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markseibold
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Re: Imaging/Sketching Contest Discussion new [Re: Charlie Hein]
      #3122766 - 05/23/09 12:41 PM

Charlie has completed the new contest winners post over the entire span of years for every month in chronological time. This is beautiful to see. What a display! Some of the amateur photographers approach the quality of the Hubble.

There were others who asked about the sketching winners over the photographers but I do not think this new post indicates that.

Is there a way to determine that count without much research?

Thanks again for any information from any of you.

Mark

Edited by markseibold (05/23/09 12:43 PM)


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Charlie HeinAdministrator
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Re: Imaging/Sketching Contest Discussion new [Re: markseibold]
      #3122889 - 05/23/09 01:51 PM

I did a tabulation on this - see the lead post in the thread.

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Charlie HeinAdministrator
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Re: Imaging/Sketching Contest Discussion new [Re: Charlie Hein]
      #4838947 - 10/02/11 10:20 AM

I have a very cool rules change announcement to make, and I also have a request for a rules change that I want to bring before the group for discussion.

First, the rule change. I've been looking for this for a very long while and now it is reality... the forum polls are no longer "hard coded" at a 100KB (102,400 bytes) file size limit. They will now follow whatever the site wide rules for image file size and dimension are. Please note that at the present time this has been set to 200KB (204,800 bytes) in file size (on a trial basis), and 800px x 800px in image dimension.

Since this file size limitation may change over time (either up or down), The rules will be amended to accommodate this like so:

Quote:

6. Entries must conform in all respects with the site wide image posting requirements. Entries that do not meet this criteria will be disqualified at the time of the semi final poll creation. It is the contestant's responsibility to ensure compliance with these requirements - although a moderator or administrator may alert a contestant to a possible problem in this area they are not bound to do so.





Now for the rules change request... I was recently asked if a member would be able to "legally" post images from a remote observatory. The member has a sort of "co-op" arrangement with another fellow for equipping and operating the observatory. My understanding is that this is not a "pay to play" remote observatory like Lightbuckets or Slooh, these guys have their own equipment installed in the observatory and share the operations and expenses of the site.

As we discussed the situation it became clear that this would not be permitted under the strict interpretation of our current rule #9:

Quote:

10. Entries must represent the work of a single individual. You must setup and operate all equipment yourself, capture all exposures (or perform any sketching) yourself and process the resulting entry yourself.




Obviously, with the observatory being in a remote location and as there is equipment in there that he didn't install, our member would be in violation of rule #9 and so he can't submit any photos taken from the remote observatory.

This is the point of the discussion for a change to rule #9. Should we allow images from systems that you didn't completely set up yourself?

There are a number of scenarios that might be affected by this rule besides the "co-op" observatory referenced above. For example, what about members of a family with a home observatory? Members of an astronomy club that have outfitted a club observatory? Could family or members of a club be considered "co-owners" of the equipment? If so, they will almost certainly have not completely set up the equipment they use - in fact the only way to be certain that the operator set up all the equipment is if it was a portable setup.

It's an interesting question and one I'd like to talk over with you folks before making any changes to the rules.

What do you think?

Charlie


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roc.ls1864
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Re: Imaging/Sketching Contest Discussion new [Re: Charlie Hein]
      #4838979 - 10/02/11 10:34 AM

Perhaps rule 9 should only apply to the 'Beginner" categories, as I doubt many "beginners' have remote obsevatories. My humble opinion

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zerro1
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Re: Imaging/Sketching Contest Discussion new [Re: roc.ls1864]
      #4839400 - 10/02/11 02:03 PM

In it's current form, there is no way to be fair in the Imaging/Sketching Contest. It's not even about what's fair it's supposed to be about "the best image produced" by members of CN.. That's all there is. If you want it to be fair then it's a lot more complicated. When a guy with an OSC is trying to compete against someone with a monochrome camera with an 8 position filter wheel loaded with NB an LRGB filters...how is that fair? How is two or three people pooling their resources going to be fair when competing against somone with a $600 dollar mount that drives 300 miles to get to some place with decent sky?

It would be completely self serving for me to totally object to this change...

