We want to congratulate Nepal with start of «Wiki Loves Earth» international photo contest! Nepal is the first country that opened his virtual doors for beautiful photos of natural heritage. And here is the first one! Nepal team is a dream team! Congrats, dear colleagues!
Before the start of the photo contest “Wiki loves Earth – 2014” the Organizing Committee decided to supplement the published earlier results of the contest of 2013 by brief comments to the best photographs.
Oleg Zharii was asked to write them. We hope that his thoughts concerning the twelve photographs will help one to understand why namely these pictures were awarded by jury and will provide useful recommendations to photographers including participants of the next contests.
1. The ground of success of this photograph: it shows a natural phenomenon hardly ever seen by us. One can easily see sunlight over clouds through a plane window but rarely from the ground. A good detail contrast in the foreground, even in shadows, gentle colors of sunrise lighting, nice background and sky – well-deserved first place.
2. Dnister’ canyon is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Ukraine, and the loop of the river around Zalishchyky is its most beautiful spot. The photo is a classic of landscape photography: both foreground and background are interesting. Long shadows from trees show that sunset is coming, and the best time for shooting is namely two or three hours after sunrise and before sunset when lighting is softer than at daytime.
One could shoot this picture with one frame using a wide-angle lens. However, in this case the peninsula in the background would look too small as compared to the foreground. That’s why the author made use of the panorama technique at a moderate focal length. The photograph has been stitched from eight vertical frames, what equalized scales of plans. However may be the panorama should be completed by one more frame on the left.
When one is shooting a picture with several planes (this landscape has also a middle plane, the bridge), shift for even several centimeters strongly affects the final result. A composition is ideal when the foreground details do not hide each other. The stones should remain in the picture and the tree should not hide the bridge (should the proper shooting location exist). May be, shift to the right would enable the photographer to reveal the bridge, however the picturesque stones could be lost. This panorama demonstrates importance of careful selection of the surveying point. It seems so that the author has selected the best one.
3.Trees in the foreground and in the background add volume to the image of a unique geological formation, and the road brings dynamics to the picture. The photograph could become more interesting under a different lighting. However, photography, similarly to diplomacy, is “the art of possible”. That’s why at the moment when the travelling photographer found himself at the surveying point, he surely made the best possible shot.
4. Prerequisite of an interesting landscape photographs like this is the presence of both foreground and background. At a slow shutter speed, water flow and plants movement in the foreground are blurred. This brings dynamics to the picture. Sun reflection in the right part and a sun spot in the foreground add charm. Tender April leafage makes the photo more transparent.
5. Chimeric stone conglomeration in the foreground and a quieter one in the background create contrast of the picture. Middle of spring with its intrinsic tender leafage and flowers in stone fissures, probably, is the best season for shooting. Middle placement of horizon in this case is a justified violation of photography canons not recommending dividing the frame in half by horizontal or vertical lines. Thanks to that, nice sky occupies in the picture it’s deserved and enjoying equal rights place. Stones on the right close the frame thus creating a balanced composition.
6. The best way to represent an unusual object of nature in a plain is to shoot it “as is”. For this relief, absence of sunlight may be is a better variant of lighting. The picture is well completed by a soft pattern of summer sky. However, the result could be better in early spring or in gold autumn season. Also it would be better to expand the frame both ways. Otherwise, the composition looks too tight.
7. Small waterfalls in mountains are especially magical in autumn when ground is covered by colored leafs. We should accept the situation that direct sunlight won’t reach water in the forest. However, whenever possible one should avoid symmetrical frame composition when the main accent is centered.
8. Classics of landscape photography: foreground under sunlight, shadowed picturesque mountains and sea in the background. On should try to guess how such amount of snow has sticked to the tree!
9. Contrast of the picture is created by beautiful clouds and blue sea. When you don’t know what is outside the frame, you can assume that one should experiment with composition to get the most impressive photograph.
10. Zest of the photograph is its diagonal composition. Reflection of clouds in still water creates impression of conciliation.
11. Contrast side light reveals relief of snow covering and volume of the construction. People figures on the roof give an idea of its size. Impressive contrast between bright snow and subdued sky.
12. Emotional sculpture of Rosych makes contrast with quiet and majestic beauty of the island. Beautiful sky. The picture would be better if the frame has been expanded to the left and obviously under the quiet weather.
Oleg Zharii, photographer, member of jury of the contest «Wiki loves Earth – 2013», www.zharii.kiev.ua
It’s our pleasure to inform you that Wikimedians of Nepal (Wikimedia Nepal) are ready to organize «Wiki Loves Earth 2014» in Nepal – an open photo competition of the Natural Monuments in Nepal, in coordination with Wikimedia Foundation Inc.
