Sunday, February 04, 2007

Photo Hold'em | Bracketing the SemiFinals

The dog 'n pony show that is TRL Photo Hold'em continues. We are so far behind schedule on administering this contest that it's become a bit of a joke. Sorry bout that. But hopefully you guys, in your unwaivering loyalty & enthusiasm, have all been logging in a couple times a day, or at least once a day, to, you know, run up the little hit counter thingy.

So today was the Super Bowl, right? Colts vs. Bears? Who's winning, or who won? I wasn't paying attention cuz I was busy moving house.

But I can tell you who won the Leuzer's Bracket -- Atom Effin' Crawford, that's who. And in spite of an esteemed colleague's opinion that "everyone who has gone thru the grand and hiked Nankoweap has taken this photo", Atom gets the nod because this shot is totally arresting & has the power to capture my gaze again & again. I really like the sepia tone, & I'm definitely not a sepia tone kinda guy, but in this shot it's misty & mysterious & monochromatic & nostalgic & could've been shot at any point in the last century. Besides, my esteemed colleague has gone thru the grand & hiked Nankoweap, but I've never seen anything nearly as beautiful in his archives. So, congrats Atom, just like The Brothers Gibb you're stayin' alive .. or else, I dunno, maybe you're feeling a little more alive like these dudes .. whatever.

3 more made the cut.

Evan Ross' shot of Pandora's Box on the Animas shows a run that's equal parts Four Corners & British Columbia. Love the sharp texture of the walls & the depth to the image. There's so much more going on than just the paddler in the run-out of a gnashy rapid, & that's not lost in this shot.

Darin's shot is well-exposed given tough lighting conditions, and most importantly, it's tack-sharp too (check out the water droplets around the subject). I assume he's shooting with good glass. While I'm kind of getting burnt on hearing "Alseseca" so much, I love how snaky this rapid is & how, from this perspective, it seems like Nick won't be catching an eddy til next week. It looks fun .. in a terrifying sort of way.

This is the hardest part, trying to decide who gets the last spot.

Shawn's Fu shot has insane color saturation & a feeling of calm contemplation which I like; but it feels like the horizon is off by a couple degrees & I find myself tilting my laptop counterclockwise to sort it out.. John's Skook shot, with the slow-shutter explosion of water & motion is totally unique & rad. Kyle's shot, while kind of cliche in the angles dept, shows a line being stomped with style, and good style never goes out of style. Vogt's is good action, good timing, good lighting. Basso's is nice framing & color, if a bit washed out. Hale's perfectly captures the union of aesthetic beauty & risk inherent to paddling NW gorges, but there's a noticeable spot on the lens.

After splitting many hairs, I've gotta hand it to Kyle, by the narrowest of margins, for capturing "the feeling" that we're all chasing. Hopefully you know what I'm talking about ..

OK, here's how the semis will play out. Each player advancing from the Leuzer's Round will face off head-to-head against one of the players from the winner's bracket.

So, players, get your submissions into me as soon as you can & I'll get em posted as soon as I can.

Sorry to you guys who got cut. Thanks mucho for playing & for being so patient with us & for submitting amazingly beautiful photos! I'll be putting together a "Best in Show" Flash slideshow kinda thing when it's all said & done, & you will all have shots in there.


slickhorn said...

good choices all. You're spot on about nankoweep, I've seen scores of shots, and that is one of the best I've seen.

thanks for the contest -- I've enjoyed reading the feedback and seeing so many great photogs get in on the action.

Bring on the next round!


Anonymous said...

Ok so i'll be the one to start some controversy on this one. I am appalled to see that Kyle's shot was picked for giving you that "feeling". I didnt get that at all from his shot but i did get it from someone elses. Shawn Robertson's. I thought he did a GREAT job of capturing the feeling one has at the bottom of a canyon that took all you have to survive. There is a peace to that feeling that word's can't explain. Word's can explain what it feels like to boof a 20 footer. quit hookin up your Friends and lets get an art contest goin on here! but what does it matter, boomer will blow us all away anyway.

