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11/03/2017 04:48:06 PM · #1
Most like, just 'preaching to the choir', though.

It's been over 3 years since I submitted to a challenge. Those of you who know me know that I've never considered myself much of a "dpc shooter" in that I just have never had the inclination to set up prize-winning, eye-candy shots. Nothing against those that do, but that's just not me. It's rare that my work ever intersects with a challenge in a way that doesn't scream "shoe-horn". And my professional workflow doesn't make it easy to preserve unaltered originals, thus further limiting my ability to throw in, even when there is an available challenge.

It just so happened, though, that I shot something during a challenge that actually met the challenge and I happened to have access to the unaltered file. So I entered. And since I had some skin in the game, I decided to go all in, voting and commenting. Since I'm a white-shirt, I couldn't vote but on Sports. That really didn't take much time. (The last time I was able to enter a sports challenge was SEVEN years ago - Sports IV - and that was some work: 171 entries!) (I also noticed that if I had an update button, I'd be sorely, sorely disappointed, waiting for a vote to come in every 3-5 hours...)

Then I did what I used to do...comment. I ended up commenting on two and a half challenges. Turns out that it didn't take much effort.

Sports, 33 entries, 1-3 minutes per entry, maybe an hour and a half. And I made half of the 66 comments made during the challenge.

Abandoned, 46 entries, 1-3 minutes per entry, again, maybe an hour and a half. So I made more than half of the 81 comments made during the challenge.

And I commented on half of Wire before work got in the way.

Sure, some images got simple comments. But most got a sentence or two. Mostly, they were reactions that would hopefully give someone some insight that might explain the votes they were getting.

As always, though, I learn from commenting. It forces me to slow down and actually think. I might not express everything, but I at least internalize something that becomes part of the experience I apply to my work. I made a boatload of comments back in the day and it really helped shape my view and my approach, both in the field and at the computer.

But, I was driven then and I'm driven now. I guess, though, most others aren't. What you have here is an opportunity to see through someone else's eyes, to maybe look at something differently the next time you head out with a camera. Taking the time to articulate what you see, how you feel - that is a powerful way to internalize something. As opposed to letting your thoughts just slip away. Leaving you with hardly a lesson learned.

And thankfully, for me, anyways, I'm driven to do that without regard for how the comments are received. Yes, it's nice that most of them were flagged as helpful. And I just laugh at those of you that so obviously don't check off comments you don't like. You don't want comments; you just want comments you like. Maybe you just don't need comments. Eh, whatever. I'd comment anyway, whether you like it or find it helpful or not.

So where does this leave us?

Still in a glacial death spiral. Numbers are down. SAD. (ok, bad joke). But, numbers *are* down. But, there's enough of you here that have been here that will probably stay here that could actually make a difference.

Seriously. Participate! Vote! Comment!

And here's another idea: be a dpc ambassador. Don't just greet people in Welcome forum. Take time to try to connect with people in the challenges via PMs. Look at those coming in on the low-end of the scores and reach out to them to see if you can mentor them. Real connectivity is what builds a healthy, thriving, growing community. And that's the ultimate, isn't it?

Take a stab a going to or starting get-togethers. That really was the most fun I had in the whole place. (I hate that I've never been able to make it to one of the Rickett's Glen G2Gs.)

I know there's a lot of connectivity through other social media sites, but if you look for ways to bring people back here and give them reason to participate, you have a better chance of keeping it going.

That's enough from me for now. Nice visiting with you.

Happy clicking,
Skip

11/03/2017 05:10:48 PM · #2
Thanks for the reminder, and thanks for the recent comments.
11/03/2017 06:09:32 PM · #3
Originally posted by markwiley:

Thanks for the reminder, and thanks for the recent comments.

Yes!

I meant to write you about your comment on my sports photo -- clear and concise and an accurate observation/interpretation. Now there are "reasons" for the things you observed which are less than ideal, but those are irrelevant to how a viewer sees/interprets the image....
11/03/2017 07:20:21 PM · #4
Great observations and suggestions. You are a well respected member so hopefully your thoughts will lead to action.
11/03/2017 07:28:04 PM · #5
Great post, Skip.
Originally posted by Skip:

And thankfully, for me, anyways, I'm driven to do that without regard for how the comments are received. Yes, it's nice that most of them were flagged as helpful. And I just laugh at those of you that so obviously don't check off comments you don't like. You don't want comments; you just want comments you like. Maybe you just don't need comments. Eh, whatever. I'd comment anyway, whether you like it or find it helpful or not.

