The Seascape Award
The prize for Best Seascape shall be awarded to the photographer, who in the opinion of the judges, has submitted the best overall image in this category. Entrants must be 18 years of age and over to be eligible. Multiple entries are allowed.
What are the judges looking for?
We are looking for a classic image that represents the quintessential charm of our coastal fishing villages, our stunning island views or the power and drama of the rugged Scottish mainland coast. Photography is highly subjective but you should understand that some basic guidelines will be in place for the judging process. In general, we will be looking for good combinations of subject, composition and light along with sharpness and correct exposure. However, neither criteria will be a deciding factor if an image evokes a special mood or unanimously captures the attention of the judges. An out of focus, under exposed image may win the top prize if the effect is intentional so use your own judgement. Diversity is something we will be looking for in your submissions so bear that in mind.
Please note: The Scottish coast for all its beauty can be a dangerous place and you should not take risks, endanger yourself or others in pursuit of your images. You should always be aware of tides and any hazards in and around our coastlines.
Critique and opinion:
Before submitting your images, we recommend that you get your friends and colleagues to review or critique your images. Additionally, posting your images on social media websites and asking for comments or shares is an excellent way to gauge the quality of your images. If many people like your images then it is an excellent indicator that your image may be successful.
Inspiration for your images may be drawn from music, poetry or a visit to a museum or art gallery. The works of Robert Burns for example may inspire you to capture an image along the lines of one of his poems. Make a point of visiting an art gallery to gain an appreciation of how artists compose and capture light. Inspiration can also be found in tourist guide books and of course there are many excellent photographers to draw inspiration from. The works of pioneering photographers such as Ansel Adams or Galen Rowell provide a great inspiration to many photographers.
The following should be used as guide as to what we are looking for:
- Wide vistas such as sweeping beaches, sea lochs, views of rugged cliffs.
- People as part of the seascape - as long as they are not closeups or posed.
- Animals as part of the seascape - undisturbed and in natural surroundings. No closeups or posed.
- Seaside towns and ports, buildings as part of the seascape such as castles, ruins, bridges etc.
- Objects as part of the seascape such as boats, standing stones, historical relics.
Abstracts are accepted as long as they can be easily distinguished as part of the Scottish Seascape. For example, we will accept;
- Long lens shots, crops and abstracts of known places.
- Abstract reflections on water where a landmark is visible.
- Aerial abstracts and crops
We are not however looking for the following:
- Closeups or abstracts of rock formations, pebbles on a beach etc.
- Closeups of sand formations.
- Images of privately owned stately homes.
- Images of government buildings, installations or naval ships.
- Images from inside ruins or derelict buildings.
Both film and digital images are allowed but your submissions should be in digital jpg format only via the competition website. Film images may be submitted from scans of colour transparency, black and white or colour negatives. Film images should be processed as per "digital adjustments and processing" section.
Digital Adjustments and Processing
Digital adjustments are allowed and we will be as flexible as possible, but should not alter or affect the integrity of the image. In the event you are shortlisted for the final round, you may be asked to produce the original RAW* file(s), the original camera jpg, the original scan or the original film media. If your image is in the running to win the category or a runner up's place, we definitely will ask for your RAW file. *DNG files are not accepted. DNG files may only be submitted if they are the native file type of the camera please see http://www.slpoty.co.uk/faqs/ for details on dng files.
The following digital adjustments are acceptable:
In general, if a technique can be achieved in a traditional darkroom, it is acceptable in this category if done digitally. For example, you may use software plugins to change the look of an image but not remove or add things. Split toning is a technique that has been used in darkrooms and is allowed to be created digitally. Grain can be enhanced in traditional film so you can add grain in your digital images. Dodging and burning is allowed. You may change the colour of your entire photograph as this is a technqiue used in traditional darkrooms. Please note: Just because you can use these criteria, it does not mean you should. Many images are ruined by over editing and over-use of plugins. If an unedited RAW file is as close to file you submit, you stand a better chance of impressing the judges.
- Dust spot removal
- Curves & levels or highlight/shadows - minor adjustments
- Converting to black and white acceptable
- Cropping – cropped image must be acceptable quality at A4 without interpolation (digital upscaling)
- White balance correction
- Colour balance changes
- Digital ND grads
- Exposure changes
- Global and local saturation
- Dodging and burning
- Stitch panoramas
- Multiple exposures – images must be taken at same time and place
- HDR allowed
- Blending images from a bracket sequence allowed
Unacceptable digital adjustments
- Adding, moving or removing elements from your image. e.g cloning in clouds, trees etc
- Composites and montages of more than one image
- Blending multiple images from different times of the day
- Focus stacking
NOTES ON DIGITAL ADJUSTMENTS:
"Minor", "Minimal" and "Within Reason" adjustments. Because there are many different software editing programs and the brightness of computer screens vary from one person to the next, we cannot be more specific and state you should use a maximum +/- 10% digital adjustment. This is because a 10% contrast adjustment in one program may require a 20% adjustment in another program to achieve the same result, so you must judge this for yourself when editing your images. Please be assured however, that these issues are taken into account and if an image is slightly over or under adjusted, the judges will be as flexible as possible during the judging stages. The important point is that the integrity of the image is maintained.
Respecting the environment.
A key aspect of the SLPOTY ethos is to show care for the environment and to respect the interests of others. When out and about taking your photographs for the competition, we respectfully ask that you abide by the Scottish Country Access Code. Links to the Country Code are listed below.