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#26 nodalpoint

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 11:51 AM

Part of the problem as I see it is the targets themselves. I looked at the beginning target this month and it is the Pacman. I simply don't consider that a beginners target*. Not surprisingly, the submissions are fairly advanced with one exception.

*[It is Ha, it is large, and it is not particularly bright - try observing it visually and you'll see what I mean.]


I wasn't planning on entering any contest, but because of someone else's great photo of this one I spent about two hours on it and it most certainly is not a "beginner" target! With an unmodded dslr what I recorded was so faint there wasn't much there to work with.

Maybe a true beginner challenge shouldn't be target specific, or at least give a choice of several targets.

This was as far as I got on it :(

Posted Image

#27 Bill McNeal

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 02:53 PM

What kind of prizes do the challenges grant the winners?

#28 Madratter

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 02:55 PM

At least at that scale, you did well Nodalpoint. And I would enter that if I were you. But it does kind of make my point about this not being a beginners target. For an unmodded camera, it requires hours on target, and probably doesn't look very good when blown up to any extent. It is a great intermediate target.

#29 Jeff2011

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 03:43 PM

Nodal,

I agree with Madratter regarding entering your image. Earlier in this thread Charlie had commented about judging accordingly. You never know.

#30 MikeKy

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 04:38 PM

Another thing I'll throw into the mix. I remember in the past passing on the challenge because either the object selected for the particular month wouldn't be in a favorable position until well after midnight, or the object required a focal length that I didn't have equipment for. Unfortunately, restricting targets on this basis, including making sure it is a beginner friendly target, would mean that there are very few if any targets available for a given month.


Exactly the issues that made this month's challenge the first one I have been able to enter since I started imaging DSOs 18 months ago. I definitely consider myself a beginner. Others may consider themselves beginners even though they have graduated to narrow-band imaging with a monochrome CCD and have much higher-end equipment while still others may consider only those with practically no experience to be beginners.

Unless a more restrictive definition of "beginner" is put forth in the rules, I don't think there's a reason to bar anyone from placing entries here unless they either win the contests, as stated in the rules, or no longer consider themselves beginners. It is, after all, a "challenge" contest and I like to compare what I'm able to do with others using the same level of hardware and experience. I don't consider myself to be competing with the entries of those with more experience or advanced equipment but I like to see what might be possible for me to accomplish with a little more of either.

#31 SMigol

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 05:33 PM

I think when I selected the Pacman was because I'd seen so many good images of it in the various fora. It also looked like it would be good for a variety of different image scales. I did consider that it would be well-placed for work through September and early October for people to gather data. I didn't realize how difficult it would be for unmodified cameras.

#32 ldesign1

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 07:57 PM

Exactly the issues that made this month's challenge the first one I have been able to enter since I started imaging DSOs 18 months ago. I definitely consider myself a beginner. Others may consider themselves beginners even though they have graduated to narrow-band imaging with a monochrome CCD and have much higher-end equipment while still others may consider only those with practically no experience to be beginners.

Unless a more restrictive definition of "beginner" is put forth in the rules, I don't think there's a reason to bar anyone from placing entries here unless they either win the contests, as stated in the rules, or no longer consider themselves beginners. It is, after all, a "challenge" contest and I like to compare what I'm able to do with others using the same level of hardware and experience. I don't consider myself to be competing with the entries of those with more experience or advanced equipment but I like to see what might be possible for me to accomplish with a little more of either.


Considering the timing of this post, I figure it was inspired by my recent victories in the Bright Challenges. But in my defense, I agree with the above quote that a better definition of a "Beginner" needs to be established if it is causing issues with some who feel that maybe they should have won if not for someone "more advanced".

