Enter the Pipe Photo Contest – Creative, Thoughtful & Fun Expressions of Pipes – $1,200 in Pipes To Win!

Enter the Pipe Photo Contest – Creative, Thoughtful & Fun Expressions of Pipes – $1,200 in Pipes To Win!

This is a different contest fellow pipe smokers. Let’s go. Time to get creative, take some photos and win some nice pipes in the process.

Anybody can win in this contest. We’re hoping it’s one of you. Only way to find out if you have some creativity is to give it a go. You will likely surprise yourself in the process. More photo examples shown below.

1st prize gets $500 worth of store-credit at any of the industry leading sponsors supporting this contest. That’s $500 you can spend on any pipe you see at one of these world-class pipe shops. Been looking at that pipe? Eyeing it for some time? Here’s your opportunity to go out & win it!


Contest Prizes – Provided through the support of our Sponsors.

1st Prize – $500 worth of store-credit at any of the industry leading pipe retailers supporting this creative pipe photo contest.

2nd Prize – $300 worth of store-credit at any of the industry leading pipe retailers supporting this creative pipe photo contest.

3rd Prize – $200 worth of store-credit at any of the industry leading pipe retailers supporting this creative pipe photo contest.

Honorable Mentions – There will be two (2) honorable mentions awarded valued at $100 worth of store-credit at any of the industry leading pipe retailers supporting this creative pipe photo contest.


Contest begins March 12th, 2014 and runs through to April 16, 2014. All entries must be received by April 16, 2014.

Submit your entries via email to: tobaccodays @ gmail.com

You can send images (up to 20MB in size) or a link to download your image(s).

Winning photos will be posted on the TobaccoDays.com Web site within one week of the end of the contest.

Winning photos will also be exhibited at the 2014 Chicago Pipe Show. Please submit photos with as high a resolution as possible. Winning photos will be printed on posters and shown to all the attendees and exhibitors during Chicago 2014.

Photos acceptable to TobaccoDays.com can be of practically any subject – we welcome landscape photos, portraits of children, pictures of your pet, and much more. As long as the photo relates to pipes, shows technical excellence, thoughtful originality, artistic creativity, and a mastery of the tools, it may be selected as a winner in our contest.

Additional Photo Contest Details

The 2014 Tobaccodays.com Pipe Photo Contest (the “Contest”) begins March 12, 2014 and ends April 16, 2014, ALL ENTRIES MUST BE RECEIVED BY APRIL 16, 2014. Information on how to enter and prizes form part of these official rules (“Official Rules”). By submitting an entry, each entrant agrees to the Official Rules and warrants that his or her entry complies with all requirements set out in the Official Rules. This is a skill & creativity-based contest and chance plays no part in the determination of winners.

Who May Enter

Contest is open to all individuals around the world.

How to Enter

Submit your image via email using the email address: tobaccodays @ gmail.com

You are allowed to enter one photo per day. Please include your name and contact information. If you have a title for the photo, please include it as well.

Photographs must be in digital format. Only online entries will be eligible. No print or film submissions will be accepted for entry into this Contest. The photograph need not be taken with a digital camera; scans of negatives, transparencies or photographic prints are acceptable. All digital files must be a minimum of 5 megabytes, must be in JPEG or .jpg format, and must be at least 1,600 pixels wide (if a horizontal image) or 1,600 pixels tall (if a vertical image), preferably at 300 DPI. If all of that made absolutely no sense to you then just set your digital camera setting at the Highest Quality or Largest Size possible. The winning photos shown at the Chicago Pipe Show will be printed on high quality posters and the higher resolution and the more pixels your image has, the better. There is a chart below that converts the number of pixels in your image to final print size. We would like to print your image at a minimum size of around 12″ x 12″.

If you are familiar with RAW & High Quality Files in general, we have the ability to print your image up to approx.. 3.5 feet x 3.5 feet or up to 1 meter x 1 meter.

TobaccoDays.com reserves the right to reject unsuitable or pornographic images. Unsuitable images for this site include most nude photos as well as photos of a sexually suggestive or overly violent content.

