Set Subject

Judge - Brian Harmer LPSNZ

It was a privilege to assess your images. To those who achieved high results, congratulations on your fine work. To those who were treated less kindly, please remember that the role of the judge is to express an opinion, so it was just my opinion. Please don’t be discouraged, and do keep trying.  Thanks again.

Forest Pond

A strong first impression and a nice colour palette here. I find the image is a bit fragmented with four separate and to some extent, disconnected zones … the sunburst in the ripples on the upper right, the yellow reflected kowhai on the lower left and the two green areas in the upper left and lower right corners.  It is a pleasing image. Accepted

hazy autumn afternoon

This is a nice take on a lovely pastoral scene. It is well exposed and well composed. I wonder if it would have a different impact with a more panoramic crop, to just above the tree on the lower right. However, it is a very nice image as the author saw it.  Merit

Spinning Sparks

Very well caught picture of the spinning sparks. I imagine that the burning material provided its own light without the need of light from other sources. The only minor suggestion I have is to experiment with a small amount of vignetting to thus diminish the brightness on the handrails  left and right  and thereby prevent the eyes from wandering out of the picture on each side. Well done. Merit

Universe in line

I love this image. It has real power. It is well seen and nicely composed. I might have preferred a clean sky rather than an overlaid texture. I like the central placement of the sun and the white line and the near central placement of the horizon. The aesthetics of this image more than compensate for any unresolved aspects of story telling. Very nice  honours

Bush creek

Nicely framed capture of some rapids in a fast flowing stream. I like the choice of shutter speed which conveys the motion while still leaving some detail visible in the water. My eye is captured by the bright patch of lichen on the rock in the left foreground, and I wonder how the image might look with a square crop to exclude that distraction. Well seen. Merit

New Addition

An intriguing cat portrait, made more so by the one bright eye, and the one in shadow. I think it would have been  a little more successful without the out-of-focus pink blanket and the gap in the upholstery behind. The eye and whiskers are beautifully sharp. This should appeal to the cat lovers. Accepted

Winter on Tappy

This really appeals to me. I have only ever seen this mighty mountain from a distance and the photographer invites us all to share the experience of being up there in snow.  I have no suggestions for improvement of this fine image. Merit


This is excellent work in  C grade. The exposure is impeccable. It would do better in my opinion if the nearest petal and the drops it carries were sharper. I recommend exploring focus stacking, or experimenting with the location of the hyperfocal distance.  Despite that quibble, it is a pleasing image. Accepted

Abandoned Bedroom Things

The author has seen something worthy of note here. The decision to place the window so centrally might have worked if a bracketing technique or perhaps an HDR exposure had been used to prevent the blown highlights. It also takes attention away from the abandoned bedroom things. Worth another shot. Not accepted

Abandoned Crofters Village

Very well seen, nicely exposed and well composed. It is such an interesting image that I had to struggle to stay involved with the photograph rather than the archaeology of the scene. Might it be a better picture without the three grazing animals in the lower right corner? They could be eliminated by means of content aware fill or even a minor crop to exclude them. I like the lines that take me from bottom left to middle right, back to upper left and across to the right again, and from there to the top left corner. Merit


Excellent night photograph. In terms of he set subject and the title, I am struggling to reconcile the idea of abandonment with the bright light inside the building. That aside it is a very competently made picture  full of interest, and well suited to the monochrome treatment Accepted

Abode of Old Travellers Tales

This has some very nice components such as clouds, mountains and trees. It is sharp and well exposed. It has the potential to be a very good image if retaken earlier or later in the day, instead of in this full sunlight. I would also suggest that the field of view should include the top of the trees . A pleasant image. Accepted

After the Earthquake

This tells a story of loss and grief. The author has used a small part of the whole to tell a bigger story. I wonder whether the image would have more power if it were made in different light. I think the square format works well, even though I get the sense that the garden at the base is a little “cut off”. The unexpectedly bright leaves in the centre contribute to the story, perhaps suggesting that life goes on in different ways. I like the image Accepted

Door to the past

Well seen, this subject matter fits the set topic nicely. The paint has long since given up the struggle to hold on, and even the door knob has had a hard life. I like the placement of the keyhole and the door knob and the area selected. I would have liked to see some more life in the lighting. A story well told. accepted

