Kite Aerial Photography (KAP) Photo Contest Rules – Proposed Changes 2014+ Help Requested.

edited November 2013 in General
Kite Aerial Photography (KAP) photo contest rules vary with time and event. The American Kiteflyiers Association (AKA) hosts an annual Members Choice KAP photo contest each year as part of their annual convention. During the 2013 AKA KAP competition a bit of discussion arose related to various “rules” for entry including size of the print, date of the photograph, mounted or not, anonymous or not. I missed out on the convention and this fun discussion due to work! But I did promise to open the discussion on various KAP forums for updating the KAP photo contest rules going forward into 2014 and beyond.

Bit of background:
Kite Aerial Photography photo contest are rare in general but several do exist as part of various kite events (such as Japan KAP, KAPi, AKA and a scattering of others). The number of entrants in these KAP photo contest are generally low given the somewhat unique aspects of KAP.

A couple of years ago I experimented with a simple “crowd sourced” KAP competition using the KAP flickr group. Top KAP photos were selected by simply counting the number of “favorites” each posted KAP photo received between date 1 and date 2. The most favorites win….simple and effective but not perfect. The winners got their photos published in the AKA Kiting Journal.

My main goal taking on this fun task is to explore ways to promote some of the best photographs within the KAP community and give some recognition to those who are interested.

Looking to the future, 2014 and beyond.

The purpose of this post is to solicit comments on what the Kite Aerial Photography photo contest rules should be for two specific contests:

- AKA Members Choice KAP Competition

- KAP flickr group – photo contest (time permitting I am going to give this a try again in 2014 (with help from others).

I will start with the second item “KAP flickr group photo contest” as the proposed rules are fairly simple (I hope)!

*** Proposed flickr KAP Group Photo Contest Rules – Comments Please ***

- Only photos posted to the flickr KAP group will be considered

- Must be a KAP photo

- Photos with the most favorites win with places for 1st, 2nd and 3rd

- Annual date range based on when the photo is posted (not actually taken) to the KAP Group in flckr. Date range is from January 1 to December 31 each year

- Counting of favorites (this can take a bit of time!) would be during the 2nd Quarter of the following year. Example: photos with the most favorites in 2013 would be counted in April 2014 (this is to give some time for photos posted late in 2013 to “get some votes”).

- Awards – Article and publication of photos in the AKA Kitting Journal and on various social media KAP forums. …. Sorry no $.... ;-)

Please submit comments on any recommended improvements and please clearly state “flickr KAP Group Photo Contest Rules”.

Now for the rules discussion related to the AKA Members Choice KAP photo competition.

First a bit of background. As the title of this competition indicates, AKA members who are in physically in attendance on the last day of the week long annual convention attend a very nice banquet where numerous kite related awards are handed out (best new kite, a bunch of kite competition (fighter kite, teams, artistic)) and the best KAP photo. During the banquet the KAP photos are displayed (in printed form) for all to see and vote on. Most votes win.

The current rules are posted on the AKA web site but are hard to find (site search does not always find them for some reason). I have posted a link here to the existing KAP photo contest rules.

I have received a few comments for improving / changing the AKA KAP competition rules over the last month or so. Here they are:
- Post rules in one easy to find location on the AKA web site
- Communicate the rules in advance of the event
- Have no rules
- Change the voting process from members choice to an expert panel of KAP judges
- Restrict entrants to just KAP photos taken during the actual week of the AKA convention (see modified category below)
- Use social media to promote (campaign for votes) the best photo
- Keep the KAPer (photographer) anonymous to avoid bias

I will add a few of my ideas to the mix…
- Have two categories:

- Kite related

- Not kite related (or Open)

Rational – most of the attendees are kite fliers and are interested in seeing kites in the air from above. Thus have one category focused on just this subject (kites). The goal is to help promote interest in both kite subjects and non-kite subjects (which actually represents the vast majority of KAP shots in general).

- Move to an all-digital format for all entrants (no prints allowed).

Rational – to promote more entries and eliminate the hassle of printing, mounting, shipping, hanging, displaying, security and return shipment. This also eliminates the touchy (at least this year) subject of size of prints.

Moving to an all-digital format does bring a few new logistical issues.

- How to display the images during the banquet – (propose large PC projector)

- How to do the voting process (currently attending members simply write the number of the photo they like on a special ballot they are given as they enter the banquet hall). My solution (not simple, is to prepare a collage of all the pictures on one page (kite related collage on one side and non-kite related collage on the other). Members are given the page in place of a ballot and after viewing a looping slide show of the images or just looking at the collage, they circle the top photo on each side of the page and turn in their “ballot” for counting. The voting process has to be simple and straight forward.

- Personal comment – I actually like the prints….but time is moving along…thoughts?

