And the Oscar Goes to…

Okay, it’s not an Oscar, nor an Emmy, but the LDP Monthly Giveaway is sufficiently popular that selecting winning images is very tough.  Here’s what happens once the contest is closed:

  1. I’ve given my wife specific instructions on how to close the thread, and how to download all the images into a folder on my desktop.  If an image is not downloadable – it’s disqualified.
  2. Once the images are downloaded, I look at the details view on my Windows computer.  This avoids me looking at thumbnails and I only see the metadata – if the longest side of the image is UNDER 600 pixels, it’s disqualified.
  3. Next, I look at the remaining set, and look for dimensions OVER 800pixels.  Any images that are over-sized – are disqualified.
  4. The next test is whether the photo adheres to the theme – so now I switch to thumbnail views.  Any that are not somehow related to the theme are disqualified (although this has not happened yet…)
  5. Last but not least, I import the remaining photos into Lightroom and look at in slide show mode.  I pick the ones that either show real artistic expression or spot on composition and color treatment.  The others are removed from consideration.
  6. Finally, I pick the three images I think are the “Best in Show” (if more than 3 remain at this point).  I’ll review these three more carefully, looking for things like distractions, depth of field, and other nuances that can either improve or enhance an image, and pick the winner on that basis.  If I cannot decide – I usually will email them to a friend and have him or her look at them and ask for their input.  From that, a winner is decided.

Here’s how the numbers crunched this month:

There were 22 images submitted in the contest thread:

  • Round One eliminated5 photos that could not be downloaded
  • Round Two eliminated one photo that was smaller than 600px on the longest side
  • Round Three eliminated seven photos that were larger than 800px on the longest side
  • Round Four eliminated no photos – all adhered to the theme
  • Round Five eliminated no photos – all the compositions showed creativity and recognized at least one of the standard rules of composition (rule of thirds, golden mean, creative bokeh, contrasting colors, etc.)
  • Round Six was the tough one.

It was tough because I basically had to pick my three favorites and judging here is never fun because you are (in essence) rendering a judgement which is never free of bias or subjectivity.  Nevertheless, three had to be chosen, and the three finalists were decided.  At this point I had to really look at the nuances of composition and the winner was:

Josh Fassbind!!!

Josh Fassabind

The artistic bokeh and dof, combined with the compositional and lighting appeal makes this one the winner!  Congratulations to Josh for a well deserved win!  Thanks to everyone for participating, and good luck next month – the theme for April is:  Balance And the prize?  Ooooh – an awesome prize this go around, because it’s all about balancing things – it’s the Expo Imaging Expodisc!  This beauty is kind of like a filter you place on the front of your lens and by shooting toward the light source, you can guarantee your white balance (get the theme now? 🙂 ) will be spot on in post production.

This is a fanstatic product which I have reviewed on the blog before and can save hours of time on the computer, and spend that much more out doing what really matters: taking pictures!  Valued at up to $100 (based on the filter size you need for your gear), it can literally be the one that saves the day on your shoot because you nailed some white balance in tough fluorescent phosphorous conditions that could take hours to correct in post production!  So, get shooting because the new thread is up on Flickr and now’s your chance to get out and win this from the generous folks over at Expo Imaging (and thanks to them for sponsoring the giveaway for April!)

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8 comments for “And the Oscar Goes to…

  1. April 6, 2010 at 6:10 am

    Thank you Jason!

    I am very excited about this prize and I would like to thank all the people who have believed in me over the years, my dad, my mom… HAHA! Okay, I got carried away there for a second.

    Thanks for the vote, it’s very encouraging!


  2. April 6, 2010 at 7:39 am

    Great pick Jason! Great photo Josh. Now, where’s your red carpet????
    .-= Rich Charpentier´s last blog ..Anybody heading West this summer? =-.

  3. April 6, 2010 at 8:15 am

    Lovely lovely image. Well done Josh.
    .-= Kevin Mullins´s last blog ..The Reid Rooms Wedding Photography =-.

  4. Brian
    April 6, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Enjoy your blog.

    Just wanted to let you know that your link to TWIP under Learning Resources actually goes to and advertising site not to This Week in Photography.

    Looking forward to the next contest. ;>)

  5. Jim Ruderer
    April 7, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    Funny how you spent all that time describing your rigorous process of elimination yet you picked an image that was submitted after the deadline. I know you say you’re “a stickler for closing the threads on time” but I had a lot of time on my hands waiting for my twins to be born, and I know the thread closed late. But you don’t even have to take my word for it; by the contestant’s own admission, he acknowledged he was late when he said “it’s still March somewhere in the states”.

    Even better was how when questioned about it, your answer was a shrug and a flippant answer to the effect of “there’s nothing that can be done now.” On top of that, you send me a private message about how “the whole thing is supposed to be fun but this conversation is not fun (and it’s done as of now).”

    Jason, it can definitely be fun- when everyone plays by the rules. But when you’re giving away prizes and don’t adhere to your own rules… that’s when it stops being fun.

    I’ve disagreed with your selections of winners in the past but never said anything because it’s your contest, you can judge it how you want. What I have a problem with is how you’d rather tell a loyal listener to shove off rather than lose face and admit you made a mistake.

    We’re all human, and we all make mistakes. But how you chose to handle this just spoke volumes about your character. And if you choose to delete this comment, that will say even more.

    Here’s the thing- I’ll never know because I’m done listening to your show, reading your blog, following your twitter feed, etc. Which is a shame because prior to how you responded to me, I thought you were a pretty nice guy who put together a pretty nice show.

    Editor comment: Hi Jim, thanks for the input and insights – you’ve made several interesting points and while I will respect your decision to proceed however you like, posting further commentary here will serve no purpose. For the rest of the reading and listening audience though, since this post raises some questions and concerns about contest integrity, I have taken the time to actually put together an Official Rules of Engagement page together which will be linked at the top of all future contests. In the past it has been pretty easy-going and amiable, but since the door has been opened, decided it was time to make things official. To Jim, I’ve also sent you a personal email to try and reach an understanding (and to apologize)…I hope you read it.

  6. April 8, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    I am sorry if I’ve caused any trouble. That was not my intent and I honestly thought it might still be March is some part of the US. The only reason I did not post my picture earlier is because I discovered the contest a few minutes before posting my picture which I had taken just a few days earlier.

    Although I am very happy with the prize and can’t wait to get it I am willing to send it back if it can make things easier for Jason. The main reasons I submitted a picture for the contest is to have fun, to share and see if I stood a chance. I’m just passionate about photography and I like to share my work and discover other people’s work.

    Jason, sorry for any trouble I’ve caused…

  7. April 8, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    No trouble at all – enjoy the Expodisc mon frere! (Je parle un peu français)

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