Photography contest, V


4 x 5 film holder (2 exposures), Tri-X film (24 exposures), SD memory card (>1000 exposures).

The fifth Panda’s Thumb photography contest, begins – now!

We will accept entries from July 8 through 22, inclusive.

We encourage entries in a single, general category, which includes pictures of just about anything of scientific interest: any object of experimentation or observation, from single-celled organisms, through nematodes, fruit flies, rats, chimpanzees, and undergraduates to volcanoes, stars, and galaxies. In order not to omit theoreticians, we will consider computer-generated pictures and also photographs of equipment. Photomicrographs and electron micrographs are likewise welcomed.

We dedicate this contest to the memory of our colleague Mark Perakh. First prize will be a copy of his book Unintelligent Design.

If we get enough entries, consistently with Rules 12 and 13, we may add categories and award additional prizes, presuming, of course, that we can find more prizes.

The rules of the contest are simple:

  1. We will consider any photograph that displays scientific interest – biological, paleontological, geological, or astronomical, for example.
  2. Submit photographs in JPEG format.
  3. Reduce photographs to an information content of 600 pixels horizontally. If creationists require a definition of information, they may apply in writing to the management.
  4. Photographs may be enhanced but may not be montages. High dynamic range photographs are, however, encouraged.
  5. Submit a maximum of 3 photographs (or 5 photographs per family) between July 8 and 22, 2013, to [Enable javascript to see this email address.].
  6. Submit the photographs as attachments to an e-mail (not embedded in the body of the e-mail). The subject line to the e-mail must have the form YourLastName_PhotographyContest. The filenames for the photographs must have the form YourLastName.Descriptor as, for example, Young.Oxytropis_sericea or Young.Table_Mountain, as appropriate.
  7. In your e-mail, identify the subject of the photograph: common and biological name, mineral type, or geological formation, for example. Provide a link that will allow a reader to learn more about the subject.
  8. Depending on the number of photographs submitted, we may post the best submissions and ask our readers to vote for the best photograph. Likewise, we may establish several categories with separate entries and separate ballots. In particular, students 16 and under should so identify themselves; if we receive enough entries, we will establish a student category.
  9. By submitting a photograph, you stipulate that you are the owner of the copyright and grant The Panda’s Thumb a nonexclusive license to publish the photograph on its blog.
  10. Contributors to The Panda’s Thumb are not eligible to enter the contest.
  11. The decision of the judges is irrevocable. The judges remain irrepressibly and irremediably irascible, irreverent, and irredeemable.
  12. Since we have rarely done this before, we reserve the right to change any of the rules, or add or subtract rules at any time at our discretion.

Reed Cartwright contributed to this post.


“High dynamic range photographs are, however, encouraged.”



OK: Accepted. My point was that they are montages of a sort, and I wanted to note that they are permitted.

Matt Young said:

OK: Accepted. My point was that they are montages of a sort, and I wanted to note that they are permitted.

All right, just checking. I’m one of the Olde Schoole photographers who consider HDR a gimmick more than anything, but views vary.

“In MY day, we had to WAIT for the right light! I remember killing a mastodon while camping out hoping for a good red sunrise on Monument Valley, which wasn’t even half as deep then! And it was all center-weighted metering, too!”

Ummm… What is rule 13 again?

I think I meant 11 and 12 - we probably consolidated 2 rules some time ago.

And it was all center-weighted metering, too!

Lucky for you – I think my first meter was an extinction meter.

Not an irony meter?

Lucky for you – I think my first meter was an extinction meter.

Aw, points for you! A much better joke, considering the rest, that never occurred to me (mostly because I’d not actually heard of such a thing, and had to go look it up.)

Sorry – I must be older than I thought. Here is what Wikipedia says about an extinction meter:

The earliest type of light meters were called extinction meters and contained a numbered or lettered row of neutral density filters of increasing density. The photographer would position the meter in front of his subject and note the filter with the greatest density that still allowed incident light to pass through [in other words, it was a reflected-light meter]. The letter or number corresponding to the filter was used as an index into a chart of appropriate aperture and shutter speed combinations for a given film speed.

Extinction meters suffered from the problem that they depended on the light sensitivity of the human eye (which can vary from person to person) and subjective interpretation.

Film in those days had a safety factor – you always overexposed just to make sure your image was not completely absent – and the meter was slightly more useful than the exposures given with the film for various common lighting conditions. Center-weighted metering is better!

Daddy, what’s a “light meter”? You make it sound like it’s a separate device from a camera…?

(grumble grumble)

Oh, I see - if the light meter reading is too low, you have to set off an explosive charge on a plasterer’s hawk held above the photographer’s head - right?

(grumble grumble)

600 pixels. My thumbnails are larger than that.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on July 8, 2013 12:00 PM.

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