Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Third Place (yet again!) at your local Camera Club

Andreh Pradesh, India after tsunami
So you've been entering your local camera club competition for the past ten years and your most consistent result is equal third. Its akin to BH (Calcutta) failed. You have distant memories of the night 8 years ago when you knocked off first place. You don't mention that half the club's members were away with malaria and you mowed the judge's lawn the weekend before the competition.

If you're getting the same results, month in, month out, year in, year out you must be taking the same sort of photographs month in, month out, year in, year out.

So here are a few tips about how you can continue to achieve mediocre, boring images.


1. Boring! Shoot the same 'pretty' places that everyone else does - the Swan River Boathouse, the Pinnacles, Sugarloaf Rock and the Australia Day fireworks.

2. Not you again! Shoot the same 'pretty' faces; the young pretty girl with full Estee Lauder make-up, the old crinkle-faced man in monochrome. Both need to be static, posed, pin-sharp and preferably eyes averted. Try never to let your subject show an ounce of emotion. And never ever let two people interact!

3. Same Same! Use a mid-range shutter speed. 1/250, 1/500 or 1/1000 second with all shots. Never ever use 1/8000 second, 2 seconds or 18.3 seconds.

4. Dreamy streamy! Shoot a waterfall with an ND filter to give the water the 'washing machine' look like all 14.3 million new DSLR owners do in Australia.

5. Maxxed out resolution and maxxed out desolation! Produce a pin-sharp, hyperfocally adjusted, 26MP chocolate box cover number 1,429 of Lake Geneva framed by trees. (I'll settle for the choccies and a cover of Schapelle sharing a pot of English Breakfast tea with Shane Warne)


Then again, if you want to be a bit naughty, you could try

1. Going somewhere different - the main street of Wyalkatchem at dawn.

2. Shooting portraits of 'ordinary' people and making them look extraordinary - six bus drivers or 10 people who run local businesses

3. Spend a whole day shooting using a shutter speed of one second.

4. About that waterfall - get into that waterfall with your waterproof camera or stick your camera in your plastic lunch bag (after eating your sandwich).

5. Ah, that chocolate box cover. Grab an old polaroid camera and some film. Take that chocolate box shot. Now get yourself a biro and write squiggly lines vigorously all over the back of the image. You should have given your image the 'Van Gogh' treatment.


Join me on a vintage motor sailer cruising the Dalmatian Coast 

Dale Neill
Master Photographer, Professional Educator, Amateur Barista

“Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.” 
– Peter Lindbergh 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Dale! Love your writing...love your boring fotograph tips! tongue in cheek and all! I'll try and be (W)reckless! ☺cheers Conniemac(not the Connie you are always writing about)