I pretty much just started to use video more seriously as an AP medium this year. After comparing my result with a DSLR and what others were doing through video, I decided to shoot this entire year exclusively with video. I examined other members image posts, I asked lots of question, I experimented on my own, I tried things (techniques) that I would have never thought of if not for some of the more seasoned video imagers. I considered myself a [Beginner] in this area because I had never taken much interest in it before except a few planetary attempts in past years. I didn't have the patience before to figure out why one imager would produce a 10x better picture of Jupiter or Saturn with the same equipment. This year I faced the challenge a made the most of it. Now, having won a surprising three in a row, I will not be entering any more Bright Challenges.

I would encourage more "beginners" to enter the challenges no matter how good or bad you think your entry may be. I have to admit that I was very surprised at my winning of the Lyra Double challenge from August. I thought mine would have received the fewest votes, but it turned out to be the overwhelming favorite. I didn't even vote for myself.

About votes, I think that contestants should not be allowed to vote in a challenge they have entered. Sometimes I wonder if anyone else get embarrassed when they only received 1 vote which was often times self imposed. I sometimes think, "How can that one, get a vote when clearly this other one was so much better?" I understand that everyone has their own criteria for judging but personally I rather get 0 votes than for someone to think that I ignored other entries to make myself feel good.

About entries, I don't think it's much of a contest when there's only two contestants out of so many that browse through the Beginner and Intermediate Imaging forum. I don't think it gives the contestant a good feel of how much they've improved or how much better they are than others to be confident enough to advance to the next level. I know that we can't control how many people participate in each challenge, but those should be freebees just like the uncontested wins.

Now my question to Charlie is: What level is the Widefield Challange? I'm asking because I plan to move on to that one because I want to experiment with camera lenses. I've always had unpleasing result with less than perfect focusing, and weird star effects. Since this will be something fairly new to me and I don't believe that I'm even in the same league as some of the entries I've seen posted, would I be barred from entering if it is also considered a "Beginner's Challenge".

If you were to look at my gallery, many here in this forum may think that I am an advanced imager. But I see it differently. None of those image every won more than one or two votes in the DSLR forum. I have no idea how they vote over there. Even the one that I think should win gets very few votes. That's why I'm here in the Beginners and Intermediate Imaging forum to find out what I'm lacking to advance further to win in some of the specialty challenges.

I hope that I didn't offend anyone with this post because that was not my intention. We are all hear to learn and have fun, so don't get discouraged by lack of votes or criticisms. We all got started one image at a time and then we grow enough to give advice.

#33 Madratter

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 08:56 PM

It is all good Stephen. The problem wasn't you picking the Pacman. The problem has been a lack of clarity about what these contests are for, and who they are aimed at. Within the context of how things were going, the Pacman was reasonable. Hopefully, what will come out of this is better clarity.

Same thing with you Ralph. Hopefully, we will reach some clarity and things will be good. I have no idea how the "bright challenge" should even go. Is it a beginners category or not. I really don't know.

I really don't have a dog in this fight since I don't participate in the challenges (I don't even like that word associated with them for reasons that aren't worth going into). But I know some people do take them seriously, and clarity would be good for all involved.

#34 Gary Minder

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 11:02 PM

Seems to me the issues discussed could be fixed by changing the contest terms "beginner" and "intermediate" to "easy" and "intermediate" and have the words describe the target, not the photographer. The forum community could reach a consensus on a pool of suitable targets for each month/season in each category. The winner each month could pick the next target from the pool so that appropriate targets were always in play.

Anybody could submit to either category and the advanced imagers would quickly win their maximums and would clear the field for others.

Trying to have categories related to ability is problematic. The October Beginner DSO challenge is a great example. There is an amazing image entered this month. It's a NB/RGB image taken with two different cameras on two different scopes of different FLs and presumably different image scales. It's beautiful and it will probably win in a rout. But in what universe could a beginner astrophotographer produce it?

If NGC 281 was selected from a pool of "easy" targets and an advanced astrophotographer who hadn't already won their maximum wanted to enter, have at it. But when someone who is clearly in sight of the top of the learning curve enters a "beginner" contest, it is very discouraging to real beginners who want a chance to put their work up against others similarly skilled.