Before being awarded their prize, contest winners may be required to sign a legal affidavit indicating that they are in fact the photographer who created the photo, that they own legal copyright, and that they have written releases for any recognizable locations and people appearing in the photograph.

TobaccoDays.com will attempt to contact prize winners by email. If the winner does not respond to our email and claim the prize within 10 days, the prize will be forfeited.

Prize winners agree to hold harmless and release TobaccoDays.com and affiliated entities from loss, claim, injury, damage or expense, including, but not limited to reasonable attorney’s fees and costs, which are in any way connected or associated with the use of any prizes or prizes received from TobaccoDays.com

Any one prize must be used at one of the four pipe retailers. For example, if you have won the 1st prize and $500 worth of store-credit, you must use 100% of the awarded store-credit at one of the pipe retailers supporting this contest. You may not split up the store-credit and use partial amounts at one store and the remainder at another.

Get to know our Creativity Judges

Neill Archer Roan

Neill Archer Roan is a writer, photographer, art director & musician.

What can be said about Neill Archer Roan that is not already known. An accomplished writer of several books & best known within our community due to his work on his website – A Passion For Pipes – Neill is an avid pipe enthusiast who has covered many subjects in the pipe realm. In his private life, Neill is a successful business-man, consulting companies in a wide range of strategic areas including brand management, which has a hefty dose of creative requirements. Neill is also an accomplished photographer. In addition to all of the above, Neill is also an accomplished musician, having performed at Carnegie Hall in New York.

Denman ‘DJ’ Bassett

DJ Bassett is a photographer, educator, historian and consultant living in Sequim, Washington with his wife, Magdalena.

DJ began his training at Northern Illinois University, DeKalb Illinois and continued at Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California. He served as an assistant at the Ansel Adams Photography Workshops at Yosemite National Park, was on the staff of Al Weber’s Victor School of Photography in Colorado, taught field and lab workshops through the University of California Extension, Santa Cruz, taught photographic workshops for the Teton Science School, Western Wyoming College, Central Wyoming College and the Snake River Institute. He was the co-owner of Jackson Hole Custom Color Lab, a full-service photo lab, for 13 years, then operated Firehole Photographic Expeditions in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. He has been the Executive Director of the Museum & Arts Center in Sequim, Washington since 2010.

DJ has worked with the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, private historians and individuals in historic preservation and genealogical photography using both traditional and digital methods to create exhibits, digitize collections and produce fine prints. He has been collecting historical photographs for 35 years. DJ teaches conventional photography, Adobe Photoshop, and a hybrid combination of these technologies with an emphasis on creating a personal methodology for excellence.

Skip Moore

Skip Moore is a Photographer. Musician. Foodie. Recovering Engineer.

In 1979, with scholarship options in engineering and piano performance, Skip chose the more consistent paycheck, ultimately collecting a BS in 1983 and a MS in 1990. His first camera was acquired in 2002 to document the construction of a replica roadster. The camera went quickly and smoothly from tool to hobby, and from hobby to passion. (The roadster never materialized). Technique and composition were learned by a combination of self-directed study and hours of experimentation and self-critique. He photographed his first wedding in 2005, made the required pilgrimage to Yosemite in 2006, and in 2007 spent a week in Honduras as a documentary photographer for a medical mission. In 2012, Skip quit his job as a corporate engineer to become a full-time photographer, concentrating on weddings and portraiture. Though his photos appear in commercial and charitable materials around the world, he remains proudest of those hanging on walls in his clients’ homes – and all the uncredited Facebook profile pics. When not working behind the lens or the computer monitor, Skip tutors mathematics and physics, plays keyboard (at church and in the studio with a local band), and enjoys time in the kitchen.

John Crosby

John Crosby is a pipe-maker who also has several degrees in Art that he has obtained over the past 15 years.

