Judge: Alistair McAuslan (prints) and John Boyd (digitals)
Monotone Print; Colour Print; Projected Image. Results at Awards Function in August.

Previously entered Shot of the Year images may not be entered again however images entered into club competitions during the year may be entered into Shot of the Year.

a) There are three categories: Colour Print, Monotone Print, and Projected Image

b) ONE entry in each category may be submitted and entries are to be handed in at the June Meeting

c)  Prints are to be mounted to the dimensions stated in Rule 3 (in competition rules on the website).  Digital images should be in accordance with Rule 4.

d) A trophy will be awarded to the winner of each category.

Open

Set Subject

There are three categories: Digital, Print - B&W/Mono, Print - Colour 

Digital Critique - no results, only 3rd, 2nd and 1st. 

Autumn Glory
Lovely strong side lighting, good proportions as you move from foreground to that strong sky.  I feel there is a need for a good focal point in this very general scene.  Certainly the autumn glory doesn't hold my attention without seeing defined rows in the vines, and with the competition of the hills.  If this were mine, and if its not a recognisable area, I'd horizontally flip it to reduce the impact of the white in the sky and make more of the colour, and then apply a vignette to help retain the eye on the right especially.  Good colour saturation.

Autumn in the Park
There are some lovely elements here.  A misty atmosphere that had me cleaning my glasses more than once in case they'd steamed up, the curve of the wall, and great colour in the reflections and that sparsly coloured tree behind the bridge on the left.  To me it is a great setting for having a couple leaning over the bridge.  The adding of a story in such a way can make a big difference.  As it stands, you could consider cropping the white from the top and in from the right just to include the curve of the wall.  Always look at an image with eyes partly closed and you will see where the highlights are.   

Back to Nature
The story of nature reclaiming the area is well told and the arrangement with the build-up to the right works well for me.  It's unfortunate that the lighting has been such that the roof detail is largely burnt out.  I wonder why there is a white border down the right side.  I hope that you were also able to move in close to the red buildings where there were clearly opportunities to tell the same story in more detail.

Caught in the Rain
You have captured vibrant colour and interesting texture on the fruit, but I feel that some of the limelight has been stolen by the bright reflection alongside.  Because the focal interest is quite strong, I think this is a case for ignoring the thirds and cropping nearly half from the left (just retaining the two pinkish verticals), to result in a more balanced arrangement.   Interesting work.

Dawn of the Summer Solstice
Without having any actual movement this images gives me a great feeling of a tide being sucked towards the rising sun.  The colour is almost too saturated.  A case could be made for some cropping of the foreground to remove the red distraction and to remove the weight of the rock on the right, just taking out the bright area of rock but preserving the curve of cloud.   The line of cloud from the left is important to the composition and helps direct the eye to the rising sun.  However, it is very strong as is and was close to a placing.   Good detail and exposure, and a helpful vignette. 

Digital Ribbon
A creative and interesting work.  I like the graphic treatment, and for once, its floating in space.  The border is important, but I feel that it is just too wide to really compliment the image which is very delicate.  I am a fan of a border to best present an image, but it should be there to define the edges and not to be part of the image itself.   In this case I think it overpowers the delicacy of the ribbon.  Have you thought about a 90 degree rotation to the right?   Very close to a placing.

Family in feet
A good concept.  I wonder why what appears to be a negative texture filter has been introduced.   The result means that there is a halo around legs, under the soles and Dad has dirty feet.  There is also a bright margin on the right.   In any future exploration of the idea you could consider ensuring that there is a clearly dominant pair of legs,  (the interest here is pretty evenly divided), and perhaps greater abstraction to add interest.  Good to see someone thinking of doing something different, so I commend your adventurous endeavour.    

Forest Elf
What an air of innocence this elf has.  Is she birdwatching?   Although the background trees are vertical enough, she does appear to have an unnatural backward lean, but perhaps that is an elf thing.  As a model she is appropriately dressed and looks very much in place.  I would like to see her straightened a bit, and a crop of about half of the space on the left because I do not think the path or the space generally adds anything to the story when her interest is above and not in that direction.  Good exposure and suitably soft lighting.