#35 Charlie Hein

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 02:37 PM

I guess that for me this all falls back to the original purpose of the forum, which was for beginner imagers. There were two Challenges originally, one for DSO's and one for "bright" objects. While someone could choose an easy target, it was never the point to make things easy on the contestants. The point was to put them into learning situations.

Things have changed significantly since then.

#36 iverp

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 05:25 PM

I very much like the idea of selecting targets that will give beginners a challenge. The competition aspect really is not as important, but it does give us a bit more motivation to do our best. I feel that the learning aspect gives us all the more reason to discuss and to have constructive criticism on the images we submit. Perhaps we could just discuss the challenges in the regular forum, and not as a pinned item. Then when there is no more to talk about, it post will just go the way of other worn out discussions.

#37 iverp

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 11:02 AM

Typical beginning imaging equipment will include webcams, the Meade DSI and other low cost imagers.

Note that this quote comes from the Beginning and Intermediate Imaging Forum description. I think we should keep this mind as we try to distinguish between beginning and intermediate imagers.

#38 terry59

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 03:22 PM

Ok, Wow. I just stumbled across this thread. The discussion is very interesting and I find my entry to be an example. :o

This is quite a difficult thing to deal with and getting a group of people to agree on a "contest" or "challenge" structure will be problematic. Some excellent questions are being asked to that end and I hope some clarity emerges.

I think now that I should not have entered this contest, even though I'm sure I meet the current criteria. If you could remove my entry that would be great.

Thanks

#39 rflinn68

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 04:16 PM

I think now that I should not have entered this contest, even though I'm sure I meet the current criteria. If you could remove my entry that would be great.


Yeah I was going to enter mine but decided not to after seeing this. I've not even been imaging a full year yet but I dont know if I have won the Beginners Challenge before or not since I couldnt find the past winners. I do know I've won the Intermediate a time or two so I didnt submit my picture. I thought this was fun and tried to shoot a month ahead of time so I could enter a nice picture. The "winner" doesnt get money or anything and I thought it was just for fun, but oh well. They arent lacking for entries so I guess there are still plenty of other beginners. I will watch from the sidelines I guess.

#40 SergeC

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 05:13 PM

Apparently some people take "challenge" to mean "must-win contest". Too bad, since seeing what others are capable of gives one something to aim for, and has been a huge part of my development over the last year. That, and the enormous amount of selfless help provided by the more experienced imagers that participated here, especially from many of the same people who've been taken to task for posting superior quality images (and not necessarily in the challenges). I guess their hard-won experience isn't worth tapping into.

Now we see an insistence that only those using 10-year-old, entry-level technology be permitted to enter the challenge. Ah well. As a dolphin friend of mine says, "So long, and thanks for all the fish."

#41 iverp

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 05:57 PM

Typical beginning imaging equipment will include webcams, the Meade DSI and other low cost imagers.

Note that this quote comes from the Beginning and Intermediate Imaging Forum description. I think we should keep this mind as we try to distinguish between beginning and intermediate imagers.


Oh yikes, I'm sorry! I didn't intend my post to discourage entries.

Maybe the forum description needs to be revised?

I honestly am not a "win by any means" kind of person. As a matter of fact, I would hope that more people will submit their entry even if they feel it doesn't "measure up" or have a chance of winning. I assume the Beginner Challenge is still open to everyone. Unless the rules are changed, go ahead and enter. We can all learn and hopefully improve our skills as we compare and discuss what we have done.

#42 rflinn68

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 10:33 PM

I do understand and support a way to give everyone a chance to win. Just the word Challenge invokes competitiveness in me. I've always been a competitive person in everything from baseball to drag racing. I admit that I like to win. Who doesnt? Who doesnt enjoy winning and having other people admire their work, no matter what they are doing?

That said, the truly competitive person will want to test his or her skills against the more accomplished in his craft no matter what it might be. When you dominate something it isnt really a "challenge" anymore is it?