In addition to being a pipemaker since 2004, I have been a practicing artist for more than15 years. I hold a BFA in Painting and Printmaking from Jacksonville State University and a MA in Painting from Purdue University. I have taught both drawing and design here at Purdue and am currently part of the advising staff for that department. My work is in several private and public art collections including the Jacksonville State University permanent collection, the Purdue University Print Archive, and the Quad Graphics corporate collection. My work has been shown in several galleries throughout the Midwest and I have juried two separate art shows and one beauty pageant (Miss Asia Purdue 2012). I am also in talks to be a referee a Roller Derby bout here in Lafayette Indiana.

David M.

David M. produces the TobaccoDays.com blog. He enjoys photography and the creative arts. David M. is fond of stimulating new thoughts in people in a host of diverse subjects, including pipes.

Tips and Help for New Photographers – How the Judges will evaluate your work

The following is intended to help budding photographers understand why some photos win photography contests and others don’t. These guidelines consist of a brief introduction into the judging criteria that we use here at TobaccoDays.com and are by no means comprehensive. But they should give you a start in the right direction.

Our judging process is composed of multiple stages and calls upon the evaluations of a panel of skilled photographers, creative artists and judges with a host of experience in the process of being creative & artistic.

The winning photographs you see posted on the site feature a strong combination of the assets we seek in an image. These include: attention to lighting, can we see what your shooting? Eye-catching color, A balanced composition, not too heavy on one side or the other. Sharpness, can we see what your shooting clearly? and a host of other elements. An explanation of our judging criteria – used as a guideline during the voting process – follows.

Look Sharp

We will evaluate the image against traditional standards of sharpness. The picture, above all, needs to be in focus (or, if the picture features some blurriness, it has to be a clearly intentional, artistic use of blur by the photographer). Photos that suffer from camera shake or other focus mistakes are often eliminated very early in the judging process.

We generally notice two levels of blur in the images submitted:

  1. Some photos are obviously, and unintentionally, blurry. If the blurriness is detrimental to the photo, the image is usually eliminated early on.
  2. There are many other photos which are just slightly out of focus, or soft. When this appears to be unintentional and dissatisfying, the picture receives a lower score. Only when other elements of the photo – such as its uniqueness – are remarkably strong do we continue to leave it in the running.
  3. Remember: sometimes softness is an attribute and not a problem.

Picture Perfect Exposure
We understand at TobaccoDays.com that images look different from one computer to another. What may be dark on a PC may appear extremely light on a Macintosh, for example. Therefore, judging exposure takes a back seat to judging sharpness. But it is still important.

Is it underexposed? Is the snow blue instead of white? Is the image faint and hard to see? Does it look like it may have been a nice image before it was poorly scanned?

Does the photo show pleasing colors with clarity and correct exposure? Can you make out the details in the shadows. Clarity and resolution of the photo – being able to enjoy the details of an image – mean a lot to the judges. They look at how well exposed the image is and, unless the photo is black and white, how well color is captured.

Get Digital, If Need Be

At times, a photo looks blurry after being captured with a digital camera or scanned. That is one reason why, whether you are a traditional film photographer or a digital photographer, knowing your way around a simple software program such as Adobe Photoshop will likely help you win.

Learn how to do a slight amount of digital sharpening after you scan, with a image-editing program such as Adobe Photoshop; investigate the “Unsharp Mask” or “Smart Sharpen” functions in your software.

You should especially be careful to not overly compress a JPEG file when saving. We recommend uploading images with the least amount of compression as your connectivity can allow – if you are on slow connection, you may not be able to wait for a big file to upload. In any case, settings above 8 (or 80% or the equivalent in your software) are generally safe. Since the winning images will be shown on the website and exhibited at the 2014 Chicago Pipe Show, we need the image to have sufficient data or resolution to print it out on a poster as large as possible. Please submit as high a resolution as possible, minimum of 6MB and the higher the better.

If you shoot film, learning the art of scanning is essential. The image must look excellent on the Web. Dust, scratches, hair, and any other distracting elements need to be eliminated. If your software features a Rubber Stamp (or Cloning) tool, learn how to use it. You will also benefit by learning how to keep contrast from increasing too much during the scanning process. If the lights get too light while the darks get too dark, you have a problem and need to take steps to increase color range (Hint: you may be able to salvage many photos using the Curves, Levels or similar functions of your software.)