To get the ball rolling on comments within the KAP community I propose the following rule changes – please comment with “AKA Members Choice KAP Award

Summary of proposed changes for AKA Members Choice KAP Award.

1. Keep the existing AKA Members Choice KAP competition rules found here with the following exceptions / changes:

a. Add new rule. “Awards will be issued for the top KAP photograph in each of the following two categories:

i. Kite related (image must include at least one kite)

ii. Non-Kite Related (image must not contain any kites)”

b. Change Entry Guideline # 5 to read “Images must be submitted electronically as JPEG files via e-mail.”

c. Change Entry Guideline # 6 to read “No signature, title, watermark, name or explanatory text may appear on or with the image”.

Comments are welcome from all. I prefer an open dialog for all to see so please post your comments here and not via private e-mail. As stated above, please clearly state which set of rules you are commenting on (fickr vs. AKA). I will be dual posting this post over on the AKA web site with at request to leave comments on this forum also.

The goal is to crank through this open discussion process over the next few weeks and formally submit changes to the AKA process by the end of this year.



  • edited November 2013
    I really like the idea of two categories (Kite related and Non-Kite related).

    I don't like the idea of limiting entries to photos taken just during the time of convention... First, we have World Wide KAP Week for that, second, attendance is small even without such limitation (one has to be a member of AKA, and even if one is, sending photos in from far away abroad is expensive - time window for photos arrival is narrow, so sending from for example Europe means sending via FedEx or UPS which costs about ~100$ (as standard mail is too unpredictable to make the photos arrive on time - not too early and not too late).

    I'd narrow the rules for print sizes, like: no side longer than 13" (33cm) no side shorter than 8" (20cm). Or respectively 16" and 10". That would even the playground between those sending their pictures (esp. from abroad - sending 40"x30" pictures would cost more than a KAP rig) and those who came in they own car.

    And finally, WRT digital copies instead of prints... Besides some advantages, like greater attendance, I see some problems with that. First, many voters would probably just look at thumbnail sized pictures on vote cards which defeats the purpose - we don't want to have Instagram photo shootout. And such cards would be either pretty expensive to print or of poor quality (defeating the purpose even more). But that problem could be dealt with [see below]. Second, if viewing venue is not as dark as cinema then image quality would loose quite a bit. I've shown my pictures on slideshows on big screens many times - getting the surroundings dark significantly improves reception. Some kind of solution to that is using very strong (high luminance and high quality) projectors on special, pro quality specially coated screens (day viewing screens), but such might not be available in a convention venue and renting such is expensive. Other option could be setting many largish computer (or high quality HD TV screens) around the venue. Yet another option is devoting something like half an hour just for KAP competition and darkening the venue for the time the photos are displayed (that was the method used for various visual art competitions on large computer geek gathering I attended - say: "Now it's time for compettion X, prepare you voting cards!" then turn off the lights and show the artworks on screen). End even combination of the last two (both one time half an hour show and display on screens spread among the venue for the whole evening).

    And how to deal with vote card problems I mentioned above? Maybe just display entry numbers just before displaying entries. And make a little pause (like 1-2s) between previous photo and displaying a number of next entry - to disambiguate which photo each number applies to. Also I'd independently number entries in two categories so the number ranges would not overlap (for example number Kite Related photos 101, 102,103 etc, and Non-Kite Related ones 201, 202, etc...) or even prefix numbers for each category with a letter, for example K & O for respective categories.

  • Here's my input:

    KAP flickr group photo contest:

    On the whole I think the rules are fine. The only warning flag I'll toss out is that the number of favorites a photo gets is often more dependent on how thoroughly the photographer can choose their keywords and how many groups they post it to rather than how good a photograph it actually is. Two of my "hottest" photos in terms of views are the contents of my first aid kit and a picture of some pens I did to demonstrate Z-stacking. In terms of favorites the pens are almost at the top. It's not because it's a stellar photograph. It's because of the groups I posted it to, how I key-worded it, and the fact that that group moderator has dropped off the face of the planet, so my picture will ALWAYS be visible when you go to that group.

    I don't want to impose any rules like, "Can only be posted to the KAP group", or "Can't have keywords" because that places some horrid limits on the photographer. If someone is doing KAP to sell prints or for stock, this would be a terrible blow. I don't know how to address this. But it bears keeping in mind.

    AKA Members Choice KAP Award:

    I'll start with some of the stuff you listed as proposed ideas:

    I'm 100% against the idea of having no rules. Anarchy is never a good way to run an organized event. I could imagine some over-enthusiastic KAPer splurging to have one of their photos printed on canvas ten feet wide, then getting into a snit when the event organizers point out there's no wall space for them to display their photo. Going this route is a disaster in the making.

