View Full Version : Contest: out in the midday sun -- win a prize!

07-08-2009, 12:44 PM
Since the monthly contests seem to be on hiatus for a while, I thought I'd hold my own little contest. I'll even throw in a US $50 prize for the winner.

The theme of the contest is "out in the midday sun". Normally photographers tend to regard midday light as rather poor, since it's harsh and comes from overhead. Your task is to make a virtue out of such light.

Here are the rules:

1. The subject can be anything you want, but the photo should be taken outside on a mostly sunny day when the sun is reasonably high in the sky and is casting harsh shadows.
2. You can use supplemental lighting such as fill flash or reflectors. You can even just stick your subject in the shade if you want. However, the judging will lean to those who make creative use of harsh light rather than those who just shun it or obliterate it.
3. Any post-processing should not significantly alter the quality of the light. For example, don't take a portrait and then dodge like crazy to completely eliminate "raccoon" eyes. Try to stick with adjustments to white balance and contrast, doing B&W conversion, cropping, etc. I might ask to see the original photo before any processing, so keep a copy!
4. The photo should be taken with a 4/3 camera OR a film camera. Any lens is fine.
5. If you want to post your photo in the forums here or in other places for suggestions before submitting it, that's fine.
6. I'm the sole judge.
7. The contest starts today and ends in one month. Photos must be taken between July 8 and August 8 (inclusive), your time. I'll allow another few days after that for people to process and submit any last-minute entries.
8. To get the $50 prize, the winner must have a paypal account that I can send the money to. The prize will be paid by a personal transfer from a bank account, so you shouldn't have any paypal fees (other than perhaps currency conversion fees if you're not in the US).

To submit an entry, just post to this thread sometime before the contest closes. You can attach the entry, post a link to an external site, whatever. Only one entry per person, please. If you change your mind about your entry, either make a new post or edit your original post. A size of around 800 pixels on the longest side should probably be fine for judging, though I may PM you and ask for a higher-resolution version in some cases.

A few days after the contest closes, I'll post the winner and my thoughts on any other entries that I find especially noteworthy.

One suggestion for dealing with harsh light that I came across recently is to shoot wide. Bright sun makes for a poor close-up portrait, but when the person is a small element in a bigger scene, the facial lighting is not so important. You can use this idea or any other techniques, as you desire.

07-08-2009, 01:01 PM
a challenging challenge

clear rules

judgemental judging

guess I could have expected this subject now that the sun has gone in here for the foreseeable future but then that makes it even more challenging!


07-09-2009, 04:01 AM
I'll have to start going through my files.......since my shooting time is usually from about 1 till 5 in the afternoon....LOL. This should be right up my alley.:camera:

07-09-2009, 09:26 AM
What a cool idea! I may try and do this one up!

07-12-2009, 09:14 PM
I'll give it a try. Here's one I took of a sculpture downtown today at 2 pm. I cropped the picture, adjusted the sharpness and contrast from -2 to 0 and set the color from natural to vivid.

07-13-2009, 11:04 AM

07-13-2009, 05:45 PM
Here's one I took of a sculpture downtown today at 2 pm.
An excellent first entry!

07-13-2009, 07:05 PM
The shot is intentional bright sunlight (for this challenge). Thanks!



07-14-2009, 03:49 AM
I'll play! Here's my "entry".

07-14-2009, 03:59 AM
I've got 2 entries. The first is intentional bright sunlight (for this challenge), and the second was the opposite where I had the sun in the background.

Hey, only one entry per person please! I've edited the original post to clarify this. I'll assume that your first picture is your "official" entry unless you say otherwise. (If you want to change your entry, you can of course do so up until the deadline, sometime shortly after August 8. Just edit your original post or make a new post with the new picture that you want for your entry.)

07-14-2009, 08:36 PM
My entry. Definitely lacking contrast out in the midday sun... Taken at ~3:50PM

07-18-2009, 03:07 PM
I'm in ;)

I call this one "Automatic Deluxe" from obvious reasons.

E-620 + 25mm f/2.8 @ 1/1250s, f/5.6, ISO 200

It's taken i n the suburbs around Reading, UK


07-18-2009, 06:13 PM

Here is my try.

