Essence of the Dragon

17 Nov 2015 21:39 - 17 Nov 2015 21:41 #65811 by intrepid
intrepid created the topic: Essence of the Dragon
Our quarterly Featured Images of the Drakensberg competitions have been running successfully for five years now and in the gallery you can find the proud collection of fine images that have been submitted during this time.

In the light of this track record, I am very happy to announce that we now have a sponsor for real prizes that can be won for each quarterly round! Adventure Works Africa , founded by kbresler on this forum, will be providing an item of outdoor gear as a prize for the winner of each round. This will commence from the start of 2016. We will need to make the rules and criteria stricter - up until this point we have been fairly relaxed because the competition has purely been for fun. We are also putting together the topics and prizes for 2016 and will announce these in due course. Suggestions and ideas will be considered, so let us know if you have any.

I trust this will stimulate more interest and participation in these competitions and look forward to many more great images of our Drakensberg. :thumbsup:

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last Edit: 17 Nov 2015 21:41 by intrepid.

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18 Nov 2015 23:56 #65816 by kbresler
kbresler replied to: Essence of the Dragon
Hi all

Intrepid, thank you for the posting and the opportunity to contribute in this way. I have been super impressed with everyone's photo contributions and Adventure Works Africa looks forward to adding value for 2016.

Sent from my SM-G900F using Tapatalk

----
KB
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08 Dec 2015 23:51 - 08 Dec 2015 23:54 #66105 by intrepid
intrepid replied to: Essence of the Dragon
With this new chapter I thought it would be good to also introduce a name change for the competition, instead of just being a bland "Featured Berg Images", and a bit of a vision statement. Hence allow me to introduce:



Essence of the Dragon

Showcase of the Maloti-Drakensberg Mountains

A quarterly photo competition hosted by Vertical Endeavour featuring images of the Maloti-Drakensberg Mountains - showcasing their splendour & unique character, towards better recognition of their worth & enhanced enjoyment of those who explore them.



One of the many things I've been enjoying about this competition is how the themes are focused on a particular characteristic or season . The competition captures the essence of these mountains in vivid imagery, hence the name.

More details to follow.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last Edit: 08 Dec 2015 23:54 by intrepid.
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10 Dec 2015 23:12 - 10 Dec 2015 23:46 #66117 by intrepid
intrepid replied to: Essence of the Dragon
The following is a set of governing rules for the competition. Even though up until now we have been pretty relaxed about the rules, most of the time they already have been followed anyway. The fact that we are now formalising them should not put a damper on anything. They are simply there to ensure good quality, transparency and fairness of the competition, and will help us conduct it in a professional manner. They may be revised from time to time as the need arises. Any major concerns about them may be raised on this thread.



Governing Rules of the Essence Of The Dragon competition

1. The photo competition is only for registered members of Vertical Endeavour (VE), and is conducted online at www.vertical-endeavour.com . The prizes are sponsored by a third party.

2. The rounds will be quarterly, following a calendar year. Dates for submission and voting periods will be set in advance, and the prizes for each round will be announced before the round starts. Generally the submission period will span three months, and an additional week or so will be designated for voting. Voting can of course already be done during the submission period. The advantage of submitting an entry earlier in the round is that you will have more chance of getting a higher number of votes in the end, as more visiting members have an opportunity to vote for your image.

3. Unless specified otherwise, photos must be taken in the general proximity of the Maloti-Drakensberg Mountains: this includes the main Drakensberg range from Metjhatijane Peak in the Free State down to Xalanga Peak in the Eastern Cape, smaller ranges that are clearly attached to the main range (Golden Gate area, Sentinel to Van Reenen’s Pass, and the Witteberg), and all ranges of Lesotho.

4. Each quarterly round will have a specific theme. Where applicable, detailed criteria for the theme will be specified and entries must adhere to these.

5. A gallery album will be created and designated to the round. A corresponding forum thread will be created to launch the round. This will also be the place for all related announcements and discussion.

6. Entries are limited to one per person. Multiple accounts are not allowed. The photo must have been taken by the person submitting the entry, or the person must have been present when the photo was taken and have written permission from the photographer/owner of the photo. In the latter case, this must be clearly stated when the entry is submitted.