    Changing the voting to an "expert panel" is also a disaster. KAP is a niche form of photography. The only "experts" you're going to find are us. We're constantly looking at each others' work. Any concept of anonymity goes out the door because the "experts" would take one look at each entry and say, "Clearly that's a Lesage." "Oh! Look at this Layefsky." "I didn't know Powers went in for abstract." (I'm imagining everyone holding a glass of wine and looking sophisticated while saying this...) Keep this a people's choice award.

    Restricting it to just KAP photos made during the event isn't a good idea, either, especially if we stick with the print format. Look at it this way: The AKA convention starts and every KAPer gets out there in full-blown competition mode. (Remember, this is something we fought with as a community regarding WWKW: WWKW is NOT a competition!) People will push themselves and their gear hard. Accidents will happen. By a minor miracle, some good photos will be made. There will then be a rush to send the files to a printer located in the same town as the convention, and some courier will have to go pick them up and get them set up by the last day of the convention. It's a logistical nightmare.

    As far as promoting goes, I have to ask: Is this a photo competition? Or is it a competition to see who can use social media the best? If it's the latter, count me out. For starters, the idea bothers me at a very fundamental level. This is like saying the Olympics should be judged by who can get the most sponsors. (Oh wait! That charge has already been leveled at the IOC for decades.) And for me, I simply can't pull it off. My regional director lives in California. That's several thousand miles away. I will NEVER meet the bulk of my region's AKA members face-to-face. There are no kiting events I can get to without getting on a plane. The only AKA member I know and see on a daily basis is me. Unless I ran some hard-core ad campaign, I've already lost.

    Keep the KAPer anonymous? I thought that was already the case! The rules have been pretty clear up to this point.

    Now to your stuff:

    I think breaking up the two categories is a GREAT idea. It's kind of like doing a KAP contest in which the judging is being done by landscape painters who live and work in Taos, New Mexico. Despite whatever anyone will claim, there will be a bias toward KAP of the Southwest US. Urban KAP would not be judged fairly. The same is true of having a KAP contest in which the judging is being done by kite makers / flyers / etc. There will be a bias toward photos that show kites. Splitting this up is a very good move. (It also means there are now twice as many awards for KAPers!)

    As far as the all-digital format, this is touchy for soooo many reasons. I agree with everything Sebastian said. I'll also toss in that I've given presentations in a number of venues, even at photography clubs, and NOWHERE have I seen a color/gamma calibrated projector. In the case of the photography clubs, the clubs actually own the equipment to calibrate their projectors, but decided it was too complicated to do. ??!! @#$%@#$%!!!!!! So I was left in the unenviable position of having to say, "Pretend this is a lot brighter than it looks here." GAAAH! Otherwise gorgeous photographs can be destroyed by projecting on an un-calibrated system. Don't go there.

    The other possibility is to submit digital files and to have some part of the entry fee go toward a standard sized print, say 12" on the long side. So long as a reputable printer with calibrated equipment is used, this isn't quite as bad as the projector problem, but it's still not perfect. Each KAPer can get the ICC profile of the printer that will be used, but not everyone has experience doing this. Just like the social media question, this makes it a competition of who can best color-correct their photography to a particular printer's ICC profile.

    Of all of the ideas, I like Sebastian's best: Limit the print sizes to a tight but not zero range. No smaller than X, no bigger than Y. Be careful when making these rules to make sure that verticals and panoramas aren't penalized or given any advantage. "Hey, the rules said no smaller than 10" and no bigger than 12" in the vertical direction. My panorama has a 5:1 aspect ratio, so I printed it five feet wide! Deal with it!" Ermmm... No.

    One possibility would be to say no more and no less than X square inches or Y square centimeters per print. This levels the playing field for panoramas versus single-frame, doesn't give an advantage to any particular detector format (4:3 versus 3:2, etc), and should even out how much visual weight each photo gets on the display table.

    In terms of presentation, an easy way to limit the playing field is to either say only unmounted prints, or only prints mounted in card stock no thicker than X inches or Y mm. Please no frames, mats, canvas prints, printing on metal (those look awesome, by the way), etc. All of those make it a printing/framing competition rather than a photography competition.

    Let's keep it strictly photography, if we can.

  • I agree with Tom that Flickr contests by favorites probably won't be that exciting as some of us have 1000's of contacts and some have 10. I think there are (or were) contest types that can be run by the group moderator that might have a bit more level of a playing field.

    I wonder if there's a way to make it more educational myself. I like the threads that include critical suggestions. . .

  • edited November 2013
    All, Good feedback. Keep the ideas flowing.

    I agree on the KAP flickr group comments. The use of favorites is not perfect. I am open to other recommendations. I am trying to keep this very simple. Some flickr groups use some sort of nomination process but I feel the same underlying weaknesses still exist. Assume you were "running" the event, how would you do it? How much effort would be required?

