I just got back from the Panel Competition and didn't realize that it was the first of the clubs major internal comps of the season (and a prestigious one, at that, with a trophy for the winner) and with a very esteemed judge presiding over the occasion. She was very strict with the marking but also very constructive with her criticisms, showing the photographer where individual photos went wrong and the order in which the photos should have been placed in the panel (the idea being that while individual photos were regarded on their own merit, the overall effect of how all the photos worked together, as a set, when viewed was a major factor).
My first entry, "the Unnoticed Pier", scored a disappointing 16 out of 20 but I can understand why; the lamp at the end looked out of place compared to the other shots, something I was a bit worried about after I had entered it. Individually, she really liked the photos but it scored low because of the order I presented them as well as the lamp not fitting the concept. Still, not bad for a first attempt, and by no means the worst score or criticism of the night.
My second entry was also potentially the most controversial of the night. Solarized images are not generally popular with judges so I didn't expect them to do well. When they were placed side by side in order, the judge said she hated filtered images and when she glimpsed them prior to 'official' display (all entries are laid out prior to the comp for general viewing and are then brought up one by one under the light for the competition), she was prepared to dismiss them out of hand. Then she said something along the lines of "but at last we have someone who knows how to put together a panel"
. She then started looking closely and pointing out what was right about it from the order of the photos, consistency of colour and tone, and the order of portrait/landscape view. After going through everything she just said "I just talked myself into this....20!"
She is the first judge I've seen all season to grant a top mark there and then; everybody else seemed a bit surprised as well! (normally they hold the entry back for further consideration at the end when they also decide the rankings from the best photos)
Quite a few panels had already been held back so I knew I still faced stiff competition but as the evening wore on and was reaching the end, another panel from one of the club's most experienced members was awarded a 20 on the spot as well. This was an amazing set of photos combined to make one fantastic shot (I hope to be able to provide a link to it later) and I thought I had lost at that point. She then returned to the held back panels and assigned their scores of 19's and 18's meaning I was guaranteed at least second place with my score of twenty........I BLOODY WON!!!!!!!
The judge then went on to say more on how she dislikes filters but the overall effect and composition was excellent that she had to make an exception! Quite a few friends there, who also knew they were mine, had commented how they really liked them before the start and I had heard more than a few very favourable comments from people who didn't know they were mine. This result was even more pleasing because I had no idea of what a print panel was until a couple of weeks ago, let alone what one should look like and I hadn't tried solarizing before (I just wanted to try something a bit different).