PHOTOGRAPHY: DPS Competition #5 2018

It was that time of the month again last night where I excitedly get my entries together for the Dundalk Photography Society monthly competition. However, the excitement quickly turns to dread once the judge starts doing his thing and you realise that your amazing photos aren’t quite that…


My goal for this round was to do better in the monochrome section than I have been doing, which I succeeded in.

I got a 19 out of 20 for “Pensive Man”, which is my highest score to date in the Monochrome section. “Cross” got 17, which I thought would have done better as it a pretty striking image and technical pretty much sound, but it just didn’t grab the judge, I guess. It was one of those images that he didn’t say anything bad about, or mention any faults, but also didn’t score it high – so it’s hard to know what to make of it other than personal taste rules the decision possibly. Which is fine, I’m OK with that.

“With Teeth” didn’t go down well at all, and was close to the whole “I don’t understand what they are trying to say here” thing. He said that most of the image is out of focus, which of course it is, but that’s the point. Afterwards one of the other top guys in the club asked me why I didn’t do anything “weird” like I usually do, and I said “cos when I do that, it doesn’t do well” – half joking, half not.

His other issue with “With Teeth” is that a lot of the detail is lost in the face because of the harsh lighting. This bugs the shit out of me, as there are so, so, SO many amazing photos and photographers who do this all the time – and I think it looks good, mostly. But it’s technically wrong, and technical stuff will always trump aesthetics and creativity in competitions. Which I get and understand, but it still bugs me.


With the colour section I knew I was in trouble as soon as I seen all the images go up.

My images just looked bland against the rest. My friend, Enda, who I have mentioned in the VLOG and PODCAST a number of times, keeps telling me not to put in “street” stuff as it just doesn’t go down well, and while I don’t want to agree with him, I do think there’s truth to it. I would suggest that its mostly “bad” street photography that doesn’t do well in the club. I don’t think mine was bad, but it was definitely not great.

“The Moment” got 17 – he said it wasn’t sharp but it was acceptable. Again, he just didn’t like it. It’s personally one of my favourite photos, but seeing it against the others I am not sure I would have scored it any differently.

“Not My Cat” was just lost on the judge – he thought it was a picture of a police man, but to be fair I love this image probably more because of the story behind it than maybe the actual image.

Myself and Daryl where out doing some Urbexing at the weekend and were walking round an old abandoned Mill in Navan. All over the place is empty beer cans – hundreds of thousnads of them, so this has been used for years as a hang out spot. The interesting thing, though, was that there was almost an equal amount of cat food trays too. I intrigued and trying to work out what was going on. After about 45 minutes or so we walked into this dark area and there was the guy from the photo just standing there. Beside him on a chair was a cat. The Cat had the only chair, not the guy. The Cat also had a bag of beer beside him.

I asked if I could take a picture of his cat and he said in the softest voice you can imagine “It’s not my cat”.

And we just went on along our way.

So, when the judge said, “Here’s an image of a police man” I knew all was lost. But how could he get it? Still, I think 17 is on the low side as the image is sound technically.


Finally we came to “Girl in the Woods” which scored 18. This image is a composite of two separate images. The girl is from the Belfast outing just before Christmas, and the tress are from the town I live in. I was happy that no one noticed that it was a composite, and I was happy with 18 as the print version was too saturated, and I knew it. I actually had to reprint this one earlier in the week as the first print was WAY WAY too saturated.

All in all it was an OK night. Glad I did better in the monochrome section, but honestly I would have liked to do better overall. I knew I didnt have any 20s going in, but I was hoping for more 18s and 19s. But it is what it is.

Onward and upwards!


Tommie Kelly Photography

“Cross” – Tommie Kelly

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“Pensive” – Tommie Kelly

Tommie Kelly Photography


Tommie Kelly Photography

“Girl in the Woods” – Tommie Kelly

Tommie Kelly Photography

“Not my Cat” – Tommie Kelly

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“The Moment” – Tommie Kelly




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