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IAPLC 2012 grading detail is out

Discussion in 'News Around the World' started by Shadow, Nov 30, 2011.

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  1. biobio

    biobio Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I thought a lot about this. What is fake for me in aquascaping and at aquascaping contests?

    In aquascaping nothing is fake for me - everything is allowed: artificial rock formation, gluing the mosses, backlight effects, photo backgrounds with clouds, dry start, Urban scaping, adding CO2 and bunch of chemistry in tank, expanding scape out of glass box, artificial waterfalls and lakes, landscaping scenery under the water (mountains or forests), changing scape every few days or leave it in tank for years, etc,…

    Does it sound strange – all this at one pile? Yes it does, but this is reality, this is modern aquascaping. For someone that has been in a hobby for a long time try to imagine all those statements and facts 25 or 10 years ago. It is mix of SF and curses.

    I am thinking about all of this as a progress. Something is by my taste - something is not. Who cares – it is unstoppable! The future will show what will be popular and what will be forgotten. We (as creators) have to tell our own story in our tanks. Will it be in line with trends and fashion, or something unique and personal - it is up to each and every of us to decide.


    At aquascaping contest only one thing is “ fake” for me: retouching (to remove something that looks bad or to add something that does not exist in tank).
    Again (by my opinion) everything else has to be allowed: multiply entries, or sending one tank to many contests, year by year sending same evolved tank to contests, entering with “just” created tank, normal PS adjustments (not retouching),…
    Why not? Author right is to decide where and how many times will share his work with public. Judges are there to judge and to evaluate it.

    For example I like to share my work with other people and I like to participate at contests. I am a hobbyist with limited space, time and material resources. Nevertheless in this moment I am running 7 tanks in my flat and office and like them all - a lot! They are all nice but not all of them are aquascapes. Some of them are part of different aqua hobby story and project (plant growers, emersed farms, biotopes, just a fish tanks, etc,…). Some of them are few months old some more than 5 years. With some old ones I entered contests in different years. They are alive things. They are evolving and changing. With some of my old tanks I will almost certainly enter contests again. This year I am entering contests with the tank that I like the most. The only one and the smallest one. At some contests it was rewarded at ILPAC it is not in TOP200. Hey - it is OK by me. No shame – no blame – no disappointment.
    Last year I participated at different contests with 6 different layouts, but it can not be done every year…. It is not possible to have all tanks in top shape for all the time and for all contests – even for such a crazy hobbyist as myself…

    So , that’s me – allow everything!

    However, organizers of contest are making decision what is allowed and what is not. They are making rules for their contest, and their judging panel is deciding what is the best for them and who is the winner and who is the looser. This year IAPLC give us a chance to be part of voting process. It is good for us and for aquascaping. But first they decided about TOP200 tanks that (by their opinion) are the best representatives of their view to aquascaping and NA stile. Are they all by my taste? Some yes, some no - but who cares, again. It was their right to do it and they did it. We will vote a little and then they will decide about winners that best fit their demands and their perception. It is OK by me.

    Contests and contest galleries are for me as a candy store. Watching all those beauty at one place – perfect!!! A lot of things to analyze, to compare, to learn from,... Enjoy them whatever you decided to do: to participate or just to be a viewer.
     

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  2. severumkid

    severumkid Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I think what you are saying is can be true, but then they loose credibility if they do that. I do not think they would like that to happen. But I am not very sure.

    I edited that post as the thread has come back to forum now. I believe that it was being moderated so it was showing as unaccessable. I apologise for the confusion. I wanted to end my pursuit as I know it is extremely difficult/impossible to have a totally clean contest. How ever, when I think about the amount of time, passion, pain I take to make it as good as possible and then see someone undeserving taking the cake and enjoying all the glory it makes me feel deeply demotivated. I am not just talking about myself, I am sure many other feel this too.
     
  3. youjettisonme

    youjettisonme Aspiring Aquascaper

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    You have a way to retouch photos and keep the EXIF data? How?
     
  4. youjettisonme

    youjettisonme Aspiring Aquascaper

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    You know. Honestly, I would have been disappointed but not surprised if I didn't get a top 200. Everyone here understands how much thought, time, effort, and foresight goes into each tank, and they also understand how limited the feedback is going to be for our medium of choice. That said, if it was simple to get the placing, it would carry much less meaning. The mere fact that we have multiple threads about conspiracies, cheating, bending the rules, etc. shows just how passionate people are not only about the contest, but also about aquascaping in general.