With a very rare exception, I mark all comments as helpful. I recently struggled to mark helpful this comment on a challenge photo: "1" but decided at least I know someone felt strongly enough in their distaste for the image that they were compelled to let me know right at that moment. My comments are mostly either wisecracks or generic praise for an image. I occasionally offer a more in-depth opinion, but that is occasionally not well received - and I don't just mean not ticking the "helpful" checkbox.

I've been to quite a few local GTGs here in Seattle over the years, but none since 2012. The forum activity is relatively stagnant this past year also. Works out better for me though, since I have work I should be doing anyway. I'll be active on & off as long as the site is available and will be sad, but won't be surprised, when that day comes.
11/03/2017 08:40:04 PM · #6
Dang, 31.gif Skip, and 21.gif Art roflmao, I am so glad you two have stuck around in one way or another all these years.

Message edited by author 2017-11-03 21:16:50.
11/03/2017 10:27:54 PM · #7
Thank you, Skip. As always, your words, and observations, are pure gold.

As we have said for years, DPC is what you make of it.
11/03/2017 10:42:15 PM · #8
I read through all of your comments on the abandoned challenge at rollover. Would suggest that when posting links to your own work as an example, on an outside site, consider allowing comments on that work. Or else upload it to your portfolio here. Thanks :-)
11/03/2017 10:52:13 PM · #9
Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_890818.jpg. I was pretty new to DPC and found myself in the midst of the NYC get together that 31.gif Skip helped organize. I am forever grateful for that weekend - hes truly a big help to all!

I will second the vote/plea for commenting. It IS a learning tool, both on the making and receiving end. The site has definitely suffered due to lack thereof.
11/04/2017 10:27:50 AM · #10
Yeah, yeah..... Good intentions then we get busy & sidetracked.

Guilty as charged.

One thing that this called to mind. I actually found myself almost diametrically opposed in a comment with Skip on an image. I'd like to think that I presented my POV in a thoughtful and clear way.

The upside of that for the creator of the image is that he gets to see his own image viewed two completely different perceptions as they made impressions on the commenters. Not that I'd remotely put myself in the same league as Skip relative to skills and experience, but having been here for a week or two, I'd like to think I can present a reasonable case to support my POV. And impressions are subjective.

Anyhow...... Thanks for this thread Skip, and I hope it inspires more of us to step up and do some more work.
11/04/2017 10:28:40 PM · #11
Precisely!!!
Originally posted by NikonJeb:

...for the creator of the image is that he gets to see his own image viewed two completely different perceptions as they made impressions on the commenters.


and jeb, when it comes to dpc - especially in voting - there is no league or strata. the reality is how an image immediately impacts an image viewer. for all that we might want otherwise, it really does come down to that single moment that an image pops up on the screen and the viewer makes the voting keystroke.

there are so, so, so many ways that moment has been defined and debated over the years and with rare exception we are all left questioning why the final number is what it is.

for me, when it comes to commenting, it is finding an articulation in how an image impacted me in terms of what was shot, how it was shot, how it was processed, and how it was presented in terms of "the challenge". (yes, this is the ideal, the goal, but not necessarily what is achieved.) granted, i have looked at 100s and 100s and 100s of 1000s of photos over the past ten+ years, but it still comes down to the image in front of me and how i react to it. and when it comes to dpc *challenges*, most entrants get nothing but a score with no idea as to why it is what it is.

the comments are the *only* clue for understanding the hit-or-miss nature of the result.

again, i'll reiterate, the other side of commenting - for me - was not just for the entrant, but for me to learn from their image. and as you pointed out, jeb, the more comments an entrant gets, the more perspective they get into how their image connects (or doesn't) with the viewers. and with that, everyone benefits.

---------------------------------
and 21_F.gif PennyStreet, for all the the fun we had in NYC, i cannot take credit. i was merely a tag-along in steve hill's awesome adventure. but to this day, that weekend still represents (to me) the best of what dpc can do to make the internet a real-world community!

---------------------------------
as to my works, 21_N.gif skewsme, at the moment i don't have a dpc-accessible portfolio. my imagery can be linked in to threads and posts via url, but i don't really maintain a public website that's open for conversation. some images can be found on the book-of-face, but that's not a place i readily entertain discussion a la dpc-type comments, at least outside the dpc group

---------------------------------
again, lastly, if you are so inclined and have a few moments, peek through the profiles of the submitters and try to connect with those new to the site, especially those finishing in the bottom 20%. reach out to find out what they're interested in, what they're trying to do, and what is holding them back. by trying to help others, you might find and learn what you need to get you where you want to be...
11/05/2017 11:47:38 AM · #12
Originally posted by NikonJeb:

...for the creator of the image is that he gets to see his own image viewed two completely different perceptions as they made impressions on the commenters.

Originally posted by Skip:

Precisely!!!

