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08/01/2007 12:12:22 AM · #1
I know people sorta assume The Ribbon Hogs are just mailing it in on their way to victory, but I thought it would be interesting for some to see what goes into the evolution of a shot. Hereís a rough timeline for my entry ďIím in LOVE!Ē for Extreme Emotions: Faceless.

Preplanning/concept:

We started by throwing around ideas. The idea for this shot hit me mainly all at once, although you will see it does not wind up exactly like I envisioned it at the beginning:

(From the private team thread):
ďI like the brainstorming already. Makes me feel good that we are going to give it our all. I got an idea for Extreme Emotion as well:

Self-portrait from behind walking down a quaint lane. I'd love to find some vintage clothing (Charlie Chaplainish). I'd have a boquet of Gerbera Daisies in my left hand and am leaning on a cane in my right hand while jumping up and clicking my heels. The shot would be B&W and titled something like "I'm in LOVE!"

I figured the happy emotions will do better than the negative ones.Ē

Since Larus did well with a similar idea, the last line was probably the key strategic move.

First attempt:
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In scouting a location I started with areas close to home (or close to my parentís house in this instance). Realizing I couldnít do any cloning in basic, I was limited by various cars and houses getting in the way. They could not be included since I wanted to evoke nostalgia and that would be utterly ruined by a car parked at the end of the road. There were shots with a "cane" too, but they were quickly discarded as cheesy.

The B&W seemed not to work as I had envisioned so I worked up a color version:

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Immediately I realized color was much better. Although B&W could invoke nostalgia, the color was much better at evoking emotion. It also helped separate the subject and flowers from the busy background. However, this shot would not work as the background was far to complicated and busy to be appealing.

Second attempt:
I then switched to shooting down the driveway:
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I could have wound up with this shot except the tree branch decided to come and interfere visually with the flowers. At this point someone suggested cropping different to try to add height to the jump.

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People still complained that the background was nothing spectacular and interfered with the shot. So it was back out to try something again.

Third attempt:
One limiting factor, this particular weekend was the weather. It rained on and off all weekend and the sky was solid overcast which easily looks like a big blown highlight.
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Final attempt:
Finally, my dad and I hit on this shot.
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You will notice that the arm evolved to be further and further away from my head. The diagonal it caused was done on purpose and also seemed to add extra pizzazz to the emotion.

While talking the picture over, a few negatives were mentioned. I mention this because the astute DPC crowd had one person bring up each objection:
1) I was wearing my wedding ring. Would people think married people could be in love?
2) It looks like Iím walking into a dead end. I wished there was a path there, but there wasnít and we were limited by modern day artifacts in where we could shoot.
3) The background is still busy.
4) Why do I still have the flowers?

Anyway, the picture took over 130 shots. The next day my leg was so sore from kicking in the air, I had to move it around with my arms when sitting. An equal amount of effort went into nearly every other entry by The Hogs team. The scores are reflective of this work ethic and an encouragement to others to not settle for second best on their own pictures. If it can be improved, go out and improve it. I highly doubt that first shot would have come in the Top 25, let alone win.

Message edited by author 2007-08-01 12:56:05.
08/01/2007 12:17:31 AM · #2
Im always intrigued to hear how shots are done, and what went into them, you did a great job on the photo btw. And your final choice was my favorite out of all of them. Im very jealous of you and your many-a-ribbon. but thats ok, makes me want to work harder.
08/01/2007 12:17:57 AM · #3
=) Very fun - thanks for the look inside your ribbon-winning process!
08/01/2007 12:29:11 AM · #4
awesome job... and thanks for letting us have a glimpse into your process. i love that you Hogs share ideas to get the creative juices flowing, and won't let each other settle for anything less than excellence. as a theater gal, i greatly appreciate the richness that comes from artistic collaboration. congrats on your ribbon! blue looks good on you!
08/01/2007 12:52:50 AM · #5
Yeah, it sounds like a great team effort all around. Unfortunately, the whole idea of a team effort sort of goes against the spirit of the site, doesn't it?