7. Participants must have been a member of VE for longer than one month and must have a minimum of 5 forum posts at the time of submission. The posts should be of a meaningful nature and there should be more text than emoticons. The post for submitting the entry does not count.

8. Images submitted in previous rounds may not be used again.

9. Images may be cropped but the minimum image width allowable is 1280px.

10. The image must be of good quality and clearly in focus. Overexposure and blurry spots should be avoided. The photos may be digital or on film provided good image quality is maintained in the conversion to digital.

11. The image content may not contain anything that is considered to be offensive or inappropriate. The decision of the moderators is final.

12. Only very minor touch ups and adjustments may be done on the images. Images may be converted to black and white.

13. The author’s name may appear as a discreet, non-dominating watermark on the image. Any other text or addition should be avoided.

14. A suitable name should be given to the image in order to give it character. The name must be creative and original. It may not be plain or generic (eg "Mponjwane"), nor technically descriptive (eg "Mponjwane viewed from Mponj Cave"). It may also not be the theme name, or a minor derivative of it, though clever and creative use of the theme name is encouraged. Examples of suitable names would be "Mighty Mponj", "Above The Clouds", "Sentinel Of The Mnweni" and "A View Worth Hiking For".

15. A short description should also accompany the image to give it context, i.e. "the story behind the photo". This can be an explanation of what you had to do to get the shot, or something significant about the trip that you took it on, or commentary on the mood of the shot, or what the shot means for you personally. For example: "It was my first hike in the Mnweni and I always wanted to see the legendary view of Mponjwane from Mponj Cave. We hiked up Rockeries Pass in the rain the day before and didn’t see the view on arriving at the cave. We were all tired and soaking wet. But we woke up to an incredible view the next morning and watched Mponjwane change colours under the rising sun. It was definitely a view worth hiking for!".

16. Entries should be submitted as follows:
16.1 Upload the image to the designated gallery album, the title should be the name refered to earlier , and the description should be the one referred to above.
16.2 Announce your entry by posting to the designated forum thread and be sure to include:
16.2.1 the name
16.2.2 the description
16.2.3 link to your uploaded gallery image
16.2.4 a copy of the image as an embedded attachment.

17. The moderators will remove an entry if it is deemed unsuitable in any way. If participants are unsure that their entry will be accepted, they are welcome to check this with the moderators privately, before submission.

18. After submitting an entry, participants have a 14 day grace period for changing or updating their entry, except if this falls within 30 days of the closing date for submissions. If the update is minor, this may be done without informing the moderators, though the modification dates will be checked at the end to ensure that no changes were done after the grace period. If the update is significant, an email must first be sent to the moderators with a motivation for the change. The moderators may grant approval at their discretion. If more than one entry is submitted by the same person without notifying the moderators, only the first entry will be valid, and subsequent entries will be deleted.

19. The competition is governed by overall rating of the images, rather than the number of votes. This means you don’t just vote for your favourite one, rather, you give each entry a rating. The rating is done in the applicable gallery album by means of a 5 star system, where 5 stars is the highest rating and 1 star is the lowest. The gallery software is set to calculate weighted ratings according to Baye’s theorem, rather than a purely arithmetic average, which means the total number of votes for all images in the entire gallery on the site (not just the applicable album) is taken into consideration in the calculation. This means, for example, that less votes for an image will be assumed to be less credible than if it had more votes. So each rating as well as the number of ratings for an image is important. This helps prevent a situation where an image can get a top rating by just one or two votes, and it also helps reduce the chances of having a tie.

20. In the event of a tie, the tiebreaker will be by means of a vote. Seven days will be allocated for the voting and the total vote count must be a minimum of ten. If the total is not attained within this period, an extension may be granted, or the moderators may settle the matter in any way they deem appropriate at the time. Only members of VE may participate in this vote, and a forum thread may be used to conduct the vote by means of a poll. The moderators may, at their discretion, resort to a different voting method at the time.

