blp shabash 430x45

  • Pacific Black Duck (Image ID 31057)

    Pacific Black Duck.   Photographer: Bruce McNaughton

  • Pied Cormorant (Image ID 20114)

    Pied Cormorant.   Photographer: Jill Wilson

  • Spotted Pardalote (Image ID 25917)

    Spotted Pardalote.   Photographer: Chris Dubar

  • Golden-headed Cisticola (Image ID 18999)

    Golden-headed Cisticola.   Photographer: Peter Bennet

  • Australian Wood Duck (Image ID 20205)

    Australian Wood Duck.   Photographer: Con Boekel

Let me firstly extend my congratulations to all the entrants in this Best of 2018 competition.  The quality of the images are of such a high standard that after my viewing of all the entrants I actually texted Graham Cam and said “There are so many amazing images.  This is going to be a hard competition to judge.”  Let me tell you, if you’re ever asked to judge a BLP “Best of …” photographic competition, run away as fast as you can!  Seriously though, WOW it has been a real treat to view such an awesome array of images that show how hard the photographers have worked to achieve their entries.  It takes immense drive and determination, vision and preparation in order to capture these extraordinarily beautiful images.  Pictures with stories don’t just appear; they are a result of so much planning, patience and dedication.

This is a bumper crop of good quality images and I found making the final choices difficult.

At the Intermediate level photographers should be starting to work beyond studies of a bird standing still or a bird perched on a stick.  Possible initiatives include capturing images of birds engaging in some activity, capturing multiple birds in the same frame, using perches as pictorial props (mosses, lichens, arrangements of leaves and flowers), sensitive management of light and colour, using the natural and human-built environment as important elements in the composition, and/or using innovative camera/lens techniques.  To this end I have given some preference to images where photographers have tried for something fresh and challenging in capture, processing or presentation.

It looks as though everyone had a productive year looking for interesting subjects and capturing good images.  It is an important skill to be able to see what will make an effective image and how best to capture it.  The more we do it, the better we become.

Wow, this competition has it all! Dramatic action, birds with attitude, gruesome details, and some pretty pictures of beautiful birds going about the business of feeding. When reviewing my short-list of ten images I kept coming back to the action shots and the realization that the photographers had captured something special. These are shots that are out of the ordinary requiring knowledge of bird behaviour, good field-craft, patience, deft anticipation, smart camera work, and some good luck.

Too much choice!  So many excellent images to choose from.  Some general observations:

What a pleasure it is to review such a fine collection of images representing the theme of “Feeding”.  A very good proportion of these pictures have impact – that elusive and difficult to define experience that elicits a response in the viewer along the lines of “Wow – look at that!”

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