In fact I think there is an un-intended exclusion that causes me to agree with a change. What about the guy who still has the desire and ability but physical limitations exclude him from going out and setting up? Maybe he/she, has to enlist aid or just plane have someone else set up? Here is a great reason to be in a cooperative! why should the rules preclude that person from taking part?

There's my 2 cents


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Charlie HeinAdministrator
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Re: Imaging/Sketching Contest Discussion new [Re: zerro1]
      #4840062 - 10/02/11 07:29 PM

Quote:

In it's current form, there is no way to be fair in the Imaging/Sketching Contest. It's not even about what's fair it's supposed to be about "the best image produced" by members of CN.. That's all there is. If you want it to be fair then it's a lot more complicated. When a guy with an OSC is trying to compete against someone with a monochrome camera with an 8 position filter wheel loaded with NB an LRGB filters...how is that fair? How is two or three people pooling their resources going to be fair when competing against somone with a $600 dollar mount that drives 300 miles to get to some place with decent sky?




Robert, there's no way to have a perfectly fair and level playing field unless we put everyone together on the same field with the same equipment on the same night shooting the same target and processing it with identical computers and software. That's just not possible.

When you look at the Winner's Gallery it is very true that you see plenty of high end gear in that list of winners - but there are also plenty of winners that have modest gear as well. On any given month those folks must have beat out others with high end gear, because that high end gear is always in the competition.


Quote:

In fact I think there is an un-intended exclusion that causes me to agree with a change. What about the guy who still has the desire and ability but physical limitations exclude him from going out and setting up? Maybe he/she, has to enlist aid or just plane have someone else set up? Here is a great reason to be in a cooperative! why should the rules preclude that person from taking part?




Well, That's a great example. In fact that's why it is important to talk these things through.

Charlie


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Charlie HeinAdministrator
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Re: Imaging/Sketching Contest Discussion new [Re: roc.ls1864]
      #4840067 - 10/02/11 07:33 PM

Quote:

Perhaps rule 9 should only apply to the 'Beginner" categories, as I doubt many "beginners' have remote obsevatories. My humble opinion




It's not just remote observatories that we're talking about here. There are many possible scenarios - Robert just brought up one about disabled people who physically couldn't build the gear but could possibly run it.

Charlie


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zerro1
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Re: Imaging/Sketching Contest Discussion new [Re: Charlie Hein]
      #4840481 - 10/02/11 11:35 PM

Quote:

Robert, there's no way to have a perfectly fair and level playing field unless we put everyone together on the same field with the same equipment on the same night shooting the same target and processing it with identical computers and software. That's just not possible.




That's my point, it not possible, it's not required. I certainly don't expect anyone to try slanting anything to make it "fair"

My only contention is and has been to allow people to follow a link to a higher quality versiion of the image posted in the Imaging/Sketching contest. Even the problem with that is...if said image wins, that higher res version isn't going to be the "winning image" posted. It's going to be the lower res...So..No matter what it's "catch 22"..

Edited by zerro1 (10/02/11 11:37 PM)


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John Wunderlin
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Re: Imaging/Sketching Contest Discussion new [Re: zerro1]
      #4842713 - 10/04/11 01:36 AM

It would be nice to raise the file size limitation. Depending on the target and the star field, sometimes compressing down to 100k really damages the images. I think 200k is a much more reasonable size for an 800x800 resolution image.

As for the remote observatory, I think it's ok as long as you are the one running the equipment. As you say, it will never be completely 'fair' and I think only the beginner forum even tries for the fairness issue- I think it does a nice job of that by 'graduating' winners so one person can't dominate as they advance.

Don't get me wrong, though- I want the CCD forum to stay open to all. Beginner contestants should work on the beginner contest if they want to 'win'. I think they could also join the CCD, but be aware they're in for some seriously stiff competition

It's all in fun anyway If the grand prize were $1 Million, then we'd have to really watch those rules!


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lacomj
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Re: Imaging/Sketching Contest Discussion new [Re: John Wunderlin]
      #4844446 - 10/05/11 12:28 AM

Some good discussion here...