08/01/2007 01:02:50 AM · #6
Originally posted by Mick:

Yeah, it sounds like a great team effort all around. Unfortunately, the whole idea of a team effort sort of goes against the spirit of the site, doesn't it?


Awww Mick, don't be a stick in the mud. You never ask your wife, "hey, honey? Which do you like better?" How's it any different if the people I ask are on the site or off? They weren't voting for me.

But I don't want to get sidetracked on that debate. Clearly we were within the spirit and letter of the law.
08/01/2007 01:07:40 AM · #7
Thanks, Jason. Sharing your thought process, and also demonstrating how much work and thought can go into it, really help those of us trying to figure it out.

And Mick, DPC has now formally adopted the league concept, so I'd say it's fully part of what DPC is about.
08/01/2007 01:11:39 AM · #8
I don't think folks are assuming you guys are 'mailing it in', but at the same time I think the outcome of having a group of multiple ribbon winners colaborating on each others' shots is pretty easy to predict.

Cool to get a behind the scenes look. Hopefully all teams do the same sort of thing. I know I got a lot of great tips from former wpl teammates in challenges.
08/01/2007 01:47:53 AM · #9
Originally posted by levyj413:

DPC has now formally adopted the league concept, so I'd say it's fully part of what DPC is about.


Which is why I don't and won't enter many challenges anymore. At this point and time I don't see myself renewing my membership to DPL or WPL or whatever it is this site has become. It's hard enough for the average person on DPC to compete with the likes of Laurus, Achoo, Scalvert, Desousa, Librodo, Falc and AlexSaberi and numerous others here that can win just about anytime they want. Now all the sudden you have this group of very good to exceptional photographers that are critically evaluating each others entries to perfection. I think the front page for the last couple of weeks speaks to this. Personally I think WPL or DPL or whatever it is they are calling it nowadays should have its own challenges separate from the rest so us nobodys have a chance. Otherwise what's the point. I think it's senseless and discouraging to the rest of the members and users of this site not to mention bullshit. I don't care if it is in the spirit of the site by some peoples standards and within the letter of the law. It's still Bullshit.

Message edited by author 2007-08-01 02:11:28.
08/01/2007 02:10:07 AM · #10
I realy apreciate hearing how much effort goes in to the photos you take, clearly there is a reason why you do well and that is you think the topic through, figure out what responces are likely to be from the voters and then trial and error till you decide on the best posible outcome.

I feel that its in rather bad taste that others sugest that your finish was inevitable.
08/01/2007 04:29:36 AM · #11
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

Clearly we were within the spirit and letter of the law.

Your actions may be within the letter of the law, perhaps, but theyíre certainly not within the spirit of the site; or at least the spirit of the site as it used to be. I suppose Iím talking about fairness. Quite simply, having a team of experts that collaborate with you to get your entries just right gives you an unfair advantage over the rest of the field.

I believe fairness used to mean something here. In fact, didnít there used to be a rule against collaboration such as you described? Maybe thatís changed and fairness isnít important any longer. I donít know. If thatís the case though, then I think this place took a turn in the wrong direction.

To be honest, I think the competitive aspects of the site are over stressed. As I told you when you asked me to join your team, Iím not much interested in Ďphotography as competitioní. I think competition has a tendency to push people apart. After all, in a competition youíre trying to beat the other people, not help them to be better than they are. However, thatís just me. Iím very competitive when it comes to sports such as tennis, but not so with photography. I see photography as an art form, not something to beat people over the head with. Even though it can be a lot of work, I do it for relaxation and because I like the reactions I get from people that see my work. Yes, Iíve entered challenges, and I even have a couple ribbons. However, the ribbons are much less important to me than all of the comments they brought me.