I got something right??? Cool! LOL!!!
Originally posted by Skip:

and jeb, when it comes to dpc - especially in voting - there is no league or strata. the reality is how an image immediately impacts an image viewer. for all that we might want otherwise, it really does come down to that single moment that an image pops up on the screen and the viewer makes the voting keystroke.

I didn't convey that how I wanted to at all. You're a professional, you have systems, standards, obligations, and a product, as it were, that you adhere to and work with as your profession.

I have the luxury, and complete lack of obligation and can do what I want, when I want with no strictures whatsoever. What that means for anyone who gets a comment from both of us is perspectives from two completely different starting points. I was amused as I could be when I saw the comment you made on the one image in that Abandonded challenge because of our diametrically differing POV. Yes, there is no question that you are a better photographer than I, on many levels. I would hope so! That's irrelevant to a certain extent as far as impressions, but if one is getting tips, pointers, or suggestions from a technical standpoint, or even subjective impressions influenced by knowledge and technique, then it makes sense to give a seasoned pro that much more credence than someone who doesn't shoot for a living, nor has the experience, technical knowledge, and equipment. I do okay.... I think I do pretty damn well from the standpoint of being a hack. I'm okay with that. I am a photographer strictly for the love of what I do.
Originally posted by Skip:

there are so, so, so many ways that moment has been defined and debated over the years and with rare exception we are all left questioning why the final number is what it is.

One of the things that I've learned here is that often the comments vastly outweigh the scores. I've had images that garnered two or three stellar comments from people I respect and admire tremendously only to end up with a 5.2xxx. And that's much more valuable to me because if I inspire that type of commentary, from someone who feels that they should acknowledge the effort and convey their impression, then the 5s left in passing mean absolutely nothing.
Originally posted by Skip:

for me, when it comes to commenting, it is finding an articulation in how an image impacted me in terms of what was shot, how it was shot, how it was processed, and how it was presented in terms of "the challenge". (yes, this is the ideal, the goal, but not necessarily what is achieved.) granted, i have looked at 100s and 100s and 100s of 1000s of photos over the past ten+ years, but it still comes down to the image in front of me and how i react to it. and when it comes to dpc *challenges*, most entrants get nothing but a score with no idea as to why it is what it is.

the comments are the *only* clue for understanding the hit-or-miss nature of the result.

A meh score with no comments, and no bell curve speaks volumes once you've been here for a little bit.
Originally posted by Skip:

again, i'll reiterate, the other side of commenting - for me - was not just for the entrant, but for me to learn from their image. and as you pointed out, jeb, the more comments an entrant gets, the more perspective they get into how their image connects (or doesn't) with the viewers. and with that, everyone benefits.

Absolutely!
---------------------------------
Originally posted by Skip:

and 21_F.gif PennyStreet, for all the the fun we had in NYC, i cannot take credit. i was merely a tag-along in steve hill's awesome adventure. but to this day, that weekend still represents (to me) the best of what dpc can do to make the internet a real-world community!

OMG, what an awesome time that was! I feel so thankful & lucky to have been a part of that. I was so thrilled to have this image to remember it by and that it's on the wall in their upstairs dining room. I got a bunch of other stuff to that I was really happy about, but that weekend was definitely about the GTG itself.
Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_888818.jpg
It was freakin' fantsastic to meet so many DPC people and put faces to them. Yeah, we get to blame you in part for that, Skip! Thanks again!
Originally posted by Skip:

again, lastly, if you are so inclined and have a few moments, peek through the profiles of the submitters and try to connect with those new to the site, especially those finishing in the bottom 20%. reach out to find out what they're interested in, what they're trying to do, and what is holding them back. by trying to help others, you might find and learn what you need to get you where you want to be...

Yeah, yeah..... I know. We're slackers... I'll try to do better.

Great thread! Another reason I love this place.

Message edited by author 2017-11-05 11:48:02.
11/05/2017 02:36:21 PM · #13
In line with learning when writing and receiving comments, and I know this is a lost cause ;-), but I would really, really, REALLY like to hear what voters have to say when they vote 1 or 2.
I know we have had a million and two discussions on this and related topics, but I would honestly like to know what someone is "missing" when they give such a low score. And I don't just mean my own images, I would love to read the comments on other images as well. I usually glance at the distribution of votes when I view challenge results and I often sit here shaking my head when FP images have 1s and 2s. I am clearly missing something that is lacking in those images that whoever gave those scores sees and to learn what it is they notice/miss would be incredibly helpful I think. And I am not even tongue in cheek here, perhaps there are criteria that could be addressed when preparing/shooting our next images to make them better.
I don't know what type of encouragement we could put out there for those voters to also comment, or at least occasionally make a comment why they scored the way they did.
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