I think the file size upgrade to 200k is a no brainer. If someone is going to look at an imaging contest thread, they are certainly going to expect to see nice images at the expense of a bit of bandwidth. As I have said elsewhere here, as an entrant, it is very discouraging to have to lower the quality to enter an image. The fact that everyone has to do this (level playing field) misses this point.

On the matter of remote or shared equipment, I say go for it, but stopping short of the pay-by-the-hour services that really do nearly all of the data gathering for you. As has been pointed out well above, this will never be truly fair when it comes to equipment, and I think that the advantage of access to a remote observatory co-op is FAR less than the advantage that a $30,000 astrograph setup will give you in imaging... they are both just facts of life and should be "legal".

More broadly, I support the idea of collaborative entries as well. It is healthy for the hobby to bring people together who desire such activities.


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SL63 AMG
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Re: Imaging/Sketching Contest Discussion new [Re: Charlie Hein]
      #4846266 - 10/05/11 11:34 PM

No matter what decision you arrive upon, one thing is for certain. Operating from a fixed observatory, whether remote or at your house, is a huge advantage over setting up a "portable" system, whether in your driveway, or at a remote dark site.

In my opinion, if there is any distinction in categories, it should be between permanent and portable imaging, rather than remote and local imaging.

Dave


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Charlie HeinAdministrator
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Re: Imaging/Sketching Contest Discussion new [Re: lacomj]
      #4847165 - 10/06/11 12:56 PM

Quote:

Some good discussion here...

I think the file size upgrade to 200k is a no brainer. If someone is going to look at an imaging contest thread, they are certainly going to expect to see nice images at the expense of a bit of bandwidth. As I have said elsewhere here, as an entrant, it is very discouraging to have to lower the quality to enter an image. The fact that everyone has to do this (level playing field) misses this point.




Of course, you should be aware that the "level playing field" comments are somewhat tongue in cheek and don't really explain the point of file size constraints.

In each forum thread "page" there are 20 "posts" as a default. Each of these "posts" can have from one to as many images as the reader cares to link imbedded in them. Since all 20 "posts" are downloaded at one time, it is the cumulative size of all the images on a page that determines how fast the page will load. This is one of the main reasons why there are rules regarding the file size of an individual image - the bigger each one is, the longer it takes for the entire page to load.

There is a conscious effort on the part of CN to make sure that the user experience is good for everyone who may visit. Some folks have good internet connections and some do not. We see this file size issue as a way to make it best as we can for everyone.

EDIT: We have up to now disallowed links to "full resolution" images for this contest. Changing that rule might be a compromise on the file size issue, but again there would need to be broad support for it.

Charlie

Edited by Charlie Hein (10/06/11 01:00 PM)


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lacomj
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Re: Imaging/Sketching Contest Discussion new [Re: Charlie Hein]
      #4852233 - 10/09/11 02:27 PM

Thanks Charlie...that clarifies the underlying reasons much better for me and makes sense as a constraint.

Perhaps increase the file size constraint on ONLY the contest threads, and reduce the default number of posts per page to a more manageable number? We don't seem to get more than about 5-10 entries each month (varies of course). Those who upload earliest will get the benefit of being on the front page (if it ever goes beyond the default number).

As it is now, various forums have a LOT of off-site link redirects to larger images just as a regular course of business. That seems to work fairly well, but I would favor having a decent quality image (200k) right inline for the contests. It would be a bit of a hassle to be following through links when voting and comparing favorites.


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Dave Kodama
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Re: Imaging/Sketching Contest Discussion new [Re: Charlie Hein]
      #4852240 - 10/09/11 02:35 PM

You can count me in for allowing *supplemental* links to larger images. Limiting images to less than 1 megapixel resolution is absurd when HD TV does better than that. OK to limit the size of the "thumbnail" actually posted in the forum, but let us see the full quality and the shot in all its full glory, no matter if it's a single frame or a huge mosaic.

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Charlie HeinAdministrator
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Re: Imaging/Sketching Contest Discussion new [Re: lacomj]
      #4852619 - 10/09/11 07:07 PM

Quote:

Perhaps increase the file size constraint on ONLY the contest threads, and reduce the default number of posts per page to a more manageable number? We don't seem to get more than about 5-10 entries each month (varies of course). Those who upload earliest will get the benefit of being on the front page (if it ever goes beyond the default number).




