blp shabash 430x45

  • Golden-headed Cisticola

    Golden-headed Cisticola.   Photographer: Peter Bennet

  • Singing Honeyeater

    Singing Honeyeater.   Photographer: Sandy Castle

  • Dusky Moorhen

    Dusky Moorhen.   Photographer: Paul Jensen

  • Eastern Reef Egret

    Eastern Reef Egret.   Photographer: Harry Charalambous

  • Galah

    Galah.   Photographer: Pennie Marks

Winner: Australian Brush Turkey - Leonard Ezzy (Image #21440)

Lovely light sets off the beauty of this photograph. Colours are vibrant and clear. Focus is spot on showing all the fine hairs and the detail in the eye is lovely. The contours of the skin and beak are well- defined with beautiful detail. The depth of field is also spot on as the slightly out-of-focus neck concentrates the gaze onto the birds head nicely. Background is soft and even and compliments the bird beautifully. The stare captured is intense and the fine details around the eye and in the iris itself are wonderful.

Winner: Purple Swamphen - Jonathan Pridham (Image #21427)

A wonderful portrait of a big and clearly beautiful species. The sharpness and definition on the beak and eye is very good, exposure is good and details very nice. In addition, the light is beautiful and composition is well balanced with the bird placed nicely in the frame. The colours are wonderful and the depth of field nicely set to concentrate on the beak and eye,

Competition was stiff at this Intermediate level, with a number of images that would not have been out of place in the Advanced level. That said, there were a several images which would have been further improved with some additional selective cropping, even amongst my final selections. Birds in flight images can be spectacular, or awkward, depending on the wing pose or angle of view at that critical moment the shutter is released.

There were a lot of good photographs entered at this Level and it was difficult making a final choice. From a technical point of view, I was looking for images that were in focus, well exposed, reasonably sharp and without too much noise. About half the images passed these basic image quality criteria and were then considered for aesthetic qualities and special points of interest. This resulted in a short list of ten well-crafted images that deserve mention:

I found the Entry Level images in the Cockatoo competition particularly difficult to judge, as there was such an eclectic mix of strengths amongst them.  Cockatoos are such an expressive group of birds, and there were a number of entries which reflected this aspect, the playful Little Corella, Image ID 20054, being a prime example. The quality of light, harsh or soft, warm or cool, can have a significant impact of the overall strength of an image, and this was reflected in my final selections.

The minimum requirement for an acceptable image at this Level is that the bird must be in focus and reasonably well exposed. I am pleased to see that most of the images passed this hurdle although some images were a bit ‘soft’. The problematic performance of the Sigma 150–500 mm zoom at 500 mm was to blame in some cases and I saw little evidence that photographers understood the need for output sharpening.


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