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rushfan2112 12-24-2007 01:32 PM

Are we getting the most out of TE?
I believe I'm a typical member here at TE. The stats I'm about to bore you with are used simply for illustrative purposes....

Since joining TE on 4 Feb 2006, I've posted 182 photos which have, collectively, been viewed 9799 times (about 54 times per photo).

Not that I'm particularly bothered about points (though it is nice to get them) those 9799 viewings have brought 2257 points; an average of 12.4 points per photo. My highest points scoring photos (2 of them) have 36 points each. Only 2 of my photos have failed to trouble the scorer...!

I've written 1755 critiques - almost 10 for every photo I've posted and, although I will admit to a degree of critiquing of my "favourites", I do say what I genuinely think about the photos I critique and I offer, wherever I can, my suggestions on how they might be improved.

Workshops are not my strongpoint - I'm just not that good with Photoshop manipulation. However, I've even done 25 workshops to almost force myself to improve.

I contribute as best I can. My evenings and weekends contain quite a few hours for posting and criquing as well as processing what I've taken. I really enjoy being part of this site and the contact with the 'like souls' I've met as I've gone along.

Believe me when I say that I'm definitely not trying to be ungrateful or negative as many of the members here have been incredibly helpful and generous with their advice and tips on all manner of issues.

However, having taken a long, hard look back at my photos - from the earliest to the most current - I'm not convinced I've either developed a 'style' or improved much beyond becoming a bit more familiar with Photoshop and Nikon Capture NX.

Given TE's success in growing a global community, is it starting to be a victim of that success? Does anyone else feel that we're starting to stretched a bit too thin? Is this the cause of a few high profile departures recently?

Maybe it would be useful to have two categories of photos entered into the galleries - those who want to be critiqued and those who don't? Or even separate galleries so the two are more easily distinguishable? Maybe there should be a greater emphasis on local / seasonal "themes" as the method by which we contribute - rather than random images?

Personally, I am strongly in favour of critiquing (though I accept I'm not a particular expert) as I am very keen to improve and develop (no pun intended) as a photographer.

Please understand that this is NOT a thinly veiled attempt to get more critiques or points for myself - just an honest enquiry about where we see this site going and how we might get the most out of it in future.

TE is very good as it stands, however, I'm just wondering if there's anything we can do to improve it - and ourselves into the bargain.

Here's hoping we all have a great end to 2007 and a happy and prosperous 2008.

abanibi 12-24-2007 03:44 PM

Re: Are we getting the most out of TE?
Hi Paul! Though I'm not an old member of TE myself, I'd like to share my thoughts with you.
First, (and please don't get offended because that's not my intention) I think that learning and improvement have to be sought and provoked. Watching other people's photos and reading/writing critiques may certainly be a good part of it (and they do help me improve); but if that's not enough, maybe an additional effort/help is needed (books, courses and seminars, clubs, etc.). Maybe if we expect too much from TE it will end up disappointing us, so I tend not to regard it as a photography school, but as a place to share and interact and a source of knowledge (though not the only one). In that sense, I do think I take the most out of TE; but I'll tell you what I think in two years :-)
As for styles, I think you do have a style. Most of us do. The problem is that many of those styles aren't unique, they aren't singular, recognisable voices: they're similar to many others. Some TE members are into marvellous landscapes, others into photography street, others into "denounce" photographs; some choose to oversaturate their pictures, others take B&W; some make art out of small daily things, others look for the magical light of sunsets and sunrises. In your intro, you say you have chosen to add portraits and street photo to your landscapes and architecture; besides, you add that you try make photos look as close as possible to how they looked when you pressed the shutter. I think those two things partly define your style, even if you don't realise it. My style is (more or less) decent tourist photographs; nothing impressive, nothing artistic. Some people don't develop a distinguishable style in their whole lives; others have it naturally. That's the essence of art, after all...
I don't think that the recent departures of some members can be used to explain the current status of TE; they're too recent to judge, don't you think?
What I don't get is your idea of two galleries. I'm not conscious of members who wouldn't like their photos critiqued, so maybe you can explain...
I don't know if all these thoughts mean something to you, but let me know what you think.
Happy New Year to everyone! May 2008 bring us peace, health and love (some more money wouldn't be a bad idea though...)

stiginthedump 12-24-2007 04:14 PM

Re: Are we getting the most out of TE?
I think Trekearth is becoming a victim of its own success. I find it too vast these days and can't seem to keep up (also a bunch of my favourites have left in recent months which doesn't help as well!). I think the best thing that you could do is just reguarly critique a select group of people rather than try to go here, there, and everywhere. Saying that, I haven't critiqued anything for a while, but will get back into things after the festive period!

