The annual interclub competition between Bay of Islands, Dargaville, Wellsford and Whangarei was concluded over the weekend, and it seems to have gone well. Wellsford as a club came a valiant third. The points as scored were: Whangarei, 76, BoI 63, Wellsford 61 and Dargaville 56. Next year's event is to be hosted by Dargaville, and the theme is "Negative space".
I've compiled the images, the club and the comments and scores from the judge (Ian Taylor) into the following table.
|Above and below||Darg||I like this image with an abstract feel; it represents yin and yang for me
and tells me how simple life is. What would lift this image for me is
some work to the eye in dodging or colouring, putting a sparkle in. This
would have the effect of giving a focal point, to the black blob. It's hard
to see the eye at first. I will probably say this a lot tonight good image
|Alone||Boi||An excellent example of pin sharpshooting with a lovely subject.
Moreover, if I compare with the previous image, the eye here sparkles.
This is a clean and simple image. Although I kept coming back to the
background. That line seems so unnatural, and the bokeh so perfect…
for a nature subject, it looks as though the duckling has been put in
front of a diorama. That being said a lovely image with the light
controlled and cropped perfectly.
|Arrow rock||Darg||Lovely sunset and the arc of cloud bending from top left sweeping
across and down towards the rock is where the picture is. For me, with
the intense light source at the top which draws the eye, there is much
empty space dominating this image. Perhaps cropping the bottom
third of this picture would lift this image to the next level. You might
also try boosting (tweaking) the yellow and oranges pinks but only by a
minimal amount. This is an excellent image with so much potential.
|Autumn in Droplets||Whg||Wow, not sure where I start with this one… The colour tones are well
balanced and warm. The author has slipped in a reverse lead-in line,
but it works well, and by that, I mean convention says we usually read
an image from left to right and typically lead in the bottom left. This
image is back to front (conventionally speaking). However, who cares!
Every droplet carries the yellow star. It's busy but not overly so and
each area the eye rests on has interest. If I were to make a suggestion
it might be the dark shade in the bottom left is a bit of a distraction and
this could have been cloned out. Otherwise, a stunning image nicely
|Beauty in cold Iron||Darg||The backdrop to this image is essential as it gives texture, and a
grittiness the goes well with cold iron. However, be careful to check for
distractions. The blob in the upper left iron triangle once seen keeps
drawing back time after time. Geometric patterns you either love or
hate them. I’m a fan. However, I’m not sure that the photographer has
squeezed the best out of this iron swirl. Just as we tend not to crop
fingers, feet or part of an arm of an image of a person, this geometric
pattern has the same feeling. Perhaps a better crop might be before
the swirl tapers off.
|Blue||Whg||It’s such a privilege to be allowed to climb into someone’s balloon it’s
only then you realise just how thin the material is and so translucent.
The author here has captured the light, and the image is enjoyable to
view. As I said earlier, geometric patterns you either love or hate them.
The crop, in this example, plays with the pattern and gets the best out
of it. The author even manages to give us a lead-in line, and for an
image such as this, it can only really be done in-camera with a bit of
post-processing to finish off, well done.
|Calm||Wells||If you look at the shadows in this photo along with the reflections, you
can see that both add texture to the image. It’s a very relaxing image
to view and suits its title. The colour tones are well balanced and work
with this watery scene. When I looked closely at this image, there is
much digital noise in the rock and water; this could be due to an
extreme crop from a much larger image or inadequate lighting
conditions. This could have been fixed in post-processing.
|Cape Gooseberry||Whg||With this entry, there is a large amount of what could be considered to
be empty or dead space. However, here, the photographer has filled it
with texture that complements the main act. The Gooseberry is
pointing off towards infinity, but the reflection and the seeds seem to
draw the eye around and around revealing more and more with each
pass. This an exciting composition playing with the Golden Spiral. Well done.
|Concrete Jungle||Darg||The crazed texture in the concrete wall is quite exciting, leading in from
right to left. This is a very abstract image in that the title is concrete
jungle, but we have grasses and plants at the bottom and possible
three branches poking out of the recess by the wall. I want to see more
and look around the corner. I see the concrete but not the jungle. For
me, the point of the picture unclear. This image sharp and clear,
although I’m not sure what I’m looking at.
|Dragon Fly||Whg||Wow, such detail, the gossamer lines of the spider’s web and the wings.