Kennet Belenky said...

While we're spitting in the wind, I'll continue the controversy. Hale got robbed.

My opinion of head-on shots of people running waterfalls are well documented. Kyle's shot is technically perfect, but doesn't really do anything for me. I'd almost rather see another photo of Oberhardt doing a right blunt at Skook.

If it had been up to me, I'd let Hale's lens smudge slide in favor of the sweet composition and subject matter.

Flame away.

Anonymous said...

I too think Hale's shot was good. The lens smudge, if anything shows that to shoot kayaking at its finest you have to deal with less than perfect conditions like wet, rainy, balmy weather.

Anonymous said...

I second Belenky's & anon's opinions. If he was boofing a 60 footer it would be worthy, but I have to say I was a little shocked. I guess its all
opinion(s?) though.

Hale's shot was dope & Boomer ain't gonna bring shit to the table!

Other opinions...

Anonymous said...

Holly fuck balls!! What a bunch of babies on here!!!

Quit your bitching and take some appreciation, and may something that is so hard to say as, Thank you Todd, Shane and Brian for giving me this chance to my work out there for others to see. I never really get a chance to get exposher like this and you guys provided!

I spoke to TG on the phone just before he jugged this round, (because as it was said he only "hooks up his friends." Quit wining you jackass)Todd had gust received an email form a potog editor at one of our big named Paddling mags who was down right amazed at what he was sing on theranglife.

You know what Todd he told me? "This is just what I wanted, photographers without a name in the industry getting a chance to have there work on display and being recognized for it."

So I Guess we should just keep on bitching and maybe your mommies will log on and make things all better.

Pacifier anyone? Yes a simulated nipple for you babys!!

Austin said...

WOAH WOAH WOAH, this is getting out of proportion. How many hundreds of people check this thing daily right? Are they all expected to agree on every photograph chosen in this competition? no we aren't. The fact is all the photographs are INCREDIBLE and choosing between them is no more than one individuals opinion vs. another. I don't think anyone underappreciates this competition, if they did they wouldn't eve check the page to see what was going on. The fact is you're right gillman shane and brian are going out of there way to hook up these photographers in a really creative way if you ask me. I see no problem with anyone disagreeing with the choices made, but lets keep it civil people.
Austin Rathmann

Shane Robinson said...

yee-haw! Nothing like a good ole controversy like global warming or nuclear proliferation or world poverty or um, Photo Hold'em to stir up some emotions. Keep the comments coming, lovers and haters, but lets just remember that its easy for written text to get mis-construed, so:
1. Be respectful.
2. Breathe Deeply before typing.
3. Word carefully, assuming that your comment could be misinterpreted.
4. Nothing like signing your name to keep ya honest.

Kennet Belenky said...

There's a big difference between expressing an opinion and bitching.

Example A: "Disagreeing"
Wow, these photos all kick ass, but I gotta disagree with TG and say Barney's is better than Homer's.

Example B: "Bitching"
TG is a a complete and utter 'tard for picking Homer's photo. Seriously, if he can't even see how obviously superior Barney's picture is, he should just close the blog now.

We all appreciate what the TRL crew is doing with this contest. Personally, as a mediocre photographer who rarely shows his photos outside my personal friends, I think it's pretty darn neat.

The Web is all about opinions. The whole point of posting photos in a public forum is so that people can critique the photos, praise them, and talk smack.

Darin said...

I bet in a postive note that Hale will be sure to make sure his camera and lens are clean a lot more often.

On a side note, I wished I used good Nikkor glass as refered to, but it's out of my budget.
My shot was with a Nikon D50 and Sigma 18-200, which is notorious for lack of quality control on it's sharpness. Guess I got lucky and got a good one, had my fingers crossed when ordering it for sure.

To add some humor I managed to flip early on in the same rapid, seems even longer when you run it upside down.

Anonymous said...

"Pacifier anyone? Yes a simulated nipple for you babys!!"

That's the best thing I've seen all day!

Todd Gillman said...

Alright ladies ..

