Judge: John Boyd
Create a strickingly different image.

Contrast a state of being strikingly different from something else. Angles is the space (usually measured in degrees) between two intersecting lines or surfaces at or close to the point where they meet




Set Subject

Good evening Marlborough.  This is John Boyd who has had the privilege of reviewing and commenting on your entries tonight.

In doing so I have tried to respect your instructions not to compare images, rather to categorise according to the criteria set down.  Looking at the competition overall, I feel it is of a very good standard.  What I look for is emotional impact and/or the telling of a story, supported by the technical aspects appropriate to the subject.  In a set subject, it is sometimes more difficult to evoke emotion in the meeting of the challenge, but there should always be the ability to tell a story over and above the straight documentation of the subject and it is good to see that so many have entered Contrast and/or Angles. 

Thank you for entrusting me with your work.  I hope you enjoy the images as much as I have. 

My choice of Image of the Month is Te Pae.





C Grade - SET Subject





Excellent exposure, nice colour and fulfils the challenge well.  The central positioning is appropriate and I wonder if it should be tightened up just a little by cropping in from the sides so that there is the same space at the sides as top and bottom.  Well-conceived.



This had me googling to understand the title.  Good subject which I think could be stronger with darkening a little, flipping horizontally and then cropping from the new right to remove the twig at the bottom.  This gives the arrangement a nice lead-in from bottom left and places the joint in a stronger position in the frame.

C Grade - Open



Winter trees showing true form


I just love the skeletal trees of winter.  Here, the filigree like patterns are silhouetted against an interesting array of buildings.  Because of the contrasts presented this would also have been at home in the set subject.  The strengths for me are the weight of the trunk on the right quarter which is really the focal point, the blue glass on the left which balances that and the relative darkness of the base.  Good depth of field.  Congratulations

B Grade - SET Subject



Bank of China


I assume that the Bank of China is the well placed focal point on the right third which has all the angles.  It’s good to see from the water that the image is exactly level.  Exposure is difficult and to get the colour detail you have ended up with some burned out areas and a lack of quality in the blacks.  I suggest you darken the two rectangular signs which are a bit distracting. 

Building within a building


Interesting angles and contrasts taken from an unusual angle.  I like the way the eye is contained top right and the shadows of the framework on the old shot tower appear as a continuation of the frames themselves.    To me it is just a little on the muddy side and needs to be brightened to give a fuller range of tones. 

Crazy angles ensure each of these French apartments has its own patio


Perhaps the architect had a pet hedgehog.  Can’t imagine how else this could have been dreamed up.   Interesting, technically adequate and filling the frame well.   Even though the set subject is something of a technical exercise, I still look for an interpretation to elevate it above pure documentation.  For competition purposes that might involve selecting just a few of the balconies.

How many angles do you want?


While the plane in the background gives an understanding of what the angles are all about, it and the figures do draw the eye from what you are wishing to convey.  Accordingly I suggest a crop from the top to exclude the figure’s feet.  The subject is then much simpler, has a reasonable arrangement and would just need a title that relates to the subject rather than the competition.

Oldschool Architecture


The detail is well selected to tell something of the story of this building and the care taken in its design.   The three central lights are key to keeping the eye within the frame as the viewer returns to them after exploring the lines and angles.  While the tones cover a reasonable range, the image can be brightened to give more impact.

Sideways Cornering


While I concede that there are some angles here, the most interpretive perhaps being the angles of the wheels, I’m not sure it is really quite in the spirit of the competition.  As an image, I love the extent to which the dust veils the background.  It’s well exposed with nice colour.  I suggest you crop from the right to just include the edges of the dust cloud, and from the bottom half way to the bottom of the wheels.  This decentralises the subject a little and makes more of it.

The Plowing Team


I feel that here again the connection to the challenge of the competition is a bit tenuous in that any angles aren’t really the subject.  The team is competently captured and well placed in the frame.   Because of the dominance of the horses and to a lesser extent, the figures, there is reasonable isolation from the background, but that could have been greater with a wider aperture or had there been a cloud of dust as in the car image. 

