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Not a lot of participation

Discussion in 'Contests and Challenges' started by rhoydotp, Apr 19, 2013.

  1. rhoydotp

    rhoydotp Mu-43 Top Veteran

    609
    Aug 5, 2012
    Toronto, Ont
    rpamparo
    I've noticed that there are less and less people participating in the various challenges. And if people participate, it's the same set of users. The last Salon was on January and nobody even won.

    Maybe something that's no longer interesting to a lot of people. Or maybe the topics/subjects doesn't appeal to a lot of members.

    Just thinking out loud (or posting) :redface:
     
  2. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    Ehud
  3. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Jason
    I think week long challenges would be a better idea. 3 days for me isn't enought to a) go out and take photographs for a specific theme or b) if they don't have to be recent photos, look at my collection and pic ones that meet the theme.
     
  4. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    I've been an active contributor on the post processing threads.... while they are fun.. I am not sure that they are as always useful as they should be.

    throwing wild and wacky filters/presets randomly at the problem doesn't really move anybody forward.. Often PP isn't about the wacky and more about the intelligent use of the basic controls you find in your image editor of choice...

    just me thinking out loud

    k
     
  5. rhoydotp

    rhoydotp Mu-43 Top Veteran

    609
    Aug 5, 2012
    Toronto, Ont
    rpamparo
    I know about that, I even posted one last night :smile:

    That's a very good point. I'm sure we all have other things on our plate and this is probably the last thing we want to worry about.

    Totally agree with you. Although, I must say, that most of the PP entrants do most of the basic "fixes" (contrast/details/exposure/etc) on at least one of the entries.
     
  6. arch stanton

    arch stanton Mu-43 Veteran

    414
    Feb 25, 2012
    London
    Malc
    I tend to agree 72 hours isn't long enough, I should enter to challenge myself more often but when I notice the thread often find it's ended.

    How about running two 1-week-long challenges at once? That'd mean if people don't have a great idea in one thread you have another theme to aim at.

    If you prefer the current format, just enter one at the start of the week and one later that week :)
     
  7. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    Yes, I don't even open the 72 hour threads anymore, it is too much of hodgepodge. I think month long challenges would be best. And/or have a general Monthly Photo contest, run by the forum moderators or one other designates, with the 12 winners squaring for the annual prize.
     
  8. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    Margaret
    I wish the PP challenges lasted longer, say, a week. I've wanted to participate but have had too much on my plate lately, not to mention that my main computer needs a hard drive replacement. (I hope to do it this weekend.) :smile:
     
  9. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    I agree with you to a point, Kevin, although I do believe that presets can be a useful learning tool. For those new to post-processing and unfamiliar with the possibilities afforded by software tools, presets can open the user's eyes to what types of changes can be achieved. Once you see that, you can then look at which settings the preset made to achieve a particular look.

    As yet I've participated only in the PP challenges and it seems that when everyone is working off the same image often the treatment that is most novel or unique is the one that draws the most attention. Often that means applying "wacky filters/presets". Since there is no objective "best" or "ideal" treatment of a given image, I'm not sure how that issue can be addressed.

    My starting point for post-processing my own images is my memory of the scene as it appeared when I shot it. I usually try to achieve something close to how the scene appeared or (more likely) the emotion the scene conveyed. When working with an image someone else shot, I obviously don't know how the scene actually looked and sometimes the image doesn't evoke any particular emotional response in me. If that's the case, I'm more inclined to just throw adjustments at it to see what sticks.

    One possible change I might suggest for the PP challenges is to expand the judging panel. Perhaps the past three winners could get together and judge the submissions. Since today the single judge is the person who took the picture, their closeness to the image might skew which interpretations they choose. Adding some other voices to the discussion might make it more of an objective choice.

    An alternate idea might be to have a poll to select the winner, or at least a "People's Choice" award. Any other ideas on how the PP challenges could be tweaked?

    Sorry to get so far into the weeds on this one issue on this thread which was meant to be a broader question. As to why the participation has dipped, perhaps it's just a seasonal thing -- those of us in the Northern Hemisphere are just coming out of winter, so perhaps many are spending less times on the forums and more time on other endeavors?
     
  10. savvy

    savvy Mu-43 Top Veteran

    714
    Sep 28, 2012
    SE Essex, UK
    Les
    Kevin, totally agree with you on this one for the PP challenges. I try to do a straight recovery, and then a "creative" one, but I seem to be in a minority in posting the detail of the settings I change to get the results - I thought more people would do this so we could learn from each other.

    Lately, I've taken to not using Nik et al at all, trying to handcraft it all in LR, which has been a much more satisfying experience. Even creating the "wacky" ones from scratch in LR, seeing the effects of using the curves creatively on each colour channel has shown me how those helper apps are achieving things like "solarize" etc. I wouldn't do this on my own day-to-day photos, but just the experience & knowledge grows your skills.

    It would be interesting to see more people's thoughts on this.
     
