Tuesday, September 27, 2011

2011 12x12 Vancouver Photo Marathon Exhibit

After 49 long, arduous days of excruciating waiting, the 60 participants of the 3rd annual 12x12 Vancouver Photo Marathon were able to see the fruits of their labour for the first time along with their sidekicks, friends & family.

Those who brought along digital bodies may have less tension during their waits, for the rest, the anticipation to see how (and in some cases IF) their photos turned out is crushing.  Need I remind you, dear reader, that this is a FILM-based photo competition so the back of the camera only tells you at most, yes, you have 12 exposure 400ISO Kodak film inside - DO NOT OPEN!  No previews to be seen here!

One arrives to the always helpful and cheerful 12x12 organizers and picks up the coveted negatives that is proof of ones epic journey on that long long day in English Bay many moons prior.  One then searches with anticipation to find their photo board and upon finding it, the first reaction may be, relief "*phew* the photos actually turned out!", it then turns to analysis, "hmm... that one was a little blurry, doh!" or, "that one could've been framed a little better" and finally "yeah... i didn't like that one when i took it".  (Gee Zach, then why did you take the photo???)

I must say, having some experience from participating in the 2010 12x12 Vancouver Photo Marathon, I came into the 2011 event with more expectations of myself.  I was certainly still in it to have fun, but whereas last year was really a "roll of the dice" and playing along like the baby brother who comes to the tennis courts just to be the ball boy, this year came with a sense of a mission to seriously try and win something.  That being said, I didn't exactly train/practice so... there was certainly the desire, not so much the preparation.  I did attempt some 'black card' and multiple exposure shots that didn't quite turn out and ran out of time to perfect the technique.

I unfortunately suffered an issue with my camera, or maybe it was user incompetence, and my Theme 2 "The Usual Suspects" photo didn't turn out.  I must have accidentally hit the switch that allows double-exposures and ended up 'overwriting' my mostly highly anticipated photo with Theme 3 more or less ruining both.  I don't know that my photo would've won the theme, it might have had a chance at another fan favourite mention.  I was happy more or less with my remaining photos, just the lament over what could have been was disappointing, here is the photo that I happened to take a digital back up of:

Theme 2: The Usual Suspects

Back to the show, once you've finished reviewing your photos, you start to look at your peers' photos around you.  "Hmm... that's a neat photo", "ohhh, I like that interpretation, why didn't I think of that??" and finally "LEGO!!!".  This year I was actually eager to see this series as I noticed part way through the day, one poor (creative?) soul who seemed to be lugging an upright vacuum cleaner with him everywhere he went "THAT is going to be an interesting series" I thought, and here it is: http://www.flickr.com/photos/vancouverphotomarathon/sets/72157627302603499/ - i thoroughly enjoyed this series

As you peruse the exhibit, anticipation returns... "when are they going to announce the winners?  My picture turned out great, I wonder if I won??"  Finally, Morten invites the 60 marathoners up to the winners gallery and one skims through them looking for a familiar photo, stopping to think "oh, that's a great shot!".  The winning photos were, of course, fabulous and it's a great learning experience that I can take away to improve my own photography!

Hopefully I'm able to get into the 2012 12x12 next year and will have to read over the notes from this year to improve my photos!

Thank you again to all the 12x12 organizers and sponsors!  Without you, this event could not happen!

Of course, if you haven't seen them yet, here are my photos and some quick thoughts: http://www.flickr.com/photos/vancouverphotomarathon/sets/72157627426673270/with/6040237482/
Theme 1: was really happy with this photo, minor adjustments would have made it better, namely lighting - dimmer for more of a proper 'poker' feel.  The thoughts behind the shot in my comments
Theme 2/3: as mentioned above
Theme 4: a bit of a cop-out, giving up on a photo that would've required quite a drive away from HQ
Theme 5: this photo turned out not quite as i envisioned it and that's due to where we took it, tripod straddling the front seats of my car and my brother in the back seat.  I also had a flashlight that i thought would have given warmer/dimmer lighting but I guess I overexposed (or didn't underexpose) enough to get the effect I was hoping for, DoF a little too shallow as well, probably a product of my concern that the camera wouldn't get enough exposure
Theme 6: seeing the photo in print, I feel the angle could've been a little higher so focus is more drawn into the back rows of bread.  it still doesn't quite visualize odour in a great way
Theme 7: I was hopeful of this photo and it appears some angles are a little off for my taste and ultimately the crop would've helped the photo as well, let's see what i can do in Post =P
Theme 8: I was actually quite impressed when I saw this photo at the exhibit, the walls in the photo turned out darker than I expected (lack of experience?).  I really liked the photo and the only small issue was that visually the photo wasn't truely "Trapped" and I did the best to close off the gap.  Should have found some cardboard or something to block off that last little bit of 'escape' =)
Theme 9/10: Read my blog on the story on this photo
Theme 11: I like this photo despite some small technical glitches.  Focus is slightly off.  The blur in the foreground is the chainlink fencing I was shooting through (lack of zoom FTL).  It was a bit of a stretch for the theme but I was comfortable with it, the earth is much more precious than we give it credit for and this angel almost looked like it was holding the earth
Theme 12: exhaustion won over this photo, I don't even know what I'm trying to do with this photo. =P

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