21. Only registered members of Vertical Endeavour are able to give ratings, and members are prevented from voting for their own entry. Participants are allowed to canvas support for their entry from family, friends and colleagues, even if they are not current members of VE, as long as this is done freely and there is no material gain or coercion involved. In these cases, the supporters should register on the site and must give each entry a fair rating, not just for one entry. Each person is only allowed to vote through a single profile on the site. Monitoring will be in place to check for double or fake profiles and for unfair voting tactics.

22. Each round must have a minimum of 5 entries, and each entry must have a minimum of 5 votes for it to be valid. If this is not attained, the moderators may extend the deadlines and take any action or decision deemed necessary to validate the competition and keep it fair for everyone.

23. After voting is closed and the votes have been finalised, the moderators will review all aspects of the round to check that everything is valid and has been adhered to. Once they have reached agreement among themselves, the results and winner will be officially announced. If there is any sign of irregularities or foul play, even just by suspicion, the applicable entries will be disqualified, or in the worst case scenario the entire round may be deemed to be invalid and no prize will be awarded.

24. A person may not win the prize in more than two rounds in a calendar year, nor for more than 2 times in a row. In these cases the prize will be donated to a worthy cause (such as donating the gear to the Mnweni or AmaZizi hiking guides) and credited to the winner. This helps prevent a monopoly on prize winning while still encouraging everyone to participate in every round.

25. Moderators and administrators are allowed to participate with their own entries. Those that have access to altering the data are not eligible to receive the prize if their entry wins the round. In these cases the prize will be donated to a worthy cause and credited to the winner.

26. After the winner has been announced, arrangements will be made for them to receive the prize through whichever method and time-frames deemed necessary at the time.

27. Prizes are not exchangeable for something else.

28. The prizes are sponsored and managed by a third party and VE assumes no responsibility or liability for the procurement of these, nor for their condition. Neither VE nor the sponsor assume responsibility for the way in which the prizes may be used by the winner, nor for any injury or harm which may result from their use.

29. After the round has been concluded all entries should remain in the gallery permanently. The winning image will be copied to the main sub-gallery for display alongside all previous winning images. VE may choose to announce the winner and publish the image elsewhere, such as the home page and on social media, at their discretion.

30. VE does not bind itself to these rules. Rather they are used to conduct the competition in a professional, fair and transparent manner. They may be updated from time to time. VE reserves the right to take any decision necessary at any point in time which is in the interests of protecting the integrity of itself, the sponsors, and the competition.

31. Neither VE nor the sponsor assume responsibility, and absolve themselves from any liability for any unforeseen circumstance, or grievance, harm or damage of any form, which may result directly or indirectly from the competition.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last Edit: 10 Dec 2015 23:46 by intrepid.
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11 Dec 2015 09:33 #66119 by ghaznavid
ghaznavid replied to: Essence of the Dragon

intrepid wrote: 7. Participants must have been a member of VE for longer than one month and must have a minimum of 5 forum posts at the time of submission. The posts should be of a meaningful nature and there should be more text than emoticons. The post for submitting the entry does not count.

Darn it, that means I can't enter! :laugh:

[Insert 8000 emoticons here]

"Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory." - Ed Viesturs

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11 Dec 2015 20:08 - 11 Dec 2015 20:10 #66135 by intrepid
intrepid replied to: Essence of the Dragon
Oh, I forgot to add one more rule: for ghaznavid, the number of qualifying posts is determined by his total number of posts divided by 600.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last Edit: 11 Dec 2015 20:10 by intrepid.
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13 Dec 2015 22:48 - 13 Dec 2015 23:47 #66146 by intrepid
intrepid replied to: Essence of the Dragon
Essence of the Dragon schedule for 2016


January-March

Theme: Soul of the Rising Sun

Criteria:
  • The shot must be of a sunrise (not sunset).
  • The sun need not be visible in the photo, but there must be a distinct red, orange or yellow in the shot that is characteristic of a sunrise.
  • Sunrise colours in the sky should be clearly featured. The colours should not be purely the glow on the peaks or valleys.
  • Scenery must be included in the view that is characteristic of the Maloti-Drakensberg Mountains. For example: silhouette of a basalt column, classically shaped peak or range sticking out from the escarpment; Little Berg valleys viewed from a vantage point such as the escarpment; identifiable distant landmarks such as Woodstock Dam or Ntabamhlophe.
  • No time period restrictions are applicable.

