Saturday, November 25, 2006

Photo Hold'em ::: Round 3 ::: The Sweet Sixteen!

Back atcha with the 3rd round of Photo Hold'em -- The Sweet Sixteen -- which begins our head-to-head games. With this round, we thought it would be fun to bring some fresh "heads", so to speak, into the judging of the images. So I went through the tRL rolodex and considered using folks like Steve Jobs, Al Gore, & Jay-Z -- who've all been naggin' us to get involved with the blog, by the way -- but decided that maybe some other people would be even better. So we went with a panel of image analyzers who are not necessarily veteran photo editors, but who are definitely veteran WW industry players with an innate sense for what makes a kayaking shot pop. Here's who will be deciding which shooters advance into the next round:
Mr. Clay Wright
Mr. Ken "Hobie" Hoeve
Mr. John Grace

Each judge's comments will be preceded by a little judge-head icon so you'll know who said what:
Clay Hobie Grace

We think these guys will bring some much needed credibility to this junkshow. You can be the judge of that when you read their comments & decisions on the NEXT tRL post (probably Sunday .. or as soon we receive their final decisions.)

Gotta shout out our industry partners who'll be providing the prizes for the gamblers:

HERE ARE YOUR ROUND 3 SUBMISSIONS (with photog's comments):

1. John Fulbright vs. Chan Jones

John Fulbright

John sez: "One of my favorites ... Its a double exposure of Aaron Rane surfing Skookumchuck in '96, my first trip w/ him. The title is Higher and Lower Self. A visual example of how all of us have a higher and calmer self, as well as a more radical, aggressive self (foreground image). Double exposure info: upper image was a 3-second natural light exposure w/ Aaron surfing still; the second exposure was focused closer set at 1/125 w/ fill flash to capture the ferry onto the wave."

Chan Jones

Chan sez: "This is a guy paddling around next to some gnar in an old school boat. What you might not know right away is that this is Hurricane Falls on the Tallulah River. I managed to snap this shot just before I put on for a noon run and the sun peeking over the corner of the gorge made for a cool shot. There are a few other shots to take a look at on MY BLOG"


2. John Boone vs. Erik Boomer

John Boone

John sez: "This shot was taken on the Mamquam River in BC, and my subject is Matt Gaudette of Bingen, WA, with Stan Prichard of Telluride, CO, looking on."

Erik Boomer

Boomer sez: "Decisions decisions... Going to Thailand on Turkey Day. You should hug your parents, eat alot of turkey then take a big nap for me. Billy Jones on Qualicum Falls."


3. Lane Jacobs vs. Atom Crawford

Lane Jacobs

Lane sez: "Dan 'skippy' Simenc on Blanket Creek, BC - July 2004."

Atom Crawford

Atom sez: "A shot on the Upper Upper Cispus River, Wa. The camera used for all my shots is a Canon 3.2 megapixel point and shoot."


4. Darin McQuoid vs. Brian Vogt

Darin McQuoid

Darin sez: "Because half of it's really about friends on the river."

Brian Vogt

Brian sez: "Mitch MacDougal drops through Goblin Gates in Rica Canyon, Elwha River. This was the first overnight creek run I'd done in WA, and this image best captures what stood out most to me about the Grand Canyon Elwha: the solitude of watching a lone boater commit with no upstream egress possible. Boating through this canyon one is transported far beyond the concerns of daily life. It's amazing how a confined space of only a few dozen yards between sheer walls can offer such varied delight. Around each corner was a new world, and every pool offered wonders. For those all too brief hours, life was so sharply in focus and every moment lived to the fullest. Oh yeah, and the whitewater was top-notch. To trot out a trite truism, to know the Elwha is to love it."


5. Evan Ross vs. Shawn Robertson

Evan Ross

E-Ross sez: "First go HERE and get your own helping of joy. Then scroll on down to further amp your senses with joy. Warren G getting his joyfulness on O B Joyful."

Shawn Robertson

Shawn sez: "Here's my next photo to blow you all away. This was shot of Jon Meyers gettin artistic during the "Best of the West" competition last year. Jon was tearing it up in the "Comp Hole" on the Alberton Gorge section of Montana's Clark Fork river. Those of you paying close attention may find a certain pattern developing in my photos so far... trust me, its all part of the plan. Camera info: Canon 20D 1/1600 at f/8, ISO 400."


