Today it gives me great pleasure to not only announce the winner of the Simplicity Assignment, but also to announce the winner of the Grand Prize for the year, which is a Lowepro Stealth Reporter D650 camera bag, kindly donated as a prize by top camera bag makers for 40 years, Lowepro. I need to also say a huge sorry for this episode being late. I’ve been dogged with technical problems for the last week or so that have sucked up all my free time, so I’m a little late making this announcement and getting things rolling.
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So in usual form, let’s first take a look at the top three winners of the Simplicity Assignment, in reverse order. Firstly, in third place with the photo “A line of trees and sky” is member ChrisBMX, real name Chris Scheingraber. Please do let me know if I’m butchering your surname Chris. If you are typing in the image numbers on my site, this is image “m”, that’s “m” for “member” m4575. This is a really nice shot, just as the title describes, of a line of trees well placed along the bottom of the frame, with a sky that is kind of a graduation, going from a light pink colour to blue in the top half of the shot. There’s a kind of a strata in the sky made by some thin wispy clouds, and a couple of more defined small clouds to the right to break up the gradation a little. I really like the different tones in the hill on which the trees are standing too. Very nicely composed and executed image. Congratulations on third place Chris.
In second place, with the image “Stairway” is member Super Digital Girl, real name Leslie Granda Hill. This is image m4315. To me this is an amazing, timeless, I’d even go so far as to say classic photograph. The composition and subject really is simplicity itself, yet the texture of that amazing black wall, with the front of each step and the handrail in white, adds an incredibly powerful contrast. The gap between the bottom bar of the handrail and the top of the steps, and the positioning of the only vertical bar is masterful. Exposure, composition, vision, all perfect in my opinion. Truly excellent work Leslie! Congratulations on second place.
And in first place, with another very memorable shot, is member Edwin C, real name Edwin Collingridge, with Simply Orange. This is image m4438. Here we see a rubber duck on a very similarly coloured orange background. Again we have a slight gradation working across the background, from almost yellow at the bottom, to true orange towards the top, and the duck positioned perfectly on the rule of thirds intersection in the bottom left quadrant. Edwin has lit this shot perfectly, and again, it really is simplicity itself. To me though, the thing that really makes the shot, in addition to all the other successful elements, is the angle of the duck. It’s looking into the shot diagonally across this sea of orange to the top right corner, and Edwin has positioned his camera so that we can just see the right eye of the duck as a thin black line as we look down on it. Again, a very masterful image! Well done indeed Edwin. Taking first prize entitles you to select any image from my online gallery on the paper of your choice. I’ll be mailing you later with instructions for getting me details of your selection.
So, the Simplicity Assignment also marked the end of the first year of the MBP Photography Assignment, and the awarding of the yearly Grand Prize, based on the total votes accumulated from fellow members. I actually have a special page only viewable by the administrator at my Web site that shows me the votes as they come in, and I have to tell you that it was great fun watching you guys vote for this last assignment and watching the total votes change throughout the last few weeks. The running for the grand prize was very close, with Orchid, winner of the first assignment and runner up in another, having received a steady stream of votes throughout the year, keeping a very close second place. Also, hsisson or Holly Sisson, who came second in the Sound Assignment, has really given the two top runners a run for their money. Holly has been consistently producing vote winning images since the Reflections Assignment in which she actually came fourth, before jumping to second in the Sound Assignment. Holly was actually also in fifth place in the Silence Assignment too, although I usually only announce the top three placings. For the Simplicity Assignment, Holly was right there again in fourth place, so really giving the others a run for their money.
The member that no-one could catch though, having won the Assignment twice, with the Depicting Culture and the Silence Assignments, and steadily receiving votes in all but one of the other assignments, not an easy task in itself, is hqsbud, or Forrest Tanaka. Congratulations Forrest, I’m thrilled for you taking the Grand Prize. You really deserve it, with your excellent photography, not to mention commitment to getting that photo in as often as possible. Lowepro will be sending the Stealth Reporter D650 camera bag directly to you very shortly.
I’m going to add a link to the Gallery menu at martinbaileyphotography.com to jump to a page that will now become static, simply displaying the winners of all of the last seven assignments for the 2007 Grand Prize with a list of total accumulated votes at the bottom. And today, marks the start of the next assignment and the start of the accumulated votes for the 2008 Grand Prize, which we will hopefully be awarding around this time next year. I haven’t yet arranged anything with a sponsor, but trust me, I will start searching very soon, and line up something equally cool as a Grand Prize for 2008, so please do start to get your entries in for each Assignment.
So let’s talk a little about the next assignment before we wrap up for this week. You’ll have seen from the title, that the next Assignment is called “Low Perspective”. If you listened to episode 83 from a few weeks ago, you’ll have also hopefully taken a look at an image of a hill covered in baby blue-eyes flowers, which is image number 1388. When we looked at this image I mentioned how I set my camera very low on the tripod, and tilted it up at the hill, to emphasize the slope of the hill. I also mentioned getting down low when shooting, as many people tend to shoot from eye level, and all of their shots end up with the same perspective, or view on the world. What I want us to do for the next Assignment is to really concentrate on getting away from eye-level, and I thought the best thing to do would be to request images of anything shot from an extremely low angle, looking up at your subject to some degree. You’ll find that this works best if you are using a wide angle lens, but I’m not so sure this is 100% necessary, so whatever lenses you have, please do still give this a try.
You might not actually have to get down really low physically if you think you can still get that low perspective looking up kind of effect. There are lots of other examples on my Web site, but today we’ll just look at one more, to allow me to expand on this last statement. Let’s look at image number 1103. Here we can see a sunflower, again shot from below it looking up. I was almost standing up straight for this shot if I remember rightly, but I got down a little lower by doing two things. The first thing was to open my legs wide. Bending the legs at the knee will limit the length of time you can stand in that position to compose the shot, and you’ll end up rushing. The other thing I do sometimes as I did here is to fit an angle finder to my camera so that I can tilt the camera upwards without having to stoop down. This can really help to give us a different perspective on things than looking straight through the viewfinder. This is not a must though, so again, please do get involved even if you don’t have a wide angle lens or an angle finder. The importance is getting away from shooting straight across the scene from eye level. The subject matter is not important, as long as we can see in your shot that you’ve thought about the theme for the assignment, and are looking up at your subject or the scene.
Also remember that your images have to be shot no earlier than today, which May the 2nd, 2007. If possible, leave the EXIF data on your images so that I can check this, but if you are shooting film, no worries. I’ll trust you. There are a bunch of other guidelines too in a post on the MBP forum. I’ll put a link to a post with details of this assignment that also contains a link to the rules and guidelines in today’s show-notes, along with a link to a page with the results of all of the 2007 Assignment Winners. This current assignment by the way will run until June 10th, 2007. You’ll be able to upload your images to the mbpgalleries.com assignment album until the end of Sunday the 10th, anywhere in the world. I’ll then turn on the voting system, and you’ll be able to vote for your favourite for a further two weeks until the end of Sunday, June the 24th. Good luck!
So before we close, one last thing to say is a huge thank you to all of those that entered the Assignments and for those that took the time to view all the images and vote for your favourite. I know that this is not always an easy task, and I really appreciate you getting involved. It makes all the difference to the winners to know that their image has been chosen by their peers.
And with that, thanks for listening, and now let’s get out shooting from a low perspective. Have a great week. Bye-bye.
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