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http://indianaquariumhobbyist.com/community/ :: View topic - Inviting Judges' comments
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Inviting Judges' comments

 
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ClownyGirl
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 5:11 pm Post subject: Inviting Judges' comments Reply with quote

 Would  like  to  invite  the  Judges  of  the  November  2006  Cichlid  competition  to  post  their  comments/feedback  about  the  current  photo  competition  entries.  
 
 Please  feel  free  to  talk  about  the  most  imactful  and  inspiring  entries  that  were  submitted  even  if  they  necessarily  did  not  win.
 
 The  most  striking  image  captured,  the  right  angles  and  any  other  tips  that  you  believe  will  be  invaluable  to  the  aspiring  fish  photographer.
 
 Thanks!
 Clowny
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kuksinhyd
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 1:55 am Post subject: Re: Inviting Judges' comments Reply with quote

 PHOTOGRAPHING  TANKS:
 When  photographing  the  entire  tank,  you  don't  want  to  use  the  flash  or  any  "external"  lighting,  because  they'll  usually  reflect  on  the  front  glass.  Do  it  at  night,  with  the  entire  room  in  the  dark  and  only  the  aquarium  lights  on.  This  means  it  will  be  a  low-light  shot,  and  therefore  the  following  details  are  very  important:
 
 Use  ISO  400  film,  better  suited  for  low  lighting.  
 Put  the  camera  on  a  tripod,  or  on  top  of  any  steady  surface  which  can  make  it  point  directly  to  the  middle  of  the  tank  (both  vertical  and  horizontally).  Adjust  the  zoom  or  the  distance  so  that  the  tank  fills  up  as  much  as  possible  of  the  viewscreen.  
 The  shot  will  usually  have  a  long  exposure  time,  so  you  have  to  be  patient  and  wait  until  you  find  a  moment  where  the  fish  are  almost  still.  If  they  move  too  fast  they'll  appear  as  a  blur  in  the  photo.  
 
 PHOTOGRAPHING  FISH:
 Now  things  get  a  little  trickier.  Professional  photographers  have  really  convenient  setups,  such  as  a  thin  tank  just  big  enough  to  hold  the  fish,  and  placed  in  front  of  a  nice  background  (real  or  picture).  A  casual  photographer  like  me  doesn't  want  to  go  through  the  trouble  of  removing  the  fish  from  the  tank  just  to  make  the  shot,  so  it  has  to  be  done  in  loco.  For  that  you  will  need  a  flash,  a  steady  hand  and  a  lot  of  patience:
 
 An  ISO  100  film  would  be  best,  but  if  you  still  have  the  ISO  400  loaded  from  the  tank  shots,  it  will  do.  Adjust  your  camera  to  its  shortest  exposure,  since  the  flash  will  give  you  all  the  light  you  need,  and  since  it's  a  close-up  shot  any  fish  movement  can  cause  a  blur  on  long  exposures.  
 Get  yourself  a  stool  and  sit  in  front  of  the  tank  with  your  camera  in  hands.  Your  head  should  be  leveled  with  the  water  surface.  Choose  a  fish  and  start  following  him  around  through  the  viewscreen.  If  your  camera  has  autofocus  it  really  helps  because  you  can  keep  adjusting  it  while  you  wait  for  the  right  moment.  
 Shots  should  be  made  at  an  angle  with  the  front  glass,  otherwise  the  flash  will  be  reflected  on  it  and  into  the  film.  
 The  best  shots  usually  occur  when  the  fish  is  in  the  upper  front,  but  still  low  enough  that  you  can  do  it  with  the  camera  pointing  down.  This  causes  the  aquarium  lights  to  reflect  strongly  on  the  fish  and  come  in  your  direction.  You  can  define  an  ideal  angle  previously,  (without  holding  the  camera),  by  observing  the  fish  from  your  position  and  seeing  exactly  when  the  aquarium  lights  make  it  the  most  colorful.  Then  try  to  wait  until  it's  near  that  position  again  for  the  shot.  
 
