This year, NewTV is holding its third annual Summer Photo Contest. Members of the community are welcome to enter photos taken this summer (between June 21, 2017 and September 5, 2017) that they think fit into one of four categories (best overall photo, most exotic location, best photo in Newton and best use of NewTV swag). At the end, the winner in each category will receive a gift card to a local business, and winners and runners-up will be recognized on NewTV’s social media accounts.
Hopefully you’ve been having an amazing summer and taking photos of all of your adventures, whether they have included international vacations, day trips to the Cape or opportunities to appreciate all that Newton has to offer. If you’re not a professional photographer, which most of us aren’t, you might be wondering if you have anything good enough to submit to the contest. Or, you might be wondering which of your photos to submit.
So, in order to help you, I went through my photos from the summer of 2016 and I’m going to give you examples of what I might have chosen to submit or chosen not to submit and explain why. I’ll give them a title or description, just like we ask you to. I’m not a professional photographer – some of these were taken on a phone. Hopefully, this can help you in your decision-making process and inspire you to submit photos of your own.
Please note, all photos have been sized down for the web. If I were submitting photos, I’d submit the highest-resolution/highest-quality version that I had.
1. View from the Train; Would NOT Submit
Sunsets are beautiful, but I think it’s clear why I wouldn’t choose to submit this photo – it’s totally out of focus. I’ll cut myself some slack here – I took this photo while on a moving train. You can also see the water stains on the train window, and those are in focus. Yes, it has the reflection elements and the silhouetting, but the fact that it is out of focus is so distracting that anything else about it is irrelevant.
2. Sunset on July Fourth; Would Submit to Best Overall Photo
Here’s another sunset with a silhouette but now the picture is in focus. The colors are vibrant and your focus is pulled to the yellow contrasting with the black. The brightest colors almost seem to come from the tree, which is visually interesting. The horizon is towards the center of the photo. Compare this photo to the previous one and you’ll see why I might choose this one.
3. Gas Works Park in Seattle; Would NOT Submit
Lines are an important element in photography (in this sense lines are defined as objects that act as lines). Here, the shore acts as a line and that line is disturbingly crooked. It’s not because it’s trying to communicate movement, there’s no repetition of the diagonal line, and it’s not leading to anything. The photo feels unbalanced. There’s also a boat coming into the picture that’s distracting from the subject, which is the structure in the park. The picture might be able to be salvaged if I cropped and straightened it, but as it was originally taken (from a Duck Boat), it’s not something I’d submit.
4. Mount Rainier from the Air; Would Submit to Most Exotic Location
Is Seattle the most exotic location in the world? No, but you don’t know who else will submit in this category. Plus, your photo might be of better quality than the person who submits a photo from a mysterious nation. Also, this wasn’t taken in Seattle, it was taken in the air! To the photo itself, the clouds seem to be pulling focus towards the main mountain, and it takes you a few seconds to see that there are other mountains in the background. You notice the shadow of the upper cloud on the lower cloud. There are really only two principle colors – blue and white – but there are so many different shades and shadows. The clouds have an interesting texture to them. This picture cannot be completely digested in only a second.
5. Purple Flowers; Would NOT Submit
There’s nothing obviously wrong with this picture, and it’s not really a bad photo, it’s just not one I’d submit, at least not with this title, because there’s nothing truly exceptional about it. If I wanted this to be a photo of those purple flowers, I could have done a better job at making them the focus. They are in an area with light, but the photo has a large depth of field and they blend in among the other plants. They are not the central focus – in fact the photo does not appear to have a central focus.
6. An Ant’s Life; Would Submit Best Overall Photo
This photograph has a shallow depth of field, but the subject, the ant, is in focus. The photo has a relatively simple color palette – pink, green, black and brown. While the ant isn’t directly in the center, it’s not so off-center that it’s distracting. It’s an interesting photo because it’s not the same scene you see all of the time.
I cannot guarantee that any of these photos would have won, but I know it’s always fun to share your photos with others and we love to see them. Plus, you never know unless you try!