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  • Black-faced Cormorant

    Black-faced Cormorant.   Photographer: Jill Wilson

  • Pied Cormorant

    Pied Cormorant.   Photographer: Jill Wilson

  • Budgerigar

    Budgerigar.   Photographer: Mark Lethlean

  • Stubble Quail

    Stubble Quail.   Photographer: Harry Charalambous

  • Rose Robin

    Rose Robin.   Photographer: Emmy Silvius

It was an utter pleasure to see such fine work being produced by many photographers in Birdlife Photography.  I found the standard very high but it did make the job of selecting the winner a difficult one though.  I started with a very long ‘shortlist’ containing nearly a quarter of the images entered and carefully scored them, eventually settling on 8 images.  Well done to all who entered as you have contributed to an excellent gallery of photos.

With the relative ease of access to birds in our populated environs, this category enjoyed a bumper number of entries.  Gardens, walkways, rooftops, parks, feeder trays and even signposts were fair game for our enterprising entrants in this competition category in an attempt to grab a pic to match the topic.  The competitive spirit was fierce and it was a group of well constructed, sharply focused images that made the final group for this category.

Once again, there were many fine entries in this competition which made my final choices difficult.  The “City Slickers” topic was understandably broad, but in all of my selections the natural and man-made elements combine effectively to create a stronger image than just a bird on its own.  In each of my final selections, the man-made element is much more than a simple prop upon which the bird is perched; there is a conscious narrative or statement being made by each of these photographers, which sets them apart.

This was an enormously varied group of photographs exploring the theme of birds in urban environments, and the task of drawing distinctions between images and selecting a winner was a difficult one.  In considering these pictures I was constantly reminded on the importance of the background in a successful bird shot.  Naturally enough, what is in the background is not our primary concern when an image is taken – there is more than enough to think about in terms of focusing on the bird(s) – but in the final analysis, the background can make or break the success or otherwise of the image.

I absolutely love this topic. We spend so much of our time chasing around after birds, trying to find a way to get a clear shot or working on how we can get closer to them. So, it’s wonderful when they eventually settle down to preen and we are delivered an almost calm opportunity to consider our camera settings, our visual point of view, our light and perspective and how we can best take advantage of this lull in the chase to make some well planned, beautiful images.

“Capturing The Light” – what a truly wonderful theme for a competition, for as photographers we all know that light is everything!  Without it, there is no image.  Consequently, and unsurprisingly, there were many entries at Intermediate Level that were of a very high standard, and it has been a great pleasure to review them.  I particularly enjoyed reading the often insightful comments made by the respective photographers about their images, which frequently demonstrated a strong creative awareness of just how the differing qualities of light can make, or break, an image.  Just how we harness these qualities, photographically, to emphasize mood or enhance visual impact in our images, is a constant, but rewarding challenge.

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The Our People page, in the About Us section, contains email links to each of the committee members.