blp shabash 430x45

  • Long-tailed Finch, Star Finch

    Long-tailed Finch, Star Finch.   Photographer: Gary King

  • Eurasian Coot

    Eurasian Coot.   Photographer: Emmy Silvius

  • White-faced Heron

    White-faced Heron.   Photographer: Chris Dubar

  • Chestnut-breasted Mannikin

    Chestnut-breasted Mannikin.   Photographer: Harry Charalambous

  • Australian Wood Duck

    Australian Wood Duck.   Photographer: Con Boekel

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.

Thank you for inviting me to be your Mystery Reviewer.  Whilst I have been seriously involved in photography for many years, having received numerous awards at local, national and international levels and judged many photographic competitions, I am not a “birder” or a specialist bird photographer or judge.  So as with everyone who has entered, this competition is also a challenge for me.

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.

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