6. Evan Stafford vs. Hale Hanaway

Evan Stafford

Dotcom sez: "This here photo is of (Hold'em competitor) Kyle McCutchen. He is lucky that I am such a snap happy triggerman. I make him look good. He is an ace though when it comes to timing that perfect boof for the camera. The light was shining down on us this day, smacking this picturesque water falling right in the lip. Where is this, you ask. Polished granite in BC? No. Micro-creeking in the lush rainforests of the Northwest? No. Semi-arid desert mountains of Colorado? Ding! Weminuche Wilderness, Pagosa Area, CO. (Hold'em competitor) Evan Ross is visible snapping away, as well, from the underbelly of this falls, and though he is a stellar photographer, I am going to crush him in the next round... if he makes it."

Hale Hanaway

Hale sez: "Eric Shertyl on Mineral Falls, Silver Creek, Skykomish drainage (WA). It was Shertyl The Turtle's idea to hike an extra 4.5 miles up the Silver to check out these falls. The hike in was well worth it, including what was below these falls and the regular run. One of my favorites now!"


7. Kyle McCutchen vs. Mark Basso

Kyle McCutchen

Cutch sez: "Few pictures capture the explosion of white that we so often find ourselves in. Although many great shots capture the expression of a paddlers face, few capture that same intensity of water exploding and engulfing a paddler in even the smallest of creeks. This was the first drop of the Treasure Canyon stretch of the Alamosa River. Twelve hours later we concluded an epic day at high flow — complete with two swims, a hike out sans paddle, and then a 5-mile walk back to the put-in after failing to hitch a ride."

Mark Basso

Basso sez: "Let's see how we do on the head-to-head format when we replace the sea-yak pose with some Rocky Mtn huck. This here is the man, Joey Flossmurgh, back on his home turf before he fled town and became that Jefe-Delica drivin', TRL shitlistin' Squamptite friend of yours. Location: Cataract Creek Albertessee. Happy Thanksgiving"


8. Kennet Belenky vs. Barbora Hollan

Kennet Belenky

Kennet sez: "Here's my photo for round 3. I call it, "Beatdown Begins." If you give me any crap about submitting two pictures of Ben in a row, I WILL HUNT YOU DOWN AND KICK YOU SQUARE IN THE FIGS. 'Sides, your mom likes pictures of Ben."

Barbora Hollan

Barbora sez: "Just to put things a little more in perspective."


Remember, we'll be posting the photos again with judge's comments in a day or two, so check back for that. And as always, feel free to voice your opinion in the comment box .. but please, try to keep it at least somewhat clean.

Also worthy of note is our friend Effigy's blog post yesterday with side-by-side comparisons of Jacuzzi (the 20-footer at the bottom of Ernie's Canyon) at 13,000 cfs & at 1,300 cfs .. badass. Click HERE.


Anonymous said...

I forgot to mention. The hucker in the pic that I took is Hold'ems very own Evan Stafford, caught in action during the same Pagosa trip that he mentions.

Kyle McCutchen

Anonymous said...

Damn!!! Lane Jacobs is throwin out the big aces right off the bat. Sorry Atom bigger is better and yours is itty bitty comparetively.
Chan I will have to say you got this one even with the overexposure, I like they way it turned out. Praise the lord! Is that guy going into the pearly white gates of heaven?
John boone with your last picture I am giving you props over the overcropped photo sent in by your competitor. Maybe Boomers picture would make a good bookmark.
Mcquid has me all tearry eyed!! Maybe you can give your pro buddy a big wet one with some tongue then I would be impressed. Maybe he will give you some free stikers too! The only reason you might make it into the next round is because the other photo is a little boring, but at least they are kayaking a beautiful gorge.
Ross and Robertson a bit of a toss up, but the soul of kayaking is in the creeks play boating is just a good warm up to real paddiling (Creekin).
Stafford is getting a little ahead of himself claiming he will be in the next round??? It was a good thing you explained that the orange blob on the bottom was another paddeler. I have seen finger paintings with more clarity!! It looks like your model is severely sunburnt get him some aloe! I think that Hanaway has you beat this round loser.
Mark Basso has this one great looking rapid.
Barbora Hollan may have this comp in the bag. Beautiful shots and such a nice little artistic flare!

Anonymous said...

Lane- that is one sweet, crisp shot with Basso right on your ass in second. is Barbora Hollan really even beatable. the rest are just good for the mags

Anonymous said...

Yo Grace is that your holloween costume in that little head pic or what?

Cut to the chase, Barbora and Basso grudge match.

Anonymous said...