I don't know if the default number of posts can be set on a per forum basis or if it's a global variable - I'll have to check. Even so, I'm fairly certain that the default number of posts can't be changed on a thread specific basis, which is what would be needed.

Quote:

As it is now, various forums have a LOT of off-site link redirects to larger images just as a regular course of business. That seems to work fairly well, but I would favor having a decent quality image (200k) right inline for the contests. It would be a bit of a hassle to be following through links when voting and comparing favorites.




Mike at Astronomics has authorized a 200K file size limit on a trial basis so that we can understand how this works for us.

However, the file dimension limits have been maintained at 800px X 800px. The dimension limitation is to avoid the usability problem you get when someone loads a big image (in dimension) or posts a very long URL - the forum controls slide off-screen to the right. The current 800px limit accomodates a 1024 x 768 resolution screen, which has been shown to be the most popular screen size world wide.

Many if not most imagers these days deliver images that are much wider than 800px. Allowing folks to link to their full-sized image would cater to the majority of the folks entering the contests and still maintain the usability factor. On the other hand, shrinking a large image down to 800px can hide a multitude of sins.

Charlie


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Charlie HeinAdministrator
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Re: Imaging/Sketching Contest Discussion new [Re: Dave Kodama]
      #4852625 - 10/09/11 07:10 PM

Quote:

You can count me in for allowing *supplemental* links to larger images. Limiting images to less than 1 megapixel resolution is absurd when HD TV does better than that. OK to limit the size of the "thumbnail" actually posted in the forum, but let us see the full quality and the shot in all its full glory, no matter if it's a single frame or a huge mosaic.




I'd support carrying the linked images over to the "winners" galleries as well, so that folks can see the image at full size if desired.

On the other hand, the rule disallowing links was implemented as a result of conversations just like this one a few years back. I personally would feel better about changing that particular rule if we could hear from some of those folks to see if the reasons they chose to go that route still apply.

Charlie


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John Wunderlin
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Re: Imaging/Sketching Contest Discussion new [Re: Charlie Hein]
      #4852707 - 10/09/11 07:55 PM

I think the 200k limit is great- Most of the time I think we can get a decent image at 800 pixels + 200k while still not burying the servers (or at least any more than we already do)

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zerro1
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Re: Imaging/Sketching Contest Discussion new [Re: Charlie Hein]
      #4852732 - 10/09/11 08:11 PM

I've made my feelings clear that allowing a separate link is good. the dillema of course; are the votes for the winner a result of the off-site image? technically it's not the one that the vote is supposed to be cast for. (I'm trying to look at it from all sides here)

Quote:

I'd support carrying the linked images over to the "winners" galleries as well, so that folks can see the image at full size if desired




I think that would be great! I can't speak speak for others, only myself... These images are often a labor of my love of this sick...er I mean "hobby", in the event I ever make it to the winner'e circle (Har Har!) I'd like people to be able to see what was really in the original..


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Charlie HeinAdministrator
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Re: Imaging/Sketching Contest Discussion new [Re: zerro1]
      #4852753 - 10/09/11 08:26 PM

So - just to make sure I'm getting the important bits covered, we are now talking about two possible rule changes.

The first consideration is to change the rules to allow an entrant to use a setup that they did not assemble themselves. Examples of this could be a family observatory, a remotely controlled observatory that is owned or co-owned by the entrant (specifically disallowing "pay for play" observatories like Slooh and Lightbuckets), a club observatory operated by a member, a setup operated by someone whose physical disabilities prevent them from assembling the equipment themselves but do not prevent them from operating the equipment - or whatever else might fit into this category.

The second consideration is the removal of the rule that disallows links to a "full size" or "full resolution" version of the entry.

If you are just now joining the conversation, thanks for stopping by. I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

Charlie


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rigel123
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Re: Imaging/Sketching Contest Discussion new [Re: zerro1]
      #4852757 - 10/09/11 08:29 PM

I'm all for including a link to larger sizes. I typically know pretty quickly which image I'm going to vote for just from the intitial post, but it would be nice when I'm not certain to take a look at each in a higher res format.

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