Judge: Judy Stokes
Likely to include creative effects either in-camera or in post processing.

Judge: Judy Stokes

Creative Light may or may not represent recognisable objects/people etc.  Can use long exposure, all shutter speeds, light trails, stars,  traffic lights, bokeh, filters, flash, star bursts etc.  (workshop will be organised before hand-in)



Set Subject

C Grade –Set
A Healthy Option : HONOURS
For me this image ticked all the boxes for the set subject. It used light in an unusual and creative way, it caught my fascination as to the way you created it, and it also made a quirky little comment on food. I loved its loose artiness and spontaneous paintbrush feel and commend you for your creativity.
A Magic story : HONOURS
I loved your concept for this image and feel you have cleverly executed it. I wonder if the light catching the wooden table might be toned down a little in the bottom of the image but I do love the way the person’s expressive face is subtly lit in the background and the “magic” you have created jumping out of the book.
Light Hearted : ACCEPTED
I appreciate your clever spotting of the heart in this sculpture which could perhaps double as a guffawing mouth and give your title a nice double meaning. I am not sure the use of light has quite come off in this instance. I notice vertical lines in the background and am a little distracted by the pebbles and bush that are also visible at the bottom of the image. I also find the compositional placing of the main subject a little unbalanced. I do like the portrait shape for the image.
Light Reading : MERIT
I enjoy the simple shapes of the bent pages, in this image and the light catching the inside of the pages. In my view the hard cover with its very straight line disturbs the flow a little and my eye also gets caught by the red colour on the left hand side of the image. I wonder if just a little more compositional care with this image might lift it to a higher level.
Looking in or Out : ACCEPTED
I enjoyed the fact that I had to stop and figure this image out a little. In my view the out of focus stone on the left dominates the image a little too strongly. I wonder if it was dark and merely formed a frame whether the image might hang together better. I also get distracted by the hanging arrangement at the top of the image. For me the interesting part and focal point of the image is the interior where there cleverly seems to be a face and eye doing the looking out part of the story alluded to in your title. I enjoy the lighting in the interior part of the image.
Petal Power : ACCEPTED
I like the way the petals seem to rise out of this jar. I wonder if you intended for one of the petals to clip the top edge of the image. Compositionally I do find this image a little static with my eye being whizzed very quickly up and down without a resting point. I wonder if it would have been possible to fiddle with the arrangement of the petals to perhaps get a more flowing feel.
Spooky : HONOURS
This image for some reason makes me think of a rockband cover image - perhaps a cross between Queen and The Beatles. I feel you have used light creatively and effectively and controlled all the elements of the image very well. I like that all the faces are slightly different and the image certainly does have a spooky mood.
Twirling Cones of Light : MERIT
The Blues certainly do pop out against the black background and I enjoy the shape they make. I personally feel the image might be stronger if the lines were in focus and with this type of light painting it is often a good idea to get the focus set before you start. I do wonder if perhaps a little more black space at the top of the image might make it feel more balanced. I enjoy the way the tones of the light vary from deep blue to very pale.
C Grade – Open
Back to Nature : MERIT
What a great find as a location for a photoshoot and I do find your title very fitting. I enjoy the way the red timber pops out from the green of nature. I wonder if just a small crop off the top of the image, to lose the small patch of white sky in the top lefthand corner might enhance the image. I also feel the white edges on the sides don’t really add anything to your image. I think you have chosen a great angle from which to take the shot and like the way the buildings form a slice through the green.
Daylit Rose : ACCEPTED
The light passing through the petals of the rose certainly do show off the soft yellow of the upper petals. I wonder if the image needs so much space around the rose. I am finding I get distracted by the background and that I am wanting to zoom into the rose more. For me your story and focal point of the image is really the upper rose where you have interesting lines and tones of yellow within the flower itself.
Fungi Party : ACCEPTED
Well these fungi certainly didn’t know about social distancing  I do enjoy your title to the image. In my opinion the story of your image is the group of fungi in the centre and I am not sure all the space around where the focus is a little softer and some of the mushrooms cross the edges of the image, add to this story. It might be worth playing with cropping closer into the image. I like the way you have got down low and close and brought our attention to a small part of nature that might go un noticed.
Natures softbox : HONOURS
I find this a simple, effective and beautiful image. I enjoy your choice of composition, crop and way you have coped with all the elements within the image. I wouldn’t change a thing 
Punakaiki textures : MERIT
The graphic nature and black and white treatment of this image in my view are very effective. I do wonder if the image might benefit from being lightened in the centre area so it is possible for the viewer to see and feel a little more of the rock textures. In the same vein it might be worth darkening the top just a smidgen to keep the viewer’s eye in the image and let them enjoy the textures below. I like your unusual take of the subject you chose.
