Joe's Busted Images Contest - Image Breakdown


Once a year at HoustonPhotowalks, I post a handful of my worst images from the previous months, and challenge club members to "fix them". [Moohahahaha]

This year the contest includes a $50 gift certificate and year-long bragging rights. Also, folks are encouraged to exercise not only their Photoshop skills, but their creative skills as well. Along with the 7 "busted" images, I included about 20 additional images with "stuff" that folks can layer into their composition.

To really sweeten the creative-deal, I included free access to about 150 of my background and texture images. So this year, there's plenty to work with.

The Busted Seven

The "Busted Images" archive was posted last night, and members have already started posting their versions of the repair/updated/fixed image compositions. I try not to make the images too busted; test shots that are completely black and accidental photographs of my shoe provide zero opportunities.

Each year I also try to pick a range of subject interests. Not everyone likes editing the same type of subjects, so there's a mix of people, places and things. In case anyone is interested in why I felt these images are "busted", here's a quick rundown of each image, and why I'm making someone else fix them. :)

Three Lovely Ladies

During a Houston photowalk on 19th street, I stepped briefly inside a consignment store and found these three lovely ladies. Shooting inside stores is a little uncomfortable for me, plus having to find "the right person" to ask permission can drag down my photowalk momentum. But this trio couldn't be passed up. So I walked in, snapped, and walked back out.

Unfortunately, in my haste, I didn't check my white balance. And while trying to compose perfectly, some lady with a huge backpack walked right into frame. It's going to be interesting to see who can salvage this mess.

Redscale Vines

Folks that know me have seen me walking around with my poor film cameras, held together with whatever duct tape I happen to have in the car. This image was a redscale experiment (exposing the backside of regular color 35mm film by putting the film in the camera wrong). The camera I used was a DIY Twin Lens Reflex called a "Recesky" that I made at a meetup event. These are nifty little cameras with plastic lenses.

The image is pretty representative of what you get doing redscale in a Recesky. I consider the image busted because I didn't nail the center focus. That's not horrible considering this is a plastic lens on a plastic camera held together with duct tape. But it also wasn't very well scanned. The negative had a few bits of dust and cat hair. When I realized the goof, I almost dug the negatives back out, but honestly its just too soft to be useful. Hence, it gets labeled "Busted" and ends up in this year's contest.

Lady's Off Color

Another white balance goof. After wandering around getting extremely shallow DOF with ambient amber-ish light, I plugged in the the Pocket Wizard and popped one good test shot. You're looking at it in all it's flash-blue glory. (sigh)

Ladyjesus Cocchia is a beautiful model from Houston and a blogger for SinfulKittens. She was among a gaggle of ladies that attended a recent workshop with The Photo Binder. Clearly she wasn't posing, this is a test shot, and I was checking flash settings, not color.

I'm hoping that some of the contest folks do more than just correct the color on this one.


Yeah, one of my worst film scans, ever. This was another Recesky photo (with the film put in correctly this time). Not only is the scan job pretty unimpressive, I goofed up the exposure too. If you look carefully, you can see that when I snapped this one, I hadn't advanced the roll of film quite far enough.

So at the very top of the image, you can see the bottom edge of the next exposure. [lame] Yep, that's two ruined images. To make matters worse, I scanned at a low DPI by mistake. So this is sitting in Lightroom, waiting for some love, hopefully someone at HoustonPhotowalks can stun me. :)

Flower Girl with No Flash

The single worst part about batteries is they die.

In quite Bellville, Texas, off out in the woods, there's a wonder of architectural design. Mike Newman built himself his own castle. Its fully equipped, including a moat, drawbridge and even a dungeon (bed of nails, stocks, you name it). Everything on the property is hand-made by Mike, including all the furniture and the 5-story living quarters.

Inside the 3-story brick walls is also a small church, about the size of a bedroom. Its occasionally used for meetings and weddings.

Oh, about the picture: the flash didn't fire. Either my wizard battery was out or my flash was, can't remember which.

Police at the Kemah Boardwalk

One of the HoustonPhotowalks organizers, who gets strangely cranky if her real name is used on the internet, took the group out to a very early morning photowalk on the Kemah Boardwalk. Sunrise on a boardwalk may sound strange, but believe me, in the summer time, the best time to go is 5am to 8am.

I thought this might turn out to be a nifty image, with the car and old-time version of a movie theater sign. When I got home, I liked the composition somewhat, but was really bummed that the fluffy clouds didn't translate well in the exposure.

Courtney Rose, Fairy

Courtney is a model and actress, and a total blast, ask anyone who's worked with her. She does amazing work, well trained by coach (and mom) writer and actor Josie Kline.

Courtney will be working at the RenFest this year and stopped by the studio for a few shots with part of her RenOutfit. Click here to see one of my favorites from the shoot.

Of course, not every shot is a winner. In this test shot, my back-lighting is way too hot, the side light isn't defused enough for the small room, and the overall exposure is poorly lit. Its going to be interesting to see how this one is edited during the contest.

Want to join in the fun?

The photo-editing contest runs until the end of September. The person with the "most comments" on their image wins $50 in Amazon cash. Ok, not enough for a new camera, but will score you a new memory card, right?

Contest is open to all members of the photography group, signing up is free, as are most events. Good luck!


Joe is a User Experience Engineer, Front End Specialist and Application Developer for Bridgeway Software, Inc and part-time consultant for NGO and non-profit organizations in the Houston area. Joe is also a part-time Portrait Photographer at and organizer of the photography club. He and his wife Marty run the Support and Playdate group.













Fatal error: Class CToolsCssCache contains 1 abstract method and must therefore be declared abstract or implement the remaining methods (DrupalCacheInterface::__construct) in /home/content/e/x/t/ext237/html/modules/ctools/includes/ on line 52