    Few additional comments on print vs. digital for the AKA event:

    Part of my rational for considering going to a digital format with large PC projector vs prints was for quality of viewing the images and to normalize the "printed size advantage". For those who have not attended the AKA conventions in the past, let me share a few first hand experiences. I have attended three and assisted in the set up and ballot counting of the contest. The rooms used for the AKA awards banquets are set up for a large group (~100-200 people) with a focus on serving dinner with a stage in the front of the room with a very large screen. The room is generally semi dark (think of a candle light dinner). One or more PC projectors are used to review pictures of the event and announce awards. The space reserved for displaying the photos is limited. There is also limited control over the lighting that falls on the prints. This is not an art studio. The prints are generally laid flat on a table. Some of the images are in the light....some are in the shadows with very poor light (some of the photos it is hard to see the image). Again, very little control or flexibility in properly illuminating or displaying the printed images. Could lighting equipment be rented and proper mounting wall be set up....probably not. Even if proper lighting were available, it most likely would have to be turned down or off for most of the event so as not to disrupt the rest of the proceedings. I appreciate the "calibrated project" concern...but my experience....just the ability to see the prints in a semi dark room is an even bigger concern.

    If the lighting and proper display space could be worked out....the prints with fixed size limits would work fine.....if not.....which has been the case in past years.....the digital format (even with imperfect projectors)....could be a better bet.

    Benefits from additional entries should not be overlooked (low turn out in the last few years (10-20 entries) and with the digital display - a few more of the attendees may actually see the images (I estimate that ~50% of the attendees actually viewed the KAP prints).

    Keep the comments coming for both these KAP opportunities.

  • Aaaaah! Thanks for the first-hand impression of the venue. That helps a ton. Yeah, given that I'd opt for the projected digital images, too, regardless of whether the projector was calibrated.

    It would help if someone like you set it up, though. A running theme at every single conference I've gone to since projectors were invented is that people always prepare their images too dark for projector display. "Oh! This is darker than I expected..." "If you could see the part of this I'm pointing to, you'd see..." "Let me just skip that slide. It's too dark..." Unless the person setting up the projector is setting it up specifically for photographic images, they're almost always set up too dark or with too strong a gamma setting. If YOU set it up, or someone else who's a photographer, I'd feel a lot better about it.

    It would help to know the specifics of the projector, too. If it's a 1920x1080 HD projector, I'll prepare my images differently than if it's a 1280x1024 projector. For a venue that size I'm expecting it's an HD projector, but it would help to know.

    I'm glad you're looking into these changes, Jim. Thank you.


    P.S. I need to think more on the Flickr competition. So far I don't know a good way to even out the field.
  • I like the idea of digital format with a projector. For the last AKA convention i had picked a few KAP photos to send but I ran out of time to have them printed and then shipped. If it would have been digital i would have participated.
  • All, I am cross posting a few comments from over on the AKA Kite Talk forum for this audience to see input from the AKA leadership.

    I am also providing a link for the AKA members.

    Please keep the ideas flowing.


    Re: Kite Aerial Photography (KAP) Photo Contest Rules – Proposed Changes
    20-Nov-2013 16:14:31
    To help frame the discussion, how many prints were entered this year at Seaside. Of those, how many contained at least one kite?
    Time to Fly!
    Barbara Meyer
    AKA past president

    Re: Kite Aerial Photography (KAP) Photo Contest Rules – Proposed Changes
    Yesterday 12:36:34
    My numbers might be slightly off, but I've got 11 competition photos that KAPpers sent me for use in the magazine. Six are of kites or kite festivals, five are landscapes or people.

    The concern I expressed to the committee was largely logistical. People attending the banquet are already given three separate ballots (Best Kite, Best Kite Accessory, Best KAP) when they enter the awards banquet. Splitting it into two categories means adding a fourth ballot. I think we're fast approaching the land of confusion.

    I'm also not a big fan of the all-digital format. As the magazine editor, I'd like to see the rules require that a jpeg file be submitted to me, instead of me and the KAP chairman having to chase down all the photos after the convention. But I'm concerned about the headache of setting up another slideshow at the banquet. I think that Darrin Skinner and John Gillespie already have enough on their plate with the existing slide shows. I don't want to have to stand around waiting for the computer to cycle through all the slides; I'd like to look at them at my own pace, go back and forth if I need to, then cast my ballot. Hey, if the kitemakers have to actually go to the time and effort to build a kite and bring it to the convention, I think the KAPpers can reasonably be asked to print a photo and ship it to the convention.