07-18-2009, 09:20 PM

Don Kondra
07-19-2009, 07:08 PM
My favorite time of year for colors, miles and miles of colors :D

14-54mm @ 14mm, f16, 1/30, iso 100 with Hoya CP filter, early afternoon.


Cheers, Don

07-20-2009, 12:53 PM
sun finally came out - as close to midday as I could get..........


Denis de Gannes
07-21-2009, 08:42 AM
Taken with E 510, Zuiko OM 200mm f4, @ ISO 200 1/640 sec f 5.6. There was a short shower of rain which wet the flowers and stems, then the sun came back out shortly after.

08-01-2009, 05:15 PM
August 8 is the deadline (picture must be taken by then, though you have a little longer to post it). There are some good entries so far, but perhaps you can do better, so get those entries in!

08-02-2009, 02:22 AM
hello all :). lovely submissions so far. here is mine for the pile.

f:8, iso 200, 1/250 (e-520 and leica 14-50 f:2.8-3.5). shot at about 12:15 in the afternoon.



08-02-2009, 03:13 AM
Here is my entry. Mostly I shoot women all week long, so I don't really have anything other than this to show shooting at midday. Fortunately, that is when I shoot everyday.

08-02-2009, 06:21 AM
My entry:

Boundary Trail on the way to Inkom Pass (elev 7600 ft). Taken about 4pm on July 9 on very sunny day.


H. Stamm

08-05-2009, 03:18 AM
Here's a candid taken on a sunny day in southern Finland. PP was done in lightroom: Contrast, exposure, saturation, cropped. USM in Gimp. Hope you enjoy! :)

Gear: Oly E520, Sigma 18-50 1/640s F5.0 ISO 100


08-05-2009, 10:11 AM
This is Riloh. He is a seven month old Golden Doodle and one of the best behaved dogs I have ever met. He loves the water so I decided let him go nuts and played catch with him. I was standing in the water up to my waist hoping that I would not drop my camera. All went well and I think this shot was worth the sweating.

I took this shot around 1:30-2 p.m. in the shade at my families camp. E-510, 14-54mm, 14mm, f11, ISO200, 1/250 with Vivitar 2800-D flash on-camera. I did some PP, but only upping the exposure just a tad and adjusted the blacks up a hair.



08-06-2009, 06:55 PM
Only a couple of days left, folks! I'll start judging early next week, say Monday or Tuesday.

08-08-2009, 10:37 AM
This is shot I took while on vacation in Niagara Falls. It was taken with my Olympus E-500 and 14-54 lens. The sun was shining high at 1:00 PM!

I cropped it and used unsharp mask to increase the menacing look of the falls. I love how the boat seems so small and at the mercy of the water. I will name it :

Dead end

08-08-2009, 05:08 PM
Hi. I'm new to this site, having just found it yesterday. I'm impressed with the fantastic information and this contest looks like fun.

I enclose my entry:
"Strolling Barefoot beside the Pacific" shows my son and granddaughter on a bright day at 2:23pm near San Diego. The dark shadows show that the sun is almost overhead, but there's a more subtle shadow at about 90 degrees to the first which I find very interesting because I'm, not sure where the light source is, perhaps reflected light from the waves.

Olumpus E-3 with Zuicko 12-60mm Lens @ 21mm. Aperature priority, 1/2500, f3.5, ISO 100, white balance 5300K.

08-08-2009, 08:15 PM
There is my entry. Hope you like it.


E-500, ZD 9-18 mm @ 9 mm, ISO200, 1/3200, f4 taken on August 1st, 2009 at 11:03 AM

Cristian Samoila
E-3, E-500, ZD 9-18 SWD, ZD 14-54, ZD 50-200 SWD, ZD 70-300, ZD 35, FL36, Lensbaby 2.0

Alan Baxter
08-08-2009, 08:52 PM
You might be in for a surprise!

08-09-2009, 12:26 AM
Princess with a crossbow.. E3,35-100mm f2,8 Metz 58 AF1, ISO 200, 1/3000.Time is 11:54.