Flock Hill Original homestead

This old house is well presented by the photographer. Perhaps the image might have more power with a slightly different crop, omitting some of the glinting pathway on the right edge. As with some of the other images, the subject might tell a more dramatic story at a different time of day, instead of the shadowless lighting presented. The triangle of sky in the top left is completely blown out, and there are large areas of blocked shadows. Despite these quibbles it is a pleasing image.  Merit


This is well seen, and nicely placed in the frame. The lighting on the building is good, but I wonder whether the clouds have been excessively darkened in post-processing? My apology if I am mistaken. It is a well balanced image. I also wonder if the author has been photo-bombed by a helicopter coming in to the top left.  At this distance it is akin to sensor dirt, and might have been treated similarly. I like this Merit.


Here is some real atmosphere. Despite the lack of anything to cast shadows this is beautifully exposed. I might be tempted to suggest experimenting with some minor cropping from the bottom right corner, but that is a call for the author to make. Nicely done Merit

Nearly History

This is a fascinating image, not only for the well observed items of “nearly history”, but also for the very interesting lighting. Consider the direction of the shadow behind the right-hand verandah post. Now consider the direction of the shadow behind the left hand one. If this is direct sunlight, how can the two posts be lit from two different directions? I am mystified. Regardless it is a pleasing image . Accepted

No Rego or Wof

This appeals to me. It is well observed, and well exposed. I like the depth of field. Though the car is never going anywhere, I wonder if it would benefit from having a little space in front of its nose. Accepted

Not Long For This World

Here is a well crafted image. A simple structure in what might be an empty sky has been lifted by the choice of the sepia tone and the imposition of an antique texture. The treatment works. Merit

Not Used Now

The lighting is nice and the exposure is well handled. I think a different, and perhaps lower viewpoint might have made a more interesting image. I suspect that the choice of lens has also presented some diverging angles in the alcove where the stove is placed. The partial chair is also a little difficult. Interesting location Not accepted

Old and Forgotten

Here is some real character again. The composition overall is good though I would like to exclude the foreign object which creeps into the image from the bottom of the window down the left hand edge. Might it be improved wit less of the collapsed ceiling panel in the frame?  I like the overall colour. The blown highlights in the window and the flat surfaces to the right of the stove might all be improved  if the highlights were reduced. A pleasing image.  Accepted

port arthur coal mine

This is to my eyes, a very nice composition, full of interest. My first impression, and forgive me if I am mistaken, is that there has been some post processing which has made the clouds too dramatic and the brickwork too colourful. It is well seen.  Accepted

Prospectors Refuge

This is a very fine image that looks as if it dates from the same era as the hut. The choice of monochrome is undeniably right .I can find nothing in this that I want to criticise. I think it is superb Honours

Ravaged by Time

Nicely exposed, nicely composed this one captures the essence of this ruined kitchen. My eyes wander around the scene and keep coming back to the stove. The choice of wide angle lens has introduced some minor distortions, but nothing too distracting.  Consider whether or not the image would be improved by a modest crop from the right  as far as the power point. A good capture. Merit


Memories of old Stalingrad. The image is well made, nicely exposed  and reasonably sharp. To my eye it lacks a point of real interest, and I would have been tempted in post processing to eliminate that shadow line cast on the backdrop by the standing wall. A good attempt Not Accepted.

The Old Blacksmiths

This is a very fine night sky/milky way shot with the old blacksmith’s shop as an interesting foreground feature. I don’t know if the foreground shadow was a deliberate choice or perhaps even some vignetiing. My temptation would be to apply some more exposure to that dark patch in post processing, especially the bottom corners. Alternately crop from the bottom to eliminate the deep shadow. Despite my quibbles I like this a lot.  Merit

Ancient Machinery

The photographer has seen the real possibilities in this situation. The full frontal literal interpretation of the scene has produced a good  well exposed record of the items on the wagon, I would have liked to see an attempt to present things in a more artistic way, perhaps by exploring other angles and other places from which shoot. The sky is completely blown out and needs to be toned down,  Not accepted

Derelict farmhouse fireplace

Here is a fireplace worth recording. I am intrigued by the light source which I am fairly sure is not flash. I urge the author to consider shooting from other than eye-level or the top of the tripod. The high viewpoint has introduced a trapezoid shape to what should be a rectangle. Well done for seeing and for the exposure Accepted

