blp shabash 430x45

  • White-fronted Chat

    White-fronted Chat.   Photographer: Pennie Marks

  • Plumed Whistling-Duck

    Plumed Whistling-Duck.   Photographer: Harry Charalambous

  • Pacific Black Duck

    Pacific Black Duck.   Photographer: Con Boekel

  • Red Wattlebird

    Red Wattlebird.   Photographer: Emmy Silvius

  • Caspian Tern

    Caspian Tern.   Photographer: Jill Wilson

It has given me great pleasure to view and critique the images for this competition.  There were many fine images that must have taken a lot of time and patience to acquire; my congratulations to the photographers.

While many of the images were technically very good, a lot were quite static in their nature.  I also found some appeared to have been over-sharpened, or had missed the critical focus.  Taking out distracting specular highlights and toning down some over-bright areas would have improved a few of the images.  I mention these things only because I feel they should be obvious to photographers at an Advanced Level.

Winner: Pacific Baza, by Tim Van Leeuwen (Image ID 28317)

What a fabulous image! Great composition with the bird flying directly at the photographer, and the out-of-focus plant fronds imitating the bird’s wings. Very sharp where needed, with no distracting elements. Overall a very dynamic and engaging image.

 Pacific Baza

Highly Commended: Rainbow Bee-eater, by Lea Scaddan (Image ID 28116)

Another excellent image capture of this small and twitchy bird.  I particularly like how the photographer has captured the spread wings and tail feathers, and the separation of the long middle tail feather.  The image has been captured in beautiful light, which has brought out the bird’s wonderful colours; these are complemented in that glorious out-of-focus background.

Rainbow Bee-eater

Commended: Rainbow Bee-eater, by Ian Wilson (Image ID 28439)

A beautiful capture of this bird in very pleasing light.  All the elements of the image work together to achieve an overall excellent image.  Great colour and background, very good exposure, and sharp where it has to be.

Rainbow Bee-eater

Commended: Baillon’s Crake, by Wilson Lennard (Image ID 28296)

Once again, a wonderfully timed shot showing the bird doing its dance.  The photographer has captured some movement in the wings and the uplifted foot perfectly, while maintaining great sharpness on the bird’s head.  I particularly liked the wet chest feathers which show the bird’s enthusiasm for the performance.  The out-of-focus background also works very well, with the green section on the right, and what must be its reflection, putting the bird perfectly in context without being dominant or distracting in any way.

Baillon’s Crake

Commended: Royal Spoonbill, by Glenn Pure (Image ID 28401)

A beautiful image with that wonderful early morning light and great reflection illuminating the back of the bird; this combination has also caught the bird’s eye perfectly bringing out that lovely red colour and sparkle.

Royal Spoonbill

As good as this image is it could be significantly improved by applying a slight luminosity mask to the bird’s back, to bring back more detail in those feathers, and to slightly dull the mist in the background.  I also think a slightly warmer white balance may have improved the image, but I realize that is purely subjective; it may be exactly as the photographer remembers it.

The next three photographs are worthy of mention for their potential.

Beach Stone-curlew, by Ian Wilson(Image ID 28464)

A great capture showing the intense concentration of the bird as it stalks the crabs.  I like the foot in the air giving a sense of movement as well.  What I felt let the image down is that it appears to be about a half stop overexposed.  There are also some very distracting bright spots and dark blobs (for want of a better word) on the left hand side of the image which could have easily been fixed in post processing, either by use of the spot healing brush or by making a selection and using content-aware fill.

Beach Stone-curlew

Metallic Starling, by Jill Wilson (Image ID 28514)

I found this shot one I kept coming back to, because of the conflicting nature of it.

The choice of aperture has isolated the top bird very well putting ‘him’ a position of power, I also liked the ring of birds and their red eyes around the top bird, which gives the whole scene a sense of community. My concerns are the very bright area on the right of the image, which would have been easy to address in post-processing. Luminosity masks would have addressed this as well, addressing the bright areas on the top bird and bringing back some detail on the branch where the bird is standing. I would have also cropped down from the top to eliminate the bright part of the branch going out of the shot.

Metallic Starling

Scarlet Honeyeater, by Stephen Garth (Image ID 28349)

The elements I like in this shot are the great colours and detail in the image along with the out-of-focus background and the perfect exposure.  This is an image which perfectly demonstrates how you need to be your own harshest critic; what lets this image down is the overbright leaf on the right-hand side of the image, very easy to fix in post processing either by cloning, or by using a selection and the content-aware fill feature in PS, if available.  I would then just slightly crop in from the right-hand side.  I feel attention to these things would greatly enhance the image.

Scarlet Honeyeater


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