Anyway, I am not against the whole team concept we now have. Actually, the collaboration you described is a good thing. It probably does more to bring people together than the competition of a challenge does. At least for the people that are in the collaboration any way. It would be great if we could all collaborate and learn from each other. I think this place could use more of that type of sharing. For that matter, the whole world could use more of that. Nevertheless, in my not so humble opinion, using collaboration to gain an unfair advantage in a competition is a bad thing.

08/01/2007 05:51:46 AM · #12
Originally posted by DrAchoo:



Anyway, the picture took over 130 shots.


I do not want to be an as**h*le but 130 shots to get it right. There is something wrong. (this many attempts to get it right is no way acceptable in my way of world. With your experience I expected much better from you).
08/01/2007 06:03:18 AM · #13
Lesson learned 'never ever reveal how you take a shot'. You were so honest in explaining how you achieved this one. As a beginner I have more faith in me now by seeing all the efforts you put in this picture.

Message edited by author 2007-08-01 06:03:53.
08/01/2007 06:10:55 AM · #14
Originally posted by DrAchoo:



Anyway, the picture took over 130 shots.


so much for the decisive moment.
08/01/2007 07:19:00 AM · #15
Originally posted by Mick:

Your actions may be within the letter of the law, perhaps, but theyíre certainly not within the spirit of the site; or at least the spirit of the site as it used to be. I suppose Iím talking about fairness. Quite simply, having a team of experts that collaborate with you to get your entries just right gives you an unfair advantage over the rest of the field.

I believe fairness used to mean something here. In fact, didnít there used to be a rule against collaboration such as you described?


Quite the opposite, actually. If you want, I can dig up a thread from 2002 where Drew basically says it's ok to share you entry privately with a small group of other DPC users, so long as it's done in a way where users who don't want to see others' entries don't have to see it, and so long as collaboration stops when voting begins.

He expressed some concern about sharing entries in the chatroom, but those concerns were based entirely on voting -- and are addressed by design within DPL.

Originally posted by ClubJuggle:

Anyway, I am not against the whole team concept we now have. Actually, the collaboration you described is a good thing. It probably does more to bring people together than the competition of a challenge does. At least for the people that are in the collaboration any way. It would be great if we could all collaborate and learn from each other. I think this place could use more of that type of sharing. For that matter, the whole world could use more of that. Nevertheless, in my not so humble opinion, using collaboration to gain an unfair advantage in a competition is a bad thing.


I strongly encourage you or anyone who does not want to participate in DPL, but would like to develop a mentoring relationship individually or with a group, to use our forums find a group of like-minded individuals. DPC is, after all, about learning, and learning together and/or from a mentor can be a very valuable experience.

~Terry
08/01/2007 08:07:55 AM · #16
Originally posted by zxaar:

Originally posted by DrAchoo:



Anyway, the picture took over 130 shots.


I do not want to be an as**h*le but 130 shots to get it right. There is something wrong. (this many attempts to get it right is no way acceptable in my way of world. With your experience I expected much better from you).

For sure you don't know what you are talking about.
There's only one way to get an exceptional photo and Jason is giving you the secret.
Work, work, work!
Write these 3 last words on a paper and do not forget them if you want to be a better photographer ;)
08/01/2007 08:14:56 AM · #17
Originally posted by De Sousa:

Originally posted by zxaar:

Originally posted by DrAchoo:



Anyway, the picture took over 130 shots.


I do not want to be an as**h*le but 130 shots to get it right. There is something wrong. (this many attempts to get it right is no way acceptable in my way of world. With your experience I expected much better from you).

For sure you don't know what you are talking about.
There's only one way to get an exceptional photo and Jason is giving you the secret.
Work, work, work!
Write these 3 last words on a paper and do not forget them if you want to be a better photographer ;)


Too busy to answer fully. But I 100 percent know what I am talking about.
And yes, I am thankful for what he wrote. and in fact I have learnt a lot from him.
08/01/2007 08:27:41 AM · #18
Thank you, Jason (DrAchoo). This was really interesting. Having people to bounce ideas off of is great, but what really impresses me is the amount of effort you made.