    I'd also like to see those prints be donated to the auction. There's some beautiful work being done, and I'd be willing to pay to own some of it. Right now, my only option is to try to buy it directly from the photographer (hard to do, given that the prints in the competition are anonymous). So let's see the KAP crowd donate their work and contribute to the financial health of the AKA.
    Editor, KITING Magazine

    Re: Kite Aerial Photography (KAP) Photo Contest Rules – Proposed Changes
    Today 08:39:50
    I will throw in my 2 cents and say that a digital slide show at a banquet would now be the best way to display quality images. Print images are made from high resolution files and printed for good exposure, detail and sharpness. Images projected on a large screen in a banquet hall would appear washed-out and soft. Not the best situation when judging images.

    But I have to disagree that all images be required to be put in the auction. The choice to sell an image should be left up to the photographer. Not every image I enter into a juried show is for sale. Some images I like to show off but keep for my own home gallery. And images I sell are to recoup the costs of printing, matting and framing. Leave it as an option for the photographers.

    I am hoping to try some KAP this year and maybe have one good enough for the convention. But I will be giving it second thoughts if I am required to give up my image.

    Karen M.

    Re: Kite Aerial Photography (KAP) Photo Contest Rules – Proposed Changes
    Today 08:54:58
    The numbers of entries don't seem to support 2 separate categories. Perhaps a better solution would be to expand from 1 winner to a first, second, third place awards?
    Actually, if categories were to expand, the one that I would support would be a class consisting of ONLY photos taken at/around convention during convention week. With the availability of quick print options, even the local drug store, it wouldn't be that difficult.
    The beauty of digital photography is that prints can be (fairly) easily recreated. Whoever is the auction chair and the KAP chair should make a point to STRONGLY encourage those entering the KAP contest to donate those prints to the auction. Mandatory? Maybe not. Of course, each would be tagged asking that the bidder not collect until after the voting. It would actually be additional viewing time for the donated prints which could potentially garner more votes.
    I too support having actual prints to view. If kitebuilders can show up with their creations and actually fly, getting a flat print to convention is not too much to ask.
    Time to Fly!
    Barbara Meyer
    AKA past president
  • I think that basing the decision not to add a category strictly for kites on a single year's statistics of how many photos included at least one kite is a little short-sighted. As a general rule I don't use KAP to photograph kites because I'm the only regular single line kite flyer in my area. With the notable exception of two kiting events, in the past seven years I can count on one hand the number of times I've gone flying and have seen someone else flying a kite.

    So up until now the overwhelming bulk of the KAP I've done has not included another kite. I primarily do landscapes. But I also do people, cats, dogs, shadows, etc., and would gladly plan to do some kite-to-kite KAP if I knew there was a second category I could enter. I don't think having two categories would split the field into two smaller groups of photos. I think having two categories would lead to more entries.

    I admit I'm a little biased when it comes to setting up a category for KAP done in and around the convention since I haven't been able to attend in the past and don't see how I can in the next couple of years. But setting that aside the concern I have is that the KAP community has already had conversations about the dangers of doing KAP on a short time frame with even the idea of competition involved. This is why any time WWKW is discussed, I make a point to remind people that WWKW is not a competition, and that pushing yourself and your gear to their absolute limits to "get the winning shot" leads to disaster. It's one thing to enter into a sport kite competition in which the only real risk is to the kite and the kiter's pride. It's another thing altogether to add the pressure of competition to KAP when there are spectators, other kites, and property that could be damaged if someone stepped outside their safety box and pushed a little too hard. Others may disagree, and I bow to their wisdom since I, myself, can't attend the convention. But I don't think my concern is unfounded.

    I don't think entrants should be required to donate their prints to the auction, and quite frankly I'm a little surprised by the... enthusiasm? of the comments saying it should be mandatory or strongly urged. The years I've entered the competition I have donated my photos. But as Karen M. said, that should be my decision, not a condition of entering the competition. If it becomes a mandate, essentially the entry fee for the competition just increased by the cost of the printing, mounting, and shipping.

    Sorry if that last bit came off as being a party-pooper. I have to wonder, though, if the entrants in the kite making competition are encouraged (or mandated!) to donate their kites or their designs. If this is an unfair analogy, then comparing making and transporting a kite to printing and shipping a picture shouldn't be used, either.

  • What Tom said!

    Basing decision on invalid statistics (one incomplete sample from one year is hardly valid statistically) is IMO not the best idea. How many photos were submitted in 2012, 2011, 2010? For example in 2011 there were at least 20 entries.

    The perceived problem with just one category is that quite often what wins is not a best photo but a (best) photo of kite(s). I'm affraid that this could contribute to reducing attendance. Requiring photo donation might reduce attendance even more. Making that optional is OK with me, though.

