Outdoors Blog

Here’s what our photo judges looked for in outdoors entries

We had four judges for this year’s Playing Outdoors/Idaho Camera photo contest. Here’s a little info about the judges, what they looked for in the entries and some tips to help you take better outdoors photos:

(The winners: Third place, youth winner, second place, first place, grand prize)

Max Burke, Meridian

Photo background: Member of Photographic Society of America for 30 years and Boise Camera Club for 25 years. Longtime contest judge.

What he’s looking for: “I’m looking first for the quality of the picture and the story it may tell, if there’s a story. How they deal with the details of the picture, and of course the overall impact of the composition and technical detail.”

Favorite place to shoot in Idaho: “I was raised in Hailey, so I love the Sawtooth Mountains.”

Judge’s tip: “Composition and lighting are very important. Lighting is particularly key — the time of day and the mood you can get in your picture.”

Ken Miracle, Boise

Photo background: Got into photography about six years ago but has taken classes from outdoors photographers. He’s a Boise Camera Club board member.

What he’s looking for: “My first thing is if it gets my attention or not. Then I start to look at the technical things.”

Favorite place to shoot in Idaho: “My back yard (along the Boise River). It’s hard to beat as a favorite place.”

Judge’s tip: “Always have a camera with you, and get out there.”

Darin Oswald, Boise

Photo background: Idaho Statesman photographer for past 17 years.

What he’s looking for: “Good composition, a good exposure and obviously you want the image to be in focus, but I’m also looking for something extra that brings out the magic in the photo and puts you in the scene.”

Favorite place to shoot in Idaho: “Bruneau Sand Dunes is always fun. The Foothills provide a lot of places to go. ... City of Rocks is always a good place.”

Judge’s tip: “F22 or better. The most aperture you can get. You’re trying to get everything in focus with outdoor photography.”

Pat Nagel, Boise

Photo background: Co-president of Idaho Camera

What he’s looking for: “I look for good composition and I look for something that really says Idaho and is printed well.”

Favorite place to shoot in Idaho: “Probably up at my cabin in Garden Valley. That’s where I spend a lot of my time. But Idaho is full of places to take pictures.”

Judge’s tip: “Try to shoot it right in the camera. Don’t rely on fixing it in the computer.”

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