 DIGITALIZING  PHOTOS:
 Even  when  the  photos  come  out  looking  great,  the  digitalizing  part  may  not  maintain  the  quality  if  you  don't  do  it  right.  There  are  vast  examples  around  the  net  of  really  poor  looking  images.  But  if  you're  careful  editing  the  image  it  can  look  as  good  as  the  photo  or  even  better,  since  minor  problems  in  the  photos  can  be  corrected.  On  the  other  hand,  if  your  tank/fish  didn't  come  out  looking  nice  in  the  photo,  chances  are  that  nothing  you  do  on  the  image  will  really  get  them  to  look  how  you  want.  Here  are  a  few  tips:
 
 Scan  them  at  the  best  resolution  you  have  available,  with  as  many  colors  as  possible  and  a  no-compression  format  (BMP  or  TIFF).  I  use  an  HP  Desk  Scanner,  at  300  DPI  and  16.7  million  colors.  Don't  worry  about  the  initial  size  of  the  file,  you're  going  to  reduce  it  by  a  hundredfold  in  the  final  JPG  format.  I  save  them  initially  in  BMP  format,  and  the  typical  file  size  is  about  3  Mb.  
 
 Load  the  file  in  an  image  processing  software  to  do  the  necessary  adjustments.  I  use  Adobe  Photoshop  and  Paint  Shop  Pro  (the  latter  is  shareware  and  available  on  the  net).  
 Select  the  part  of  the  image  you  want  to  save.  If  it's  a  tank,  you  only  want  the  actual  glass  frame,  showing  the  inside.  If  it's  a  fish,  select  a  frame  around  it  so  it  will  come  out  centered.  You  can  often  make  individual  images  of  fish  out  of  a  photo  containing  several  together.  Copy  the  selected  part  into  a  new  window  and  then  "Resample"  it  to  the  size  you  want.  For  best  results  in  homepages,  images  should  be  between  300  and  600  pixels  wide.  
 
 One  thing  I've  noticed  is  that  the  scanning  process  tends  to  reduce  brightness  and  contrast  of  the  original  photo,  so  the  next  thing  to  do  is  correct  this.  For  best  results  I  usually  increase  brightness  by  10-30%  and  contrast  by  0-10%.  Don't  be  afraid  to  experiment  with  the  software's  resources...you  can  always  undo  it!  
 
 When  you're  happy  with  the  result,  choose  "Save  As".  In  the  dialog  box,  select  the  JPG  format.  This  is  the  most  appropriate  file  type  for  photo  images.  Now  look  for  an  "Option"  button  or  similar.  This  will  allow  you  to  choose  the  compression  parameters  for  the  JPG.  Low  compression  (~20)  results  in  high  fidelity  but  huge  files,  while  high  compression  (60+)  gives  small  files  but  low  quality  images.  A  good  compromise  is  around  40,  which  is  what  I  normally  use.
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praani
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 9:04 am Post subject: Re: Inviting Judges' comments Reply with quote

 One  more  thing:  Could  anyone  post  the  breakups  of  the  pointson  the  basis  of  which  the  photographs  were  judged?  It  will  help  us  improve  certain  areas  better.
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sandeepraghuvanshi
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 11:28 am Post subject: Re: Inviting Judges' comments Reply with quote

 A  Nice  collection  of  pictures  to  look  upon.  I  am  not  a  great  expert  on  photography  but  here  are  some  of  my  observations.
 (1)  As  far  as  possible,  avoid  using  flash,  even  if  you  are  using  flash,  keep  the  camera  at  an  angle  to  reduce  fash  reflection.
 (2)  Avoid  submitting  out  of  focus  pictures.
 (3)  Use  night  settings  or  low  light  settings,  keep  your  hand  steady  to  avoid  movement  of  camera.
 (4)  It  is  not  necessary  to  have  very  expensive  equipment,  by  patience  you  can  have  good  quality  pictures  even  by  mobile  camera.
 (5)  Try  &  edit  your  pictures,  bottoms  of  tanks,  rags  hanging  on  stands  should  always  be  editied  out.
 Hope  it  helps
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sandeepraghuvanshi
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 11:38 am Post subject: Re: Inviting Judges' comments Reply with quote

