As I understand it, I only need ONE image out of ten to be accepted. That in itself is a great comfort, it means I can have more missed shots and still hit somethin'. Truly, when I submitted the first set of ten, I felt three weren't strong enough. That's not how this is going to be this time. I'm confident in all ten pictures this go 'round and things have changed.
I totally misconstrued something. I thought the images needed to be right off the camera, no edits, no "tweaks", no "cheats". I'm not sure why I felt that way, I don't know why I thought that, but I do believe that if there's one thing that torpedoed the shit out of my other submissions... that was it.
On this ten pack... Let's just say these pictures went into my programs looking like a Ford Maverick and came out looking like a Chevy Corvette. Well, at least as pretty as the Corvair, anyways. I tweaked this, I massaged that, I poked this, I nudged that. I did not outright manufacture elements but I did considerable modification and editing beyond "autolevel" and "auto white balance". These puppies... If using a photoediting software is cheating, then folks... I cheated the hell out of this.
Don't get it twisted; I didn't go in there and completely manufacture entire pictures. I tweaked things, made the pictures more professional looking. In one, there was some sort of placard that drew the eye and made zero sense. I cloned it out. Same picture, there was a nasty stain on a bridge piling. It... it looked like somebody had a bad tummy and they just backed up to the side of the bridge and let 'er go. Not really appealing, so I did away with it. Some might ask why I'd pick a photo with so much wrong with it? There was a reflection of the bridge pilings that was gorgeous, and that's what I was after. I just made the rest of the picture not draw the viewer's eye from that. It's cheating, but I have seen far, far worse in magazines on news stands so I really don't feel bad about that aspect. Application would be website backgrounds, etc. It'd work well for that and while it will stand on it's own it's not so bold to distract from whatever was paired with it.
The reason I'm okay with it is simple: it's not hurting anyone. If I were selling a car, I would not pack the differential with sawdust to hide gear noise nor would I shim the brake pads to give pedal feel because that might hurt somebody. This is a pucking ficture. If somebody from New York or New Delhi somehow figures out exactly where the picture was taken, comes to see it, and is disappointed that I airbrushed the fecal firestorm off the bridge piling... I'll let that person hit me on the chin with their fist as hard as they like one time. I'll even permit them to bring somebody to film it so they can put up a youtube video. "Phony Photo guy gets KTFO!" I'll even comment on the quality of the punch in the comments section, 'cause I'm a fair guy."Hey, Ali, next time you hit somebody you'll want to keep your wrist gun-straight. You could have easily snapped your Ulna if I hadn't been born with a weak chin."
I... I also cheated mentally. See, I have this complex. It's like a hero complex only it's not heroic. I have a weak camera. There, I said it. I admitted it. 12.2 Megapixels, 1/2.3-inch CCD, 18x optical zoom, 6.3x digital zoom, 113.4x combined... It's... It's not small, it's just not uncomfortably large, alright? It's definitely large enough for weekend application, but there's some question whether it's good enough for day-to-day work. Worse, I suspect those bastards in the photostock site kicked my pictures out because of my... "petite" camera. So, I stripped out the metadata. No more can you see what camera produced the pictures. It's a mystery because I covered my own tracks by copy/pasting the pics into a blank image layer and saving that layer. In factual consideration I'm sure it doesn't make a damn bit of difference to the site people but I hedged my bets either way. It's one of those things where it likely makes no difference but it makes me feel better to know they will still probably kick my pictures out, but that they won't be makin' ass fun of my camera at the same time. "BWahahaaaaa, noob subbed shit out of a P&S POS, 1/2.3-inch CCD! Bwahahahahaha."
Will I be chosen? Probably not. It seems they've got a whole lot of people there already and they may not want another idiot sitting at the table. There's 80 million pictures on their server and I have to think it's likely for some of the biggest names in the industry to put some there trying to make a buck or two. Not to mention, I suspect they get a whole lot of kiddlies who got a camera for their 12th birthday and decided that they could make a mint selling pictures. My stuff has to be good, and truly I don't know if it is. If it's not good enough now that I've put my absolute best work into it, I'm not really sure what I'll do in the meantime between now and when I can afford a better camera that is capable of doing publish-quality work. I'll probably do what I'd planned either way: to keep learning to capture light in a flattering way, to balance camera settings with the circumstances, and to learn to take great photographs.
I'll probably know something tomorrow, or Monday. Either way, I'm pretty sure my plans aren't really going to change. I'm too stupid to give up, even in the face of yet another failure. With that mentality I can only see one direction for me.
Forward in high gear, pedal flat on the floor, knuckles white on the wheel. Forward.