Set Subject

Judge Irene Callaghan


Allie Watching TV – What a sweet wee angel you have here. A lovely expression and beautiful big blue eyes. I must admit I could not get past the runny nose once I noticed it however!  I feel the TV controller does affect the softness of the image and creates a barrier between the viewer and Allie.
Beach Sunrise – This impressionist landscape has soft detail and good proportions. I feel the light above the horizon could be toned down a little with a filter as it is quite bright. I would personally would have liked to see this image as a landscape format, as the square seems to have cropped the image a little tightly.
Black Scree Button Daisy  –   A lot to like in this image. Detail is crisp and the environment is showcased well as befits a Natural History image. The diagonal gives a strong dynamic line, and the contrast and colour I feel is just right. 

Bombed Out – I like the foreground which leads into the silhouette of the building against what I imagine is the dramatic lighting representing possible fires in the background. I would have liked to see the top of the structure, but I know this may have been difficult to squeeze in a limited space, in what I think may be a display setup.
Crimson Clover – The soft hills in the background have nice layers as do the flowers, but I feel I am looking for a point of interest and possibly sharper focus somewhere in the foreground, about where the darker patch is. 
From Another Angle – This image makes me imagine I am looking through an eye, or the reflection in an eye. I think the black and white is a good choice for this one. The image is a little dark and I wonder if some of the detail that is hidden in this area may have been quite interesting?
Heading  South – Very strong converging lines of the road and the fences take your eye to the first, and then the second car, and then we travel on to explore the interesting mountain range. My only suggestion would be to take out some sky and make it even more of a panoramic.  A strong image.
Hikers Haven – I like the way the detailed foreground contrasts with the feeling of limitless space in the simple background. The figure gives us a sense of scale and is well placed. This image gives me a desire to jump in the caravan and take off on another adventure.
Lines of Marlborough – The late afternoon sunshine has sent wonderful beams of light over the hills. I am not sure if the land should be sloping, and it probably does, but I must admit that my instinct is to straighten this image. My eye was drawn to the white post on the right side.
Orchid – The author has captured the subtle tones and textures of this orchid, and the whites are exposed well. The simple black background works well as does the grouping of three main flowers. I would like to see this as a print. It is simple and effective. 
Petit Fleur – There are nice tones in the background which compliment the blue flower. I feel it is slightly lost amongst the expanse of green and possibly the placement could have been a little less central in my opinion. This one is rather subjective however and different people will see it differently.
Red Billed Gull Colony – I like the composition with the top gull’s wings spread at the top of the image. A bit of action going on!  I have noticed the outside edges of the gulls are not as crisp as could be, and maybe the image has been cropped heavily. I could be wrong here?
Red Clover Seed Crop – The subtle pink in the sky has picked up the colour of the clover below and completes this image. I like the level of detail you have achieved in the clover while still keeping the hills in focus.
Red-eyed stream frog – I must say I fell in love with this perky wee fellow. His red eyes really stand out and you have a captured him/her with very good technical skills. He is crisp and sharp and colourful, and the black background suits the image. There was one little thing that stood out on my computer and that was a spot at top left, right on the edge when I went to full screen mode. I have ignored this as it depended how I looked at it, and I felt the image was very strong.

Shopping Up A Storm – The rain is bucketing down!  I hope you had an umbrella too. I like that this image is a bit different. Although close to the side of the frame, the position of the lady with the pink umbrella works well. The pink tones are echoed by the items in the background. In my opinion you could take some of the left of the image away as the darkness here is a little heavy and this may strengthen your overall composition. 
Clematis foliate seed head – Nicely isolated although cropped fairly tightly. The stem is on a good angle. I can even see tiny aphids crawling around it. I would suggest you try a little more brightness and contrast to make it zing.
Turquoise-browed Motmot with insect – Congratulations on catching this unusual bird with the insect in its beak. The background has a few brighter spots and although this is out of focus, I feel my attention is drawn to it. I feel a little more isolation of the subject would have showcased the Motmot nicely. He is nicely placed in the image. I do think you have a very nice image and it has only just missed being in the top three. 

COMMENTS– I believe I am not biased towards Natural History, however the first two images really stood out and were the worthy winners in my opinion.  


Father and Son- This image impressed me with its honesty and unpretentiousness. You can see the love between the father and his son, and this must become a special keepsake in the years to come. I like that they are not both looking at the camera. The father looking towards the boy is creating a link between them which makes the image stronger.

