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  • Black-faced Cormorant (Image ID 24003)

    Black-faced Cormorant.   Photographer: Jill Wilson

  • Pacific Black Duck (Image ID 29076)

    Pacific Black Duck.   Photographer: Stephen Garth

  • Eurasian Coot (Image ID 21088)

    Eurasian Coot.   Photographer: Con Boekel

  • Freckled Duck (Image ID 28139)

    Freckled Duck.   Photographer: Emmy Silvius

  • Black-fronted Dotterel (Image ID 18920)

    Black-fronted Dotterel.   Photographer: Barbara Oehring

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Mystery Reviewer Critiques

All our Mystery Reviewer critique articles are available here, with the most recent ones at the top.  Those published within the last two years are member-only access; you must be logged in to see them.

I want you all to know I tried this, and it was darn hard!  If you live in a city, and wanted to have more than a rare or fleeting glimpse of a “blue” subject in the wild, you were probably restricted to a limited choice of Rainbow Lorikeets, Purple Swamphens, a duck or two or maybe a less likely opportunity with a Crimson Rosella.  Or maybe a Corella if you were lucky.  This meant that one generally had to go further afield in the wild to find an appropriate colour subject, and this I feel is why the number of entrants for this competition was nearly half of previous challenges.  Although, it did occur to me much later that a long overdue trip to the zoo could have achieved a worthwhile result, too.

A most interesting and challenging theme, and one that attracted 94 entries to the Intermediate Level competition.  As in previous competitions, entries were at a high standard and the interpretations of the theme by those who participated were creative and stimulating.  This made my task extremely difficult, requiring three rounds of selection from which to choose the six finalists.

What does the term “being blue” mean?  To be honest, I don’t really know.  However, as you have been asked to submit pictures of birds that either have “blue” in the species name or which have “blue” in their plumage or other features, I take it that “blue” refers to a colour and not to a state of mood or anything else.

This year the President has asked the Advanced Level Mystery Reviewers to pay a little more attention to technical issues without losing sight of the visual, aesthetic, creative, intellectual and emotional appeal of competition images.

This competition produced many wonderful entries, and trying to select my six favourites was extremely difficult, and resulted in a high degree of procrastinating on my part.  It was very encouraging to see excellent shooting technique being deployed by so many photographers, getting down and dirty, well, sandy anyway. It is not coincidental that many of the strongest images in this competition were taken at low level.

Once again it is a privilege to be asked to comment on the entries to a Birdlife Photography competition.  Once again the standard was such that it was difficult to pick a winner, and in the end it came down to some basic criteria that often combine to make a great photograph, and in particular a successful bird image.


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