Haast
If he's walking for petrol he still has some way to go.  It says something of the isolation of the area.  Clever inclusion of the sun works well and I normally like a long foreground lead in.  In this case, in my opinion, the sealed road and shoulder do not add interest commensurate with the distant elements.  However, it has been well taken with good depth of field and a competent arrangement.   It was an early contender.

Hope
I think that hope has in fact been lost with the discarding of the rose.  The pattern has been well seen, and the rose is an essential element on which to base the composition.  I am guessing from the white lines that this is an empty parking building and that the black triangle top right is roof shadow.  The rail shadow on the left wriggling its way into the distance is important to draw the eye through to the end as is the roof shadow to retain the eye on the right.  With the blacks on the edges I think a narrow white border would really set this off and it could be brightened a little. Story telling, thought provoking and well executed.  I think a great advantage this has over other contenders is that it has a story, a story which is whatever the viewer wants it to be. 

Into the sunset
A beautiful sunset which you have made the most of by including a silhouette interest.   That I commend, and the arrangement of five posts is excellent.   I suggest that, because the sunset is the most important element, you crop half of the black from the bottom and that you then horizontally flip the image so that the gate opening is further to the right and the colour moves from bright to darker on the right thereby better retaining the eye within the frame.

Kowhai
The muted background and vignette show these blooms to advantage.  You have captured texture and colour beautifully.  There are just two things that you could consider.   Firstly, I believe that the little bit of twig on the top margin is a distraction.  You could either crop it or significantly reduce its brightness  Secondly, you could consider a narrow border to set this one off.  The obvious is a white one, but if you can match the colour of the blooms that would also be great, but keep it narrow.   Close to a placing.

Lindis Pass
A well placed sun splash lifts this familiar scene.  Little things matter, and it is noted that the splash darkens off before reaching the margin thus retaining the eye.  The dark tussock bottom right against the light foreground helps break up that light area and bridge the eye to the shadowed slope beyond. The cloud in the top left corner hooks the viewer in on that side.   You have presented in a format in the shape of the scene.  It all adds up to a competent portrayal of an area many of us are familiar with.

Maelstrom
Great creativity that makes an immediate impact.   I love the use of the diagonals which enhance the impression of confusing turmoil,  the contrast of the raging sea and sailor's warning sky plus the impression of what might be rocks on the left.    It might be picky, but in this abstract, the absolute sharpness of the yacht, particularly of the bow and the halo there and up the mast just spoil it a little.   After repeated viewings, its impact remained with me and I concluded that it is successful enough to warrant the placing I initially envisaged.    So often such impact fades, but not this one with me.   Excellent imagination.   Keep it up.  

Mt Ruapehu at it's best
As one who travels past this scene about 4 times a month I can confirm you have been pretty lucky with your timing.  It is about the mountain and as the sky is not contributing much I suggest you crop two thirds of it off, and then in from the right to that foreground tussock.  It is a pity that you then lose the big bush on the right.  Had you moved to the right when taking the photo that bush would have been useful on the right third and you could have avoided the Defence Force sign.   As it stands, the image can be brightened quite a lot in post processing if you have that capability.

Nature's Softbox
There is a lot to like about this mood.  There is a lovey delicacy about the quite different trees on either side of the water, the impression of a boat and a shed on the left, and of course the jetty which effectively becomes the focal point.   The reservation I have is that the viewer almost gets Marty Feldman eyes looking at it, with neither side really dominating and the wharf not quite connecting everything up.  I think you have been very brave to take it like this, with so much white, and such a space between the main elements.  I don't think I would have, and I would have been the poorer for it.  With the right choice of paper this could be more successful as a print.

Peas in a pod
A great photo for someone's 21st.   You have an excellent range of tones, and the choice of monochrome has been a good one because otherwise there would have inevitably been distracting colours.  Nice lighting on Dad's face especially, and the only suggestion I have to make is to crop from the top to get rid of the black encroaching there.  This can be done without having Dad's hair touch the margin.  Good use of a subtle vignette.

Rose Gold Tulip
An adventurous treatment, but I feel that its being so prominent in the background also rather detracts from your intention with the tulip, which does seem to respond quite well.   I think that a slightly greater depth of field to ensure the top right petal is sharp would have been helpful.  As it stands, I suggest you think about darkening the background, particularly top right,  so that the bloom stands out better against it.  It's good that you are trying something different to interpret the subject.