Two women from totally different worlds


A well seen and all too familiar story well told.   In the telling, we have the walking woman totally ignoring the plight of the other and she is moving away.  She is wearing clothes very similar to those of the male mannequin so is probably up to the mark fashion-wise.  I suggest you straighten the picture so that the verticals are parallel to the margin.  Then crop it from the right so that you have the dark inner edge of the window on the right margin.  What remains are the three main components of the story in a well organised arrangement.  Good PJ and certainly an image of contrasts and emotional appeal.

Vintage angles


Rich vibrant colour and a simple but interesting arrangement.  I suggest that to simplify it even more, you crop from the left to exclude the roundel which also excludes the rectangle on the wall.   If you half close your eyes you will see that the roundel draws too much attention for its place in the frame and its contribution to the story.  A well conceived angle.

B Grade - Open





A lovely mood which carries its title well.  I just love both the mist on the hills and understand your wish to treat reflection and reflected equally.  The muted colours are just superb.  I suggest a very small trim from the base to remove those post tops.  As it’s not as identifiable as Mitre Peak, I also suggest a horizontal flip for a number of reasons.  Currently the area of interest is left of centre and the image dies a little to the right.  The trees on the left and the buoys provide a great visual stop if on the right.   The buoys currently on the right will no longer lead the eye out.  I’d then just crop some off the sky to raise the horizon.  Lovely shot.

A Grade - SET Subject



A not so plain Plains Zebra


Stunning, and certainly not plain.    The starkness of the blacks and whites interpret the subject well.  It is especially good that we do have some outline around where the blacks of the zebra meet the black of the background.  No doubt about the contrast here.  The only thing I’m not sure about is the expanse of negative space on the left and being a traditionalist I would crop half way to the head.  

Autumn Angles


With both contrast and angles you have covered all bases.  The image is compositionally well balanced with the bulk of colour on the left, the structure on the right and the patch of blue on the left again.   The leaves are so strong in colour and sharpness I find them quite hard to move beyond which leaves me wondering whether they over complicate things, but they do break the horizon as does the structure.   Good saturation. 

Boatshed at Okarito


A good range of tones and monochrome suits this old subject well.   However, the building takes about half of the frame and the other half is largely the distant scenery which is of less interest.  I suggest a vertical crop from the right half way to the corner of the shed would strengthen it without destroying the angles aspect. 

Chaytors Sheds


I congratulate you on your inventiveness of incorporating the larger tilted version of the shed front.  This has added considerable interest to what would have otherwise been a recording of a fairly plain façade.   Presumably through this plain sky has been replaced.   The right door appears to have had graffiti and the relative brightness there is important to the balance of the picture.  Creative.

Gangways and Reflections


There are some lovely lines and tones here to excite the imagination.  I’m not sure that a factual title is necessary, nor inclusion of part of the source of the reflections.  The gangways’ inclusion top left and right tends to draw the eye.  I suggest a 180 degree rotation to have the gangways at the bottom corners helps, and it also elevates the focal area to the top right third.  Well seen and executed.

Highly Strung Hop Lines


An intriguing variation on vanishing point.  Not sure how it has been done, but that doesn’t matter – it’s the end result that counts, and it would not be as interesting without that creativity.  Symmetry is appropriate and I think it is just a pity that the pole on the right is stealing some of the show.

Industrial Clones


There are certainly angles but I think that, as with so many patterns, it does suffer from not having a focal point.   We look along a line of objects that each diminishes in size and all get smaller as we look from left to right.  I think it is stronger if it is flipped horizontally so that the subject grows from left to right and culminates in the largest spool.   Nice simple palette and well exposed.

Light and Shadows


A lovely pastoral scene with the warmth of early or late light contrasting with the colder colours beyond.  A strength here is the repetitive angle of the slopes and their culminating in the crossing of the fences in the top third.  Add to that the sprinkle of sheep.  Suffer me once again, but I would prefer to see this flipped so that you have the long lead in from bottom left and the culmination on the right third.   Nice work.

