blp shabash 430x45

  • Brolga (Image ID 37498)

    Brolga.   Photographer: Con Boekel

  • Cape Barren Goose (Image ID 27326)

    Cape Barren Goose.   Photographer: Emmy Silvius

  • Australian Pied Oystercatcher (Image ID 27355)

    Australian Pied Oystercatcher.   Photographer: Richard Smart

  • Fan-tailed Cuckoo,Superb Fairy-wren (Image ID 23735)

    Fan-tailed Cuckoo,Superb Fairy-wren.   Photographer: Stephen Garth

  • Golden-headed Cisticola (Image ID 35319)

    Golden-headed Cisticola.   Photographer: Linda Unwin

I presume that whoever dreams up the BLP photography competition themes is a geriatric hippy living far out in a Leonard Cohen-induced psychosis.  As a result of his song, “bird on a wire” has come to symbolize someone precariously perched in life and many of our photographers made the point very well.  I was especially taken by the juxtaposition of a beautiful bird on a menacing-looking barbed wire and all its sinister association with human kind, perhaps I really mean inhumanity.

The theme for this competition is one of my favourites.  Whilst I note the competition co-ordinator’s comment that “wire is one of the least attractive of perches,” I would have to say “Not always!”.  Wire can possess some wonderful tones and textures that add a unique and artful perspective to an image.  Whilst I lament the compartmentalisation of the Australian landscape as a result of our European fencing heritage and the damage fencing inflicts on animals, there is a subtle romantic quality that rusty fencing displays in early morning and late afternoon light.

Congratulations to all the entrants for the Bird on a Wire competition.  I was pleased and surprised to be asked to provide the Mystery Reviewer comments on the Entry level photographs.  The rules for the theme ‘Bird on a Wire’ required that the bird or birds be perched on a wire, although larger birds such as a raptor may be perched on a post or similar.

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.


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