Now our colleagues from Nepal communicate with Nepal Tourism Board for getting a list with natural heritage. Also they are going to cooperate with Nepal Nature Conservation, UNESCO, ICIMOD, International Union for Conservation of Nature and other environment funds.
We are pleased to welcome Nepalese team at the International Photo Contest «Wiki Loves Earth 2014» and wish them really great results from their intensive work!
We are happy to hear news from Spanish and Andorran colleagues. Spanish team works hard, but time is running out. Well, we can cheer them up and wish really great results from their intensive work.
«On the Catalan Wikipedia we have been working on lists of Andorra and three regions of Spain: Catalonia, Balearic Islands and Valencian Community. It has been a hard work. Previous experience with Wiki Loves Monuments and Wiki Loves Public Art has been helful for working with this kind of lists, but in that case there is not an unique register of natural heritage sites. In Andorra there is little information about natural protected areas. In Spain the legal situation is quite confusing. The same area can have different protection levels and denominations. We contacted the local natural heritage office in Barcelona and they provided us more information helping to clarify concepts and thus to make more comprehensive lists of sites.
The collaborating natural heritage office of the government of Catalonia has become a partner for organizing the contest. Their press department will help with promotion. The tourism office of the province of Girona has collaborated in previous editions of Wiki Loves Monuments and they were willing to sponsor a prize for Wiki Loves Earth. We plan to offer ten prizes distributed on a territorial basis in order to try to spread the contest to all territories and to promote specially more unknown natural sites. Local agents will organize photographic expeditions to areas of interest conducted by specialists.
For jury members we have contacted two professional photographers with experience photographing nature. They have made a lot of questions about free licenses from their professional point of view, but they have understood the purpose of the project and they join it without any reserve. Other members of the jury will be two scholars of natural heritage and two experimented Wikipedians. This composition of the jury reflects three basic points to evaluate: quality, representativeness and utility for Wikipedia.
There is still work to do but we are excited about this, as well as Wikipedians and sponsors are»
We recieved a letter from Wiki Loves Earth in Andorra & Spain. Here our colleague tells us why he does it, how he justifies his volunteers and himself. So, have a fine ride… or read.
Organizing a photography contest with thousands of participants pursuing thousands of proposed targets is complex. Doing this with volunteers is even more interesting. It is difficult to coordinate schedules with volunteers, but it motivated contributors bring plenty of great surprises. Lots of participants engage in our Wiki Loves initiatives for the first time, unfamiliar with the concept of open knowledge, freely licensing their pictures with enthusiasm. The result is something that still amazed me.
I have been involved in three editions of Wiki Loves Monuments and one of Wiki Loves Public Art. When Wiki Loves Earth was announced last year, my fellow organizers and I hesitated to commit to it. We were a small team covering a linguistic community, and each contest requires lots of energy. Suddenly, someone said “Be bold! I will go ahead; anyone else?” This is the wiki style, and here we are; our small team is excited to start another round.
Organizing Wiki Loves contests is like riding on a roller coaster: unbalanced, unpredictable, but absolutely worthy — not unlike Wikipedia itself. Some activities may reach a featured outcome, while others remain as stubs, and others suddenly appear without any prior plans.
Wiki Loves Earth focuses on pictures of Natural Heritage sites. We found that the legal concept of Natural Heritage is still under development in Andorra. In Spain, its interpretation is left to each of the autonomous regions with inconsistent results. Some regional governments have good information online; others have different inventories from different offices. Sometimes, the same region can have three, four, or more different types of classifications. However, Wikipedians are intellectually promiscuous and motivated to tackle challenges like these. At the end, our research is useful to clarify concepts and to improve related articles in Wikipedia.
Each Wiki Loves edition has concluded with the understanding that promotion requires future improvements. We expect to promote the contest through the organization of local activities involving sponsors and media partners, in order to reach specific audiences beyond Wikimedia.
Now comes the time for managing surprises. Any day, someone could appear with a new sponsor contacted through a friend, or someone else could tell us that they are organizing a photographic expedition with their local library. This is unpredictable; there is no way to plan for it. Perhaps a group of friends may compete among themselves to take more photos of different places, or a teenager could write to us explaining his story biking uphill to achieve a picture just as desired.
I love this, and I am grateful for sharing the ride with my fellow volunteers and colleagues.
Organizing committee of Wiki Loves Earth in Andorra & Spain
Member of Amical Wikimedia