Background info:
Sunrises viewed from the Mnweni Escarpment occur behind the Cathedral Range in the warmer months and spectacular sunrise silhouettes of the Cathedral Range can be seen during this time, particularly from the Ntonjelana Pass area. This position shifts towards Woodstock Dam in the winter where the disc of the sun can clearly be seen emerging from the horizon from the comfort of several escarpment caves such as Ifidi Cave and Mponjwane Cave.

Start date: 01 January 2016
Last submission date: 31 March 2016
Last voting date: 10 April 2016
Prize: TBA



April-June

Theme: The Red Dragon

Criteria:
  • Photos must feature the classic red or bright brown coloured grassy landscapes where Red grass (Themeda Triandra, Rooigras) is dominant.
  • The photo must have been taken between April and June of any year.
  • The distinct colour that Red grass is known for at this time of year must be striking and obvious in the photo.
  • If the Red grass is on flattish terrain, then some form of mountainous scenery must also be evident in the shot.

Background info:
Red grass is an indicator of veld being in a good condition. It is also known to be resistant to fire, the resistance increasing when burnt regularly, but only if rested after fire and if overgrazing does not occur. The long awns of the spikelet twirl when wet, and drive the seed into the ground. This is a very important and well-known grazing grass that is palatable especially when young. In some parts of Africa it is used for thatching but the forms found in southern Africa tend to be flimsy and not durable enough. In Lesotho and bordering areas it is used sometimes for thatching and some basketry.

Start date: 01 April 2016
Last submission date: 30 June 2016
Last voting date: TBA
Prize: TBA



July-September

Theme: Peak Perspectives - Giant’s Castle

Criteria:
  • Giant’s Castle Peak should be the dominant feature in the shot.
  • The feature need not be the commonly known or seen aspects of the peak. Shots of unusual angles or features of the peak are encouraged, even if not readily recognisable as belonging to the peak, provided they are unique to the peak.
  • The shot may be of any part of the Giant’s Castle massif extending from the escarpment, including the long buttresses on either side of the peak, and the classic South Ridge running down from the main summit.
  • Broad panoramas should be avoided unless the peak clearly dominates the view.
  • Views from the summit must include a discernible feature of the peak.
  • No time period restrictions are applicable.

Background info:

According to Bill Barnes, in his authoritative book on Giant's Castle Game Reserve, the peak was named for its likeness to an enormous castle suitable for a giant: “So it is castle-like, without particularly resembling a giant. Many people assume the latter, believing that they see a giant lying on his back, with face, chest and toes pointing upwards.” The name was originally given to the present day “Garden Castle” peak in the 1830s but was reassigned to the current peak in 1865. The old Zulu name is Mbevula.

Start date: 01 July 2016
Last submission date: 30 September 2016
Last voting date: TBA
Prize: TBA



October-December

Theme: My Drakensberg, my pride!

Criteria:
  • This is a more open-ended theme, but photos must have been taken in 2016 and should not overlap with the other themes for the year.
  • The photo must also have been included in a previously posted 2016 trip report / write-up (including mini trip-reports). Participants thus practically have an entire year to plan ahead and get that perfect shot. By submitting numerous photos for trip reports throughout the year, participants can secure a large pool from which to make a final choice. Photos may be added to trip reports retrospectively up until November 30th. For trip reports posted during the submission period, a 7 day window from the date of the first post is granted for adding photos.
  • The shot must depict a characteristic that makes the Maloti-Drakensberg unique and special, or it must capture something that holds a deep, personal meaning.
  • Looking at the photo must evoke a sense of pride, inspiration, peace or joy - the kind of thing that makes you breathe in deeply and slowly exhale slowly.
  • Important to this theme is a proper description of the significance of the photo and what it means to you.