    For all the faults that the current incarnation of the contest has, it is still the best contest of its kind in the world IMHO, and it is ever-evolving. 10 years from now, it will not be the same contest. And though we have a thousand opinions out there about how to do it better, I hasten to say that I haven't heard anyone introduce a comprehensive plan that details how to find the ends to such an endeavor.

    It doesn't matter what type of contest you're entering, or what type of hobby comprises your passions, this type of feedback is absolutely universal. Whether it's a sport, an art, or any other hobby, the contest happens, people say "they cheated!", people's feelings get hurt. This is identical to what I experienced in bike racing for example. I would bet if we could actually talk to the judges in person, we'd have a much better understanding about why certain rules are created and enforced while others seem to be ignored or else overlooked. I doubt that it's all as nefarious as some would at first believe.

    I think this year's crop of scapes is pretty much on par with what we've seen the last couple of years. There's not a huge jump in innovation, nor a lot of absolute revelations. And when you think about it, and in that context, it mimics nature that way. Nature is about the same as it's been for a long long time, and from year to year, you're not going to take a walk in the forest and suddenly get knocked over by your findings. The changes from scape to scape are subtle, just like they are in nature, and you either appreciate those subtleties or else you are bored. The burden is almost always on the viewer and seldom on the creator. If you don't believe me, just wait until next year's top200 are introduced.
     
    StanChung likes this.
  5. Aquadream

    Aquadream Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I don't know how is done. One of my scapes is processed a bit, but it didn't seem to bother ADA.
     
  6. youjettisonme

    youjettisonme Aspiring Aquascaper

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    So you processed a photo, submitted it to the contest with no EXIF data, and they accepted it? If that's really the case, I did my photo a huge disservice unfortunately. My submitted pic was pretty subpar compared to what I can present after simple balancing in photoshop. Oh well.
     
  7. Aquadream

    Aquadream Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I never said that my photo was submittet with no EXIF. I submitted the picture with the EXIF with all the info about everything that was done on the picture. It is actually one of the pictures that I have sent to you. Exactly the same picture I have send to ADA.
     
  8. youjettisonme

    youjettisonme Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Gotcha. Maybe this is simply an example of me misunderstanding the contest rules then. Too bad for me.
     
  9. Aquadream

    Aquadream Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I think you understand the rules quite well. I just didn't give a damn. I decided those pictures are the best I can do and will submit them. ADA will either like them or not. Lucky me they did (this time).
    For next pictures I will be much more prepeared as I'm gaining experience with the camera and will also buy some proper lens kit. Also I'm getting some lights prepeared just for taking pictures.
     
  10. youjettisonme

    youjettisonme Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Well, personally, I think there should be nothing wrong with a white balance adjustment, for example, or any other tiny exposure adjustment. Great photography skills will go along way though. Glad you managed to make the final this year because I wasn't fond of hearing the quitting talk from you. Your scapes are too nice for that nonsense. Sounds like you are already inspired for next year.
     
  11. Aquadream

    Aquadream Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Inspired for the next year! For sure. Let see where. I still may end up doing scapes for the sake of art only. Time will tell.
     
  12. Shadow

    Shadow Moderator Staff Member

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    That only work if they are aware. How the judge or committee going to give deduction if they don't even aware that that particular tank already submitted on the previous year?

    Again this one depend on the judge, whether the judge aware or not. To be honest only season aquascaper or planted tank hobbyist know the different between "drop n shoot" and mature tank because you need to know how the plant grow behavior.

    I believe the idea of EXIF is not to determine whether it is edited or not (can the EXIF tell you that?). I think it is to determine the date of photo taken.
     
  13. youjettisonme

    youjettisonme Aspiring Aquascaper

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    My assumption necessitates a certain level of awareness from the judges. If the judges as a whole are really that uninformed, then of course there is a small problem.


    Fair enough, but which judges wouldn't understand this behavior? The judgeship is mostly comprised of people who have been in the hobby for a long time. Although I could see this getting occasionally missed, I can't see it being a huge snag in the judging overall.



    I believe the idea of EXIF is not to determine whether it is edited or not (can the EXIF tell you that?). I think it is to determine the date of photo taken.[/quote]

    The EXIF data should be telling you everything about the photo as it was taken. The contest didn't even want you cropping the image I don't believe. One thing for sure... I am going to spend a lot more time investigating this for next year.
     
  14. Aquadream

    Aquadream Aspiring Aquascaper

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    In general most judges are in there because they have business tights with ADA or because their presence is good for public image. Very few of them are capable to estimate the real contition of plants by just looking at a picture. I can give some severe examples from last IAPLC.


    All I can see in the EXIF is the date of the shot, some details of the shot like camera setting etc and of course the initial program of processing. The EXIF does not contain info of which specific program functions were in use during processing.
     