    And last but not least... I really think that competition for photos made during convention is a bad idea. First, due to competition pressure and things like that accidents will happen, hopefully just tangled lines and just few hundred dollars of equipment lost rather than someone hit into a head with 2 pound camera falling from 300ft. Second, sorry, grocery store print quality is errrm... not the best...

    AKA member
  • Sorry for jumping the gun on this, Jim, and posting something from the AKA forum:

    Re: Kite Aerial Photography (KAP) Photo Contest Rules – Proposed Changes
    Today 08:53:46

    Karen, most of the KAP images are displayed throughout the week leading up to the banquet. At Seaside this year, they were on the wall outside the registration area. Well, some of them were. Some photographers either didn't submit their entries until the last minute, or they didn't arrive in the mail early enough for advance display.

    I can see your point about not requiring donations to the auction. But the fact that there were ZERO photos in the auction indicates to me that the KAP community isn't even considering the possibility. What can we do to change that? Jim, in the past there have been kitemakers auction projects where people used the same colors of fabric, or all built miniatures, or did something around a theme. Can the same be done with KAP? Maybe a KAP auction project where everyone takes pictures of .... boats... or lighthouses... or trees. Also, as someone who once paid $200 for a framed piece of artwork at an auction, and then shelled out another $100 for UPS to ship it home, I think I'd rather that photographers not go to the expense of matting and framing their work, unless it's small enough to fit in a carry-on bag. I'm fine with buying an unframed photo, then rolling it up into a tube to get it home.

    Jim, you'll have to explain to me how getting a print to the convention costs $75+. I checked with the Walgreens and Office Depot down the road, and they can make a nice high-quality print and ship it across country for less than $25.

    Editor, KITING Magazine

    The times I've entered, there were pretty clear dates for getting your photos in. I stuck to them. If I was guilty of having my entry come in late, it wasn't intentional. Had the date been a week earlier, my stuff would've been there a week earlier.

    I'm a little confused that none of the KAP entries were part of the auction. The times I've entered I was asked if I wanted to donate my pictures to promote interest in KAP. I donated them. I figured the auction was what they were going to. Either that or to the KAP gallery collection that's used for stuff like the Maker's Faire, etc. I DID consider the possibility, and opted for it.

    Here's a thought for future conventions: For those mailing in their photos, make it clear that if you don't include a SASE shipping envelope for your work, it will be considered a donation to the AKA and will be included in the auction. For those attending the convention, have them check a box on a form when they drop off their artwork that indicates if they will be picking it up at the end of the convention. If they don't check that box, their work will be considered a donation to the AKA and will be included in the auction. If this is very clearly stated in the contest rules and in the submission guidelines, that gets the word out and ensures that people have to have an answer to that question before their work is handed over.

    As for the framing/matting/etc. that can also be handled by a straightforward rule in the guidelines: "Only unframed, unmatted prints will be considered for the competition." I'm all for this because it's less expensive to enter a photo, and it keeps the competition a photo competition rather than a matting/framing/etc. competition. (I stopped participating in a local competition because a judge dinged me for "only using a cheap metal frame." It was a friggin' Nielsen frame, and complimented the piece perfectly! They liked gold frilly stuff. Go figure.)

    I'm not keen on the idea of unmounted prints because any change in humidity from the place where it was printed to the place where it will be displayed can make it curl up on the table enough to be unviewable. I've blown a couple of competitions because of stuff like that. It's really crappy to find out no one saw your work, and that it was thrown in the trash because no one could figure out what it was. (No, that didn't happen at an AKA event. You guys have more class than that.) I like to use at least a 3x board or thin foam core.

    I will not use Walgreens or Office Depot to print my work for a competition any more than a drag racer will put low octane street gas in their seven second car. If I'm going to the trouble of entering a competition, I'm hoping to stand a chance to win it. I've had some really bad results from CVS, Kinko's, and Office Depot: purple hues in the sky, blocked out shadows, blown highlights, etc. No matter how good my KAP, those are enough for me to lose a competition.

    I'd far rather take the images to a printer who does art prints, who prints on a nice paper (Hahnemühle is my favorite), and have them print and mount them for me. Printing runs about $0.10 per square inch. For an 11x14 that's about $16. Mounting adds a bit to the cost. The whole thing can be had for a little less than $25. USPS doesn't have a flat rate envelope large enough to take an 11x14 print, unfortunately, but shipping is typically around $20, depending on how fast it has to get there. (I can't do overnight from Hawaii, so I don't even go there.) My total is about $45, though I can cram more than one print in the envelope.

    But I have no idea what it would cost to ship a picture from outside the US.

  • All - good discussion. Looks like a few ideas are beginning to emerge.

    Tom, agree with your thoughts above.

