11th Aug2015

IPC 2015: Diamond – The Goal I Didn’t Reach

by Wootness

So. here we are. Are we going to do that awkward dance around the subject? Nah.

Earlier this year, I made it public that my personal goal for IPC was to “go Diamond.”

Original article HERE.

That did not happen.

Now, I’m not going to beat myself up about it, I came pretty close, with a Platinum Medal, but any time things don’t go the way I want them to, there’s usually a reason why. And it’s generally of my own doing.

Let’s review.

The only issue in my 2015 case was one image that did not go loan.

I present

Simple Pleasures of the 2015 IPC General Collection:

Flowers 1 Final B-web

Simple Pleasures has gone through some change over its competition career.  There’s a story within the timeline, so check it out:

May, 2014: Shot the the following, messed with some color background shifts, couldn’t get it to look right behind water glass, so cropped that part out.


November, 2014: Could not get the purple background to look right behind the water glass, so went back to the original capture of light gray. Entered in PP of Oregon’s annual competition as a non-member. Highest scoring image of the competition: 91. Judge’s choice ribbon.


December, 2014: Took the image with me to a competition workshop where I worked with a retoucher on the purple part behind the water glass and some general sprucing up for competition. Entered in PP of Arizona’s annual image competition as a non-member in January 2015. Score:91.

Flowers 1 Final B-web

simplepleasures results

March, 2015: Entered in Ohio/Northeast district: 82. Seal.

August, 2015: IPC. Did not Loan. General Collection.

Something happened with this image. In both the competitions where it received a 91, it was challenged up several times. Twice on each, I believe. At first score, it landed somewhere in the 82-84 zone and went up from there.

Someone, or several someones fought for it.

And for awhile now, I’ve been thinking about that concept. A common hope during competition, from the seats of the spectators and competitors is that a judge will take up the cause for one of their images. I know I have had a champion or twelve in my competition history, but I have to wonder how wise it is to put one’s faith in an image that needs championed.

I used to caution students to stop hoping for 80’s and begin trying for 100’s. It should probably be a similar caution against placing faith in images that needed a whole lot of assistance getting up to that score.

Looking back, I should have known better. I let the fact that Simple Pleasures had scored a 91 more than once, sway my common sense about competition. I let myself be convinced that surely an image that scored that high several times would “go loan”.

When I took the image to Northeast District and it scored an 82 – I was a bit surprised. An 82? Oh well, a seal is a seal, I figured.

Still swayed by the 91 memories, I had faith that it was my best shot at a loan.

That was the point where I made a mistake. That image landed around the 82 zone right out of the bat all three times it had been judged. In my own personal way of things – that is not a high enough score to convince me that it would go loan at IPC.

Now yes, I know – score has absolutely nothing to do with loans and I also have had 80’s go loan, but this year, I was laying it all on the line and I had to be as positive as possible. And I was feeling really positive about an image I shouldn’t have.

Every time Simple Pleasures was challenged, one or more judges had an issue with the flat lighting. When I worked on it with my retoucher, we talked about the flat lighting and applied some technique to enhance the light. I knew it was an issue.

Yet I entered the image, anyway.

So, although it could be a number of things or a combination thereof, after as objective an analysis as possible, this is the lesson learned that I’m taking from my case this time.

In the future, if any of my images score well in spite of a technical issue, they will not advance under my hand.

So – there it is.

I tried. I tried hard.

And now I’m going to try harder.

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