  15. biobio

    biobio Aspiring Aquascaper

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    A few days passed and we probably picked up our favorites.

    Let us play judging game and give answers to some questions.

    How much time did you spend to pick TOP5 and TOP20 from TOP200?
    How did you do it?

    I can speak for myself. I am pretty sure that situation is the same with each of us.

    On the first day I waited 30 minutes just for loading thumbnails of TOP200. Loading was so slow that at the first glance I reviewed more closely just 10-15 tanks. Surprise, surprise, from those first 10 tanks that I opened, five are still at my TOP5 list. Even more: first two that I opened in higher resolution are still my favorites. Later on I spent few more hours closely reviewing all tanks. Twice, while I was watching, I fell asleep in the middle of the list. It does not mean that other tanks are boring but that it is difficult to keep attention for a long time at such a serious task (to watch and evaluate so many tanks in few hours). I really tried to be objective, critical and fair. But hey - everything happened in first 10 seconds of reviewing – the first impression rules with our mind. Actually I picked up my favorites from just watching small thumbnails of tanks. Letter on after hours and hours of reviewing I updated my TOP20 list by few tanks. 80% of job was done in the first 10-15 seconds.

    What does “hours and hours” mean? How long is it?
    Let`s say 3-4 hours in last 3 days – and it is a lot of time spend in front of LCD and just for a hobby.
    Is it enough to be objective?

    I will do a little calculation. 200 minutes=(TOP5*5min)+(TOP20*2-3min)+(TOP50*1min)+(Rest 10 to 20sec average)
    In next few days I will spend some more time exploring TOP200. I am convinced that this will not change a lot my favorites list.

    I'm only human. Are judges human beings, too?:ROFLMAO:
     
  16. ghostsword

    ghostsword Aspiring Aquascaper Staff Member

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    I knew a couple of the tanks, but used my judgement to pick the winners for me..

    A couple look like photoshop montage. :)

    One was a clear winner for me, as I like jungles.. :)

    It took me 2 hours to pick them up, give or take, and I magnified each entry on my 24 inch monitor..
     
  17. severumkid

    severumkid Aspiring Aquascaper

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    You are a bit naive here, my friend. Do you think that the pictures are not touched? At least 80% are but then that is light touch up which is like OK with the judges. Thats why I said major photo shopping.
     
  18. severumkid

    severumkid Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I can not agree more. It is so pathetic to see people judging our tanks who do not even have a proper planted setup that they can say they have created and maintained for a period of Time. It high time they change their ways or ;)
     
  19. youjettisonme

    youjettisonme Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Geesh, the level of bitterness present right now is palpable. Considering that aquascaping and nature aquariums are suppose to be bringing peace and serenity to the participants and viewers alike, I wonder if maybe some might be served by stepping back a little bit and trying to take in a big picture every once in awhile. As for the EXIF data, this is the first year that I entered the contest. I can only go by what the rules state - no touching up of photos. My photos were, in accordance with the rules, untouched. If 70% of the folks submitting shopped their pics then so be it. This is just a hobby, certainly not my job, and good on them. As I stated earlier, I don't think there's anything wrong with that so long as everyone is allowed to do it.

    I just read through this whole thread again, and although I think there's nothing wrong with talking about the inner workings of the contest itself, the level of negativity present is a little bit embarrassing in some posts. You said that I'm "a little bit naive"? No, I think I am quite a bit naive because I had no idea how bent out of shape people were capable of getting over what, when all is said and done, amounts to a glorified fish tank. I am as enchanted by aquascaping as the next bloke, but I'm certainly never going to let it ruin my day in this way. Was it mentioned already that this contest is completely free and also voluntary?
     
  20. severumkid

    severumkid Aspiring Aquascaper

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    @Youjettisonme
    There is quite a bit of bitterness in presence right now, I agree. It is okay what you are saying, peace serenity etc. Frankly I have heard that many times from many people. That stage, taking a look at the bigger picture etc, many have crossed my friend. Now, for them, it is a matter of goal setting. It is a lifestyle that has given identity and fame.

    On the other hand, some people are gifted, they do not have to try too much, then there are people who work very hard to make a grade. For the first batch it will always be easy to look at things in a much lighter manner. Where as people like me, who are not as gifted as the first lot and most probably you, its a matter of grave seriousness. For you it is a hobby and not a job for many others like me its a job and a hobby. A good rank can definitely help the causes. But then it does not coax us to do trickery.

    Secondly, I know that the contest is completely free and voluntary but that does not make it an excuse to cheat.
     
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