Friday, February 16, 2007

Photo Hold'em ::: Bring on the Final Four!

I've conferred with my close connects in the Illuminati & have been given clear instructions as to which 4 players will be advancing to the Hold'em Final Four. But for purely entertainment value, let's just fake a fair & balanced discussion of the merits & faults of the Semis submissions.


First Heat: Darin McQuoid v. Erik Boomer



For me, this one's kind of a no-brainer. Boomer's unique floral framing of Nate on this splasher is awesome; I really do love this shot. But by stopping-up, he prolly had depth of field to cover foreground & subject, & sharpness when testing the shot .. but he had to compensate his exposure with a slower shutter speed. Either way, a slightly soft subject is the outcome. Darin's shot is just jaw-dropping. Pretty much my main addiction to running gorged-out creeks has to do with the kinda in-yr-face realization that you're just a temporary annoyance in an otherwise unyielding, ancient & impossibly huge environment. Sounds kooky, but nothing proves your insignificance like being gobbled up by a bunch of rock. Anyway, D's shot captures this feeling. Whether or not the subject is rapidly descending his rappel, or just pausing to enjoy the gale-force jungle powerwash, is unclear. Doesn't matter. I keep coming back to this shot again & again to stare at the gorge walls, & then my eye darts over to the subject & I realize all over again how huge that place is. The mist adds softness & motion to the stark surroundings. This shot needs to be entered into a real photo comp, like This One my bro just put on in Aspen.


Second Heat: Lane Jacobs v. Evan Ross


"Trip Jennings at Metlako Falls, OR."


Lane's shot of Trip is noteable for Metlako's size & the beauty of the amphitheater. I love the bulge of rock on R-Left & the fact that you can see in Trip's body language that he's got his LZ on lock & is calmly stomping this huge drop that only a handful of people will ever run. But I gotta give this one goes to E-Rock. I'm a sucker for contrasty lighting & I love how the rim of the gorge is baking in the sun while the gorge itself is mysteriously cool & dark, with the subject coming out of the crack into the calm sunny pool. Like Evan's last submission, the clarity & sharpness of the texture of the walls, & the depth of field rules.


Third Heat: Atom Crawford v. Evan Stafford



Both shots are *almost* great; both are about sense of place in very otherworldly locations. But there's something about both of them that is a bit off. A reader comment nailed it on Atom's. I think if he were to have cropped the R-Left bank, the rock formations in the greenwater would be even more called-out. I would like to see a more tightly cropped/framed shot with a paddler calmly melting this pourover. The color balance seems way warm too. Evan's shot suffers a bit from clutter in front of the subject & I think the d00dz on the rocks are distracting -- they're not even paying attention. I played around with cropping this one & when you knock them out of the picture, the canyon then becomes even more important in the shot. This is a super tough call for me, but I gotta go with Dotcom this round.


Fourth Heat: Kyle McCutchen v. Barbora Hollan



Another difficult pick. I had lived in CO for a lot of years before even looking at Yule. Then one summer Kyle & I dragged some friends up there & we figured it out from the top of the drainage the whole way down. It was one of the best weekends of paddling I had in CO. So Kyle knows which buttons to push here. In this shot, I love the texture of the rock in the foreground & how the creek draws a snakey line through the image. The subject isn't super sharp though & overall I think the shot suffers more from lens choice than anything -- when it gets down to it, I want to see more of the creek; I want to see the wall in Wall Check. B's shot is more about interesting swirly motion, balancing the grayscale, & unique comp. The highlights are a bit blown in the background, but that makes the subject pop. I like it. And I don't mind that she's not shooting "real" rapids -- this isn't a quien es mas macho comp, it's a photography comp, & she's got chops.


So, the Hold'em Final Four is:
Darin McQuoid vs. Evan Ross

Evan Stafford vs. Barbora Hollan

The Illuminati is pleased, and that's all that really matters.


So, I was thinking about inviting all the losers thus far to submit one more ... Nevermind ...

Let the mudslingin' commence.


Anonymous said...

Well well well, a new round of Rangelife phot comp and a new reason for me to annoy todd on this little comment thingy. Well judged throughout the round. I like all of the choices, all shots chosen were sick as far as photographs go. Would've liked to see some whitewater from Barbora, but her shot was a great shot anyway. My shit-talking is going to come from Todd not wanting to invite any of the losers back in the comp. Well lets look at this. Both Darin and E-Ross, are previously voted off competitors who got a second chance at a very critical point in the game. Shouldn't Boomer and Lane get a second chance seeing as they were beat by people they'd already beaten? Just fair. But the world's not fair either and Rangelife is god of this world so maybe fairness is out. Anyway I can't wait to see the next round of shots hopefully someone will play some sick shots of Madagascar (cough cough Evan Ross)....
Good lines
Ausitn R.

Anonymous said...

Boomer's already played all his aces anyway ;-)

Anonymous said...

Yeah Gillman you guys should let Lane and Boomer put pictures in again. Its a bit weak that they were eliminated by people that were beat. They moved on further then those people and then got taken out by the losers aces. One last shot for those two would be the only fair thing to do. There's nothing else cool going on right now might as well let the comp go on for another extra round of excitement. P.S Little whites at 4 ft today you should come down.
-Todd A.

Anonymous said...

Lens choice? I don't even own my own camera. Seriously. I just borrow dotcoms waterproof Pentax half the time.

Cool comp, great shots, ready to see more. Congrats to all the winners.


Anonymous said...

Maybe Barbora made it thus far for being a smokin' hot Norway chick? Her pics are great but need more fuel for the fire. Trip's pic was sooo Nasty it deserves more props. Just my thoughts.