08-09-2009, 02:00 AM
My entry is an Oz magpie enjoying the mid-day winters sun.


08-09-2009, 05:47 AM
You should have taken your picture by now (end of August 8, your time). I'll start judging on Tuesday (Eastern Time, US). If you will need longer than that to finish post-processing your entry, please send me a PM.

08-11-2009, 07:04 AM
Woohoo, judging day :yahoo:

08-11-2009, 10:04 AM
It's been a most interesting contest. There were many good entries, enough to make the judging difficult. Before giving the winner, let me start with other four entries that I thought stood out. In no particular order...

photo_owl's flower:


Excellent color and composition, and even a couple of bugs thrown in for good measure. A definite winner in a flower or macro competition, but in this case, I thought some other entries made better use of harsh light.

ehongisto's girl with flowers:


As a parent, I'm a sucker for a cute kid picture, and this one has cuteness in spades, and is a great fit for the theme.

Ddaside88's barn:


I think this one stood out a bit among the landscapes by having a nice sun on the barn itself, very appropriate.

InOmaha's mime:


Great colors, a great subject, and very suited to harsh light, with reflections and shadow detail really giving it a sculpted look

Now, as to the winner. I went back and forth between two pictures enough that I hated not to give prizes for both. To that end, a special judge's prize of $20 goes to...

Vipermann500's Maid of the Mist:


I love the color, love the high contrast of the falls, love the mist, and love the boat for scale. Any other day, this would have been my #1, however...

There was one entry that really stood out in my mind as making the most creative use of hard light. Indeed, the photo is practically the embodiment of what I had in mind with this contest. Harsh light makes the picture, heck, harsh light IS the picture. With a skillful black-and-white conversion, I could imagine it hanging on some gallery wall with a $1000+ price tag. So a big round of applause for our winner...

ikemann's wonderfully geometric railroad station:


Thanks to all for your entries and your interest.

08-11-2009, 11:48 AM
I want a re-count!! Just kidding...

Congrats to Vipermann500 and Ikemann and thanks to bg2b for hosting the contest :thumbup:

08-11-2009, 11:52 AM
I can seen now that I'm going to have to post some scantly clad women from the local swiming pool in the next contes :)....

08-11-2009, 12:05 PM
thanks to bg2b from myself as well -- i am quite thankful :). this was the first time that i have ever won anything with a picture that i have taken. it is certainly an honor to have been chosen from a pool of such wonderful shots. thanks to all the great people on this forum.


-- ike

Don Kondra
08-11-2009, 12:22 PM
Congrats to Vipermann500 and Ikemann and thanks to bg2b for hosting the contest :thumbup:

Ditto :)

I enjoyed having an excuse to get out and shoot but offering a cash prize is over and above....

Thank you.

Cheers, Don

08-11-2009, 10:52 PM
Congrats to winners and thank you for the contest. This was a very first time for me, but I'll surely participate again :)

08-11-2009, 11:09 PM
If Im not to late here is one I took of a nymph sunning herself at the Bristol WI Ren Fair.
Was about 1pm. I shot her while she was standing in the sun and she was directly infront of a shaded area.

08-12-2009, 03:52 AM
That's a nice nymph, though unfortunately too late for the contest.

08-12-2009, 04:21 AM
Congrats to Vipermann500 and Ikemann! Thank you, bg2b, for hosting the contest. It was fun, and I'm delighted to see my entry got honorable mention.

08-12-2009, 08:20 AM
Congrats to ikemann! and to the other honorable mentions winners. Special thanks to bg2b for the contest and prizes.

08-12-2009, 08:59 AM
I was happy I won something. Congratulations to the winner. The picture is simply made for the contest. Love the shadows, the lines, everything in it!

Thanks bg2b for holding the contest!

08-12-2009, 11:02 AM
Thanks for hosting this challenge. It was a hot, sunny day and I wouldn't have taken this picture if I hadn't thought about this challenge.

We need more assignments/challenges like this to push us out of our comfort zones.

08-12-2009, 12:34 PM
Good job in hosting this and congrats to the winners

I would have liked to join in myself but we haven't had any sun, never mind mid-day sun, for weeks!