The Instigator
s0m31john
Pro (for)
Losing
15 Points
The Contender
RoyLatham
Con (against)
Winning
34 Points

My photographs are, on the overall, "better" than my opponent's.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 12 votes the winner is...
RoyLatham
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/25/2010 Category: Arts
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 6,146 times Debate No: 12412
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (27)
Votes (12)

 

s0m31john

Pro

In this debate my opponent and I shall post one (1) picture that we have taken ourselves each round and then include a short description and a criticism of their opponent's previous photograph.

The word "better" shall be defined by the voters and they are free to listen to our arguments and choose accordingly.

I will start the competition with one of my more recent photographs:

http://www.flickr.com...

Pictured is a Muscovy Duck [1] relaxing in the grass on the shore of Lake Tohopekaliga [2] in Kissimmee, Florida. Interestingly enough, while it is a tropical bird, they can be found in nearly every US state, Canadian province, and even in Japan where temperatures can reach as low as -12 Celsius.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
RoyLatham

Con

This is really not a debate, and I must admit that my somber icon is not as well suited to the subject as Pro's moe one. Nonetheless, if it involves photography, I'm all for it!

I like the Muscovy duck photo because it gets up close to show detail that is not usually seen. Technically, the highlights are slightly blocked so it's hard to see the detail in the feathers. I tend to prefer the whole creature in the environment, but that's just a matter of taste.

My photo http://www.quickshotartist.com... for this round was taken in Kawaihae (http://en.wikipedia.org...) on the Big Island in Hawaii. Kawaihae is an industrial port with few tourists. The movie "Waterworld" was shot in the harbor. The photo is a high dynamic range image from three exposures, combined in Photomatix. The objective is to preserve highlights and shadows in a high contrast scene.
Debate Round No. 1
s0m31john

Pro

I thank my opponent for taking up a debate that is not done in his usual style. I attempted to make it more debate-like with the topic one could take con against rather than something like "Photography Competition".

RoyLatham I took the time to browse through your photography website to get a feel for any particular style you may have. Feel free to browse my Flickr portfolio if you would like to get a better understanding of my approach to photography.

My opponent's first round photograph is an excellent example for proper HDR, too many times people get it wrong and go overboard with HDR. It doesn't do much else though and while the HDR is nice and everything is properly exposed the photograph otherwise seems like a random snapshot. The lack of a subject of some sort fails to draw me into the picture.

For my second round photo I present you with this:

http://www.flickr.com...

This is the Baughman Center on Lake Alice at The University of Florida
RoyLatham

Con

Photos do not need a subject. Instead they may have multiple items of interest, a pattern, or just a sense of place.

Pro's photo of the building on the lake is an idyllic setting. The photo would be improved if more of the lake were included in the foreground, and there was less sky. That would raise the horizon to make a better composition. As it is, the reflection is cut off. Large expanses of blank white sky are best avoided.

For this round I offer a recent photo http://quickshotartist.com... taken at Point Lobos, near Carmel, California. Point Lobos http://www.pointlobos.org... is hopelessly scenic. The yellow flowers with red stems are, oddly, called "bluff lettuce." The frame with the kids is spliced with a frame of the waves. That allows timing the position of the kids and of the breaking wave separately. The kids provide scale and draw attention to the cliff edge. It's best viewed full screen to get the detail.
Debate Round No. 2
s0m31john

Pro

While it's true photographs do not need a specific subject, my opponent's first photograph lacks anything to draw me in. There are a few scattered trees that block an excellent view of the ocean and then a random trash can down in the corner. I don't want RoyLatham to take my comments personally, this is just what I take away from his first round photograph.

RoyLatham's round two photograph is nice. I would have not made it as wide as he did or as tall to get rid of that cut off tree in the top right corner and to make the rock face in the bottom left not take up so much of the foreground.

I now present you with my round three photograph:

http://www.flickr.com...

This was taken at the University of Florida's Japanese Spring Festival, where the local Tea Ceremony ladies gave us quite a performance.
RoyLatham

Con

I quite like the photo of the Japanese woman. On the technical side, the highlight details are completely lost from overexposure.

For this round, I have a closeup photo of some flowers, http://quickshotartist.com.... I took the photo with a pocket camera in the parking lot of the Post Office in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, while my wife was mailing a package. I'm not sure what type of flowers it is, but it looks like a type of oleander, which is not at all exotic. (The California High Department has planted oleander everywhere.) The exotic appearance comes from getting inches away from the blossoms.

