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Pentax takes 1st & 2nd place in 2 classes at VLF competition!!! (4 images total)
Posted By: Marc Langille, 09-22-2008, 12:15 PM

Four images will be published when the book goes to print next July/August, and the dedication ceremony will be next September… (the Canon shots garnered two 3rd places). This is the FIRST time (to my knowledge) that the images from a Pentax system has ever placed in the VLF Wildlife Photo Competition, let alone placing 1st and 2nd in two classes!!!

Over 1400 images were submitted for this competition. I came in 13th overall (there was a tie for 10th/11th), which is the top third in the event, yet I only submitted in 2/3 of the classes (I still submitted 50 images, but sometimes 2 in a class). Positions 9th à 13th were all within 81 points of each other. Those ranged from 805 à 886 points (9th à 13th place). The overall winner garnered 1221 points.

Everyone who finished ahead of me has been doing the competition since 1990, so they have 18+ years experience, 9 competitions, and local knowledge under their belt. In contrast, I took a 7 month layoff from photography for various reasons, and had less than 1.5 years of serious shooting under my belt.

To put further perspective on my results:

36 days in a 70 day period were allocated for the competition (it lasted 90 days)
8 days lost due to travel = 28 days left.
10 days lost due to no tripod/binoculars (*) = 18 days left.
3-4 days lost due to poor weather (45mph winds, etc.) = 14 days left.

Therefore I had ~14 days of really good photographic opportunities within the 90 day competition period.

(*)The box I shipped the tripod in arrived damaged, and the binoculars were missing. Therefore I had to send it to the shipper for a manifest inspection to file the claim. It eventually ended up with 5 tracking numbers, and was out of my hands for 33 days...

Images, starting with the 3rd places, and moving up... again, no cropping.

3rd place, Wading Birds - Great White Egret:

EXIF Info:
Date Taken 2008-04-25 00:00:00
Camera Canon EOS 40D
Exposure Time 0.0002s (1/4000)
Aperture f/6.3
ISO 640
Focal Length 500mm (800mm in 35mm)
Photo Dimensions 3888 x 2592


3rd place, Mustelids and Raccoons - Raccoon:

EXIF Info:
Date Taken 2008-05-13 18:45:49
Camera Canon EOS 40D
Exposure Time 0.0015s (1/640)
Aperture f/5.6
ISO 1000
Focal Length 500mm (800mm in 35mm)
Photo Dimensions 3888 x 2592

2nd place, Spiders and Arachnids – Orb Weaver (cleaning itself after a meal):

EXIF Info:
Date Taken 2008-06-07 22:00:57
Camera PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K20D
Exposure Time 0.0055s (1/180)
Aperture f/22.0
ISO 100
Focal Length 200mm (300mm 35mm)
Photo Dimensions 4672 x 3104

1st place, Butterflies I (aka Skippers):

EXIF Info:
Date Taken 2008-06-07 13:15:06
Camera PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K10D
Exposure Time 0.0008s (1/1250)
Aperture f/7.1
ISO 320
Focal Length 200mm (300mm 35mm)
Photo Dimensions 3872 x 2592

More good news! I just got a letter confirming the ranch owner wants to decorate his new cabin (just recently built or about to be built) with 10-15 of my images (8x10). That means I've pulled in ~$1000 between prize money and this order. It's not covered my costs, but my portfolio has certainly improved! All considering I am a rookie - especially in wildlife photography...

I have certainly come back from the experience with a much better understanding (by no means complete) of how to photograph and when to photograph. April through May were very overcast and very windy - less than ideal conditions. Even June was windy, so macro was difficult (what little I could shoot).

The moral of the story is that you should never give up - and with the tripod fiasco I certainly considered quitting on a couple of times. My two top places (with Pentax) were taken in the last week of my final trip...

Regards,
Marc

NB: If you are interested in looking at any of the other images submitted, but did not place, you can look at the threads I've started. The competition was very tough this year! If there is interest, I'll post an edit to this thread.

Last edited by Marc Langille; 09-22-2009 at 07:53 PM. Reason: correction in class - wading and shore birds are separate
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09-22-2008, 12:20 PM   #2
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Congratulations, Marc !!!!
09-22-2008, 12:22 PM   #3
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Wow, big congrats! Those are some great photos!
09-22-2008, 12:59 PM   #4
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THAT IS SO GREAT! Congratulations!

09-22-2008, 01:07 PM   #5
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Outstanding Marc - you have come a long way in a short time - I think it had much more to do with you than the equipment Cannon or Pentax - Congratulations remember all us little people on the forum when you are off for those National Geographic gigs
09-22-2008, 01:15 PM   #6
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I am so happy to hear of your success Marc. Much deserved. There is another thing we all picked up by your competition. We understand more about how to take better shots and that the K20 can stand up with the best camera's in this type of photography.. One awesome day for us Pentax folks.. Again, congratulations on your well deserved wins! JIMBO
09-22-2008, 01:27 PM   #7
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Congrats! I was wondering when you'd post the final results. Very well done and even more impressive after hearing what you had to go through with your equipment. Getting 4 images in the book is quite an accomplishment.

Not bad for a "rookie"....
09-22-2008, 01:36 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by timbo13 Quote
Congratulations, Marc !!!!
Thanks Timbo! It's been a real learning curve, and I'm a better person for it too.

QuoteOriginally posted by Jester_rm Quote
Wow, big congrats! Those are some great photos!
Thank you Jester! It's really rewarding to know that I did this well in spite of all the obstacles I ran into.

Again, thank you both.

Regards,
Marc

09-22-2008, 01:38 PM   #9
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congratulations Marc!
Those are really great shots, makes sitting in the heat worth it huh (think you will try it again?)
09-22-2008, 01:45 PM   #10
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Outstanding shots Marc and a well deserved victory. Are you planning to compete again next year?
09-22-2008, 01:51 PM   #11
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Congratulations Marc, it looks like your effort paid off well for you. I especially like the egret and raccoon action shots. What was the raccoon so pissed about?
09-22-2008, 05:54 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by gawan Quote
THAT IS SO GREAT! Congratulations!
Thank you you Georg! Much appreciated!

QuoteOriginally posted by daacon Quote
Outstanding Marc - you have come a long way in a short time - I think it had much more to do with you than the equipment Cannon or Pentax - Congratulations remember all us little people on the forum when you are off for those National Geographic gigs
A sincere thank you Dave! More than anything it's a tool to me, and it simply has to do the job! I still prefer Pentax image quality the most.

Well, I am not sure about Nat Geo, but I am planning to submit an application for an AIR (Artist in Residence) stint at a National Park for next year. There is one only 1.5 hours from my place! I am hoping to get into that system to some degree, and that is good for the CV too. I'll have some additional landscape image work to choose from after my trip to the Pacific Northwest in October. Everything for the Pacific Northwest trip is covered, except for a couple of nights of lodging and meals.

Regards,
Marc

Last edited by Marc Langille; 09-22-2008 at 06:26 PM.
09-22-2008, 05:59 PM   #13
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Coudos to you great series


cheers
09-22-2008, 06:22 PM   #14
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Great work Marc and credit you thoroughly deserve.
09-22-2008, 08:16 PM   #15
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I think your title for this thread is a bit off Marc. Actually a Marc Langille took 1 & 2nd place in 2 classes at VLF competition using a Pentax camera. I love my Pentax, but lets put the credit where it belongs! You should be very proud of yourself Marc. You really showed what you are made of with this whole competition. The placings are icing on the cake for sure.
Congratulations Marc. I'll have to see if I can snag myself a copy of the book when it comes out. I am sure I would enjoy it. I'll start saving my pennies now.
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