I may be addicted.
Lately I’ve been spending too much time huddled over my phone, checking status, entering challenges, voting and topping up my exposures. I’ve been playing Gurushots, a real-time online photo competition system.
It works by entering challenges and accumulating votes to achieve levels. The levels tip to points and the points tip to ranks. The more you vote, the more exposure your photo entries get for voting. There is no limit to the number of challenges you can enter. And that’s a problem.
At one point I had ten challenges going. I was constantly checking on my exposure meter and submitting votes to bump it up. Problem is that voting involves paging through hundreds of photos, some good, some not so good and some downright puzzling. It all depends on the wording of the challenge. Sometimes, the guidance is too vague.
Take for instance the “Starts with a K” challenge. The description was too vague. It should have qualified the language. I paged through
hundreds thousands of Kittens, Keys and Kiwis. (Question: How many interesting angles are there to a Kiwi? Answer: None. I’ve seen them all.) But then I started seeing Cakes, Coffee and Corn. Someone couldn’t spell. Wait … maybe they could spell but it was in German. Kuchen, Kaffee and Korn.
Another fun challenge was “Face in the Crowd”. There were lots of pictures of crowds but no distinctive single face. Other pictures were classic single person portraits; you had to imagine the crowd. One remarkable shot was taken on stage, of the back of a band performing to a crowd. No faces seen but they were facing the crowd. Ha ha! That one got my vote.
Anyways here are a few of my photos in recent Gurushot challenges.
Toronto, Canada. 2018
The legend of Halong Bay is that a celestial dragon defended ancient Vietnam by breathing fire on pirate invaders and spitting out hundreds of hot emerald stones into the north sea. The gems become islands which formed an impenetrable wall to other invaders.
Today Halong Bay protected from the sea but vulnerable to a daily invasion of tourists. It is a busy thoroughfare of sailing boats and day cruise ships. By day the bay is alive with the sights and sounds of 8200 visitors daily.
Select cruises offer overnight stays and in the late evenings and early morning it’s possible to experience the quiet solitude of the bay.
On this morning I was awake at dawn. The early morning light had just broken and the only sound was the gentle slap of water against the fisherman’s oar. It was a quiet awakening to a brand new day.
Photo taken in Halong Bay, Vietnam. 2014
No need to say how this guy feels.
Taken in Saigon’s Flower Market. It explains the bundles accumulating on his lap.
Photos taken in HCMC, Vietnam. 2015
In the East there is an ancient man made reservoir called Srah Srang. It was built in the 10th century by the Khmer civilization in the kingdom of Angkor. For over a thousand years people have used this place for religious rituals, communal baths and water collection.
On this early morning, as dawn broke across a cloudy eastern sky, a lady collects water for another day.
In the West coast of Canada, the rain forests meet the Pacific and the sun sets in a blaze of glory.
A hoodie shrouded man walks along a jetty after bidding the day good bye.
Two worlds. One day. Twelve thousand kilometers apart. The sun rises and sets on both.
Have you ever had that feeling? Like you’re in a place where you’ve never been but it feels like you’ve been there many times before? Like you’re walking and standing still at the same time?
New York City, USA. March 2018.
Have you ever had a photo that frustrated you with its lost potential? A picture where the image captured wasn’t the one you saw?
This photo (the one below) is one of mine. It’s too far, too bright and too exposed. It doesn’t capture the muffled sound of the surf or the silent flight of sea birds. It doesn’t hint at the rough texture of the sand or the whisper of salt in the breeze. It doesn’t show the serene splendor of the Pacific Rim.
I was ready to launch this in to the trash heap but then thought what if. What if this wasn’t a photo. What if it is was just a picture, a rendered line drawing that captured the highlights and textures. A digital editor could do that.
And so there it is. My featured photo and reclamation of a lost shot.
It is not a great photo.
But it’s a not bad picture either, eh?
Long Beach, Tofino. British Columbia, Canada. 2017
This week’s Photo Challenge is Transient.
- lasting only for a short time; impermanent.
Photo taken in the hills around Ubud in Bali, Indonesia.
The Daily Post says to choose a favorite photo of a moment in-focus or out.
- A center of interest or activity. An act of concentrating interest or activity on something.
“He was focused on a thought, on something within himself.”
- The state or quality of having or producing clear visual definition
Photo taken in San Francisco, California. 2015
I’m going to try this.
I took this shot at Chow Kit Market in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It’s part of a series on local markets where I try to capture their look and feel. I had a simple intent of showing a dry goods shop, different from the standard shots of vegetables and meat.
What caught my eye about this photo?
Originally it was the orange color of his shirt. The eye-catch which connected the passer-by to the shelves in the shop. But then the color became lines and my eye followed the network of lines within lines, the boxes within boxes. Unconsciously, my eye was drawn to the pattern within the picture, the order imposed on this chaos of small things. But then my eye grew tired of straight lines. It pulled back to follow the curves. The dark slope of the shopkeeper hunched over the counter. The blurred profile of the passer-by. The orange color of his shirt.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 2017
So that’s it then.
My first response to a Photo Challenge.
But this program is Weekly.
Maybe I’ll have the discipline to try it again.