Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Photo Hold'em ::: Round 3 ::: The Judges' Picks

Welcome back, sports fans. This here's the post where our 3 guest judges pick the winners & send half the field packin' for home.

Guest Judge #1: Clay Wright

Clay sez: "This is the perfect thing for me to do right now. I'm as opinionated as ever. I'll be happy to say why I hate each one."

Guest Judge #2: Ken "Hobie" Hoeve

Hobie sez (to Clay): "Clay, why are you only one-fisting it??"
(to everyone else): "Congrats to all the people that sent in photos. They're all very good and could easily be framed and enjoyed for eternity. It was tough to decide between them, but someone had to do it. I wonder what John and Clay will say? I think they will feel the same way I do, and that regardless of what others think, it is what YOU think. We are all so different and all have different views and opinions. That is what makes this kayaking world so great. We are all so different, but we all truly love one thing, paddling. And that is what matters most. Good luck to everyone."

Guest Judge #3: John Grace

Grace sez: "Thanks for giving me something to do."
(to the other judges): "Fellas, HERE is a link you guys should take a look at. Long live the Range Life!"

As I mentioned in the last post, the judges' comments will be preceded by these nifty little judge-head icons .. kinda like this:
"My dog takes better pictures."
"Trust me, this baby has at least another hundred-thousand miles left in 'er, & you can drive it home, TODAY, for only five-grand."
"Um no, this is not a halloween costume. I happen to like turtlenecks."


1. John Fulbright vs. Chan Jones



"This one goes to Chan. I don't feel Fulbright's 'night-time' surf buzz, and can't understand why one boat is in dark and another in twilight. Like mixing whiskey and chocolate milk - two good things made worse in the combining. Love the phosphorescence & I'm a sucker for the HF vest, Sidewinder paddle, & squirt boats on Skook, but it just doesn't do it for me. Fullbright gets an A for effort. And capturing the glow on Skook is surely a mission, but unless you know what you're looking for, it's just dark. Chan's Hurricane is shot well, & the light on the water is interesting."
"One of the tougher to decide between, but I have to go with Chan Jones image. I like the surfing at Skook, but the idea of the Chan’s image makes me wonder 'What is this guy about to get into?; I love the curtain of water & the lighting is the extra touch that put it over the top."
"I like Chan's shot because that shit is just badass."

The winner: CHAN JONES!


2. John Boone vs. Erik Boomer



"This one goes to Boone. The paddler might just blow it, but the shot is done well. Paddle across the face, but the composition works & is cropped nice n tight. Boomer's shot of Billy could be grand - the boater is really on top of things & the falls and hole impressive, but the crop and the focus just aren't as sharp. Great comp, subject matter, & timing otherwise."
"I went with Eric Boomer. I really like how Billy Jones is set up on the drop & how the photo makes me feel it is at the moment he is just pulling himself off the drop. I also have to try & judge the size of the fall but having seen Billy run stuff before, I am sure it is pretty big. The paddler in John's shot seems to be more hesitant & is allowing the river to take him while Eric’s shows a paddler given 'er on his terms."
"I like Boomer's shot more becuase I have seen the Boone shot 100,000 times, & the paddler's form is bad" (ed note: 100,000 times, eh Grace?)

The winner: ERIK BOOMER!


3. Lane Jacobs vs. Atom Crawford



"This goes to Lane. The shot is clear, pretty well timed, & shows Skippy at the crux looking stoked. While I LOVE Atom's shot - the timing, action, and sense of seriousness ... Hope he clears both eddies! "
"Lane all the way. Another example of a paddler pulling that last stroke and then one with the paddler kind of drifting a drop. Atom’s shot does have some good points to it like the safety person peeking out and the sheer force of the water pushing the paddler but the size of the drop, grace of the paddler, and the lighting on Lane’s gives it the nod." (ed note: That safety guy is Schertl, & as river safety goes, he's among the sketchiest. Yet he's one of the "safest" people I know.)
"Lane's shot is badass. Big drops look cool."

