Photo contest factoid (not a complaint)
Sat, 27 Oct 2007 14:21:19 -0400
I just took a good look at the resolution requirements for submitting
photos: JPEG files 300 pixels/inch, minimum 5x7 inches. That's 1500x2100
A 3 megapixel digital camera has a detector with 2048x1536 pixels.
Therefore any photo taken with a 3-megapixel camera or lower is
disqualifed, even if the photo is not cropped at all. That eliminates
all low-end point and shoot cameras, and most cameras (at least
affordable ones) that are 5 years old or more.
So we're starting with photos that were taken with 4-megapixel or higher
cameras. Then the bird must occupy a large enough portion of the picture
that minimal cropping is needed. This eliminates a lot more photos. (As
we all know, getting a nice closeup of a bird requires being very close
to the bird, or having a long telephoto lens, or having a good digiscope
setup.) And we haven't even addressed quality of the photos yet.
Out of curiosity, I went through my ~1000 digital bird photos to see how
many would qualify. Four did. That's an 0.4% return. I am definitely not
a top-notch bird photographer; I'm probably average. If other average
photographers are like me, then they'll be doing well if 1% of their
photos meet the resolution requirements. Only a subset of those photos
might be good enough for the photographer to want to submit them for a
So realistically, this book is going to be illustrated almost entirely
by photographers who have excellent equipment, lots of skill, and lots
of opportunity for taking bird photos. That's not a terrible thing; it's
just the reality of how you get top-quality photos. Hand-wringing about
the number of photographers represented is pointless.
To those who can take wonderful bird photos, my hat's off to you!