End of the day
Candidates who had achieved the credit all ‘lost’ one image to the PAGB to be used in future for training purposes. These were all displayed on racks at the side of the hall.
During a short break failing candidates had had their images reviewed when there had been a wide variation on scores by the adjudicators. One candidate had his votes adjusted and was added to the candidates achieving the credit. Then the hall was re-arranged and we sat and watched the 210 PDI entries be voted on.
Before the presenting of badges (the certificates come later) I approached one of the six adjudicators to ask about the low votes that had concerned me the most.
Returning to base:
“too much black, should have been cropped from the bottom and from the right”
Caught spray painting:
“the model’s face is the wrong colour, processed incorrectly, orange face”
“I don’t like images like this”
Paul Hendley very kindly provided us with a summary of the distribution of the votes.
After the presentation of the badges we left for the short drive back to our hotel. The proceedings started at around 10.30 am and the day ended after the presentations at about 5 pm. A long day indeed!
My take on my low scoring images:
- Vixen on the prowl was probably too soft and should not have been included (18)
- Scaffold by Escher did not have a strong focal point and should not have been included (17)
- Returning to base scored well in the club but the preponderance of black (when compared to the majority images on the day) was probably too much (16)
- Caught spray painting scored well in the club and the model’s skin is accurately represented, my conclusion would be to avoid images where a 10-15 second review might be mis-lead by some of the colours (16)
- Dancing Lily is clearly a ‘Marmite’ image. This image also scored well in the club which is why I included it in my selection. Demonstrating my ability to have in-camera double exposures is clearly not what the adjudicators were looking for. This perhaps also falls into the necessity of having a strong focal point on every image (14)
These are my conclusions as to what might be needed for a future attempt:
- A single strong focal point, sharp (or even ultra sharp) focus on EVERY image
- Be careful with trick photography or post-processing and always maintain a strong focal point as above
- A3 prints are NOT a requirement as we saw images that were no more than 25 cm square (or less) achieving over 20 votes
- Birds or insects in the centre of the frame score highly (to our surprise these included lots of ‘birds on a stick’ images including kingfishers)
- Larger mammals were rarely included in the images except to our surprise a relatively large number of harvest mice, monkeys etc. There were a couple images of polo being played and horses jumping – perhaps the same candidate?
- Portraits without a ‘story’ did not often get votes over 20
- Landscapes mostly did not get votes of 20 or more
- Close-up images of objects did not get good high votes (for example one candidate had a series of close-ups of parts of cars)
- Images that were obviously from Timeline Events were not penalised and mostly scored 20 votes or more. These images included the staged reenactors under a silhouetted Lancaster, reenactors on a steam covered platform with train all back-lit, Victorian dressed reenactors at Blists Hill near Ironbridge, steam trains passing by etc)
- There is (perhaps) no requirement to have a variety of subjects in the 10 images. As the day progressed we saw repeated images of grey herons, owls, kingfishers, various monkeys, butterflies and preying mantis. In summary, multiple images of the same subject are OK in your set of images.
- As candidates from the same club are grouped together, care should be taken on sequencing of images. We noted similar images occurring next to each other in the overall sequence. For example storm waves breaking over a lighthouse, monkeys, owls (most often together) and similar insects on a stick (next most often together).