Shaken not stirred
Certainly well shaken.   The can is well placed in the strongest part of the frame and is balanced by the Coke coloured splash on the left third.  Well saturated colours and lots of impact initially.   The little thing that spoils it for me is the sharp line of water up the side of the can.  At the top it is more acceptable with some red showing through it.   Perhaps the image could be brightened a little?

Ten minutes old
This is all about baby, and as such, the lighting on that little profile is beautiful and the profile is sharp.  The inclusion of the hands really tops it off and I don't mind that they are a little soft.  It is good that Mum's face is in shadow and that she is looking down connecting with her newborn, because this is about baby and I am sure that there will be many more photos that focus on them both.

Three hummingbirds
Absolutely beautiful on any level.  The arrangement with the bird on the right and everything else complimenting it is magic.  I have nothing but admiration for this.  Now, perhaps an explanation is required.  I know that the set-up to freeze a hummingbird's wings is very sophisticated, and that there are places where it is all supplied and ready for you to simply take the photo.  I don't know whether that is the case here, and it's not my concern, because my role is to critique the images, irrespective of degree of difficulty, equipment involved etc.
 

Print - B&W/Mono - Critique - no results, only 3rd, 2nd and 1st. 

All Lined Up
There are some very strong lines in this image which are competing for our attention. Or maybe the title refers to the three dogs which we didn’t notice until we had a close look at the photo.  We thought a much closer photo with the sides of the bridge leading us to the person with the three dogs would make a stronger image.

Essence of the Nest

When viewed from a distance the story being told in this image is not discernible.  However from a closer look the eggs and some of the twigs become more interesting.   Some of the nest is lost into a greyness which appears to have faint shapes which are different in different parts of the image.  This background texture doesn’t support the story well and we suggest you could try simplifying it.

Isolation
This rock is nicely isolated by the soft flow of the water around it and the fog or low cloud which hides any background.  We would suggest using more light on the rock to bring up the detail. We wondered if you took some similar images in a landscape format.  There is a lot of negative space above the rock which doesn’t balance the image comfortably. We suggest changing the format to landscape, putting the rock on a strong point and keeping a large area of negative space to see if you like it.

Koru Shell
This shape is so reminiscent of the white or off white spirula spirula shells which are found on our beaches.  The shape is beautiful and the details in this image are fascinating.  The silvery hues turn this shape into a piece of art work.

Prospectors Hut
Taken from this angle we get to see the slabs on the side wall and the door with the antlers on the other wall.  Inside the hut it is black and we wondered if it was possible to bring back a hint of inside detail which would encourage us to visually enter and explore.  Consider allowing more space around the hut to include more of the environment.  The tones are rather similar and dark which gives very little separation between the hut and the environment.

Alpine Refuge
The range of tones suits this image from the white of the snow around the hut to the black silhouettes of the two climbers  approaching the hut.  The story is simple and clearly told.  The way the hut stands out against the sky with the hill tops in the far distance adds to the feeling of this hut being a place of safety high in an alpine area.  


Road to Nowhere
We appreciated the idea of including the various pattered stones in the foreground although to be really effective the stones nearest the viewer needed to be as sharp as those a little further away.  The track carries the viewer into the image but because there is a slight bend where the vegetation blocks the way the viewer is stopped even though the track does continue in the distance. You could try lightening that small view of the distant track to see if the eye is encouraged to proceed to the skyline.  Overall the tonal range is rather flat which has resulted in a similarity between the track and the sky.  This become confusing for the viewer who is unsure just which is the main feature of the image.

Salute the Light
The narrative of  this  image is rather confusing.  We see a person holding a saxophone up in the air.  But why does only part of the body appear to be glowing with a halo of light?  The light rays from the sun appear to stop at the water although there is a reflection from the person so we assume the sand is wet. We commend your effort to present something different.  While this one didn’t work well for us, we suggest you keep on trying.

Competitor
We liked the feeling of action in the way the runner has been captured. The runner has been well placed in the frame giving her room to move into.  Although there is a good range of tones, from a distance we would have appreciated having a little more tonal separation between the runner and the background.
 
