blp shabash 430x45

  • Black-fronted Dotterel

    Black-fronted Dotterel.   Photographer: Bill Harding

  • Red-browed Finch

    Red-browed Finch.   Photographer: Anna Browne

  • Pacific Black Duck

    Pacific Black Duck.   Photographer: Doug Castle

  • Australian Shelduck

    Australian Shelduck.   Photographer: Ian Wilson

  • Palm Cockatoo

    Palm Cockatoo.   Photographer: Paul Jensen

“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.

This is a challenging assignment. However, it is one from which we all can learn.  Light is so important in photography.  Good quality light can lift and transform an image, for example by bringing out colour and texture or creating mood.  On the other hand, flat and uninteresting light or harsh light which creates ugly shadows or affects colour saturation can spoil what otherwise is a very good 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.

Each time I judge a competition, the task becomes increasingly more difficult with the proliferation of high quality images submitted to competitions.  I congratulate every member who submitted their images to this competition.

The theme of preening birds is clear and precise, which in this sense made the competition easier to judge than some previous competitions. The word ‘preen’ is a verb and its definition is that of a bird tidying and cleaning its feathers with its beak.  Therefore, images in this competition should clearly depict this behaviour.  Observers of preening are also confronted, more often than not, with a bird in a dishevelled condition as the behaviour unfolds.  Similarly, the contortions that a bird must adopt to preen each and every feather contributes to the degree of difficulty in capturing images with a ‘stand-out’ or ‘wow’ factor. In judging this competition, I have adhered to the definition of ‘preening’, ignoring the rarity of the species depicted, and have applied a weighting for creativity in the overall composition.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on these wonderfully varied and imaginative pictures of preening birds. Birds that are preening are sources of possibility for the photographer, and their contortions present opportunities for seeing them in unusual and engaging poses. Feathers are often exposed in interesting and unorthodox ways that can range from the stunning to the comic in their impact on the viewer. The images presented for this competition demonstrate this in a variety of ways.

As defined in the pre-amble for this competition, "the object is to achieve a well-exposed capture of the subject without blowing out the white areas of the bird’s plumage, whilst ensuring that there is detail in the black plumage and /or bare parts, and without excessive noise in the blacks".

This is not an easy achievement given the dynamic range of even the latest camera sensors will not attain the perfect exposure for the blackest blacks and the whitest whites in the one exposure. For this reason alone, this competition is possibly one of the most difficult assignments a photographer can undertake.

CONTACT US

The easiest way to contact us is by emailing us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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