 BTW
 Vanita,  This  post  voilates  Code  of  conduct  for  Judges,  line  #  3.  Judges  will  not  comment  on  any  photograph  either  before  or  after  the  competition."Cheerio  Very Happy  
 On  everybody's  behalf  i  would  request  judges  not  to  disclose  their  individual  ranking  of  photos.
 "Code  on  conduct  for  Judges:  Judges  should  not  only  be  impartial  but  should  also  seem  to  be  impartial.  "
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praani
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:23 pm Post subject: Re: Inviting Judges' comments Reply with quote

                                                   
sandeepraghuvanshi  wrote  (View  Post):                
BTW
 Vanita,  This  post  voilates  Code  of  conduct  for  Judges,  line  #  3.  Judges  will  not  comment  on  any  photograph  either  before  or  after  the  competition."Cheerio  Very Happy  
 On  everybody's  behalf  i  would  request  judges  not  to  disclose  their  individual  ranking  of  photos.
 "Code  on  conduct  for  Judges:  Judges  should  not  only  be  impartial  but  should  also  seem  to  be  impartial.  "                

 
 I  am  not  sure,  how  people  are  supposed  to  improve  then?  Keep  shooting  in  the  dark  (pun  whatever  Smile  )  about  what's  right  or  not,  till  they  start  winning?  Quite  a  pointless  rule  in  my  opinion  and  I  feel  everyone  should  know  what  they  scored.  (but  you  know  what  they  say  about  opinions  and  a  belly-buttons,  right?   Chuckle   )
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sandeepraghuvanshi
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:39 pm Post subject: Re: Inviting Judges' comments Reply with quote

 When  ever  there  is  a  panel  of  judges  the  judgement  is  always  collective  opinion  of  the  judges.
 If  individual  judges  start  declaring  their  opinions  the  scantity  of  panel  will  go  in  for  a  toss,
 Besides  it  will  start  a  debate  by  everybody  on  the  forum  on  which  photo  is  better,  there  will  be  no  end  to  discussion.
 General  comments  by  judges  are  okay  but  remarks  on  each  photo  are  not  wise  in  my  opinion.
 Also  guidelines  cannot  be  changed  once  a  comptetion  is  under  way,  however  it  can  be  done  in  subsequent  comptetions.
 A  lot  of  heartburn  will  result  if  all  scores  are  declared.
 These  comptetions  are  friendly  in  nature  and  should  be  kept  as  such.
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praani
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 2:06 pm Post subject: Re: Inviting Judges' comments Reply with quote

                                                   
sandeepraghuvanshi  wrote  (View  Post):                
When  ever  there  is  a  panel  of  judges  the  judgement  is  always  collective  opinion  of  the  judges.
 If  individual  judges  start  declaring  their  opinions  the  scantity  of  panel  will  go  in  for  a  toss,
 Besides  it  will  start  a  debate  by  everybody  on  the  forum  on  which  photo  is  better,  there  will  be  no  end  to  discussion.
 General  comments  by  judges  are  okay  but  remarks  on  each  photo  are  not  wise  in  my  opinion.
 Also  guidelines  cannot  be  changed  once  a  comptetion  is  under  way,  however  it  can  be  done  in  subsequent  comptetions.
 A  lot  of  heartburn  will  result  if  all  scores  are  declared.
 These  comptetions  are  friendly  in  nature  and  should  be  kept  as  such.                
 Fine  then!  Smile
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nature_lover
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 5:47 pm Post subject: Re: Inviting Judges' comments Reply with quote

 First  and  foremost,  I  congratulate  all  the  winners  of  the  competition  and  thank  all  the  participants  for  their  involvement  in  the  contest.
 
 I  have  been  involved  in  wildlife  photography  for  the  last  6-8  years  and  give  you  a  few  generalized  tips  other  than  the  ones  already  stated  are  given  below.  
 