I love the fact that y'all are getting so excited & emotionally invested here. That's precious. But please, for the women & children, try to keep it clean -- my mom reads this stuff.

"HFB" is the new awesome around here, like: "HFB! did see what Homer & Barney got into last night?? Handcuffs, then a squad car!" So we'll go with that instead of the other from now on, mmkay commenters?

As for the LR picks, you were forewarned. In the last blog post, I believe I said something to the effect of "Don't whine when your favorite photo doesn't make the cut, cuz all the photos in this round are brilliant & they can't all make the cut". It gets to a point where you have so many great images to choose from, you have to look for reasons to eliminate. Images from a smudgey lens are unacceptable in ANY photo comp, & contrary to the points y'all made about advancing it cuz we shoot in wet conditions, or overlooking it cuz the angle was neato, NO .. just no. Like Darin pointed out, just let it be a reminder to us all -- keep yr equipment clean & dry. ("dry" .. I'm one to talk!)

As for hooking up friends .. TRL is an equal opportunity hooker, just ask .. well, nevermind. Seriously, most of the photogs in the comp were/are friends, even Hale. Actually, i've ousted my own roommate twice now -- the first time cuz he had a smudgey lens. So there.

Ultimately, the point, as was not so eloquently made (but appreciated nonetheless), is that this project has little to do with the winners, it's about getting as many unique, beautiful images out for public consumption as possible & about exposing the great work of shooters who don't have connects with the mags. Maybe the format places too much emphasis on advancing through the rounds & not enough on the image itself -- we'll look at that the next go-round. Til then, keep stirring the pot with teh comments, just try to be nice.


Anonymous said...

first off, to whoever started the HFB thread, could you try running a spell check before posting? I'm happy to read what you have to say, but I'd rather not spend my night deciphering it.
furthermore, I'd like to 2nd/5th all the comments about getting good photos out there. I've only heard of two of the photographers in the competition: Darin, because he's towed me to shore after some stupid class III swims, and John Fullbright from exposure in NRS catalogs. Frankly, I've been astounded with the quality of these shots and can't help but steal them for my wallpaper.
Thanks to TRL for putting this on. Reading some of the comments has helped me think much more critically about my own photography. A bigger thanks to all the photographers who've done a fine job of capturing what paddling's all about for most of us, from a night 5 camp on the MF Salmon to Rush huckin' something ridiculous in the sierras. And thanks for keeping the Upper Cherry shots to yourselves.

Anonymous said...

HFB Guy sends his apology. My blood pressure was rising as I read the previous posts and I quickly vented it back down to norm. Speaking what’s on the mind can sometimes read poorly and I apologies for not toning it down

Don't worry I got my own simplified nipple to suck on and will keep my cool

HFB guy out

Hale said...

I have never been in the middle of an internet controversy before. As far as my photo goes thanks to all of those who went to bat for my entry. I agree with Todd. If I did not have the smudge I would have made the cut. Thanks for the kind words on the shot, Todd! I really felt the old growth trees as you said helped “catch the union of aesthetic beauty & risk inherent to paddling NW gorges”. It was a difficult shot, after hiking down to the edge of the cliff that overlooked the river, I set my case down along with my lens rag and weaved through some soaking wet bushes were I picked up the smudge oh well!
I have e-mailed Todd regarding the contest and I think an online vote would eliminate this issue, but this is the first year of the contest and some of the bugs will get worked out for next years comp. I think also a criteria in which the photos are judged would be important to initiate before the start of the contest. I personally like the Idea of basing the photos on the content and not necessarily the quality of the photos. Many of us don’t have the resources to buy a $3,000 camera set up. I say keep the professionals out and let the amateurs get some exposure.
If we were basing on quality of photo Kyles photo was crisp and colorful and was the right pick. But if we judge on content I personally thought Basso was the one who got robbed. I think throughout the contest he has put up some great shots I am disappointed I will not get to see any more of his shots.
All in all this has been a great contest and although I wish I was on to the next round I have been excited to see all the other photographers’ shots. I will continue to check almost everyday for more shots that get me stoked for this spring!

