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Posts Tagged ‘strategy’

"Leafhopper with Aphids" made a strong showing at its first competition. Click image to enlarge.

Four of the five images submitted were accepted in last weekend’s competition. This is my third year as a member of the Champaign County Camera Club, so this competition marks the second anniversary of my participation in club and PSA photography competitions.

Results of the 2009 CICCA competition were a good indicator of which images would do well in PSA competitions later that year. The 2010 CICCA competition wasn’t nearly as good of a predictor. We’ll see how well the 2011 competition bears out, though it’s predicting 100% right now.

The Mesquitebug nymph pictured in the previous entry was my top scoring image, earning 22 points (20 was the minimum for acceptance, 21 was the minimum for Honorable Mention). The image of the leafhopper with the aphid giving birth below it scored 21 points and an HM. The Sonoran Desert Ant and Megachilid images (see pevious entry) were both accepted. The salticid image that just missed being accepted in the 2011 ESA competition also just missed acceptance in the CICCA competition.

Good information for putting together the next few sets of competition entries.

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Mesquitebug Nymph - Image taken using Marian's point and shoot camera during a day of hiking at El Charco del Ingenio Nature Reserve, just outside of San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico, June, 2011. Click image to enlarge.

Results from the 2011 ESA International Insect Photography Salon arrived this morning. I love this particular salon. It allows me to see how a subset of four of my images stack up to those of many of the world’s best arthropod photographers.

I diverged completely from my normal international nature photography strategy, entering a set of images four images that have never been entered in a PSA competition before.

Aren’t I reckless? No, I don’t think so either, but this is as reckless as I get…

I was pleased to see three images receive honors.

Results follow:

Mesquitebug Nymph 14/15 points (see above)

Sonoran Desert Ant 14/15 points

I photographed this ant in the Sonoran Desert (my VERY FAVORITE place) during the 2011 Invertebrates in Education and Conservation Conference (July, 2011). Click image to enlarge.

Pollinating Megachilid 13/15 points

This megachilid was thoughtful enough to pose for me at the University of Illinois Arboretum's Idea Garden, August, 2011. Click image to enlarge.

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"Double Deception" earned a score of 77 at this year's competition. Click image to enlarge.

I decided to do something a little different when I selected images for this salon. Because the number of entomologists on the judging committee for this salon is higher than any other international PSA salons (I think), I entered two images with a proven track record in general PSA Nature competitions (strong detail and background, including the image that received Honorable Mention in ESA’s 2010 National Insect Salon in December) and two images that tell a story and show great external arthropod details, but have a blurry background – normally a PSA kiss of death.

The score for acceptance in this salon was a 70. Again the photo gods smiled favorably – all four images submitted were accepted. The images that told a story and showed great invertebrate detail received the higher scores. Those with less story, but technically better photographs in their entirety, received lower scores.

I’ll need to keep that in mind when selecting images for next year’s salon.

"Full" earned a score of 73. Click image to enlarge.

"Kickapoo Male Bluet" earned a score of 72. Click image to enlarge.

“Meadowbrook Grasshopper” earned a score of 71. Click image to enlarge.

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Grooming After Egglaying, last year's top performer, earned 15/15.

Thomisid Egglaying, 15/15 in its first international competition.

Bluet Egglaying, 14/15 in its first international competition.

The Photo Gods began the international photography competition season smiling favorably on some of my most recent photos. In this competition, “Nature” included photos taken in zoo or wildlife park settings, while “Wildlife” required the species be photographed in its natural habitat. Since almost all of my photos (except my early mantid shots) are taken in the subject’s natural setting, I distributed my entries somewhat randomly between the two divisions.

Three of my eight submissions were accepted. “Grooming After Egglaying” was accepted in the Nature category. “Bluet Egglaying” and “Thomisid Egglaying” made their international photo competition debut and were both accepted in the Wildlife category. “Grooming After Egglaying” and “Thomisid Egglaying” scored the maximum number of points possible (15). The egg focus of the three images didn’t escape my notice either…

With seven international photography competition’s data under my belt, I’ll continue eliminating some of the least competitive images using the system outlined in “System for Selecting Images for Competition.” I’ll post some of those images and offer some thoughts regarding why those images weren’t as competitive as I had originally thought they might be. Stay tuned if you are interested in the competition aspect, or just look at the pictures as they appear if you are more the browser type.

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"Syrphid"

The Photo Gods continue to look favorably on my most recent photos. In this competition, “Nature” included photos taken in zoo or wildlife park settings, while “Wildlife” required the species be photographed in its natural habitat. Since almost all of my photos (except my early mantid shots) are taken in the subject’s natural setting, I distributed my entries somewhat randomly between the two divisions. (more…)

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Meadowbrook Park Grasshopper

At my first Champaign County Camera Club meeting (September, 2009) Hiram suggested I enter several images in the 2009 National Insect Photo Salon. I did. It was fun, and now I’m enjoying playing the International Photo Salon game!

Shortly after entering, I purchased  a copy of Charles H. Benton’s “Guide to International Photographic Competitions.”

The thing I find fascinating, and which immediately drew me to the book when I used Amazon’s Look Inside feature, is how the author quantifies competition results, enabling the photographer to develop a more sound basis for determining which images to enter, which to continue to submit after obtaining initial scoring, and which to retire. (more…)

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