Every month after our photo society (全日本写真連盟久居支部) meeting any member can submit a number of photos for a little contest. Our teacher selects one photo from each member. After the initial selection, he reviews them again and lines them up in final order. First place racks up ten points in our annual tally. Each successive place gets one less point down to tenth place, which gets one point. I submitted three shots after the August meeting from my July trip to see the lotus (蓮) flowers in Shiga (滋賀県). We dressed them up a little in Photoshop and put nice borders on them. Thin white borders inside black borders seem to be the desired standard right now.
One photo is a dragonfly (蜻蛉) sitting on a lotus leaf. Another is a plump goldfish (金魚) floating near the surface of a pond (池). The third shot is a young frog (蛙) sunning himself on a water lilypad (睡蓮). The dragonfly shot got points for interest, but it is one of the first shots from my new camera and I was just learning the features. You will notice that the auto-focus locked onto the center of the lotus leaf. Sharp focus on that point left the subject a little soft. This picture didn’t make the cut.
The focus for the goldfish was also a little off, I have learned a lot about focusing on and under water surfaces since then. A lot of folks were interested in this shot because it almost looks like he is floating above the surface of the water. I took another shot over an underwater ledge and almost everyone thinks the fish is levitating. A sharper focus might have earned this one the nod.
My frog photo was picked as my best this month. Several people recommended narrowing in on a much tighter area around the frog and making him a more prominent subject. I might have to crop it and take another look. I shot a couple hundred photos that day, just trying to learn what the camera could do and how to do it. I have since purchased a polarizer (変更フィルター) so I can play with water surfaces a little more.
Now the sad news: Froggy earned me an 11th place finish this month, which means zero points. The top several finishers all had human subjects. For photo contests I think the judges really like to see people interacting somehow. I need to shoot more people. I don’t mind not getting points this month, it says something about the competition. Winning in an easy contest isn’t very satisfying. I hope you like my failures. 僕の失敗が好きだったいいな。