I have an entry currently being voted on. It had possibilities (I still like it), but it is riding around 5.6 because of some obvious flaws. If I had your patience and perseverance, I'm sure I could have captured a better moment.

Cheers, and congrats.

08/01/2007 08:30:31 AM · #19
Originally posted by boysetsfire:

Originally posted by DrAchoo:



Anyway, the picture took over 130 shots.


so much for the decisive moment.

*laugh*

You thought that was a candid? Otherwise, there's nothing wrong with a setup shot. Jason set out to capture an extreme emotion, and those rarely come along at random. Not everything is caught at a specific moment in time.
08/01/2007 09:04:13 AM · #20
Great explanation!! I wish more people would do this, I love reading the evolution and process!

And on the topic of this anti-competitive, no-fair-he-talked-to-his-friends nonsense, I think all the advice he was given was basic critique that anybody should begin to see in their own pictures. Mergers, distracting elements, etc. If you truly want to improve as a photographer, you should look through pictures on DPC, look at the critique club comments, go through forums about pictures, and learn about what makes photos appealing and not. The only leg-up the Ribbon Hogs have is experience and drive. They want to get better and they're willing to work hard to improve.
08/01/2007 09:12:31 AM · #21
Originally posted by zxaar:

Originally posted by De Sousa:

Originally posted by zxaar:

Originally posted by DrAchoo:



Anyway, the picture took over 130 shots.


I do not want to be an as**h*le but 130 shots to get it right. There is something wrong. (this many attempts to get it right is no way acceptable in my way of world. With your experience I expected much better from you).

For sure you don't know what you are talking about.
There's only one way to get an exceptional photo and Jason is giving you the secret.
Work, work, work!
Write these 3 last words on a paper and do not forget them if you want to be a better photographer ;)


Too busy to answer fully. But I 100 percent know what I am talking about.
And yes, I am thankful for what he wrote. and in fact I have learnt a lot from him.


Lol, well do things your way then if you are so 100% sure. Man, I feel like such a tool now then after reading this since I took over 250 photos that evening of Heiður to get my shot, to think I could have gotten away with only shooting 25... :P

Jason only needed 130 and still kicked my ass :)
08/01/2007 09:20:20 AM · #22
But I 100 percent know what I am talking about.

Make that 1 less than 100 percent.

DrA, Thanks for the explanation. Your winning pic was a top pick of mine. I wouldn't have thought the team effort violated either the letter or the spirit of the rules.

However, since it was a team effort, I expect you'll have to split your winnings amongst however many people there are on your team. Can you remind me? How much do you get for a blue ribbon, again?
08/01/2007 09:35:01 AM · #23
Originally posted by zxaar:

Originally posted by DrAchoo:



Anyway, the picture took over 130 shots.


I do not want to be an as**h*le but 130 shots to get it right. There is something wrong. (this many attempts to get it right is no way acceptable in my way of world. With your experience I expected much better from you).


How many frames do you think it would take a pro to "get it right"?

I've been on shoots where dozens of rolls of film were exposed of one subject, all to get the "one" image that will actually get printed in the magazine.

08/01/2007 09:44:01 AM · #24
I appreciate the write-up regaring your picture. You all make it look so easy to get those dramatic photos and sometimes us onlookers don't realize how much work you have to put into your craft. Some of us point, shoot, (maybe some post-processing) and submit (I'll speak for myself, at least).

Nevertheless, thank you again and I realize I need to come correct or not come at all during submission time.

-Roger
08/01/2007 09:48:57 AM · #25
Jason, your explanation has really helped me get a better understanding of the kind of approach and persistence it takes to win on this site. I'm just a beginner. I've entered a few challenges. But I've never approached a shot the way you have described, here. Your explanation has proven to be wonderfully insightful for me.

As to the "nattering nabobs of negativism," it is unfortunate that egos can get in the way when assessing excellence.

Keep on doing what you're doing. The wise among us will continue to learn and appreciate excellence when we see it.

(Apologies to Spiro T. Agnew)
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