At the risk of being called a heretic, am I the only one who doesn't see the pull of Barbora's shots? Her current submission looks a little off-focus, with the paddler slightly blurry (and about to dislocate his shoulder). The one before was totally under-exposed but the highlights were still blown. Two minutes messing with curves in photoshop does not necessarily make something "artistic."

Basso, that's an awesome shot.

Anonymous said...

I agree about Barbora's not being quite that exciting. However, Basso is def my favorite, but McQuoid's two shots have been pretty damn cool in my book. I especially like the feeling of teamwork and accomplishment in his round 3 shot

Anonymous said...

Cutch its unfortunate you got paired up against BAsso cause your shot is sick better than most but his is the shit!

Anonymous said...

Here is my call:

Fulbright over Jones for capturing the essence of soul surfing Skookumchuk style.
Boone over Boomer for a better cropped photo (and a bit of bias as I had fun creeking with him in BC).
Jacobs over Crawford for compostion.
McQuoid over Vogt for exposure.
Ross over Robertson for unreal clarity. Too bad, as I really liked Robertson's initial entries.
Stafford over Hanaway, even though it looks digitally manipulated, Hanaways shot is too washed out.
Basso over McCutchen. This is the hardest call, as these are both top three in my book. Tie goes to the Canuck.
Belenksy over Hollan. I know she's cute but how about some colour/focus, not to mention ++++ overcropping!

I am looking forward to the next round!


Kennet Belenky said...

Chan over Fulbright: I appreciate what Fulbright is trying to do, but the lighting is just too flat. Chan's shot is really cool. I love it when color photos take on a B&W-like quality

Boomer over Boone: We need fewer shots of macho-men running the gnar.

Lane over Atom: I honestly can't say that the subject matter of either is doing much for me, but Lane's is a technically better photo.

Brian over Darin: I appreciate the sentiment in Darin's, but it's a little too much like a picture of a puppy snuggling with kittens.

Ross over Robertson: That's just a sweet bit of lighting, and amazingly crisp (Did you use USM?)

Stafford over Hanaway: Everything about Stafford's shot is just really cool. I love the lighting and composition.

Basso over McCutchen: They're both really good, Basso wins by a hair though.

Belenky vs. Hollan: May the better photo win.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about "overcropping". I think the Boomer and Barbara shots that are cropped horizontally in this round work because they distill what's important in those pictures. It's a different aesthetic that some people may not appreciate but I like how it gives you just enough information to communicate the intensity of that moment without all the landscape clutter.

Anonymous said...

Hey Gillman, Matty G says the caption on his photo should read "When he's not insulting people in Seattle, he's stompin' drops in BC". yea boy

Shane Robinson said...

First, big thanks and props to Gillman for picking up my shit this week and publishing the latest round.

Next, thanks to all you readers who have been commenting. Its been a fun distraction from my studies.

Finally, with the burden relieved by guest judges, I couldn't help but join in the fun and add my 2cents:

John v. Chan - I love Chan's shot except the composition or something I can't quite explain is not making it an advancer. I would vote for John for this unique perspective of a not so unique kayak photo spot ... and its so retro

Boone v. Boomer - Boone's seems like any water on any creek. I don't like boomer's blurry rock on the left, but I like the crop.

Lane v. Atom - Lane's is bigger and Schertzl's not standing on the shore.

Darin v. Brian - I think this is the hardest choice in the bunch. Dairn's is cool and simple and says alot, but the Elwha is amazing, and Brian captures a glimpse of that here.

Ross v. Robertson - Another tough decision. I like the extreme light and dark of Evan's shot.

Stafford v. Hanaway - I am liken the liken in Evan's foreground. And Schertzl is not helping anyone in this round :)

Cutch v. Basso - I'm gonna stand up for Cutch here. This shot is really unique. I actually think LL should use it as an add, since the only identifying feature is their logo - no paddler, no paddle, pfd, helmet, just boat and water.

Kennet v. Barbora - Kennet's is cool, but something looks off, like its snowing. And Barbora's is just so different than most kayaking shots.

Nice work everyone.

Todd Gillman said...

Boone, that is classic! I spose he told you about that. Matty was on fire that night .. So was I. Also funny thing is the comments the judges made about his "sweet" line in that shot :-)

Anonymous said...

Thought I should note that Evan's shot is nearly identical to the original. The paddlers face has an orange tint because of the reflection of light off the orange boat, not because of any photoshop or UCM (I don't know what that is).

Cool comp. The comments are entertaining.