I recently was humbled by winning the second most awards statewide at the 63rd annual Professional Photographers of Oregon print competition. And the competition IS fierce.
The image above, called "Beyond the Gate" won Best Commercial Image, Best Architectural photograph, a Judges Choice Award and was included into the prestigious Court of Honor (top 15 photographers). It scored an 85, besting the "goal" of an 80.
I took this photograph when I was a speaker at the Society of Wedding and Portrait photographers in London in a small town about 90 minutes west of London with a Nikon Coolpix (cheapo camera), attached with infra red capability. (So, NO, its NOT the camera that makes a wonderful image....)
I purposefully made the gate go out of focus to force the viewer down the path to the tree and up to the skies. My goal was to play the dark/foreboding/structured evil (foreground) against the light, airy, heavenly of the tree and the sky. From death to life, which as a Christian, is a key part of my worldview.
Held in Salem, print competition featured entries from all over the Northwest.
The image below, taken at Heceta Head Lighthouse B & B, was called "Grampa's Golden Years" and won best Color Photograph, a Judges Choice Award and Best Male portrait, scoring an 83.
Limited to 4 entries per year, the standards are quite exacting. The 6 jurors are looking for Impact, composition, print and tonal quality or color balance, story telling, print presentation, style, creativity, center of interest, lighting, subject matter technique and technical exellence.
The goal is to achieve a merit award of 80 or higher. Scores of 76 to 79 are above average professional work.
The Image below is of a family from Idaho that hired me to take their family portraits by their family beach house, and I encouraged them to go on the beach with Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach behind them. It scored an 80 and won Best Group Portrait and a Judges Choice award.
The last of my 4 images, called "Grace goes Walking" was from a wedding in Eugene. (I LOVE weddings!)
Initially scored an 80 (because 2 judges loved it), but the other 4 brought it down to a 79....because they thought there was too much green at left.
Personally, I liked the balance of the softness of the grass vs. the hardness of the stone (as did 2 of the judges), but oh well!