I took out fine detail with a "Simplify" filter in Photoshop. That makes a sort of painting effect that works well with flowers. The intent is an over-the-top tropical look. With standard Photoshop Elements, posterize > palette knife produces a similar effect.
Debate Round No. 3
s0m31john

Pro

I can not see the overexposure that my opponent sees in my photograph, I would take a look at the histogram but I feel that is too technical for this situation.

My opponent's round three photograph makes a great piece of art. Although I would like to see a version that has been brightened up a touch.

For my round four photograph I offer this:

http://www.flickr.com...

A Squirrel on the University of Florida campus, perhaps partaking in some breakfast.
RoyLatham

Con

Squirrels are cute. One might add interest by replacing the squirrel with a hot girl wearing a bikini made from the pelt of the animal. Although whether that adds interest does depend upon the audience. Fur is also problematic these days, I know.

Alas, I don't have anything *that* interesting either. For this round I have a picture http://quickshotartist.com... taken on a business trip to the port city of Yokohama, Japan, where I had a chance to walk to the waterfront. These pre-schoolers were far more interested in the seagulls feeding on popcorn than the museum ship. Note that about 75% of the way down the line there is one boy staring at me taking the picture. There is one of those types in every crowd. Notice all the backpacks and the yellow hats for identification.
Debate Round No. 4
s0m31john

Pro

I try not to take very many pictures of squirrels because I know that they are very over represented in the whole of photography.

My round five and last photograph took a lot of, let's say energy, to acquire. This was taken in a small mountain creek in Caesars Head State Park in South Carolina about three miles into the the Natureland Trust Trail after about 2 miles on Raven Cliff Falls and then 2 on the Dismal Trail. [n]

Just after this we ascended more that a thousand feet and passed a swinging bridge, and a rock face called The Cathedral. A 120 foot tall rock face that the trail passes right by. There was so much water falling off the rock that I was unable to use my camera. Anyway, all of that water turned into the small creek in my photograph around a thousand feet below us.

http://www.flickr.com...

[n] http://www.southcarolinaparks.com...
See the trails for riveting tails on each trail.
RoyLatham

Con

My last photo http://quickshotartist.com... is an autumn scene from the Apple Hill region of California in the Sierra foothills, near Placerville. In much of the U.S. autumn scenes and apples are pretty much everywhere, but in California it takes a special trip to the mountains. The photo shows the "station" for a kids' train ride set up during harvest time.

The pixels have been flying for five rounds. I'm not sure what it all proves, but it was fun! Pro got the format right: five rounds and a thousand works well. I have enjoyed looking at his photos. He has great enthusiasm.

Viewers of the photos may want to consider the effort it takes to look critically. My R3 photo of the flowers takes no effort, it just hits you in the face. R1, R2, and R4 have something going on that, I think, bears pondering. R5 is in between, but it mostly just hits you. Neither approach is necessarily better, it depends how well they are executed.
Debate Round No. 5
27 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by haert09 4 years ago
haert09
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Posted by 4tunatecookie 6 years ago
4tunatecookie
"...I must admit that my somber icon is not as well suited to the subject as Pro's moe one."
Although I'm no photography aficionado, that statement pretty much clenched the debate for me.
Posted by FREEDO 6 years ago
FREEDO
WOWSHIT. I see the place in that last photo ALL THE TIME. hahaha
Posted by Danielle 6 years ago
Danielle
I'm not quite positive of how to judge this but here is my RFD anyway. First I'll compare my preference of photographs by round.

Round 1: John. I agree with John's assessment that I couldn't really find anything to focus in on or draw me into Roy's pic. However, Roy's photo seemed more technical. I also agree that the trash can kind of takes away from Roy's pic in a negative way. It was a close one, but John has the edge.

Round 2: Tie. John's critique of Roy's pic was good because he pointed out the tree top getting cut out in the top right corner, which I didn't notice until he pointed it out - but once he did I spotted it and indeed it did throw the pic off a little bit. However, Roy was right about less sky in John's pic perhaps making it better as well as his other assessment. Roy's pic was beautiful but John's was more interesting and the reflection was cool (wish he did more with it though).

