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  • Australian Pelican

    Australian Pelican.   Photographer: Judy Leitch

  • Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater

    Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater.   Photographer: Sandy Castle

  • Pacific Black Duck

    Pacific Black Duck.   Photographer: Con Boekel

  • Eastern Rosella

    Eastern Rosella.   Photographer: Richard Smart

  • Buff-rumped Thornbill

    Buff-rumped Thornbill.   Photographer: Emmy Silvius

It was most enjoyable to see so many entries in the Advanced Level category.  Whilst most photographs centred on the usual “easy to find” subjects, Teals, Blacks and Wood Ducks, it was gratifying to see the unique treatment delivered to these subjects.  Thanks also to those who went further afield to locate the Blue-Billed and Musk Ducks.  The judging of an advanced skill set becomes a matter of finesse, as there is a great deal to enjoy in this level of competency across all the images presented to be judged.  Subtleties of light, colour, texture, movement and point of view, are often the deciding factor in an images selection.

Once again, I really enjoyed judging these entries, as there were so many lovely images to choose from. At some point in the future, it’s clear that a competition solely for Pacific Black Ducks will have plenty of entries!

By the nature of this particular competition’s species, there were understandably a great many images “on the water”, and the quality of light and reflections, the depth of colour, and the graphic nature of the reflections, can greatly enhance the impact of the image.

Winner: Pink-eared Duck - Cherilyn Corker (Image ID 24009)

The combination of beautiful light, calm water and sharp detail set this image apart and make it a clear winner.  The colours and textures of the duck’s plumage have been beautifully captured and their distorted reflection in the water adds an additional dimension of interest to an already striking picture.  The soft blue/grey of the lake surface forms a satisfying and complimentary background that is free from any distractions.

This was a very difficult competition to judge, as there were so many images demonstrating a similar level of technical merit, which then brings it down to my subjective opinion on the individual aesthetic qualities to determine the final selection of 6 images. My sincere congratulations to all who entered, and at the end of the day what really matters is if you are suitably pleased with your own Best of 2016 entry, and look forward to raising the bar even higher in 2017!

There were a great number of very impressive images submitted, making the final selection very challenging. Many of these images would not have been out of place in the Advanced Level competition. Interestingly, a significant proportion of the 95 entries featured a (usually small) bird in very sharp focus, perched, with the background completely dropped out of focus. This is a highly effective means of keeping the viewers’ attention on the bird,

Winner: Australian White Ibis - RA35GT (Image ID 21913)

The feeling of awe at watching birds glide high above is wonderfully conveyed here. The light through the bird’s wings highlights the extended wing feathers and tips, allowing the viewer to focus on the form and function of the different feathers and of the bird itself. The mottled blue and white sky provides a background that complements the bird, adding to the dreamy atmosphere.

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