Sunday, April 13, 2008

WPPI :: Vegas Shootout

Day 4 - Saturday

16x20 Awards of Excellence Print Competition judging started at 8:00 am. Wow! This was an awesome experience. There was a panel of about 8 judges who punched their numbers into a keypad... if the print scored an 80 or higher the print won an Accolade of Excellence and the entire audience clapped! Then the moderator/head judge would ask two of the panel judges to comment on why they scored the print the way they did. It was so amazing to me that they would take the time to critique every single print. Sometimes prints didn't score well because of print quality, mounting of the print, tonal range, composition...

I sat in on the Premier Division of the competition - it is the division that I entered two prints in. The Premier division was for first time entrants of an international competition. My prints scored a 77 and a 78. I was lucky enough to be in the audience for the critique of one of my prints. After sitting through countless prints I knew that my print wouldn't score 80 or higher. It wasn't that the photograph was bad - the photos that I entered were actually very good!!! But, they didn't fare well with the things that judges were looking for. My prints were high-contrast, edgy composition and high-gloss mounting. Now that I know what the judges are looking for I will better be able to select my images for next year's competition.

Here is a shot from the competition:
Awards of Excellence 16x20 Competition - my print of Janelle!

Neon Graveyard shoot
My Flickr group coordinated a shoot at the Neon Boneyard in Las Vegas. Corey Ann organized the entire shoot and secured the location - this place isn't they type of place that just lets people come and hang out with cameras... We had to sign waivers and pay a fee just to shoot on the property for 2 hours.

The location was just a dream! There was old neon signs from old Las Vegas, the people who ran the place think of it as a museum. We had to be VERY careful while shooting because there was broken glass and exposed neon everywhere.

We had more than 15 photographers attend the shootout. We split into two groups - one group had a real bride and groom that were married just the day before and the other group had a funky couple with lots of body art. There was also a lone "groom" who was there trying to get shots to use in his modeling portfolio. I had so much fun shooting all of them... actually, the bride and groom brought along some of their friends to watch. I grabbed two of them and for a little impromptu "engagement" session - it turned out sooo awesome.

Here are some shots:
focus on blue

Tattoos in Vegas

walk the line

get it on

Nelson Ghosttown shoot
After the amazing session at the Neon Boneyard we drove about one hour away to a Nelson, Nevada ghosttown. There, we met up with Vegas' local photographers Jamie and Tim Jackson. They were awesome and found a couple of models willing to pose in the desert for some amazing shots.

During some of the shooting I slammed my hand and left leg into a cactus. Those things look cool but man can they cause some damage!!! I had to take in a deep breath and pull all the thorns out of my hand and leg. My very first experience ever seeing a cactus and coming into contact with one is another reason why I actually like living in Wisconsin!

Towards the end of this shoot the sun was setting fast behind the hills. Dave Jackson was sooo awesome and let everyone try out a one-light flash set up using all of his equipment. Most of us have never shot like this before and it was stunning to see how our images were looking with a little bit of added light.

Here is a shot of Michelle using the one light technique. (slide show to come)
Michelle in the Desert

Saturday was an event filled day!!! Some of the best shooting locations and light I've ever photographed!!!

Stay tuned for more...

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