Round 3: Another tie. I absolutely loved the pic of the Japanese girl, but Roy's pic was also really pretty and the way he altered it made it look even more unique. I like the colors and the way they become shaded in. Overall there might have to be a slight edge to John's pic because it was so beautifully done, though Roy gets points for creativity and showing various forms of his style.
Posted by Danielle 6 years ago
Danielle
Round 4: Roy Latham. I didn't find the pic of the squirrel too impressive - not just cuz it was a squirrel but just the quality of it in general. On the other hand I thought Roy's picture was really cute and well done. He got lucky too because the kids depicted look adorable and are all doing their own cute things! For instance the girl all the way on the left has her mouth open looking sort of in awe over the edge of the dock; one kid toward the right is turned around with glee; and of course there is that really cute scene of the little boy and girl holding hands as they walk away. The boat and everything is depicted near perfectly in my opinion. I really love this photo - it's my favorite one here.

Round 5: Tie, but with an edge in Roy's favor. John's pic is very crisp and well done but Roy's pic depicts a lot more. While John's focuses on a point of environment, Roy's shows a point of environment in season which tells us more of a story. The dimensions are also perfect in my opinion. However, the droplets bouncing off the water in John's pic were captured really well, as were the colors. I can't tell if I want the picture to be more centered or not though.

RESULTS: Now, while those are my opinions about the photos, let's not forget that this is a *debate* so that has to be voted on too. I thought the conduct, links and s/g was a tie, and that arguments are really all that matters. Overall Roy seemed to describe a little bit more about his photos from both a technical side as well as factual tidbit side. However, John did a better job of making me notice his opponent's mistakes. Overall I think this was a *very close* debate but I'm giving John 2 points and Roy 4 points. They should do another one like this! I really enjoyed it.
Posted by ProHobo 6 years ago
ProHobo
RoyLatham,
You are right, I forgot to add memories. What I meant by "news or science", was exactly as you described – "What does a Muscovy duck look like?" or "What does Point Reyes look like?" – the photo is providing information to the viewer.

In the most general sense, I view photos as three separate categories. 1. Artistic, 2. A method of conveying information (i.e. news, science, etc.) and 3. Memories. The third usually only has value to a very small group of individuals (those who know the people in the photo or have some emotional tie). The other two categories are either to convey information or evoke emotion via artistry. With in all three of these general categories one can view and judge the technical skill of the photographer.

When someone shares photos (especially a person that I am not their familiar) I would assume they are either trying to show me one of three things, 1. Information, 2. Artistry, and/or 3. Their technical skills.

Since I do not hold a personal relationship with either of you (beyond the internet), my only method to judge (vote) is based on content (art / information) and/or skill.

"The ones who do think it helps understand how the world works. The success of such photos derives from how well the photographer conveys what the thing is really like." – a perfect definition of what I meant by saying news or science.

My opinion, as little as it is worth, is that both of you have an excellent eye and better technical skills than the average photographer. I personally, was not "moved" by the photos in the artisitc sense – but that also doesn't mean they were bad.
I am sorry if what I had said came off the wrong way.
Thanks for sharing.
Posted by Procrastarian 6 years ago
Procrastarian
I liked Pro's first photo better than Con's first photo, but beyond that I liked Con's photo's better on a round-by-round basis. 1 point to Pro and 4 points to Con.
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
ProHobo, You are free to classify and appreciate photos however you wish. I don't think photos are either technical or artistic, especially not artistic in the sense of eliciting emotion. Photographs often provide information other than news or science, answering questions like "What does a Muscovy duck look like?" or "What does Point Reyes look like?" Any individual may not care what these things look like, but some people do. The ones who do think it helps understand how the world works. The success of such photos derives from how well the photographer conveys what the thing is really like.

Photos also provoke memories of time and place. That's why people take snapshots of friends and family. A photographer may do that generically, provoking "That's what autumn in New England was like." For people who have never been to New England in autumn, it only provides information about what it is like.
Posted by s0m31john 6 years ago
s0m31john
Thanks for the comments guys. I put a lot of effort into acquiring the small amount of equipment that I have to my photographs tend to more technical than artistic. I should start working on improving that.

ProHobo, if you want to see more information on each picture just click the 'More Properties' link at he bottom of the right sidebar. Here is the link to my round one picture's information.
http://www.flickr.com...
Posted by Johnicle 6 years ago
Johnicle
I knew the blur was intentional... I just didn't like it. If it would have been in only one, then I wouldn't have mentioned it.

Personal Preference
12 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by FREEDO 6 years ago
FREEDO
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Vote Placed by ProHobo 6 years ago
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