Everything that needs to be in focus is in focus. When it comes to the
composition of a picture, there are many things to consider. From the
rule of thirds to leading lines, should the image be black and white or
colour? What about distractions as well. We sometimes forget about
the background, but it can be one of the most critical layers in the
picture. While the background doesn’t stand out as much as other
details, it is what makes the difference between a great photograph
and a mediocre one. Here less is more. The subject carries enough
detail to allow the background to support the image.
|Early Morning Run||Boi||You can feel the determination and effort in her face, and she is so
intent judging by her expression. This is a nicely framed image giving
the subject a place to go and room to run. Remember that with
photography, the exciting photos are always those that show the
viewer something they haven’t seen before, or something from a
viewpoint they don’t usually see. Perhaps a little more motion blur or
getting down really low. Also, change perspective try shooting from
your knees as you’ll capture much more of a dramatic angle. The lower
view gives the photo excellent depth.
|Eldred Rock Lighthouse Lynn Canal Alaska||Boi||I like the mystery of this lighthouse, and the angle the shot was taken. I
can imagine that I’m flying coming out of cloud towards the tower.
However, find the pinkie purple vignette a little too overpowering and a
bit distracting. That said its nicely framed and draws the eye. The right
light is essential in any photography, but it's especially crucial for
photographing buildings. Consider the time of day you go out to shoot:
the lighthouse would be highly reflective and turn into a blinding ball of
light when the sun shines directly on it. The photographer here has
made it look wonderfully sinister with the shadows and blurring.
|Floating||Whg||So many factors come into play when taking a nature photograph—sun,
clouds, wind, rain, lighting and shadows to name but a few. The subtle
use of vignette and the delicate lighting gives this image something extra.
This image is about planning or preparing, either over a period of years
as your experience grows. Watching how the light plays on the leaf at
different times of the day and under different cloud conditions. Paying
attention to the patterns of pondweed that creates the background
texture, it’s about being patient and taking your time. I can imagine it
dropping from the tree and landing in the weed-covered pond. Nice
|Flower||Wells||One great way to tell a story with your flower images is to select a flower
and show part of its life cycle at some point in the growing season.
Earthy tones in the subject add an exciting texture as does the unusual
background. Flowers are such beautiful things, and some are so
intricately detailed that you must shoot as close as possible as the author
of this image did. My only comment would be this image feels a little
static, and I wondered if cropping this to give it a diagonal flow would
|Follow me||Wells||Knowing the sport and predicting what's coming in the few moments
helps to set up a great shot. Maybe this is a grab shot from a chairlift of
a border weaving his way into the powder zone. The photographer here
has got an eye for those moments. So simple, such an elegant line in the
snow. Nicely cropped and leads the eye from bottom to top. The
lighting merely perfect with shadow.
|Forest path||Darg||Photographing a path can such a difficult task to get it just right. Every
time I looked at this image, it pulled me in along the forest path, and I
found I was wondering what was around the corner. The use of solid but
subtle lead lines and canopy direct the eye to where you should be
looking. The lighting on the tree leaves gives interest. Just be careful if
you're boosting the colours it’s easy to overdo it.
|Girl in the woods||Boi||Photography composition is a massive topic with many rules, and most of
these rules can also be broken to create a compelling image. There is a
sense of movement with this double or triple exposure image. ‘Good
light’ can also mean exciting light. Here the lighting is exquisite, and the
image well-composed. Timing is everything, and the expression on this
girl’s face gives an air of mystery and an ethereal quality.
|Innocence Revealed||Darg||Choosing a time when your subjects are distracted with an activity to get
a candid photo of them looking happy and unaware of your camera can
give priceless images. I wonder what he’s going to do next, as he’s
picked up the sand. She is also looking with interest. Two youngsters are
walking hand in hand down the beach. Beautiful composition and
lighting well balanced, attractive to view
|Isolation||Wells||Coming from the UK being alone at the beach is a dream that comes
true, here in NZ. One common problem with landscape beach
photographs is that while they might capture a beautiful scene, they
have no point of interest and can, as a result, be empty and boring. This
image very clearly has a point of interest or a place for their eye to rest.