The winner: LANE JACOBS!


4. Darin McQuoid vs. Brian Vogt



"I'm giving this one to Vogt. His shot of a guy exiting the canyon isn't as sharp as Darin's 'victory' shot, but it's got a great feel of 'light at the end of the tunnel' - the canyon walls receding and sun poking though. I think with a bit more of the drop in the background, or the faces, Darin might have it, but there's something important missing as is."
"This is the easiest to judge of them all, Brian Vogt wins. Beautiful scenery, the lone kayaker running a rapid I wish I was on, the sheer walls, and the texture of the shot. Darin’s shot is clear and sharp but makes me think 'Oh, that guy must have just taught EJ to roll.' I would rather see him boosting huge or running whatever it is they are high fiving about."
"I like McQuoid's shot because giving high fives increases Seratonin levels."

The winner: BRIAN VOGT!


5. Evan Ross vs. Shawn Robertson



"Ross over Robertson. While the swirl of water is cool and the light is nice, there's no looper. Ross's stock OB shot has some cool water too, but with a launch, a destination, and with a background boater for scale. Both are crisp and bright. "
"Although I would love to give the thumbs up to the play boating image since it has a sick Dagger boat throwing a nasty loop, my heart goes with Evan Ross. That photo is one of my favorites in the whole competition. Bro #1 perfectly on line at Oh B J while bro #2 sits with the perfect view of his friend nailing it. This is what paddling is about regardless of what you are running. Being on the water with your friend, enjoying the moment, sticking the line. This shot showcases all of those things. Great pic Evan!"
"Ross baby Ross! I feel no need to explain."

The weiner: EVAN ROSS!


6. Evan Stafford vs. Hale Hanaway



"Both great shots. Both have something a bit unexpected - the 'A-frame' trees on Hanaway's and the photographer crouching below Stafford's. Composition-wise, Hanaway's could be centered further left, so the boat has somewhere to go. Staffford cuts off the rear of the kayak to better show where it's going . . and the dark shot is lit just where it needs to be. While it might be a bit grainy, Stafford's is a tougher and more interesting shot. Stafford gets this one."
"Very close between Evan & Hale, but I will go with Evan. By the looks of the drop & the shore below, this paddler is launching into a macker. I like the lighting too. The shot from Hale is really good too. The dense water, green lush forest, & a paddler who is on their game. It could go either way, but again, Evan seems a bit more to my liking." (ed. note: That's Schertl again & he's nowhere near 'on his game'. Gotta fix the leaky security that keeps allowing that guy to make it onto our blog.)
"Dotcom because it rhymes with me bangin' high-fivin' your Mom."

The whiner: EVAN STAFFORD!


7. Kyle McCutchen vs. Mark Basso



"Basso's shot is unbeatable. While it's a playboat, the drop has cool curves and the timing is perfect - right on the lip with some good momentum to it. Backlit but he made it work. Kyle's shot is awsome - it's got great rock, sketchy line, some question as to whether the rock will be hit, and snow! Great focus, but the boat is towards the bottom of the shot, and it's hard to tell where it's going. A winner against most any other shot but Mark's."
"Another toughie. I have to give it to Mark. I like the tight image Kyle sent but am a bit more into the overall shot from Mark. I like seeing the lead-in to the drop, the paddler’s line, the look of the landing and the lighting. Kyle is a talented dude & the photo shares it ... but as a paddler, I like the way Mark's shot shows the whole scene. On a side note, I really want to go run that waterfall myself!"
"Basso ... Good form, good light, good drop = good pic."

The wanker: MARK BASSO!