Tree Skeletons
We enjoyed the interesting lighting which gives a three dimensional feel to the shapes in the image.  Overall the image lacks the interest that a greater tonal range would provide.  The trees make interesting patterns but you do have to use your imaginations to see them as trees.  Try turning the image 180º and the shapes of the trees become much stronger.  Another suggestion is to try turning the image 90º clockwise and concentrating on the top part of the image.  

Wither Hills Pines
We liked the feeling of depth created by the detailed foreground against the softness of the distant hills.  This  allowed the small group of trees to stand out strongly against the subtle tones of the background.  We thought that the dark area on the top left was a distraction which tended to pull our eyes to it.  It contributed to the weight and interest being in the left half of the scene causing the composition to be a little out of balance.  We suggest experimenting with changing the trees a little so they grow vertically rather than on an angle.

Prints - Colour - Critique - no results, only 3rd, 2nd and 1st. 

A Creative Healthy Option
The title and colour and shape suggest maybe a greengage plum?  It is an interesting idea which would have been more pleasing with a different composition.  We suggest trying more negative space around the subject with the subject placed on a strong point.

Baby Fingered Coral Fungi (Clavicoron piperata)
This is a lovely study of these coral fungi which stand out well against the dark background.  The moss provides a setting and also an indication of size.  The back ground is dark, with enough indiction that the fungi are not growing in a void.   We were a little disappointed find small areas of over exposure in the front two fungi.

Big Sea West Coast
The soft  wave breaking over the rock shelf and flowing over the rocks in the bay is the strength of this photo.  Firstly we suggest adding some light both to the white water and to the rock face in post processing to bring out more detail and to hold our interest.  Secondly consider different ways of cropping the image to remove the half and half feel.  Maybe try cropping some from the left to strengthen the power of the water.

Entering the Mood Room
Our initial reaction was to be very drawn to the range of tones in this image.  To start with we wondered about altering the area of each of the elements to change their balance.  Maybe not so good.  Try a quarter turn clockwise. The balance of the elements changes immediately. Now you are drawn through the image to the darker mysterious area.  A beautiful image which we really enjoyed when rotated.

Pastoral Day Dream
The narrative of this image is very illusive.  The green hints of the countryside but the large area of white is more confusing.

Remnants
The soft warm tones through this image are very relaxing.  The various coloured rocks provide interest in the foreground and a base from which to move into the image.  We liked the added interest provided by the bird and would suggest a small move of the camera to isolate if further and to strengthen its importance in the story.

Roll the Dice
The red dice and their sharpness make them stand out as the main feature and then we look around to see how the other elements fit into the story.  This is when it becomes confusing because there are too many elements and their reflections.  From a distance the light coloured background cards look like the entrance to a cave and it only when you have a close look at the photo  that you realise what they are.  Consider simplifying the story around just the dice ad the chips.  If possible include a hint of some other element in the black areas.

Sandscape
There are some interesting shapes but they are not strong and they ask more questions than they answer.  The title doesn’t help us very much either as so much of the image is tones of blue and aqua with only a little area of sand in the bottom right corner.

Autumnal Joie de Vivre
The appeal of this image is partly in the colour palette and partly the story. When the image is viewed from close up, the two trees and the girl form a pleasing triangle. From the distance the girl disappears a little into the background and the dark cloud comes in as a fourth element.

Tumbling Waters
This is a nicely composed image with the tree framing the scene on the left. The light on the water attracts our attention and holds us there.  Because of the darkness and lack of detail we are not enticed to explore further along the river or into the mountains.  Since the mountains and valley cover about a third of the landscape they deserve to be included in overall river scene.  Try adding some light to the middle part of the image to bring out some of the detail here.

Wharariki
We enjoyed this classically composed image.  The rocks, which are well placed on a strong point, are beautifully lit to bring out subtle detail.  The viewer is carried into the image by the streaks of water flowing towards the rocks. The pathway to the rocks is then picked up by the reflections.  The shutter speed has been slow enough to smooth the water but it has allowed the patterns from the waves and the subtle tonings to be maintained.

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