The first grandchild: HONOURS
What a special little moment you have captured here. I find the joy on both people’s faces tells a wonderful story. I love your close crop. It might be fun to try this image in black and white but as it stands, I find it works beautifully.
Waterway reflections : MERIT
What a fabulously still day for the lovely reflections you have captured. In my view a small crop off the top of the image might enhance the image. I am not sure the bits of blue sky peeping through the trees add to your story. I do love the textures and clarity of the grasses and their reflections and I enjoy the rich blue colour at the bottom of the image working with the crispy greens further up.
Who said this would be fun : HONOURS
You certainly have captured the gritty determination of the scene and your choice of moment as the cyclist went through the water I find perfect. A crop off the right hand side bringing the image to a square in my view might work too, bringing us even closer to our hero of the image.
B Grade – Set
Almost smiling Diamond : MERIT
The colours of the light structure certainly do pop out and work well together and I like your simple almost abstract composition. It might be worth tidying up and cloning out, some of the small bits of light and spots that have filtered into the black background to really have this image beautifully clean and crisp.
Digital Ribbon : HONOURS
I find this a simple, graceful and elegant image. I love the black and white treatment and presentation. I also love the feeling of balance and poise.
Downtown : ACCEPTED
I enjoy the patch of golden light on the paving stones in the centre of the image. I do find all the writing in the signage within the image a distraction and I feel my eye is not sure where it wants to rest within this slightly busy image.
A Grade – Set
Aerial Puffs : ACCEPTED
With a very strong diagonal line through this image I find this image quite a graphic abstract. I wonder if you considered turning it into a black and white? Personally I feel just one of the puffs might have made a stronger impact, my eye gets distracted by the puffs that are crossing the top and bottom corners. Each puff is in itself an interesting object.
Arrival : ACCEPTED
I enjoy your use and choice of slow shutter speed. I do find the image as a whole very muted and the flying birds a bit obscured because of this. In my view a bit of lightening would lift the image to a higher level. I wonder if all of the dark sand at the bottom of the image works with the image as a whole. In my view a thinner border or no border at all would set the image off to better advantage. The birds themselves have a lovely flowing feel.
Autumn : HONOURS
I find this image has a lovely luminous quality with beautiful warm tones. The camera movement is subtle and effective in my view, and the contrast between the different tones of golds and dark trees adds a clever compositional element to the image.
Drawn to the Light : ACCEPTED
The gold dragonflies certainly do pop out against the darker background. I find with the two groups of dragonflies my eye is unsure of where to settle. I wonder whether the top section of the image is adding anything to the story. I do enjoy the almost shadowlike effect of the paler dragonflies against the blue.
Evening Glow : ACCEPTED
I appreciate the contrast between the glow of light and the dark tones in this image. In my opinion the compositional aspects of the image might be worth playing with. I find the light parts crossing the edges of the frame on both sides and top distracting. I like the play of colours between the gold and the pale pink.
Ferry lights : ACCEPTED
This abstract image does use light creatively. I am not sure whether we need to know that the light source is a ferry - I find sometimes mysterious is good. I especially enjoy the bottom third of the image where the lights seem to change planes.
From darkness to light : MERIT
I do enjoy the moving forward of the light painting patterns out of the dark background alluded to with your title. In my view the placing of the focal point feels slightly out of balance with the sides slightly uneven and a heavier top of black. I like the sharpness of focus on the blue and white lines and I also enjoy the slightly and intentionally messy spontaneity of the image.
Golden light : MERIT
The grouping and the placing of the people in this image I find lovely. I also enjoy the textural qualities of the sea against the hills. I wonder if you played with cropping out the lighter bit at the top whether the image might be stronger? I find it pulls at my eye which wants to rest on the people. I enjoyed noticing the flying bird and especially the golden tones of the image.
Heaven’s light : ACCEPTED
The tones in the sky with the light rays coming through them certainly are evocative. I find the island a little muddy and lacking contrast and for some reason I get the feeling it might have been placed there as there just seems to be a bit of messiness in the water above it. I also find the sky very bright on the top RHside of the image. I enjoy the texture and glowing spots of light in and on the water.
Homage : MERIT
I appreciate the craft and time that has gone into this image and I also appreciate your story line. I do wonder if there need to be just a touch more subtle blending between the elements of the image to pull it off at the highest level. I also wondered if there needed to perhaps be something more ( fairly subtle) in the righthand side sky to fill out the drama of the scene. I enjoy the link of the image to the set subject.