    The side discussion (donation of prints to the AKA auction to raise money) deserves a discussion and perhaps a separate thread. I agree if the cost of entry could be lower this may help with the donations. Use of Walgreens for simple prints to keep the cost lower could be explored. Unfortunately the current AKA Memebers Choice KAP competition rule # 5 states " Images must be submitted as prints and & mounted on matte board." Walgreens does offer prints with a cardboard mounting at a reasonable cost of $24.99 + ~ $ 5 for shipping for a 16X20 inch print. Call it $30. Most KAPers submit 3 entries...3 * $30 = $90. Actually Walgreens is expensive. I use a professional printing service for lower costs. ..... So....putting the money / donation / fund raising discussion aside ...back to the original purpose of this thread...

    What the rules should be.

    My thoughts so far:
    - Go for 2 categories
    - one for kites
    - one for non kites

    Prints vs Digital
    - looks like a split opinion so far - need more discussion
    - if we stay with prints - need to tweak the size and mounting requirements (if everyone wishes to go lower quality / costs (roll up the pictures in tubes and mail) vs. the current rules which require mounting. Also need to address the display space, lighting, mounting (wall / table).
    - if we switch to digital - we need to figure an easy way to display the images (separate digital projector running a loop of the images on a screen to the side next to where the kites are displayed is one option). The projector could run all week long. Better yet....could post all images to a flickr group where hundres of people could view them from around the world (in addition to the attendees at the convention). The convention attendees could view the images at their leisure on their smart phones, ipads or computers.....maybe even cast a vote on their smart there is an idea! Bottom submissions = more entries in my mind.

    - the limitation to just KAP pictures taken at the convention while nice would eliminate about half the entries from past years. I think the ideas could be incorporated nicely into the "kite category" mentioned above.

    - the one rule that has not been discussed is the "anonymous" vs. public on the images (display the name of the photographer or not). I would appreciate comments on this rule given the discussion / perceptions related to this subject in past competitions.

    Keep the ideas flowing. Looking to submit a formal recommendation for changes by December 1, 2013.


  • I like the two categories. As I said earlier, I think it'll lead to more entries, not fewer.

    If we stay with prints, I like mounted prints. It doesn't add an inordinate amount to the cost, it avoids all kinds of problems with humidity and temperature change, and they just plain look nice. I think it would be a good idea to look at print sizes, and to follow something similar to what Sebastien said, where there are min/max sizes on both axes of the prints, or a min/max total square inch/cm area. If there are concerns about shipping images to and from the competition, the size limits could be set to play nicely with standard mailing containers.

    I like a lot of what you said at the bottom of your comments on the digital option. A looping projector running all week would be great. But yeah, if there was a convention gallery set up on some easily accessed web site (AKA web site? Flickr? Smugmug? Whatever?) that would be great. It's actually easier to set up a photo for viewing on mobile devices than it is a projector. The screens on mobiles are far more consistent!

    As for which to choose, I honestly can't say. From your description of the venue as it is, neither is ideal. If we stick with prints, it would be great to organize tables or wall space and decent lighting. Every conference I've been to has involved some sort of poster session. Most venues are set up with everything necessary to pull this off. If we go to digital, it would be great to have a projector cycling through the pictures from when the conference starts until it ends. Again, most venues are set up with everything necessary to pull this off. Regardless, showing them for the entire duration of the conference would be ideal. Either way I'm fine.

    I'm all for anonymous photos. I think it's impossible to make it truly anonymous to anyone inside the KAP community. The styles and subjects of most KAPers are too distinct for it to be any other way. But to the kiting community at large, it would still be anonymous. And that's who counts in this case. Photo competitions should judge the photographs, not the names or the personalities behind them.

    To address Phil's concerns, I think it's fair that regardless of whether the competition uses prints or digital files, every entry should consist of the entry fee, a JPG suitable for printing in Kiting magazine, and the artwork itself. AKA gets the entry fee, Phil gets the JPGs, and the event coordinators get the artwork, whether a print or a digital file. Until your entry is complete, your picture can't enter the competition. If the due dates for the entries are set a few weeks prior to the convention itself, Phil should have everyone's photo well before the sun rises on the first day.


    P.S. Here's another idea: Set up a digital gallery on a print site like Imagekind, which does a really good job of printing, and the photographers can choose whether to put their photos up for sale. Anyone wanting prints can order them directly from the gallery site and have them drop-shipped to their home address. Proceeds to go to the AKA for the duration of the conference plus, say, a week or so on either end. (Yeah, I can see a lot of problems with this idea. But it would make one heckuva fund raiser for AKA!)
  • edited December 2013
    One more idea for digital case: setup a monitor (or HD TV) connected to a computer and put it in place where printed photos would be normally displayed.

    And wrt anonymous vs public: anonymous is better, besides that most more serious art competitions are anonymous.

  • All, Looking to close out this discussion and submit a recommendation for rule changes in the next few days. Please post any final thoughts.

