2017 John E. Gruber Creative Photography Awards Program

About

Last year’s split of the John E. Gruber Creative Photography Awards Program into two distinct entry categories resulted in close to 150 photographers submitting a wide variety of fascinating images. For the 2017 awards program, the judges have opted to again split the contest into two categories: “Vision from the Past” and “By the Light of Night.”

Vision from the Past

The first contest, “Vision from the Past,” solicits excellent photography captured any time before May 1, 1971. The judges were delighted with Charles McCreary’s third-place image from the 2016 “Most Evocative” contest, which depicts a Pennsylvania Railroad passenger train above a bustling street scene in Pittsburgh in 1950. Many photography contests require submissions of work from a recent timeframe. This category of this year’s contest requires work that is not recent. The judges hope this will bring forth even more captivating, historic images of railroading and the railroad scene. As with the “Most Evocative” contest last year, the judges will evaluate images for their visual impact, but also with an eye towards the historic value of their content.

By the Light of Night

The second contest, “By the Light of Night,” seeks the best in low-light photography. Our eyes work well in dim environments, so that we can observe activity illuminated by the moon or just a few dim lights. Photographing what we see in low-light conditions has traditionally been a challenge restricted by technology, be it the slow response of photographic film or “noisy,” high-ISO images from digital cameras. By necessity, photographs made in dark conditions have traditionally taken the form of long exposures. Improvements in the sensitivities of digital cameras over the past several years have opened up more creative opportunities for twilight, night, and dawn photography than were possible with film and even early digital cameras. With these advancements, today’s photographers can now make images in low-light conditions that more closely replicate what the human eye can see.

For the “By the Light of Night” contest, the judges are looking for originality, both in terms of exploring the technical capabilities of high-ISO photography, and the dark details of railroading that often go unnoticed at night. Entries may be of any ISO, and artificial lighting as well as Photoshop processing are permitted. The judges are looking for creative use of the digital capabilities to do new, innovative things. Entries must have been taken after December 31, 2013, between sunset and sunrise, underground, or in an otherwise dark environment.

Third Place: Charles McCreary
Pennsylvania Railroad passenger train no. 44, an overnight, 27-stop local from Chicago, approaching the station in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in July 1950. Photograph by Charles McCreary


Arnold Loop near Wendover, Nevada, on Union Pacific’s former Western Pacific main line on the night of April 1, 2017. Photographer Mel Patrick merged two exposures made with a fisheye lens to capture the view.

Deadline and entering

The deadline for both categories is October 31, 2017.

  • Any interested photographer may enter images in both categories, and there is no entry fee
  • Please make only one submission, by email, to
    award [at] railphoto-art [dot] org
  • Submissions are limited to three images per category
    “Vision from the Past” entries must have been prior to May 1, 1971
    “By the Light of Night” entries must have been made after December 31, 2013
  • In the body text of your email, you must include your name, physical mailing address, and phone number
  • Also in the body text of your email, please include basic caption information of location and date for each photograph (please send this in the body text of your email and not as an attached document)
  • Please do not watermark your images—we require clean images, without watermarks, for both judging and display purposes

Third Place: Charles McCreary
Pennsylvania Railroad passenger train no. 44, an overnight, 27-stop local from Chicago, approaching the station in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in July 1950. Photograph by Charles McCreary


Arnold Loop near Wendover, Nevada, on Union Pacific’s former Western Pacific main line on the night of April 1, 2017. Photographer Mel Patrick merged two exposures made with a fisheye lens to capture the view.

Please get in touch via the above email address if you have any questions about your submission.

Prizes

Prizes will be awarded in both categories as follows:

  • First place: $500
  • Second place: $250
  • Third place: $100
  • Judges also liked: one-year membership in the Center

Winning photographs and selections that the “judges also liked” will be published in both Railroad Heritage® and Railfan & Railroad magazines, as well as on the Center’s website and social media platforms. The Center will also mount an exhibition of the awards program at the California State Railroad Museum.

Third Place: Charles McCreary
Pennsylvania Railroad passenger train no. 44, an overnight, 27-stop local from Chicago, approaching the station in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in July 1950. Photograph by Charles McCreary


Arnold Loop near Wendover, Nevada, on Union Pacific’s former Western Pacific main line on the night of April 1, 2017. Photographer Mel Patrick merged two exposures made with a fisheye lens to capture the view.

Permissions

By entering the program, you claim full ownership and copyright to all submitted works. As the photographer you will maintain full copyright to your submitted images. By entering, you agree that, if any of your images are selected for recognition in the awards program, the Center may:

  • Publish those images on our website, on our social media platforms including Flickr, and in Railroad Heritage®, our quarterly journal
  • Use your images to promote the awards program in both print and electronic advertising
  • Present your images at our conferences and display them in exhibitions

Finally, you also agree that Railfan & Railroad magazine may print your images in a future issue at their then-current rate for publication.

Third Place: Charles McCreary
Pennsylvania Railroad passenger train no. 44, an overnight, 27-stop local from Chicago, approaching the station in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in July 1950. Photograph by Charles McCreary


Arnold Loop near Wendover, Nevada, on Union Pacific’s former Western Pacific main line on the night of April 1, 2017. Photographer Mel Patrick merged two exposures made with a fisheye lens to capture the view.

Tech specs

For both categories, we will accept digital camera JPEG files as well as scans of prints, slides, or negatives saved as JPEGs. Files from digital cameras should be full-size, at least six megapixels (3,000 x 2,000 pixels). 35mm slides or negatives should be scanned at a resolution of at least 2,400 pixels per inch (ppi). Scanned prints should be at least 8×10 inches and scanned at 300 ppi or higher. Please limit any digital manipulation to traditional darkroom printing techniques such as dodging and burning, or adjustments to brightness and contrast. We rely on your honesty and the judges’ opinions.

Given the size of the files, you may send them in separate emails or include a link to a file-sharing site such as Dropbox, Hightail, or Google Drive, but please send all of your entries at the same time.

Third Place: Charles McCreary
Pennsylvania Railroad passenger train no. 44, an overnight, 27-stop local from Chicago, approaching the station in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in July 1950. Photograph by Charles McCreary


Arnold Loop near Wendover, Nevada, on Union Pacific’s former Western Pacific main line on the night of April 1, 2017. Photographer Mel Patrick merged two exposures made with a fisheye lens to capture the view.