 1.  Patience:  A  lot  of  pictures  are  shot  on  a  whim  with  little  imagination  or  in  a  hurry.  Relax  guys,  your  subject  (fish)  is  always  in  the  tank  and  not  going  anywhere  unlike  animals  or  birds  in  the  wild.  So  you  can  take  a  lot  of  time  (even  days)  to  plan  your  shot.
 
 2.  Background:  A  light-coloured  fish  is  always  going  to  look  better  with  a  darker  background  and  vice  versa.  Have  a  temporary  background  (a  sheet  or  board)  that  you  can  use,  if  need  be.
 
 3.  Lighting:  Avoid  a  flash.  It  would  be  better  to  have  a  light  from  above  the  tank  than  have  your  flash  ruin  the  image  altogether.  A  better  time  to  shoot  would  be  late  in  the  evening  with  only  the  tank  lights  on.
 
 4.  Surroundings:  Please  remove  all  equipment  that  might  come  into  the  picture.  Driftwood,  rocks  and  other  natural  settings  are  okay,  not  filters,  tubes,  air  stones  and  the  like.
 
 5.  Subject:  If  you  are  the  type  who  keeps  only  one  kind  of  fish,  it  would  be  better  to  post  only  one  single  picture.  Post  only  what  you  think  is  the  best.  It  reduces  a  lot  of  burden  on  the  judges  and  gives  us  more  time  to  delve  deeper  into  the  picture.  Avoid  pictures  that  have  a  flash-exposed  picture  â€“  it  is  definitely  going  to  be  rated  badly.
 
 6.  Placement:  Don’t  ever  try  to  get  a  fish  only  from  head  to  tail.  Take  a  wider  view  and  then  crop  in  such  a  way  that  there  is  more  room  towards  the  head  and  lesser  towards  the  tail.  This  is  called  the  rule  of  the  thirds  â€“  by  positioning  your  subject  slightly  off-centre.  Generates  more  interest.
 
 These  pointers  are  what  I  feel  will  improve  a  picture  a  lot.  I  do  hope  I  am  not  offending  anyone.
 
 Congrats  again  to  the  winners   Clapping   and  hope  that  we  have  more  participants  with  better  images  too  !!  All  the  best  !!!   Thumb Up
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ClownyGirl
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Frequent Visitor to IAH



Joined: Aug 05, 2005
Posts: 212
Location: Mumbai

Status: Offline
PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:36 pm Post subject: Re: Inviting Judges' comments Reply with quote

 Smile  We  will  just  have  to  modify  the  rules  to  say  judges  wont  disclose  their  individual  points  on  a  photograph  before  or  after  judging.  Since  the  set  of  rules  is  new,  it  will  need  improving  as  it  goes  along.  
 
 Yes,  the  points  given  by  an  individual  judge  cannot  be  revealed  for  each  photograph,  however,  the  total  points  can  be  made  available.  Because  of  the  number  of  entries,  the  totals  for  only  the  winning  entries  have  been  declared.
 
 Since  photo  competitions  on  IAH  have  started  fairly  recently,  we  will  be  improving  the  guidelines  as  we  go  along.
 
 Meanwhile,  we  also  need  to  come  up  with  some  suggestions  for  the  next  photo  competition,  since  this  a  new  year.  
 
 I  was  thinking  TANK  SETUP  PHOTOS,  does  anybody  have  any  better  ideas.  We  can  then  put  the  suggestions  to  vote.
 
 Regards,
 Vanita
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aquascapes
Committed Member of IAH
Committed Member of IAH



Joined: Dec 19, 2005
Posts: 2753
Location: Surat, Gujarat

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 11:07 pm Post subject: Re: Inviting Judges' comments Reply with quote

 Vanita,
 If  you  recollect  I  had  revealed  the  total  points/participant  in  the  last  competition  also  -  I  guess  no  one  here  is  going  to  sue  the  judges  we  participate  in  the  competition  on  friendly  grounds  and  not  for  any  prize  money!
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