Spots Before Your Eyes. I have admired this graphic print before, and I still like the apparent simplicity present in this image. I say apparent, as I don’t think this would be factually valid. This is more complicated than it looks I think. The black has depth and the white is crisp and very evenly printed. I would love to see this on a wall and I hope you have done so.

Eyes on Vestrahorn- The intense blacks in this image are creating a very moody and drama filled landscape. I must admit I am torn between liking this affect and then considering it a little unnatural. I like the lines that pull you in towards the mountains and the soft silky greys in the sky. Maybe a larger print may have swayed me more?

Little Welsh Girl- I kept going back to this print as her shy demeanour conveyed a certain reluctance to look towards the photographer, but she shines in the simplicity of the portrait. I like the way the delicate lace cap frames her face. I do however find the ribbons that hang beside her face distracting and a barrier, so they may have been better tucked under the cap. Just missed the top three.
Rarangi Seascape- The three layers works well here although in my opinion the mono treatment is a little flat and may not have been the best choice here. The middle rock is a little darker and hogs the attention in contrast with the lighter foreground rock. This is misted over by the sea spray in the long exposure.
Suspended- Nicely printed and matted. I like it a lot, but perhaps if the ball was situated half an inch higher it would have created more tension to pull us in. This image has a fine art feel and I can see it in a white frame, perhaps printed quite large if the file is large enough?

COMMENTS. Competition was tough here as although not a huge amount of entries the standard was very high.

Prints - Coloured

Awatere Colour- I like your composition with the well focused and colourful foreground leading into the autumn trees taking us up the hill to the three pines and the early morning fog. Good technical skills and nicely printed.
Breaking Fog-   A well formed composition. The golden grass in the foreground slopes from left to right, and is contrasted by the middle ridges sloping from right to left. The trees hide behind the mist perhaps a little too much. I kept going back to see if the mist had cleared yet! They are well positioned however and I like that there is not too much sky. I felt I would have liked the placement in the mat to be even, as my eye kept being distracted by this, but this is probably rather subjective and I did like your image.

Bridge Of Orchy- I loved your composition but however I feel the post processing is rather overdone. I can see purple and green edging around the bridge and the water looks too detailed. Worth processing again I think.
Hokianga- The light is clear and catches the grass in the foreground. Plenty of texture in the sand. I feel it is just a little bit too deserted, and I keep looking around the expanse of sand for a person or point of interest.

Listening to Great Granddad- There is quite a story being told here. We have grandad’s outstretched hand reaching towards a bright eyed little boy who is listening intently to what his granddad is telling him. While tightly framed, it still works well and the background is soft enough to set the scene, but not to intrude. Just missed out.
Nature’s Nectar- what lovely light you have captured with this bee and the flax flower. The depth of field that enabled you to have the bee and the flower it is on in perfect focus, has allowed the background flowers to be slightly too prominent. It might have been better if these faded into the background a fraction more. If you get the opportunity, try several different apertures, so you can take your pick later. Still a very attractive image and I liked your composition.
Nikaus-   You have come up with an interesting idea. I am not sure if you meant them to be visible, but I can see two faint division lines that break the image into three. Maybe you could try this as a triptych? I think the nikau trees need a little more  contrast or perhaps you need to hide more of the black line top and bottom as it is too heavy in comparison to the trees.
Peaceful Peaks- I like the flowing lines in the hills but I would advise to possibly crop some of the messy foreground, and perhaps some sky to make the image more panoramic. Dare I say it but possibly time you retired that mat as it is quite marked?

Pretty Iris- I was conflicted by this image from the beginning. It is like an artwork and is very finely detailed and textured. I like innovation but I am not sure I am totally happy about your stylised bee. However there is much to enjoy about it, and I love the soft background with its beautiful colour, and the way it has been printed.


Some Attitude- What a compelling and forceful gaze this girl has. Those cold green eyes stare out at me accusingly as though she is saying “stand back. Leave me alone”. The texture of her hair is also an important element of the image as are the bones threaded through the button holes. Background is nicely out of focus. Not sure if I like the black lips but they suit the style of the image.

South Island Waves- This image needed very good light to bring out the best in your image. I do like the way my eye starts at the left corner and follows the wave along its length to the distance shoreline. This was an image that I enjoyed more as I studied it. It was close to the top three.
COMMENTS.  A great range of subject matter which did not make my job easy. Congratulations to the winners of this section.