So I do understand and dont want to sound like I am taking my scope and camera and going home. I am open to whatever the forum seems appropriate. My picture wasnt good enough anyway. :lol:

While it is good to have the encouragement and the admiration of your piers (certainly helps me from time to time!!), its not a necessity in reaching ones goal(s). As someone once said, "You are confined only by the walls you build yourself". Ultimately, it isnt really about winning. Its about getting better and sharing our knowledge and experiences as a group.

The motto by which I try to live my life came from the mouth of the great Albert Einstein. He said, "Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value". At this point in my life this seems to be an easier road because I'll never be a success. :lol:

We have a lot of intelligent people here so surely we can get something decided. So you guys can let me know when that decision is made. :grin:

#43 CounterWeight

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 10:57 PM

i think a lot of the requirements are at best really outdated! The imaging world has changed hugely since a statement like that made any sense at all(if it ever did).

We could endlessly whine and ninny nance the subject to death, but why bother - get yer gear and start getting photons! If you can't get photons then read and ask questions here and everywhere else you can if you are serious. Ask questions about whatever... jeez... there is a problem? I don't get it.

Roll lowball or highroll or somewhere in-between, but roll... motion, movement, action, activity... get it done and be happy, thankful even.

If you are here to win contests that is another barrel of fish. In the years I've been here I think I've submitted maybe 3 images to the various contests and never won - oh well, no problem here with me. Maybe I am just old fashioned but if the object was winning... well then you do what it takes, whining and excluding and narrowing down who can enter I guess one way. Or that old fashioned way of just getting better yourself to where you prevail, whatever it takes.

#44 Jeff2011

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 12:07 AM

After thinking about this some more I am ok with leaving things the way they are with the exception of clarifying the terms beginner and intermediate. My feeling is there ought to be a DSO challenge for those just starting out and struggling to learn the basics. I don't think this can be quantified by time, equipment or techniques. I will leave the wording defining these terms to someone smarter than me. I believe if the intention of the challenge is made clear, then people will decide for themselves if they are at a beginner or intermediate level. The problem was that these terms were never defined, so it was left open to everyones own interpretation.

I also believe that purpose of these challenges is to provide a fun way for us to learn from each other and improve our skills through a little friendly competition. I also enjoy seeing all the different variations of equipment, integration time, processing and colors. The more people that participate the better.

#45 terry59

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 09:18 AM

Since getting agreement on what constitutes a beginner would be difficult or impossible, either in skill or equipment, maybe the target should be the focus. For example, only wideband targets for beginners and include narrowband for intermediate. Just a thought...

#46 rflinn68

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 10:10 AM

Ok, here's mine. See, the color just doesnt seem quite right. :(

Attached Files



#47 Madratter

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 10:22 AM

I don't know, Richard. The orange is just about perfect somewhere in that graduated blend. Now I just need to figure out where!

#48 rflinn68

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 11:58 AM

I don't know, Richard. The orange is just about perfect somewhere in that graduated blend. Now I just need to figure out where!


See what I mean! Lots of good people here always encouraging each other. Thanks Madratter! I'll keep working on it. :D

#49 iverp

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 07:14 PM

I really look forward to discussing the images submitted in the challenges. I'm sure we agree that we should wait for that until after the voting.

#50 Framis

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 03:45 PM

As an example, I would not consider narrowband imaging and processing to be a skill set that a beginner would be able to easily master even if they decided from the start to buy the gear and learn it - it takes time and practice to develop the skill set. Your average beginner needs time just to work out the basics, like guiding and basic stacking and processing. This should rightly show in their work, as well as improvements they make over time. We should keep all this in mind when judging a beginner contest and vote accordingly.

Charlie


Hmmmm..... well stated Charlie, but it looks like 45% of the voters believe taking NB, using multiple scopes, and cameras over a few days to be that of a beginner's level. while the rest of the contestants finished as well as a one-legged man in an arse kicking contest. ohh well... it is what it is.

Now lets see some M42's =)






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