Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Photo Hold'em ::: The Final Four

In spite of some of the readers'requests to lengthen the game yet again, we're going to movin' forward with the Final Four as planned. So without further ado, here's the bracket:

And here are this week's image submissions to the TRL Photo Hold'em Final Four:

First Heat: Darin McQuoid v. Evan Ross



Second Heat: Evan Stafford v. Barbora Hollan



Short & sweet! The comment window is open for business, so stop by & spend your $.02 .. And check back for the results in a day or two .. or seven.

Also, gotta shout out DJ Kevin Vandy for keeping me motivated tonight with a kickass installment of his weekly KEXP program, The Roadhouse.


Atom Crawford said...

Darin vs E-Ross,
Gotta go with E-Ross, love the color, the uncertain landing and the charging atmosphere. Darins shot is awesome but it looks like the paddler is just drifting into the drop. E-Ross captures the "reason why we creek"in his photo.

Dotcum vs B Hollan,
Gotta go with Hollan. I Like Dot C's shot but it feels a bit washed out to me. creamy caramel nugget anyone? Hollan finally posted a boating shot with color, hallalulla , and it paid off. I think it is one of her (his) better shots. Captures the passion and motion of boating perfectly. makes me jones for Spring runnoff. Atom......

Brian said...

Interesting selections this time around.

I agree with atom the boater is between moments of entry, but I think the shot captures that moment where one is committed, but awaiting the right moment to act. Those short spaces are powerful and one of the reasons I boat. I do really like the composition of this shot. Seeing the bottom of the drop adds to the drama, and tricky lighting and depth of field challeneges here.

Great timing on the shot, the paddler is digging deep, and there's some tension because we can't see what's coming. But this shot is a little incomplete, to me, because I would like to see over the horizon line, or see the horizon line as the final moment after a complex leadin, and we don't get either.

I'm a sucker for canyon country scenery. the texture of the walls is fantastic. I just hope this isn't a bluff card to get barbora into the finals ...

This is a better exposed shot than the last, and captures some great action. My two issues with this shot are that there is no leading room for the paddler in the foreground, and both paddlers faces are obscured. Barbora has taken some serious abuse over the course of the contest -- she definitely wins the sportsmanship award for putting up with our lip.

final showdown: Darin v. dotcom. Bring it!

Kennet Belenky said...

I'm going to break from the herd and show some love for Darin's shot. I'm not sure why, I just like it more.

As for Ross's, whenever I see a non-standard crop I think, "what are they cropping out?" In this case, I suspect it's some water droplets on the lower-left and some under-exposed, gray-looking water.

I really want to like Barbora's shot. I like the chaotic subject matter and the bright colors. However, the lighting doesn't look right. The dark regions aren't saturated (look at the sprayskirt and his shoulder. They're gray, not black). I think that with some levels and curves work in Photoshop this one would've been a lot better.

I guess I have to hand this round to Dotcom by default, even though it does kinda feel like something that any Moab spring-breaker could've shot.

Anonymous said...

Well I think Darin and Barbora pulled away on this one. No offense to the two Evans, but there shots this round didn't do much for me. E-Ross's shot leaves me wanting to know more, but not in a good way. Darins' shot A. makes me really want to go kayaking, B. shows a paddler totally commited to a big drop. I love how Darin managed to make the drop look so big, a tough thing to do from above a lip, normally the opposite occurs. I also love the color contrast of Darin's shot. As for dotcom's shot, well could we get some color contrast in there? too much of one color, lighting is too bright, i'm sure its a very beautiful place, but teh photo just didnt seem to pull all that out. So I think Barbora's is better, good color contrast, and i love the chaos it shows, definately reminds me of what it can feel like to be in a head to head race. Plus she pulled out some friggin whitewater this time! But with all that said, shouldn't barbora win by default? she's the only one left who hasn't lost a round yet. Oh well...movin on, wouldnt want to bring up any of the old complaints about somethin fishy goin on.
good job everyone
Austin Rathmann

Anonymous said...

Another killer round of photos...more inspiration to do it right, not just point-and-shoot.

Personally, I'd give the nod to E-Ross and Barbora's dynamic shots. The power in those two overshadow the awesome perspective in Darin's and the wild texture in Evan's.

Have the finalists saved the best for last?

Matt C

Anonymous said...

I'm actually a little disappointed in the entries to this round. Not that I've ever taken better shots, but I've seen much better ones in the competition so far. I hope the aces haven't already been played.
I really liked seeing that shot of dotcom's on the cover of AW with captions like "wilderness whitewater" and "why we paddle," but I think the shot needs that text to be expressive. The picture alone doesn't do it for me. Probably because, as mentioned, the boat, canyon, and water are all the same color.
Barbora's shot certainly has its framing issues, but the water color and action is great. I don't care about the obstructed faces, I'd rather see aggressive paddle strokes than pearly whites.
Which brings me to the first set. The subject in Ross' shot is certainly more impressive. Darin's timing on Kyle makes it look like he's hesitating, and the camera angle really confuses me. Still, I'd go with Darin on this one. The framing makes that waterfall look huge and the texture of the gorge is amazing. The framing of Ross' shot leaves me asking too many questions about what the drop looks like. Still a tough call here.
Darin v. Barbora

E.G. said...

yeah darin's shot is dope for sure and they sea lanched backwards into that drop as well. a lil bow draw to turn around and get to the right side of the drop then "snap" you got his pic. perfect timing right before the tuck when you look down at the mawl your about to plug the s*** out of 40 feet down. epic picture dude
and the second is a gime the chicks shot is way better I love it. Aronious on all charges

TRL boys you have to do this thing again next year
later EG

Anonymous said...

