The judges’ decisions from the 2021 Big E Photography Salon

So my Big E photos (and their subsequent ribbons) should be on their way back to me any day now. But with that in mind, the Big E was also kind enough to email me the judges’ results for my two photos, Strasburg Number 90 and Five Tickets To Ride Day and Night.

Now, mind you, not every judge thinks the same way. One person might like something that another person might detest.

And the Big E operates on the “Danish system” of judging, in which the ribbons are awarded via technical merit, rather than if Johnny’s photo is better than Jimmy’s photo.

With that in mind, I want to see how the judges calculated my 2021 ribbonry.

First off, here’s the target scores.

RibbonAdult Total Score
Blue – Excellent40-35
Red – Very Good34.9-32.5
White – Good32.4-29
Honorable Mention – Fair28.9-22
Not Accepted for DisplayBelow 22

So if the judges’ scores land at a certain number, that’s the color of ribbon I would receive.

And here’s how they base their point totals.

1.       Technical – Main subject should be in focus and sharp.  Note the depth of field and evaluate if the depth of field focus enhances the overall photo. Use of lighting enhances and balances the photo and creates the overall effect.  Lighting should not distract from the overall composition.  There should be adequate contrast in the photo. 

2.       Composition & Design – The arrangement of the forms within the photo should be pleasing to the eye.  All areas of the photograph contribute to the overall visual effect.  Consider rules of composition- ‘Rule of Thirds’, Bottom right or left.  Does the photograph flow easily?  Is the color and contrast well balanced?

3.       Impact – How well does the photo meet technical requirements or exceeds them.  Does the photograph make an impact on the viewer?   Does it grab the viewer’s attention and hold it.   Does it have a “wow” impression?

4.       Family Oriented/Theme – In keeping with Eastern States’ family orientation, items of an offensive, controversial or objectionable nature or subject matter will not be accepted.  

Here’s their scores for Five Tickets to Ride Day and Night, which received a third-place silk.

Title:  5 Tickets to Ride Day & Night

Technical:  8

Composition & Design:  6.5

Impact: 6

Family Oriented/Theme:  10

Total Score:  30.5

Ribbon: WHITE

Judge’s Comments:  This is an interesting concept, with a good deal of technical abilities shown. But I find that the mixing of different images which should lead to enhancement of impact actually distracts from the impact of the image.

Interesting. I received good marks for family oriented / theme and technical, but got dinged in composition and impact. Nertz. Two points shy of grabbing a second place ribbon. But third place is still pretty dang good for this image. Especially since it picked up silks at Durham, and at the NYS Fair, and was an Honorable Mention at the Capital District Photo Regionals. Not bad for a mixture of old film and older film.

All right, let’s check out the locomotive results, shall we?

Title:  Strasburg Number 90

Technical:  9

Composition & Design:  8.5

Impact: 8.5

Family Oriented/Theme:  9

Total Score:  35

Ribbon: BLUE    

Judge’s Comments:  I like the sharpness of the photograph. The tones of the B&W are great. I would have liked to see a little more room in front of the steam engine.

Now this works for me. 9’s and 8.5’s throughout, and just hitting that 35-point threshold to earn the blue ribbon.

So as you can imagine, I’m already contemplating my photos for 2022.

Of course I am.

That’s how I roll.