who demand instant feedback, a digital camera came in handy. With this in mind, I acquired a Sigma SD9 and a couple of lenses. It helped my work a great deal, and I became more productive and effective.
"I have always been impressed with the quality produced by medium-format cameras. Large film, excellent detail, sharp and amazing tonal range. After much consideration, I bought a Mamiya RZ Pro II with a fisheye, 90mm lens, and eventually a 250mm lens.
"At this time, I am concentrating on still-life photography. I find it fascinating where the photographer has to come out with a composition from the genesis of an idea. It is a challenge to both the photographer's creativity and technical skill.
"My motto: It is not what you see, but the way you see it."
Steve has earned international accolades from more than 15 countries, including Austria, Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland, the USA, Singapore, Luxembourg and more. He has won more than 100 awards.
He obtained his associateship under visual art from the Royal Photographic Society in 2009.
Steve is also very fond of landscape photography. He has been photographing and documenting the magnificent terraced paddy fields of Yuan Yang, China for the past four years. The images and narrative have been compiled in his first book, "The Light & Mist of Yuan Yang".
Steve is also the co-author for two of the most widely read photography magazines in Malaysia, "Photo Creator" and "Advanced Images".
Steve doesn't have the greatest Internet connection in Malaysia (or wherever he is right now), so it is taking him a long time to go through all 199 images. However, he's working away, and as soon as he chooses his Final 50, I'll post them.
Meanwhile, the November "bokeh" contest has 72 entries.
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I'm thinking of making October our color month every year -- what do you think? And purple is such a fantastically interesting color, that's what I chose for this month.
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Many thanks to colleague Lane Turner, a Globe picture editor who came to our rescue today to finish the judging for the Pink-themed October contest. And we have a record: Our first three-time Top 3 finisher.
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Folks, I can't apologize enough for this delay. I honestly don't know what's going on ... I haven't heard a word from the judge since she told me almost a week ago that she would send me her Top 10 choices that day or the next. I hope that everything is all right with her.
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Our judge, Sharon Pruitt, is making her Top 10 choices now and will send me her final picks tonight or tomorrow morning. I'll post the winners as soon as possible after I hear from her. Good luck to everybody...
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It's time to vote for the best "Pink" photos from among the 50 finalists as chosen by our judge, New England native D. Sharon Pruitt. The top 3 finishers win gift cards worth $100 for First Place, $50 for Second, and $25 for Third.
When I chose a color as the theme for October, I was looking for a bit of a break from tradition, opting for something a bit more abstract than many of the themes we usually tackle. And when I asked professional photographer D. Sharon Pruitt of Utah to be our judge, I had unconventionality in mind as well.
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So I was cruising around the Web, looking for Pink photos and just reading on the topic of using color as a contest theme, when I came across an interesting site called Pink Sherbet Photography belonging to a Utah photographer.
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Folks, the October 'Pink' contest has some of the best photos we've ever received. We've built five galleries to show them off. Later, I'll introduce our judge ... she's pretty interesting!
Gallery 1 | Gallery 2 | Gallery 3 | Gallery 4 | Gallery 5
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Please check the tags on your October entries ... some of you have neglected to make your month tag October2009 ... instead you wrote simply October, so your "Pink" photos are showing up in the "Get Close" contest we had a year ago. To reiterate, the 4 tags for this month are Boston.com, contest, October2009, pink. Thanks...
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She wasn't really into pink herself, my good friend Sarah; she favored more muted earth tones -- they went better with her light brown hair and fair complexion that tanned to a warm glow by August.
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izzysmama says: "Our cat Tilly. I'm surprised she let me get this close to her; she's not the friendliest cat ever." Camera info: Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT, focal length 60mm, 1/250, f/6.3, ISO 400.
Of this photo, Globe assistant chief photographer John Blanding, who chose the winners, said: "The eye color is stunning. You could even say the photo is a little scary, but it epitomizes the 'Get Close' theme."
Congratulations to izzysmama for taking home the $100 first prize. The rest of the winners:
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I've taken your comments to heart, and although a few of you advocated keeping the public voting, the majority -- some of whom left comments below, others who emailed me -- would prefer having a professional choose the winners.
Here are my thoughts:
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I'm not sure when we'll get the Voting Machine posted because of the election, but in the meantime, look over the entries in the gallery (click through to see it) below and start to make your choices.
And start shooting for the November contest: "Motion" was the winning theme. The deadline is midnight Nov. 30; again, we'll post the November Flickr Uploader as soon as we get out of the political thicket.
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Time to start submitting your best Get Close photos for the October contest. As I told you in an earlier item, Get Close captured 30% of the RAW vote. Motion was second with 26%, followed by Silhouettes, 21%; Curves, 12%, and The Color Purple, 11%.
What do we mean by Get Close?
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In November or December, we will start to feature two contests, with different themes, per month: One will be a General category for topics of widespread interest. The other will be a Challenge category for more advanced amateurs who want to stretch their imaginations and test the limits of their cameras and lenses.
Meanwhile, it's time to choose the theme for October. And please leave suggestions for future themes. Thanks.
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