The patterns in the sand and the fresh colours of the sky add interest.
And much more interesting is the way the eye is drawn to the boulder by
a subtle lead-in line of ripples which also give foreground interest. Well
|Just Three||Wells||Again, this simple grey background has texture and keeps interested. I
like this idea of this it’s effortless and makes a statement. The light
reflects off the subject in a particularly pleasing way, i.e. the sparkle from
the pearls. However, there is much negative space. To the author, see
what you think but try cropping into a portrait format and put the
bottom edge of the pearl holder into the corner. I had a go at this at
home, and it gave movement and made the subject more whip-like
moving towards me.
|Lily||Wells||An excellent choice of colours this time, very bold and in your face.
Although I do think this image could have been a little more at an angle
to lead the viewer into the picture and in this case, cropped a little
tighter to reduce the dead space. The lily has a good sense of movement
and flows leading to the top of the image, but a few imperfections
distract one. Try cropping a little more off the right-hand side and see
what you think.
|Magic Carpet||Whg||This is an unusual but exciting image; it certainly fits the brief of
simplicity. With its skeletal form, this abstract image triggers emotional
responses and imaginations by including an element of mystery and
intrigue, and this image pushes those boundaries. The picture looks or
represents a flying carpet. Although I’m not sure that it's flying towards
me or going backwards. Unusually the lead in line travels from top left
into the canvas. Again, exceptionally with so little in subject content,
there is very little dead space.
|Nathaniel||Wells||You don’t always need to take photos from the front when taking a
portrait; this is an excellent example with Nathaniel looking away into
the distant right…. Almost a dreamy state is created. The light is very
well controlled, and the set-up with one leading light, simple. However,
the light gives another dimension with the model, with the hint of light
hitting his eyelids makes a lovely composition.
|Pencils||Boi||This is so simple but also remarkably clever. Well framed and well
cropped the symmetry created here is subline. There is, however, one
fault and, in a competition, it could break or make the result. Top left
there is a pink chalk or pencil line/scribble which screams out at me.
Cleaning an image like this is a must, and you should always check.
|Plop||Whg||The image sharp and crisp in all the right places, droplets like these can
be very difficult to capture, you either get it the first time or spend all
day at it. The light play has been so well done the green of the droplet
caught in the radiating ripples below. Well done
|Ploughed Field||Wells||Judging by the long shadow from the tree, this has been taken close to
the golden hour, which gives the image its warm earthy tones and the
movement in the surrounding earth. The solitary tree and subtle greens
of the foliage make it a pleasure to judge. A slightly different crop would
have given a perfect lead-in line. The letterbox presentation suits this
image. Well done.
|Poppy and Friend||Wells||Flowers are such beautiful things, and some are so intricately detailed,
but when shooting up close, the depth of field is razor-thin and presents
some challenges for getting enough of the flower in focus. Poppy and
friend are pin sharp with just the right amount of depth of field and such
beautiful bokeh. The complimentary colours work well and warm the
image. Robust and assertive lead-in line. There is no mistake where the
photographer wants your eye to follow.
|Rocks||Wells||Not sure about rocks but this could be the lost city of Atlantis. I like the
reflection and the texture of the stones or bricks. The viewpoint detracts
from the composition; it’s just a bit too square on. Perhaps a different
angle or different crop from the top of the image to hide all but the
bottom course of rocks. I tried rotating this image 90 degrees anticlockwise,
and it made such a difference to the perspective and curiosity
|Rose||Darg||When viewing, I was always hoping that the rose would open up and
reveal more of the hidden flower. The angle or perspective the
photographer has chosen shows just how delicate the petals are waferthin
and almost glowing as the light bounces of the flower. Good control
of light and depth of field. Nicely framed an excellent composition.
|Safe Inside the Boulderbank||Boi||I like the isolation of this image and being in the calm sea the boats are
undoubtedly safe. However, cutting the sky and the sea into a 50/50
split lets down this picture as the subject is too centred. For me, the
foreground dominates the image rather than framing it. The colours are
a little flat but using selective contrast, or a graduated filter could have
punched drama into sky suggesting why these boats were safe.
|Sage||Darg||You don’t have to follow conventions. Half the fun is post-processing.