Looking at You


Startling!    My immediate reaction was that I would have liked to see some outline around the head, but on reflection I appreciate that the author probably intends it exactly as portrayed.  Daring, and I think quite successful.  I do suggest that it is very much a vertical subject and would benefit from being presented in a vertical format so that that eye is on the top third and because of the cropping would be larger in the total picture area.  An image of intense contrast.

Natures' contrasts and angles


A very competent and attractive piece of work.  As titled, we have both contrast and angle, beautifully presented in a square format.  Arrangement and depth of field are faultless in my book.  Well done.

Orange Pop


A lovely combination of the orange and the monochrome, but a difficult arrangement with such an area of plain sky in the top right and lack of a definitive focal point.  I my opinion this cries out for the selective superimposing of a reversed image.  There has to be a complete picture here, but not quite yet in my opinion.

Parallel and Radial


The lighting on these very random patterns is both interesting and attractive.  I particularly like the way that branch arching down the left margin keeps the eye in there.  There are a couple of distractions.  One is the dark shadow of a building in the bottom of the left corner which might be able to be lightened.  The other is the white slash up near the top margin which can be cloned out.  Monochrome a good choice so that it is all abstracted.

Patterns and Shadows


Good recognition of how important shadows can be, and interesting patterns.  Again we have a situation where he eye is led through an image without the opportunity to stop.  I know it’s not always convenient to carry a black cat and white saucer of milk, but imagine how interesting that would be as a stopper in the top of the middle pattern row.   Perhaps even a discarded coffee cup?  Some such addition gives it a story.  Well seen.

Sandy Face


A fun image possibly designed to extract comments about grain, 5 o’clock shadow etc.   While there are angles involved and there is contrast, they are not really the subject and consequently I have difficulty accepting this as meeting the set subject challenge.  The lighting on the nose is important to define what the photographer wanted to communicate.

Seal Salutation


There is a wonderful luminosity in the fur which gives this image a vibrancy that would not have been obvious in colour and which separates it from the background.  While the rather snobby stance involves an angle, I think the photographer has relied on the contrasts in tones to meet the challenge.  Very interesting and frame well filled.

Soft Water & Hard Rocks


Soft water & hard rocks is exactly the way a waterfall should be interpreted.   Curiously the rocks seem to have more life than the water because of their brightness and the one on the left is especially attractive; a subject in itself.  I suggest a darkening of the bright stones at the top left of the waterfall, the rock top left and on the right plus a brightening of the white water.

Sprigs on Boards


Good angles and contrasting lines.    It is so much stronger with a 180 degree rotation because as presented the branch curves take you across the brighter palings and out of the picture.  Inversed, the branches stop short of the margin and the darker parts of the boards are top and right.   Simple but effective.

Te Pae


Beautiful graceful sweeps and angles, simplified thanks to the use of monochrome.  This is so well seen and being separated from the background allows the viewer to see only what is essential.  The eye enters from bottom left and follows the sweep to top right while the contrary sweep adds base and balance without stealing the limelight from the highest point. 

Congratulations, and for me the image of the month.

Under The Wharf.


Beautiful hues, not only in the sea & sky, but also in the concrete.  The substantial nature of the wharf contrasts well with the delicacy of the moving water.  Thanks to the central gap above, there is no feeling of oppressiveness, but I do feel that the open spaces left and right draw the eye.   You could consider cropping in from the sides to the outer edges of the concrete which reduces that outer space and places the closest piles on the thirds.  Competently executed.

A Grade - Open



Mt Tappy


There are some fascinating aspects to this landscape, not least of which are the patterns of poles.   A downside to them is there are 5 avenues where the eye is drawn through, 4 of which lead you away from the peak.   Overall, from Mt Tappy, the land and mountains fade down.  I know you will consider it sacrilege, but my reaction is to crop from the right up through the second avenue of poles, ie. Through the saddle to the left of the sharp peak, and crop 2/3rds of the sky.  That leaves an avenue on the left third for the eye to travel into the image, and the peak occupying the top right third.  Very traditional I know, but I believe it makes more of the mountain.  As it stands it’s still lovely and colourful with a great foreground.