Shane Robinson said...

Thanks for the comment and especially the suggestions for next year. This whole blog is a work in progress, let alone the photo content so the comments are all taken very seriously. I was pulling for you because smudge or no smudge, anyone who can make Matt look that good has some skillz with a camera. Also, it was a "not-mentioned" first descent I believe, and in the interest of transparency as a tRL voter, I voted against all photos that I have seen repetitively (big timber, etc.). Nonetheless, thanks for playing, thanks for tuning in, and thanks for the comments.

Anonymous said...

All this talk about who made the LOSERS cut is nice but… has anyone else noticed the complete illegitimacy of the LOSERS bracket winners just being dropped right back into the fray of the final four. For some of the contestants this was basically like a bye into the semi-finals after certain other contestants (including myself) fought our way through the early rounds and survived. As the rules of the contest were first described, it was all about the head to head. Don’t get me wrong, the LOSERS came up big with some pretty sweet shots, but the idea that someone from the LOSERS bracket could take the title kind of makes me think I should have just lost in the first round and then pulled out my big guns for the LOSERS bracket. I mean, if it’s called the LOSERS bracket, how can someone from it WIN.

Anonymous said...

not trying to be anonymous. just forgot to sign off above.

Anonymous said...

Though this comp is a great idea and tRL guys are awesome for putting it on, with the constantly changing rules the winners will definatley be "worth their salt" if they arent already a one time LOSER!

Sunday, December 10, 2006
"...Then, we'll invite EVERYONE who has been eliminated from the 4 rounds to submit one image to get back into the Semifinals. From that group, the judges (tRL) will pick TWO photogs to join the four who advanced out of the Great Eight, for a semi's round of six. From there, we'll narrow the field to three, & so on."

Anonymous said...

Rangelife is the new Boatertalk Liquid Lounge ;)

slickhorn said...

I don't quite know why people are griping. As a LEUZER myself, I have to say that in my opinion every shot I've posted has beat every single one of Barbora's, but she's in and I'm not and that makes me a LEUZER.

I think anybody who follows Jefferson State Creeking knows that Darin's elimination was premature. Obviously he's got some sick stuff still to play. Ross has had some great shots as has Kyle -- nobody back in the game is out of their depth.

The most important factor though: more players back in the game = more sick shots coming your way. What's the problem with that?

now would somebody knock lane out already? he knocked me out, by god, it's his turn! ;-)


Anonymous said...

Brian, so true. I was trying to hold off in the hopes that someone else would bring up the loser's somewhat gifted re-emergence, but I've got to say that each of them are fine photographers and can def. hang in the winners bracket. I guess I'm just not used to players being able to buy back in - in the middle of a hand. Nothing needs to change here as from the beginning the rules were stated as "theRangeLife, reserves the rights to do whatever we want, and change this contest as necessary" and I am all fired up to just blow my brethren from New Mexico Atom right back into the losers bracket with some sicko photo from my catolog.

Atom Crawford said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kennet Belenky said...

Meh, the loser's bracket would only have been unfair to the winners if anyone had known in advance that things were gonna work out that way. It's not like anyone deliberately played into the loser's bracket as a strategy.

All the rule changing is a little chaotic but just like Brian I'm all for anything that puts up more pictures.

At any rate, like HFB-man said (or tried to say), it's TRL's blog to do with as they like, and they're clearly doing something right, since we're all here posting HFB comments.

I've said it before, blogs are like anuses. Everyone has one, and nobody wants to look at anyone else's.

Hale said...

Numerous contests have losers brackets, and if you were not in the winners bracket you wouldnt be complaining. If you dont have enough photos to stand two or three extra rounds then you probabaly should not be in the comp thus far.
The losers bracket consisted of 14 photos so you only have a 28% chance to move on. Chances are not that good so in turn you had the best round of the competition so far with the losers pulling out some big guns.
Only two pictures from round four really stood out to me, and I think most of the other pictures would of lost in the losers bracket.
I think this next round will be one of the best I expect to see alot of aces so chose wisely.
The Whale