Bruno40 12-24-2007 04:14 PM

Re: Are we getting the most out of TE?
I am less than a year old member here, but I can tell you that my interest for photography and skills changes from <a href="">before TE</a> and <a href="">after TE</a>.
I donít know how was before, but I like TE as it is.
Of course I do agree that sometimes you see really mediocre photos getting a lot of attention due to the popularity of the photographer rather than the photo itself. And sometimes some critiques are really appalling, but I stopped worrying about how many points other get, but rather how can I improve my photography and PP skills.
I am happy if some of my photos get good reviews from some members that I know are very honest and technical in their critiques. I follow other members from who each post is a new lesson for me.
I suggest, keep posting and keep shooting, and when you do, apply what have you learn here.
I agree in most of what Ines has written before.
Merry Christmas

rushfan2112 12-24-2007 04:40 PM

Re: Are we getting the most out of TE?
Hi Ines,

Thank you for your response and I'm definitely not offended!

I don't expect TE to be a photography school. However, there seems to be an increasing number of posts where there's no note attached whatsoever or, where there is a note, it doesn't include any technical info on how the shot was achieved. Some even seem to disable EXIF data.

My bookshelves are full of portfolios by various photographers (of various genres) and also of instructional manuals on various photographic and digital imaging techniques. I also regularly visit galleries, museums and exhibitions in London, where I work. I am quite passionate about the learning side of things.

I actually expect nothing from TE or its members as the site is completely free and no-one is required to do anything other than abide by the TOS. Indeed, if you read the intro to my little corner of TE, I say I am constantly amazed by the variety and quality of what appears on TE.

However, the lack of notes on photos combined with the number of members who don't critique (or provide a big green smiley with a comment like "Wow - great shot") suggests, at least to me, that there are a number of members who aren't overly bothered about giving or receiving critiques.

My suggestion could amount to a gallery exclusively for critiquing (with or without points). For those who wish to simply post photos of where they live or have been on holiday, they can do so and the photos could be assimilated into the overall gallery for the part of the world to which they relate.

You may well be right about my 'style'. I am quite a 'literal' person and I assume that if the site wants people to learn about the world through photography, that exactly what it will get from me - but not my 'spin' on the world in which I live (although it's almost impossible to disconnect the two entirely). Perhaps I need to loosen up a bit....and not take the TOS quite as seriously as I have done, so far?

It's a shame about the guys who left. Mind you, I know how much time it takes to get even half decent results. Good luck to them. Change is in the nature of sites like this.

I'll second your wishes for 2008. Good health, good luck and prosperity to everyone.

rushfan2112 12-24-2007 04:44 PM

Re: Are we getting the most out of TE?
Cheers, Will - you are almost certainly right. I think I just take things a bit too seriously / literally. I think next year will see me post less, critique a bit more and concentrate a bit more on TrekLens as I feel that there are fewer constraints on style over there....!
Very best wishes, Paul.

rushfan2112 12-24-2007 04:48 PM

Re: Are we getting the most out of TE?
Hi Jorge.

Maybe anonymity is part of it. In the big scheme of things, I genuinely don't give a toss about the points - I just want to get better as a photographer.

As I've just said to Will (stiginthedump) I will probably shoot more, post less and critique less - but concentrate on quality and - perhaps - post more on TrekLens as there are fewer stylistic constraints. We'll see.

Best wishes for the festive season.


Keitht 12-24-2007 07:08 PM

Re: Are we getting the most out of TE?
I agree with the vast majority of what has been said in this thread. I do however disagree strongly with the suggestion of 2 galleries - 1 for those who don't want their images critiqued. To me critiquing is at the very heart of the site and I believe there are many sites around that can and do cater for those who simply want to show off their work.
What has intrigued me most over the 4 or so years I have been a member is that it is impossible to pre-judge how an image will be received. Some that I have posted and thought merely 'OK' have been very well received, whilst others that I felt were technically and artistically better have received little feedback. The only thing that proves is that opinions differ - and long may that continue.

SamB 12-24-2007 07:55 PM

Re: Are we getting the most out of TE?
i haven't been particularly active for a while, but still drop in from time to time...

One of the things that Will said was "I think the best thing that you could do is just reguarly critique a select group of people rather than try to go here, there, and everywhere."

That's the exact critiquing behavior that gets thread after thread after thread about point-grabbing started... but i really have to agree with him. i think that you will find that the majority of the times that people focus on a select group of photographers to critique, the reason is not a desire to get a lot of points, but instead because the critiquer honestly finds that photographer's style interesting.

Before i kind of slipped into the dregs of inactivity, i spent several months doing that--just finding a few photographers that i really enjoyed, and critiquing everything that they put up... and i think that as a result, my photography really improved. i can still look at pictures that i take now and see elements of this person's style or that person's style that i was very clearly thinking of when i took the picture.

i don't feel like any of this is news to you in particular... you seem to have a pretty good grasp of this... but i feel like it's worth saying.

A merry Christmas and successful 2008 to all!

Keitht 12-24-2007 11:14 PM

Re: Are we getting the most out of TE?
I try to avoid critiquing the same old people time after time. I work purely on the image - if it appeals to me I'll critique it and if it doesn't I won't. If the photo happens to have been posted by somebody who has critiqued my work, or is by somebody I have critiqued before then so be it.
There is only one group of people I avoid and they are the few who have posted many images and received many critiques but have failed to respond in kind by giving critiques. I'm not saying they should critique my work, but they should be giving back to the community by critiquing others.

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