A camera club in Silicon Valley California promoting the mutual enjoyment and learning of the art of photography


Special Category Definitions

Each monthly competition includes opportunities to submit prints or projected digital images (digital) for judging in either General A or General B category, Monochrome or the special category of the month. The following are definitions for these special categories and are adapted from N4C and PSA.


The use of the photographic medium as an art form. These color and monochrome (B/W, other) images are not confined to any particular subject, type or style of photography. Emphasis is on interest value, composition, technical excellence and visual impact. Subjects are broad, and include scenics, close-ups, buildings, portraits, still lifes. Special techniques are also allowed, and include digital and darkroom manipulation, provided that the subject of the image has not been substantially altered.

Members wishing to submit an image of a nude person where that person can be recognized must obtain a signed model release and show it to the Print or Slide Chair on the evening of competition. (This rule applies to all applicable categories.)


This is restricted to the use of the photographic process to depict all observations from various natural history (including botany, zoology, geology, physics, chemistry, meteorology, paleontology, but excepting archeology and anthropology, and genetically cloned animals). This must be done in such a fashion that a well-informed person will be able to identify the subject and to certify to its honest representation. Human elements (people, structures), if present, should be unobtrusive (e.g., a barn owl or other forms of wildlife) and enhance the nature story. Roads, walls, wires, fences, etc. reflecting the hand of man must not be evident in the image.

Photographs which depict domesticated animals, artificially produced hybrid plants or horticultural varieties of plants may not be used. Still life studies, obviously set flower arrangements, mounted specimens, museum habitats or groups, derivations, or any form of photographic manipulation that alters the truth of the photographic statement are ineligible. (EXCEPTION: detailed micro- or macrophotographs.)

Flowers such as wild roses, proteus and certain fuchsias may be used as nature subjects, even though they are growing in gardens, since they have not been changed from the wild forms by man. Hybrids are not acceptable. Common flaws among nature entries include (1) failure of subject to convey a nature story, (2) inclusion of man-made elements, and (3) inappropriate titles.

In Nature the title is read before the image is shown, in order to inform viewers and the judge about the subject to be presented. The title of a Nature image should be the correct English name, (Latin botanical names are optional as of 9-1-2003), factual and descriptive, and will be read as shown. In this category, the subject (natural history) takes precedence over technical factors.
Manipulation of the subject by computer or other techniques is not acceptable.


This refers to images that tell a story, such as those seen in news media and periodicals. It may include documentary, advertising, spot news, sports, contemporary life, human interest, humor, and the portrayal of our contemporary way of life. Here it is the story-telling aspect of an image that takes precedence in judging. The title is read before showing the image in order to aid the viewers and the judge to interpret the story to be conveyed. Good titles should add to the story and not be a distraction.

Obvious manipulation of the subject by computer or other techniques is not acceptable.
Here are a few rules of thumb: (i) the image should present an instantly recognizable story; (ii) it should be of interest to the average viewer; (iii) it must show good technique (focus, exposure, etc.); and (iv) composition should be appropriate for the subject matter.


A travel image is one that captures the feeling of place and time, and portrays a land, people or culture in its natural state. It may be taken either in a foreign land or anywhere in one's own country. Excluded are ultra close-ups which lose their identity, studio-type model images, or images that have been obviously manipulated. The title is read before showing the image. It should indicate the location (town & country) and should complement the image. The image need not be immediately recognizable as having been taken in the location specified in the title.

Criteria for success include: (i) the image tells a travel story; (ii) it is of interest to the average viewer; (iii) it displays good technique; and (iv) the composition is appropriate for the subject matter.


This is the creative use of line, form and color, expressing the photographer's ideas and/or feelings in a non-traditional style. Nature and reality, or any literal renditions, may be distorted or otherwise modified by the use of non-standard techniques and controls. Computer enhancement is acceptable, provided the image began with the maker's photograph. It is not necessary to render the subject unrecognizable. Examples include abstracts, impressionism and symbolism.

Techniques include computer manipulation, diffractions, distortions, "black light", bas relief, montage, wild color, multiple exposure, solarization, posterization, and multiple images with trick lenses. Also: motion blur, patterns, selective focus, zoomed exposures, scanned slides designed to yield non-objective or abstract images.

Join Us