  11. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    Margaret
    Interesting ideas, Keith and Les! When my local photo club has challenges, there are two awards, one by a committee of three judges who are on the club's board, and a second people's choice. All entries get somewhat of a critique by the judges, though the top three get the most feedback. And of course, not all of the people agree with the judges' choices.

    As for our PP challenges, I haven't had the time to participate so far, but I do read the threads, as I enjoy seeing how others process the photos as well as the three photos the judge chooses as winners. Yes the judge is the photographer, but whether the judge(s) is/are the photographer or a committee of past winners, I view the choice of winning photos as a matter of opinion. IMNSHO, it's subjective no matter who judges the photos or PP of a given photo. Further, I see the challenges as a learning experience ... even when I don't participate. I've been shooting RAW and doing PP for a while now, but I'm an amateur and always learning. :smile:

    At some point I'd also like to participate in the photo challenges as well, but my participation in these challenges depends on the theme, the weather, available time and sadly, my health.

    I look at these challenges as good fun and learning opportunities. I'd hate to see them go away. I'm not sure I want to see only "formal" challenges with a committee of judges, set number of challenges per year, etc., as that feels more restrictive and might be more intimidating for beginners and amateurs. IIRC, these informal challenges were started just as a fun thing to do, and I like informal, fun things to do! :smile:

    My two cents +. :biggrin:

    P.S. I too would like to see more people listing their edits in the PP challenges.
     
  12. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    Margaret
    Another thought: perhaps participation in these challenges will wax and wane. That's what happens in my book group (local). Sometimes we have a full house, and other times only a handful of people attend. It would be nice if more people attended all the time, but I don't think that's how life works....
     
  13. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    This is the spirit in which I participate as well. I consider myself a novice when it comes to post-processing, so I don't have any expectation that I will "win" one any time soon. I'm with you in your suggestions that adding more "structure" in the form of a judging panel or restrictions on using presets or whatever is just as likely to tamp down enthusiasm/participation as anything.
     
  14. savvy

    savvy Mu-43 Top Veteran

    714
    Sep 28, 2012
    SE Essex, UK
    Les
    Agreed, I don't think there should be any restrictions either.

    For example, just because (at the moment) I am choosing NOT to use presets or plugins/helper apps, because I want to learn more about the tools under the covers, why shouldn't others be free to use what they want. (I'm actually hand-crafting in GIMP at the moment, but that's another story !!)

    All I'm advocating, for the learning benefit of all, is to state what you did, rather than "used Silver Efex", or "used Color Efex" etc. If you use an LR preset, or a Nik/Topaz/Whatever, preset/recipe, say which one, if you tweak it say what to - that's all.
     
  15. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    Ehud
    I will extend the current 72 hours to 100 hours.
    This will make it a five days challenge.
     
  16. jziegler

    jziegler Mu-43 Veteran

    261
    Dec 15, 2012
    Salem County, New Jersey
    James
    I've never participated for a couple reasons, although I've been interested several times.

    The 72 hour time frame frequently does not fit with my schedule. Working full time, and trying to spend as much time as possible with my son when I'm home leaves little time for photography, other than photos of him. I have only been using m43 for about a year now, and as my primary system only since about December, so I don't have a large catalog of photos to use. I would have entered the travel challenge, but all of my good travel shots are from other cameras. I just haven't had any real trips since making the switch.

    So there is interest from new people, and with a longer schedule I think I'd enter some, and given more time using m43, I might develop a catalog to enter others.
     
  17. jziegler

    jziegler Mu-43 Veteran

    261
    Dec 15, 2012
    Salem County, New Jersey
    James
    Thanks! I actually have something in mind for that one that is local to me, and which I used in a challenge on another site several years ago, but that I think I can do better now. The extra time will be a big help!
     
  18. unkabin

    unkabin Mu-43 Regular

    170
    Feb 17, 2011
    Minnesota
    As a recent, sporadic entrant in the 72-hour challenges, I'll say that I was surprised by the short window, and not too surprised that participation is limited, given the size of the "active" photo-showing pool and the short window. I wonder why not longer? Although, I've seen other photo sites struggling with the same issue. When a contest series is new or altered, it will attract a decent pool, but then it often seems to wane. I'm probably as bad as the next guy (or gal), when it comes to this pattern of behavior. The challenge seems to be how best to garner participation given a relatively limited level of interest or smallish population.
     
  19. savvy

    savvy Mu-43 Top Veteran

    714
    Sep 28, 2012
    SE Essex, UK
    Les
    Yes, this is difficult.

    On another forum that I'm a member of, last month they introduced the themed challnges as 2 weeks long - the first two of these challenges, everyone posted in the first few days/week and then just waited for the second week to elapse awaiting the results - you just can't win in this situation :biggrin::eek:
     
  20. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    Ehud
    Les I suggest that we do the challenge to end by Monday, results on Tuesday and new challenge by Wednesday, this way the participants will have time to work on entries during the weekend.

    A two week challenge is too long