Rathman - don't make me bitch slap you back to the kids club. For the record I haven't lost in the head to head competition yet either but... Barbora probably still does deserve to win just for dealing with this boys club's consistent barrage of obnoxious innuendos. Her photos have been damn good as well and in terms of photgraphic quality, she is def. near the top of pile. Atom stop hating on the creamy carmel nugget just cause you got zapped back to the leuzers bracket. Call me soon. I'm getting amped for some muddy Zia state paddling. Another month maybe?

Sweet set and with every new round our persepctive of whitewater photography has grown. Just talking about this sheet brings out a lot of fresh ideas on angles, exposure and subject matter. I've grown personally just from taking part. Cheers to the finalists.

Anonymous said...

Awww, that brings a wee tear to the eye, Dotcom. You go girl!

Hartje said...

I think Darin's photo takes it, it stands alone. It doesn't need a mess of academy-of-art-affected-jargon to make it shine.

Anonymous said...

Call me a girl again - but this time state your name and rank so I can practice my kung fu skills on your ass next time we meet. I've been watching the black and white chess scene in Hero every morning in aniticipation for this type of duel.

Darin said...

For a quick word on mine in relation to "but it looks like the paddler is just drifting into the drop" look a little closer at the undercut on river left where about 80% of the flow was going. No paddler would drift into this one, he is just holding good forward posture while waiting for the perfect moment for the final stroke.
As for the "funny angle" I was holding my camera out over the drop and had previously set my focus. Risked no shot at all to get this angle, not sure if it was skill or luck to get the paddler in frame like this and the timing right because my camera is too cheap to sequence quickly. dSLR's could use flipscreens like cam corders sometimes :)

I just wish Grace was still commenting so we could hear first hand about his henious swim on this drop. That swim sure made all pucker up thinking about running it.

Dotcom's like many have said has too much of one color, but he did a great job of working with what was there. Make your buddies buy green and blue boats for the southwest canyon scenery :)

Barbora's shot...hmm seems like the lighting is off, in these conditions it looks like a shot facing downstream would have been a lot more favorable for some nice backlighting. With the super tight crop this would be a great shot if it was taken in say, Reno ww park.

Thanks for any positive comments on my shots, the others are beauties too.

Anonymous said...

Are you telling stories again Darin, and name dropping as well?

Take it humorously
Evan Ross

Anonymous said...

E-Ross, and Barbora

Darin said...

Don't worry, the stories are lies and the photo is really my greatest ms paint creation yet. Anyone seen some rays to bang? It's finally snowing here in Cali so I need to strap on the velcro shoes move somewhere sunny.

Anonymous said...

Dotcom and Darin to the finals!

jason said...

Darins shot is just about perfect. The focus, the colors, the framing, the thin-acity of the line, the hena-city of the drop.. The tension just oozes out of the pic cuz you know he's thinkin: "If I miss this move I'm a-gonna get stomped.."

Dotcom vs. Barbora is tougher. I like them both for different reasons. I would call these two a draw, they are both really good. maybe a Dotcom Barbora semi-semi is in order..


Anonymous said...

Love Darin's shot, but the boat's logo almost ruins it. Come on EJ ... Mega Rocker ... are you serious?! It is almost the subject of the composition. What a shame ...

Anonymous said...

Darin vs. Evan

Though an 'alseseca' photo/video overdose has made me a little biased against darin's photos, I have to say he takes this round. That framing is unique and it makes the drop look huge. The photo is definatley one of the best in the comp. It looks like he is dropping into a tight little box...which can be very dangerous. Moving on, the sharpness and contrast of evan's shot is once again, really good. But I need more content...I like to see the entire drop.

Dotcom vs Barbora

I am a sucker for inner gorge shots and especially unique walls such as in this one. But I like action shots. If there was just a little bit more than a ripple in the gorge it would score more points in my book. The chaos in Barbora's shot is cool but the framing doesnt do much for me. As for a winner, I would have to call it a draw.

So, how about a semi-semi round consisting of the two legitamite competitors, barbora and dotcom, with the two almost as legit competitors darin and e-ross. It seems as if this will be the only way to declare a 'true' winner.
That is, unless barbora or dc takes the entire comp.


Anonymous said...

Darin's in a league of his own in this heat. The crispness of focus and color of Nick going over the lip. Mixed w/ the mess he's droppin into not only shows commitment on the paddler's part but also a clear display of professional skill on Darin's part to sync the two together. The other shots look a lot like the quality I'm able to get on a bad day w/ a one time use disposable camera....Darin all the way.


Anonymous said...

I just gotta show a little love for Ross' shot here. The timing and angle are great, and capture the moment when your probe disappears and you spend the next ten seconds wondering how they're doing. The subject here is the boater, not the drop, so the framing is fine. I do, however, think the contrast between the white water and the black walls is too dramatic and abrubt, taking focus away from the subject. And is that water on the lens?

I disagree with Lane here, Darin and Ross deserve the top two slots.

Anonymous said...

Ok, the whole idea of being unfair to Boomer and Lane was that the comp was going to hurry up, yet here we are 10 days later with no update...what gives

Darin said...

TRL is putting this on in their free time, have some grace.