I asked a professional photographer that I've known via the internet from way back when I worked at Compuserve to take a look at the pictures I entered in the Arts Festival and share opinions. Compuserve was the interent before there was an internet. I met Rick in the Flight Sim Forum back in 1990 or so. You can see some of his work on his blog at On Location With Rick Lee.
So, here's the email I had waiting for me this morning:
OK... I think your wife might have been right. That mirror photo does nothing for me at all. There's too much extraneous stuff that adds nothing to the photo. I prefer simplicity of design. I love the crow but I would
have cropped it and done some other stuff to it. See attachment. I like
the B&W photo. It's too bad that door is open... that detracts, but I know you couldn't do anything about that. It's still good. I like the red plane the best of all... with a few little edits.
The edits he made will be readily apparent:
That's why he's a professional and I'm a hobbyist, I guess. I'm motivated to learn, though! I'm always amazed at the difference the editing makes, and I really need to take the time to learn how the use the tools more fully.
Here's the email I replied with:
Thanks for taking a look!
Ah, you got rid of that damn foot (and flag, and tail of other airplane, and...)! I haven't the "mad skillz" (as my daughter would say) to do that. Awesome! I swore that as soon as OJ and I found the real killer, my next quest was to find the owner of that foot! Frankly, if it hadn't been for the foot, I would have entered that one. I already have it framed and ready to go. In fact, it's hanging right here in my office.
Registration is still open - I wonder if they'd let me switch... I'd have to leave the foot and stuff in it, though, as a matter of personal ethics. Nah, there's always next year. I'm also kind of big on living with the consequences of my decisions, and it would give me time to learn how to edit stuff like that out by myself. I assuming GIMP would be sufficient with enough effort.
The wife will be (or would be, if I was actually going to tell her!) pleased to learn that you agree on the mirror picture. Maybe I'll save that comment and give it to her for her birthday. That diamond ring she got last year is going to be hard to top.
I did tell the wife, as it turns out. She was far more gracious about it than I would have been. She's still not getting another diamond, though! Maybe a Caribbean vacation...