Last week I won an honorable mention in the Wild Weekly’s Sunset Photo Challenge.
Last year I was asked to judge a photo contest for a camera club. Recently, I was asked to judge again because the club felt that I gave much needed constructive criticism. The keyword here is constructive.
A few of the members had had issues with people saying some pretty mean things about their photos or simply giving criticism without teaching them how to fix the issues. Now this is just a camera club of older folks that enjoy taking photos for a hobby. Some of them are still learning how to use cameras and the basic elements of photography. People are there to learn how to take a better photo, not necessarily have someone tell them that their work sucks. It’s like telling a parent their kid is ugly. Not cool.
In order to demonstrate how I constructively criticize photos as a judge, I will use a few of my own.
Red is a difficult color to photograph, because it tends to lose detail, especially if you’re using an automatic camera. By experimenting with various exposure times you can find the right one to capture the exact color you want. In this photo, I can see detail of the fence, the leaves, and the mulch on the ground. But the biggest issue I see with this is that the main subject – the flower and bud – are both out of focus. That often happens when using automatic cameras and lenses instead of focusing manually. When it comes to things that stand still, such as flowers, I would suggest using a manual focus so you can get the best result.
This is a nice close-up of a really annoying weed. I like the depth of field so I know this is the main subject and the other plants in the background are slightly out of focus. I also like that I can see some of the veins of the leaves. The glare on the leaves tends to take away from their detail. This was either caused by a flash or natural lighting. If this was a flash, you could try diffusing it so you don’t get the glare. If it was caused from natural lighting, you could try to shade it with an umbrella or thin material. The composition is good, as the entire area is filled and the main subject is nicely centered. I would say that if this photo were corrected it would make good stock material more than something with artistic merit.
With a population of less than 1500, Shawneetown is practically a ghost town. As you can see, there weren’t that many places or things to take photos of.
I love sunrises and sunsets, so this was a perfect opportunity for me to show off some of the photos I’ve done for this weekly contest. Most of my photos come from Florida, but hopefully soon I will have more from other places. Enjoy!
I’m participating in the online adventure travel and photography magazine LetsBeWild.com’s Wild Weekly Photo Challenge for bloggers This week’s Challenge is:Sunrise, so get up early this week and take some shots of the sky!
(*Initially when I tried to find out more information about the Garden of the Gods in Southern Illinois, I was taken to a park with the same name in Colorado.)
Garden of the Gods in Southern Illinois is part of the Shawnee Forest. It has a very tranquil energy and is a great place to watch sunsets. It’s hard to believe that this was once a part of the ocean.
As a traveller, I wouldn’t recommend Southern Illinois to be a destination to visit unless you plan to die of boredom. However, there is a lot of history and places worth stopping if you happen to be going through the area. This statue is tucked away in an area called Glen O. Jones Lake in Saline County.
Tucumseh was a Shawnee chief who fought the whites to keep his native traditions alive. His teachings can be appreciated by people of all beliefs:
*So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.
*Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours.
*Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life.
*Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people.
*Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.
*Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place.
*Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living.
*If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself.
*Abuse no one and nothing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.
*When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way.
*Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.
Driving up to towards the North Shore of Oahu along Kamekameha Highway, I noticed remnants of what appeared to be an old building. Of course, I had to stop! They reminded me of sugarmill ruins that I’d photographed in other locations. Upon investigation, I discovered that these are the Kualoa Sugarmill Ruins (cir. 1863), a place rich in both royal ancient Hawaiian history and tragedy.
Interestingly, the landscape looks very much the same today as it did nearly 100 years ago.
This is probably one of my favorite places of serenity to visit. Located on the side of a mountain on the island of Oahu, the grounds at Valley of the Temples is covered in lush green foliage with koi filled streams and is a place where birds will eat right out of your hands. There is a large brass sacred bell (called bon-sho, said to clear the mind of evil and temptation) that is customarily rung before entering the temple. Among entering the temple, a very intimidating gold-leaf Buddha towers more than 18 feet high.
The waters -
the path -
the mountain -
the destination -
Why is it that with all of the technology available today that homes built do not last for a lifetime without crumbling to the ground, yet the ancient peoples built things that have lasted hundreds of years? The Montezuma Well and Castle is a national monument located near Camp Verde, Arizona. This is another place of serenity in Arizona. I didn’t want to leave. I felt really connected to the land and whomever else still occupied the place.
These are a few photos I took while visiting. To view more, go to my portfolio here.