Early Shelter

A rather nice old building  and its surrounding fence has been  nicely presented. Perhaps the crop is very tight right up to the corners of the fence. The highlights in the sky are almost entirely blown out and I urge the author to explore the simple ways to fix such problems.  It is an image worth revisiting Not accepted

Old Farm Shed

The author has done a nice job of presenting the old farm shed. The exposure is well done with no blown highlights or blocked shadows. The close crop on the right hand edge might be to exclude an unwanted distraction behind the shed, or is it just a case of  getting too close. I like this image merit

Sitting Room in abandoned Villa

This is a mysterious image to me. I am struggling to interpret the planes and angles of I am seeing, especially the shelf (?) in the top left.  The exposure seems correct for a dark interior , though the exterior as seen through the gap in the wall is over exposed.  I would love to know more Not Accepted

Still Standing

I like the afternoon light  and the strong shadows. Exposure and subject placement work well. I wonder if there is anything of interest to the left of the tree, and whether it would be a more appealing image if you cropped to exclude the trunk of the tree entirely? . Nicely seen.  Accepted


I like the author’s decision to present a small part of the whole. The colours and textures are interesting and provide a nice insight into the building. I would like to suggest that there is nothing of significance to the left of the bright white pole, and it might be worth experimenting with a slightly tighter crop.  Good work Merit

Old, But Not Forgotten

This is clearly related to the preceding image and is a different treatment of the same scene. Forgive me if I am wrong but I imagine this has been processed by an App on the smartphone on which it was taken. The inclusion of the people is interesting in that all but one are looking elsewhere. I confess that the applied old-time treatment and the inverse vignette does not appeal to me, but congratulations to the author for exploring. Not Accepted

Schools Out

I like almost everything about this image. The placement of the schoolhouse and the trees are pleasing to my eye. The choice of monochrome works well. Would it be even better if the bright area of the sky were toned down a little. Very nice Merit

Searing Times Over

Very well seen, nicely composed and exposed. Everything seems to be in place except that blue plastic thing. I would suggest trying a small crop from the right so that the building is slightly less central. I like the image very much. Merit

Pines on the Withers

Beautiful lighting, lovely sky, very well composed. My only suggestion is to reduce the highlights in the foreground just left of centre. A fine landscape image. Merit

Falling Down

This is a nice composition that captures the decay very well. The range of light from the blown highlights in the sky to the blocked shadow in the depths of the interior are challenging, but perhaps worthy of a little more attention, Despite this small quibble this is a very nice image. Merit


This is beautifully executed. The eyes are sharp and the skin tones where they are visible are perfect, The paint splash is well caught though I am left wondering from which direction the paint was thrown. I have no criticism to make. Well done Honours

Lofoten Peaks and Pools

I love the composition. I wonder if the image were captured at a different time of day in different light whether it would be stronger. I think there needs to be more sparkle in the lower half of the image. It is a pleasing image Accepted

Two Eras of Decay

This is a lovely image with a dramatic sky and beautiful light . The viewpoint is well chosen and shows the ruin to good advantage. Though I suspect it was unavoidable at that time of day, I wish the dark shadow in the foreground were not there. Beautiful shot. Merit

The House

The house is well seen. In my opinion what really makes this image is the light in the trees to the right and behind it. I would have liked a little more light on the front door, though there is detail already visible. This is great work Merit

The Window

This is a very pleasing image. I am unsure whether I am looking at an actual window, or  a painting of a window. I suspect the latter. It is beautifully presented and if it is a picture of someone else’s art, it does the original artist proud. Merit

Bridge at Orchy

This is stunning. I love the way the arch of the bridge echoes the curve of the hill behind. The exposure and composition are wonderful, and I  find no fault Honours

Water droplet

The colour, the exposure, the composition and the timing are in my opinion, perfect. Honours

A Renovator’s Dream

This is a stunning work. It has that painterly quality that so many of us strive for. The sky is magnificent. The inward leaning trees help to frame the house. Just excellent Honours

Kinky Cottage

The image captures a sense  of the isolation of this old building (so why is it entered in Open rather than Set?) . It’s an interesting point of view and one worth further exploration. The shadows suggest that this was made in the middle of the day or at least with the sun high in the sky.  Accepted