Background info:
One of the reasons that part of the Berg was declared a World Heritage Site according to Unesco was the “exceptional natural beauty with soaring basaltic buttresses, incisive dramatic cutbacks and golden sandstone ramparts. Rolling high altitude grasslands, the pristine steep-sided river valleys and rocky gorges also contribute to the beauty of the site.”

Further reasons included the fact that “the rock art of the Maloti-Drakensberg Park is the largest and most concentrated group of rock paintings in Africa south of the Sahara and is outstanding both in quality and diversity of subject.” Often quoted estimates indicate that the Park has 665 rock art sites, and the number of individual images in those sites probably exceeds 35,000 - however ongoing initiatives to find and document the sites is outdating the figures as more are being discovered. Large areas of the Maloti-Drakensberg exist outside of the Park, and these areas also have a significant number of sites. Furthermore the paintings are from two different historical origins, namely San and Nguni.

Due to having significant natural and man-made heritage, the Park has a mixed World Heritage Status, which only a small, limited number of other sites across the world also have.

The high number of habitable, natural rock shelters found at various altitudes, in different geological layers, is another very special characteristic that adds a hiking experience not easily matched elsewhere in the world.

The Park alone has more than 250 endemic plant species and has its own floristic region – the Drakensberg Alpine Region of South Africa. It is also globally important for endemic and endangered bird species that include more than just the well known Cape Vultures and Lammergeiers.

The Maloti-Drakensberg region is rich in past and present culture and has important spiritual and recreational significance to many people. It forms a critical part of the water supply to the largest city in the world not situated on a river, lake or coastline (Johannesburg), and makes up a significant part of South Africa’s (below globally-recommended) percentage of land area set aside as pristine wilderness.

Start date: 01 October 2016
Last submission date: 31 December 2016
Last voting date: TBA
Prize: TBA

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last Edit: 13 Dec 2015 23:47 by intrepid.
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13 Dec 2015 23:03 - 13 Dec 2015 23:07 #66147 by ghaznavid
ghaznavid replied to: Essence of the Dragon

intrepid wrote: Oh, I forgot to add one more rule: for ghaznavid, the number of qualifying posts is determined by his total number of posts divided by 600.

I'd probably still be fine by March next year :laugh:

Hopefully another GT writeup will follow soon - not sure if anyone is still even reading them :laugh:

intrepid wrote: Theme: Peak Perspectives - Giant’s Castle

That should be a tough one - it is only visible from basically anywhere between South Hodgesons and Champagne, Harrismith, Ladysmith, Hilton etc. So hard to find a spot where you can get a photo of it...

Sounds like good topics, although I can't say I recall this red grass. Any sample photos to show what it looks like?

"Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory." - Ed Viesturs
Last Edit: 13 Dec 2015 23:07 by ghaznavid.

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13 Dec 2015 23:39 - 14 Dec 2015 08:19 #66148 by intrepid
intrepid replied to: Essence of the Dragon
An element to Essence of the Dragon is that we are all challenged to learn more of the essence. Everyone has seen Rooigras, even without knowing it. It is a very dominant grass in the Berg. Sometimes it is distinctly red, but possibly more often its that rich, bright, brown winter colour of the Berg. Not to be confused with bracken however!

These are a few images of landscapes and close-ups for identification I found on the net. If I find more good ones I'll post later.


66squarefeet.blogspot.ca/


haliburton.photoshelter.com/image/I00000cBxZ6v19Lc




redlist.sanbi.org

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.

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Last Edit: 14 Dec 2015 08:19 by intrepid.
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14 Dec 2015 08:34 - 14 Dec 2015 08:34 #66152 by intrepid
intrepid replied to: Essence of the Dragon
This is an image which I have on my laptop from the VE trip we did in June this year. The red colour is not dominant in this photo but it is contrasted with the green and yellow grass colours, to give you an idea. I have also poked my nose into Berg plant books a bit more: the striking green colours we see in spring and summer is attributed to the Red Grass too. The spikelets are red more in the summer months, and the red in autumn and winter are the aging leaves, not 100% but I think the second quarter will have some overlap of these two stages.


Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.

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Last Edit: 14 Dec 2015 08:34 by intrepid.
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