  • edited January 2014
    All - Thanks for the feedback posted to this forum and the AKA Kite Talk Forum. I used the ideas and comments to draft the proposed rules.

    The following are the proposed AKA Members Choice KAP rules for 2014. These draft rules still need to be approved by the appropriate AKA leadership. Stay tuned.


    ***************** DRAFT KAP Rules - 2014 *******************

    Rules and Procedures for the Kite Aerial Photography
    Member’s Choice Annual Competition

    AKA members in attendance at the convention will vote on their favorite aerial images and an award will be given for the image with the most votes in the following two categories:
    • Kite related – must have a kite in the picture
    • Non kite related – no kite(s) in the picture

    Entry Guideline:
    Each photo entered in the competition must meet the following requirements:
    1. Photographs submitted must have been taken by the contestant
    2. Photographs submitted must have been made by lifting a camera with a kite
    3. The photographer must be a member in good standing of AKA at the time of the convention.
    4. Images that have received awards in any other competition are not eligible
    5. Images must be submitted as digital jpeg files.
    6. Images may (optionally) be printed with a maximum of 24” on any side. There is no requirement for mounting or framing.
    7. No signature, watermark, title or explanatory text may appear on the face of the photograph.

    Up to three images total (for all categories) may be submitted by each member.

    It is not necessary that the member be in attendance at the AKA convention.

    Photographers who submit prints in addition to the required digital JPEG files are encouraged to donate prints to the AKA fund raising auction (this is optional and not required).

    Permission is granted to the AKA to publish the images in AKA Kiting and the AKA web site.

    Submitting an Entry:

    1. All entries must be submitted as digital JPEG files via e-mail to the AKA KAP Committee.
    a. (e-mail address to be confirmed)
    2. Each submitted image shall have the following information included with the e-mail submission:
    a. Image title
    b. Submission Category:
    i. Kite Related – must have a kite in the picture
    ii. Non Kite Related – no kite(s) in the picture
    c. Photographer’s name and e-mail address
    d. Location where the image was taken
    e. Month and year the image was KAPtured (captured)
    f. Make of camera and kite used

    3. Deadlines for submission:
    a. Noon on the Thursday prior to the AKA Annual Convention Awards Banquet. Note the late deadline is intentional to permit submissions from the AKA convention week.

    Competition display and voting during the AKA Annual Convention Banquet:

    Note: the display of images & voting process varies slightly year to year and with the convention venue. The following are guidelines only with a focus on a simple straight forward process that is fair and easy to administer.

    1. Printed submissions will be displayed during the week and during the banquet
    2. Printed images will be placed on a flat table or wall
    3. All entries will be projected using a PC projector and or HDTV during the banquet using the submitted digital JPEG files and optionally at AKA venues during the convention week.
    4. All entries will be posted to a gallery on the AKA web site so all attendees can view the images using electronic devices (phones / tablets / PCs) at their own leisure.
    5. A picture collage of all images will be printed with unique numbers for each picture and displayed with the printed submissions and posted in the AKA image gallery.
    a. Pictures in the kite category will be numbered 100-199
    b. Pictures in the non-kite category will be numbered 200-299
    6. AKA members in attendance at the banquet will view the images both electronically (projected images or from their electronic devices at their own leisure) and printed in the designated display area. AKA members in attendance at the banquet will select the best picture in each category by writing the number of the picture (as displayed on the picture collage) on their ballot (handed out while entering the banquet) and placing the completed ballot in the ballot box.
    7. The AKA KAP Chairperson in attendance with assistance from AKA members will count and award 1st place to each KAP category.

  • I LIKE IT!

    That looks like a pretty comprehensive roll-out of the discussion, and seems to address the concerns of the AKA (timeliness / accessibility of JPG for Kiting / encouragement to donate to the auction) as well as the KAPers (ease of submission / categories for kite vs. non-kite / ample opportunities for the photos to be viewed).

    When's the next convention? I need to get busy!

  • Thanks Tom,

    The next AKA Convention is in the first week of October, in Nags Head, NC (Outer Banks), near Kitty Hawk. Should be fun.

  • Jim, in the unlikely event that I could 'pop over' for the AKA event - do you have the exact dates available?
  • I like the new rules. Can I ask what is usually the 1st prize?
  • The date of the convention is October. The specifics are below:

    The 37th AKA Annual Convention will be held in Outer Banks, NC on October 6-11, 2014.

    Visit the AKA web site for details.

    First place is good for pride and a trophy (sponsored by Brooks in the past) and publication in AKA Kiting magazine.


  • Some good news!

    After a fair bit of discussion (lasting several months) and a few compromises, the AKA board approved the KAP competition rules for 2014.

    I will post the final rules shorty. Stay tuned!

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