2017 First Quarter Clip Contest Results


Matthew Apgar (Photo Editor, Daily Chronicle), Mary Beth Nolan (Freelance Photojournalist), Sam Buckner (Freelance Photojournalist)


1st Place: Window Washer by John Hart

2nd Place: Dr. Seuss by John Ehlke

3rd Place: Snake reflection by John Hart

HM: Buoy toss by John Hart

Comments:  There was a lot of talk about this very strong category.  First place went to the top after much discussion about the superb execution—great symmetry, composition, reflection, and exposure.  A perfect overcast day to make the window washer “pop” and get such a great reflection.  Although we’ve all seen this type of shot before, the execution was flawless.  We kept bouncing back and forth about the Dr. Seuss kid.  It was a great moment and a wonderful find, but there were little things that we nitpicked about it.  First is the color—it appears to have a magenta/blueish cast that could have been easily corrected with the white walls behind Schulz.  Her gesture and composition really make the photo.  We toyed with a crop on it and all agreed that we would at very least crop from the top to eliminate the exit sign.  Another crop suggestion was to crop to the top of the barrier to eliminate all the heads, along with some of the left side to keep the rule of thirds composition. This definitely had first place potential, but faltered to the flawless technique of the window washer. Third place of the snake reflection was also really well done.  It was a little bit of a harder read, and we would have liked a little more shadow detail.  Great job of seeing the potential in the reflection and making an image that stretched beyond typical. We were curious if the photographer lit the subject or if this was all natural lighting. The honorable mention of the buoy toss was super clean and picturesque.  It was a great moment, capturing the “peak action” of the toss with very nice composition—the rope leads us to the boy, to the man, along the horizon line, and back. Might have liked to see more of his reflection in the water.  This was an interesting photo from a seemingly boring assignment.  Was the water cold?


General News:

1st Place: Inauguration reaction of Naheed Naseem by John Ehlke

2nd Place: Million Person Unity March by Gary Klein

3rd Place: Art Installation by John Hart

HM: Capitol anniversary by John Hart

Comments:  Wow.  We all agreed upon first viewing that these would make the cut, however we juggled the placements a bit.  After reading the cutlines on the second viewing, all of our jaws collectively dropped and we awarded Ehlke the first place for coming up with a very unique, surprising moment of an atypical Trump supporter with a great quote. Thank you for clarifying that Naseem was an American citizen; we believe that was something readers would have been curious about.  Definite kudos to anyone who has added a good quote to their captions, by the way.  This will come up again in the portrait category.  Back to this first place photo—it’s a great moment.  She looks so intensely immersed in the inauguration.  The flag gives good context.  Technique-wise, it could have been better—the backlit haze does desaturate it a bit, but it also adds a clean background to keep our focus on her expression.  Would have liked to see the top background eliminated, but doing so would cut out some flag.  Maybe a slightly higher vantage point? Second place was a well-executed daily assignment.  Good gestures on everyone involved. The overcast day really makes the colors pop. Third place showed good thinking by the photographer to use motion blur to capture an image in a unique fashion, however we felt like there may have been other potentially more interesting opportunities for cool photos from inside the installation. The colorful image worked, and we liked the red coat.  The honorable mention for the rotunda did not place because it was an image we’ve all seen before, however it was well done, so we awarded it an HM.  One image that didn’t make the cut had a LOT of potential. Ehlke’s image of James Borlen running his hand was a very emotional image of a very photogenic man.  We were wondering about the crop though—we felt this was such a great reaction, and such a great story-telling moment, that we couldn’t help but wonder why the photographer partially cropped him out.  We discussed that maybe this was a very quick, instant moment that maybe this was all that was in the frame, and the photographer did well in recognizing that, however the potential was so strong in this image that the crop knocked it out of the running.



1st Place: Kristian Rynes by John Hart

2nd Place: Al Exner by Ben Brewer

3rd Place: Janet Clark by Ben Brewer

Comments: Hands-down, first place was immediately awarded to Hart for the well-composed, beautifully saturated, interesting portrait of Rynes during hip hop class.  After we finished judging all categories, we reflected back on the judging process and thought that if there was a “Best In Show” award, this image would have taken it.  There’s not much to say about it—it’s fantastic. Second place went to Brewer for the portrait of the Trump supporter.  We loved the lighting, the detail, the composition, and—wait for it—the quote.  It was a great addition to the image, and a very well-selected quote to add to the picture.  Third place of Clark could have done better if we were able to recognize the cows to the left a bit better.  Maybe an additional light could have filled in the shadows, or bumping up to f/4.5ish instead of f/2 to make them less shadowy blobs to the left. They weren’t a quick, easy read, which is something we would have liked.   


Spot News:

There was only one entry for spot news.  We did not award any places for this category because the one image entered did not tell the story well.  It was cluttered and a very difficult read that didn’t show the reason why a firefighter was walking with a student.  For a quarterly clip contest, there should be more spot news entries here.



1st Place:  UW vs Minnesota reaction by Ben Brewer

2nd Place: Hockey dejection trophy by Mary Langenfeld

3rd Place: Hockey action by Mary Langenfeld

HM: Ripon dunk by John Ehlke

Comments:  First place rose to the top pretty quickly after our first viewing.  We loved the expressions but would suggest a different crop.  All of the faces had great expression, except for the half-person on the right side of the frame.  We would have liked to have either seen all of him or none of him.  We also would have liked to see it a little tighter on the left to eliminate the sliver of white that is slightly detracting from the reactions. Otherwise, this is a very nice frame.  Second place was a great trophy shot that was unique and interesting. We liked their expressions—it told the story well.  The third place hockey action was well done.  Good action, our eyes know where to go around the frame.  Maybe it could have been a little sharper, though. The dunk photo had a great expression and was very well composed, so we did not want to let it go without awarding it an honorable mention.



1st Place: Rumor the Dog by John Hart

2nd place: Table of Knowledge by Ben Brewer

3rd Place:  Moonshine dance by John Hart

Comments:  There were three entries in this category, and they were all strong.  We thought there could be more entries here, though.  Hart won first place for the package on Rumor, the Westminster best of show dog because we liked how well the photographer worked the story.  There were a wide range of images from funny, dramatic, detail, and portrait.  We all agreed that the fourth image with the Orkin man could have been eliminated, and we were iffy on the ribbon shot because we weren’t sure why the photograph included all the stuff in the lower half of the frame.  Yes, that image did provide a little visual information about the owner/handler’s life, but the other images were all about the dog, or the dog and human’s relationship, and this seemed out of place.  Second place had some beautiful moments captured.  We loved the detail of the hands at the table and the expressions in 4, 6, and 7.  This photographer had captured some awesome quotes in previous entries and we would have loved to see some in this story too.  We would have edited it tighter—eliminating the sign shot and the coffee cups detail.  They just didn’t hold our attention.  Without those shots, though, the package becomes very repetitive.  It needed something more. Third place was well done, however it took third place because it did not show the level of work the other packages did.  This collection of images, though beautiful, could have and likely were all shot with the same lens from the same vantage point and was like shooting fish in a barrel.  

2017 Standings:

  1. John Hart– 270
  2. Ben Brewer- 160
  3. John Ehlke–  105
  4. Mary Langenfeld– 70
  5. Gary Klein– 40

The second quarter ends in June. Submission for the second quarter clip contest begins July 1 and ends July 16. I will send out a reminder the closer we get. If you have any questions contact me at jehlke@conleynet.com.

Thanks again and congratulations to all that placed.

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