8. Kennet Belenky vs. Barbora Hollan



"Belekny vs Hollan is a toss up: two great shots with unique aspects and really different. While the water is just so sharp and interesting in Belekny's shot the boat is further down in the frame that ideal - less anticipation and mystery than if it were shot 1/2 second earlier. There's also a good bit of noise in the lower 1/3rd of the frame. Hollan's shot has great timing, really cool backlighting, and great anticipation on first glance. Will he clear the hole? While it's no where near as dramatic or colorful, it's just a better shot overall - the interesting composition and unique lighting produce a more memorable, almost classic image. Hollan gets the nod after much deliberation."
"Between Kennet & Barbara, I will go with Kennet for two reasons. First the color. I like color photos in paddling. Kayaking fills so many senses, & color enhances it. Bright boats pop, water color indicates a bunch, & it makes me look longer at the image. I do like B/W for portraits of paddlers/people, but in this case color prevails. Reason #2 is I love carnage just as much as the next guy, & this pic makes me think this dude is on Plan C or D by now. He wants to look over his shoulder but I think he is more into curling up in a ball & getting ready to drink out of his booty!"
"Barbora ... This photo reminds me of sweeping alluvial plains formed by the Great Murray River Basin, nature's rich sun-drenched liquid highways along with leaping kangaroos perfectly co-exist in this wondorous photograph. This photo is the essence of our landscape embodied in a perfect, well balanced image frozen in the channels of time." (ed note: The Grace household became noticeably safer sometime between when he was judging the McCutchen/Basso heat & the Hollan/Belenky heat.)





Anonymous said...

I'm in the (apparently small but growing) camp that doesn't care much for Barbora's shots. I like the artistic intent, but the results are boring. Then again, what do I know? I was cut out in the first round. Otherwise, I agree with most of these picks.

Too bad Fullbright - I like what you're going for here but I agree with Clay that it just doesn't quite work. Especially unfortunate since I know you have some badass pics in your arsenal.

Boomer's shot could lose the blurry left rock and have sharper focus overall.

Darin's shot might be good from the other side, if their faces were visible. As it is, the back of two dudes in flatwater vs. a lone paddler on Elwha Canyon = no competition.

Shawn - that loop isn't quite vertical. Poor form (just kidding, but it would be nice if at least one person was visible and in focus). I like the background boat in Evan's shot, and it doesn't involve anyone's crotch. O B the winner.

Stafford's shot has interesting color and I like the framing... though Hale maybe should have won this for making Schertzl look good, quite a feat.

Basso - best in the bunch. Only thing better would be a slightly different time of day to remove the shadows near the top. Something about Kyle's is off for me.

I like Kennet's shot, despite its grainy over-processed quality. Color, action & anticipation vs. boring b&w shoulder dislocator = Beatdown wins in my book.

/not bitter.

Kennet Belenky said...

Just to save Ben's reputation, he did work his way out of that hole after a mini-epic, but not very interesting to watch, battle. I shudder to think of the hole that would make Ben swim.

You can see the whole sequence on my page of 'tards on Canyon Creek. You can also see why I had to post-process the heck out of my shot.

Also, someone asked what USM is. It's "Unsharp Mask," a pretty standard image filter in programs like Photoshop. If you use a little, you can make your photo look a little crisper. If you use more than a little, it turns your shot into a hideous, noisy, pile of crap.

Moonboot said...

Hey there Clay and friends, thanks for the nice words about the shot. Just thought I would comment before Vosburgh's fragile emotions go to shit and he crashes somewhere on his snowboard that he is paddling an H3 off of Titan Falls.
A few of us lucky Canadians have recently managed to get a hold of some creekboats up here.... but only through some very sketchy smuggling operations.


Anonymous said...

Hi there. I just wanted to make one comment about one of these pictures. It's about Atom Crawford's picture, and specifically the safety guy in the foreground.

I don't know about anyone else, but I don't think I've ever seen a toiter set of bunz anywhere. I think Atom's shot should have won on that alone, but that's just this girl's opinion. Props to Shertl, his safety, and his toit bunz.


p.s. Are you guys thinking about making any Range Life clothing? If so, remember the ladies please.