Tonight I attended a meeting of the Mays Lake Nature Study & Photography Club at Mays Lake Peabody Estate, 1717 31st Street, Oak Brook, IL.
From their home page:
“The club was founded in 1965 to help photographers broaden their knowledge of nature and improve their techniques for “capturing nature’s beauty.” The Club’s purpose continues to be primarily educational, with an emphasis on nature study and photographic technique. In the process of learning, members gain a greater understanding and respect for the natural world. The Club is hosted by the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.”
Tonight’s agenda: “Non-competitive Critique”. They called it non-competitive because they were not competing against other clubs. It was a good way to see a simulation of how competitive events work. There was a judging of about 25 ~ 11 x 14 prints, and then a viewing of about 10 digital photos on a projector open to comments from all. There were three judges, and each held a numeric keypad wired to a machine that counted the scores. Each judge could assign a score of up to 9 points, then the points were added together. The highest score of the evening was 27.
Note also that in nature photography, they disqualify as a “nature” photo any image that includes an object that was from the “hand of man”, such as a telephone pole or picnic bench.
Attending a local camera club is a good way to improve your photography, and it’s fun hearing what the judges appreciated about the images, and hearing how they believe the photo could be made better. Cropping, sharpening, color balance, composition — all were all in play, and I was pleased to hear that most of their opinions agreed with my own.