Lights along the wharf : HONOURS
I do find this a creative use of light. The post processing treatment I feel has enhanced the image and I enjoy the interplay between the colours, shapes, lines and textures that give the image a lovely abstract quality.
Night harvest : ACCEPTED
I like your spotting of the different colour lights and your use of shutter speed to get them to flare. I am not sure whether the vines and vineyard vehicles as they stand work in with the theme of creative light. It might have been interesting to darken the background a bit more so the vehicles were mere hints in the dark.
Night Lights: MERIT
I find the creative use of bokeh here ties in nicely with the creative light set subject. In my opinion it might be worth playing with the composition a little more. I feel the placement of the figure and bokeh and light hasn’t quite hit the sweet spot yet. I do enjoy the balance between the tones of the image that you have.
Nightly tiers : MERIT
I appreciate your concept of a double layer for this image. I wonder how it would have looked if you had pushed this further and added more layers to it? In my opinion the composition is a little static it might have been fun to explore what different angles you as a photographer could achieve - I wonder what going really low down and shooting upwards through the water would have looked like creatively? I think your rather ghostly green tones work well for the set subject.
Posed peppers :ACCEPTED
This image has great lighting on it for a still life, but in my opinion is perhaps not quite different enough to do well in a “creative” light set subject. It might be fun to pop it into photoshop and have a play. What about trying the invert action on it? This would be bound to mix things up a little and push it further creatively 
Raining Light : MERIT
I enjoy the rays and pools of light in this image. I also love the tones and appreciate what you have done creatively with it. For me to connect with it on the next level I would love to see some sort of connection between the sax player, music and the light. As it stands the focal point where the brightest light and contrast is, is on her feet . It might be worth trying to play compositionally, and see if you can shift this focal point around. I do feel your textural treatment works with the subject matter.
Singapore Traffic : ACCEPTED
The red streaks in this image certainly do catch the eye. I wonder if you experimented with a slower shutter speed ? This would lead the red lines to be more flowing , it would also give you a better depth of field which would make you still car lights and traffic light flare more. As the image stands I find it quite busy and am not really sure where to rest my eye.
Spinning Ball : HONOURS
You have played creatively with light here and achieved an interesting effect. You have then also handled the presentation of it producing a polished overall image.
Tree magic : ACCEPTED
I do love the magic you have seen with the light bouncing around the leaves of the tree. I am not sure whether the very heavy trunk of the tree works with the overall effect of the image and in my opinion, it might be worth trying different compositions to see if you could achieve a lighter more ethereal quality in the image, to tie in with the magic alluded to in your title. I like your portrait shape.
Waves of Light : MERIT
I enjoy the interplay of colours, lines and shapes in this image. I love the crispness of focus in the green wave but find the red perhaps a little too soft and muddy. I am not sure about the placement of the blue right against the corner. I certainly do appreciate your creativity and have no idea what is making the light 
Westering Home : HONOURS
Well I am glad I looked up your title and found the song you are referring to  I find the concept and use of light in the image creative and well handled. In my view the image is perfectly cropped and I like the contrast between the soft sunset and the bright manmade lights. I find the image has a great ambience and mood to it.
A Grade – Open
One day Old : MERIT
What a precious time of someone’s life to capture. For me the little gem of the image is the light catching on the baby’s eyes and the little tear coming from one of them. I might suggest trying an even closer crop just above the baby’s head. I am not sure whether the top part of the image is adding anything. I like how the baby is in focus and the rest of the image is softer and I also like the connection between the mother and baby.
Paint Pop : MERIT
Yes everything pops in this image especially the colours standing out from the black background. In my view the big white border detracts rather than adds to the image. I am not sure whether seeing the top of the balloon with its tie is integral to your vision for the image. If it was not included the image might make an effective abstract. I do love the choice of paint colours they work marvellously together.
Steel-brick-ice-paint : HONOURS
I found this an interesting mix of lots of images which made me pause to take it all in and I especially enjoy the eye on the LHside of the image. I do find having the face on one side of the image splits the image a little into two halves and I did also wonder about the inclusion of the graffiti at the bottom, but with this type of image you could see 50 ways of cropping it and they could all be successful. I enjoy the subtle mix of colours and in my view the effects in the image have been well handled.
Ten Minutes Old-MERIT
I love the expression on the baby’s face and I like how you have kept this subtly sharper and brighter than the rest of the image. My eye still does get caught on a few distractions in the background and I wondered if the background were perhaps even darkened a tad more if these would be less noticeable. In my view with your processing you have headed along the right track but maybe needed to push through a little more to really get that X factor into the image.