Also, make sure that you scan the area of your image and not its surrounding borders. Try to not be overly concerned about getting every single square millimeter of your picture, to the point where you actually end up including white or dark lines around the photo. If you do, crop them before submitting the photo.

The Most Important Part – Get Creative / Be Artistic
When the judges vote, a few questions they ask include:

  • Does the photographer show an artistic eye?
  • Do they seem to notice the unique and the unusual and make the most of it?
  • Did the photographer use creative techniques to make an interesting effect?

This is all about the art of seeing – of being able to creatively notice the right moment – as well as artistic treatment. A high voting score here represents an artist who is aware of the unique colors and qualities to be found in light, as well as noticing graphic elements such as lines, patterns, shapes, and forms.

Noticing and capturing the comical and humorous can also be helpful. Finding an interesting, unique and original choice of subject, and going out on a limb, will often result in some of the best pictures.

For example, an original & creative use of the sepia tone effect, creative lighting, motion blur, etc., will cause a photo to score higher. Framing the subject is another effective way to treat it artistically.

Consider the overall clarity of meaning and focus of statement. When the photographer’s intention is clear and the main subject obvious, this can help make the photo a winner.

Lastly, the photo should be balanced in composition. Move in closer if you need to. Make sure the horizon is level. Whenever possible, eliminate any extraneous elements – such as annoying spot of glare, an unwanted tree branch or camera strap.

Study other Photos and Keep Your Chin Up
If you are still uncertain about what makes a winning contest photo, carefully review the winning photos from other contests. Ask yourself, why was this photo selected? What are the top qualities about it?

Remember that you have a lot going for you at the TobaccoDays.com contest. Our judges are dedicated to three things:

  • Judging images exclusively on quality rather than on the name, skill, or equipment of the photographer.
  • Being open to all kinds of excellence, and
  • Refraining from photo snobbery.

That means that we do not judge a picture poorly just because some photographers would consider it a “less professional” subject (i.e. your cat, your kid). At the same time, we do not punish good photographers for working hard to becoming great (no handicaps, no separating the pros from the amateurs). We also do not hold it against you if you artistically and skillfully employ digital tools.

Overall, we are looking for beautiful, truthful, and creative images that show our beloved pipes in a unique and pleasant way.

Anybody can win this contest.

Thanks again for your interest & enjoy the TobaccoDays.com photo contest.

Showing you some more photos to inspire you and remind you that creativity, interest & something fun & unique, is easily accessible by all.

It really is, much easier than you think, to do something creative.



Copyright © 2014. TobaccoDays.com. All rights reserved.

All images – All rights reserved.


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  1. thesillyoldbear - March 16, 2014

    5mb seems quite high.

    My images are 2448*2448 which at your preferred 12*12 is 204ppi, well within limits, and are at 300 dpi but are only 2-3mb saved at max quality.

    • David M. - March 20, 2014


      The main reason for high MB is that the winning pictures will be printed on Posters (imagine 4 feet by 4 feet) and for that size…we ask what we ask for.

      Go ahead and submit at your 5MB and we go from there.
      Even at that size, we can get sufficient quality.

      Good Luck!

  2. Ben Harrison - March 27, 2014

    An image that is 11×16 or 3300x 4800 pixels is 45.3 MB in size at 300 dpi. But above you state “You can send images (up to 20MB in size)”. I’d like to send an 11×16 image at 300 dpi, but I don’t want to be disqualified…

    • David M. - March 28, 2014

      Hi Ben,
      By all means & please, feel free to send your image.
      As this email address likely does not accept files that large, please feel free to send me a link to download the file.
      That is what I meant with these words “You can send images (up to 20MB in size) or a link to download your image(s).”
      In other words, if the file is larger than 20MB, a link to a larger file should be emailed.

      I apologize for not making it clear.

      Very much looking forward to your submission.

      My Best

  3. Peter Solano - April 25, 2014

    Hi David,
    Whatever happened to the contest? Who won? Cheers, Peter.

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