The raw image is just a starting point, a kind of canvas for your work of
art. Black and White can do so much for a picture, and this image and its
treatment is no exception. It feels moody and possibly foreboding, the
leaf coming out towards us looks like it’s reaching out… it’s only a plant –
right! The shadows in the photo add to the texture of the image and also
provide several lead-in lines that draw you to the focal point. Is this
|Simple Beauty||Boi||I agree with the title of simply beautiful. To make images that are a little
more creative and dynamic, you will need to change your perspective a
little. This is so delicate almost pastel with warm hues and sharp where
it needs to be. The author has taken the time to blend the flower into
the background or the background into the flower. If I’m to suggest
anything, then it might be that the top petal is cropped a little too tightly.
This could have been fixed in Photoshop to give the flower space.
|Simplicity Petals||Whg||Is simplicity the suggestion of the flower, or some other story perhaps,
are those tears or just water droplets. The author here is telling a story,
letting our imaginations run free. The use of colour and choice of
background material help to concentrate the eye on the petals but keep
the background interesting. The water droplets must have taken some
precision placement. Well done.
|Simplicity Vase||Whg||This is a lovely image the lighting has been very well controlled. The
even light and the lack of shadow give it a simplistic feel. However, I
think some attention to detail is required. An improvement in cropping
out the corner of the table would take away this distraction. Also, marks
on the wall behind that could easily be cleaned up with the clone tool.
Although the table is level the vase seems to lean, this is probably a
perspective thing from the angle the camera was held.
|Softly Glowing||Boi||Here the bookshelf the candle sits on rakes upward, but the candle
dominates this image keeps everything in perspective. This, to me, is a
classical still life composition. This style of photography is one of the
best ways you can brush up on all your photography skills as you control
everything. However, getting it right is not that easy. I’ve heard of
people taking days or weeks to set up a shot such as this. Softly glowing
suits its title, this is quintessentially still life at its best.
|Sweet Indulgence||Darg||Butterflies are some of nature’s most beautiful and challenging to
photograph insects. They are continuously on the move and are spooked
easily. Some of the best photographers sit for hours and take thousands
of pictures before getting the image they are looking for. Pin sharp with
beautiful bokeh. The complimentary colours work well and warm the
image. Capturing a butterfly takes some effort (I've tried). The angle of
the head and makes it look as though the eye is peering at us.
|Tranquillity Shoreline||Boi||There is an appropriate depth of field with this photo but more than that
the pastel colours and shallow angle of the shot with the distance
blurring away into infinity are so relaxing to view. This image reminds
me of those summer walks on a beach. I could see this image hanging on
a bathroom wall. I mean it’s got a commercial quality to it. The picture
demands my attention, an excellent composition which suits its letterbox
|Tui||Darg||Beautiful and simple plain white background. Tuis always seem to me to
have such an attitude or presence in this image. However, when I looked
closely at branch there appeared to be a dirty line around it. In fact, it’s
around the whole photographic part of the image. This can be from one
of two things. Either the bird was so far away from the camera when the
original shot was taken, and the enlargement has left visible artefacts
around the cut-out. Alternatively, it’s been poorly cut out and painted
over. I tend to think this was the former. These artefacts are a
distraction that can be seen without having to magnify the image. For
the competition, you must be so meticulous. Tuis are such beautiful
subjects, and this is an excellent example of what they can do within a
frame. It’s a lovely picture but one which needs more care taken.
|Two Spot Demoiselle 1080||Boi||Great lead-in line and the fish grows as the eye moves from the tail to
the head. However, this image is so much more than rules. The image is
quirky, even humorous; in other words, it evokes emotion and makes me
smile when I first saw it. The angle the fish has been taken gives this
image a bold attitude. The catch light in the eye and B+W treatment
holds one’s attention. Well done.
|Well-loved||Whg||Now here’s a statement, with a pair of shoes. I’ll start at the outside and
work my way in. I like the border although adding borders today seems a
bit old fashioned, I miss them. So well done for going against
convention. The photographer here has demonstrated proper control of
the light, and the background is clean from artefacts. Being picky which I
have to be, a bit of soap and water on the sole of both shoes to clean the
brown mud marks off would have lifted this elegant pair of shoes.
However, I like the symmetry and the bold contrast of colours. The
shape the shoes describe is attractive to the eye.