The subject for the November online competition was “New Life” and I suspect many members went through their back catalogues, especially for any wildlife images or baby images. The judge this month was Keith Nunns so now you want to find out what he thought about the images and which are his pick of the bunch. Well wait no longer, here’s what he said.
I’ve had a look through the images three times and have made a decision and comments as follows. This is the first time that I have judged a photography competition and have taken on board comments made by judges in our Club competitions as well as looking on line for advice from a number of sources as to how to judge a competition. Commenting on entries is very much a personal opinion of the images available but I have to compliment all authors on very good entries in what wasn’t an easy topic. If I may I will add brief comments on each entry before giving my decision on the top three.
Seal Pup; I thought the composition was good the head is sharp. But the image a little too dark for my liking and it was difficult for me to assess whether the eyes were the main point of focus because they are so black.
Immi; The eyes are very sharp with good highlights and the added grain helps this black and white image. What lets this image down I feel is that except for the eyes the rest of the image appears to have been desaturated too much so that there is a lack of texture in the face and hands and the eyes are actually too dominant.
Budding New Life; This is sharp with good colours and a background out of focus but I felt the composition lets it down. The two – one split of the plants divides the image. I found myself looking at the right side and then left – a feeling of there being two images in one. The small growths on the plant in the bottom left and right corners are a little distracting so the composition of the image might have been better if taken from a different angle. If the left leaf is retained, I would have cleaned the cob webs off it – if the image had been that leaf only, the cobwebs wouldn’t have looked out of place.
Young Albatross; A sharp image with good colour and a background out of focus. The young bird is however looking out of the frame. The image might have been better if the right hand side had been cropped as there is nothing in that part of the image. In a square crop, the bird’s head could have been placed centrally.
Feed me; This has been well spotted by the author and there are good colours of the bird. Unfortunately there appears to be too much grain in the image and the bird’s head doesn’t look sharp. The beak and feathers are too soft focus or the image has been sharpened too much.
Day one; A well taken shot which has been re-coloured well. It is sharp where needed and has been softened to give a peaceful look. The two things that I notice are the vignetting has crept into the baby’s face but also the composition makes it seem that the baby’s face – which is in the bottom third – is falling out of the image.
Hello I’ve been born; The baby seal is sharp and the colour is very good. However, its pose is not right for the main subject in the image. I would have liked to have seen the young seal’s head and face. Possibly more of the mother in the background should also have been included to show a mother-child bond. The baby seal’s mouth is sharp but the flipper held up is out of focus and in this composition that flipper is more prominent than the head unfortunately.
A New Unwinding; The image is sharp with good colouring and the background is nicely out of focus. The most difficult image in the competition to comment on as it didn’t have any impact on me or create any emotion.
When you were just born: The composition works well but I felt uncomfortable with the texture of the baby’s hand with so many wrinkles. It’s a long time since I saw a new baby’s hands but my preference is for a smother texture of the skin. There looks to be a slight yellow tinge in the baby’s skin tone.
Pink or Blue; A bright image with good exposure on all items in the frame. I like the transition of the background from wood effect to wall. It could be argued that the flower isn’t really in keeping with the topic or other items except for its colour. The pendant might also have been placed somewhere else other than over the scan image.
New life; An unusual subject but the composition works well and it is sharp from back to front of the piglets. The colour looks a bit warm but that may be due to a heat lamp . There looks to have been some work done in the bottom right corner where the cloning or healing tools appear to have been used on the straw.
Sleep like a baby; Perhaps a predictable shot for a competition with the title ’New Life” but is has been done very well. It is sharp and there is a warm tone that suits a new baby’s face. There is a good depth of field with the background nicely out of focus although the contrast of dark and light areas could have been selected better.
My choices fro the top three are
Third – New Life
Second – Pink or Blue
First – Sleep like a baby
Thanks Keith for your very full appraisal and I’m sure your comments will be helpful to all entrants. You say it’s your first foray into judging, but going by your performance it may not be your last! Anyway on to the names. In third place was Keith Williams with “New Life” and in second place was Angela Crutchley-Rhodes with “Pink or Blue”. In first place, though, was Tim Jonas with “Sleep Like a Baby”. Well done to all and have a look at the gallery to see the names of all the authors.
Don’t forget that there is no online competition in December. The top three of every month, January to November, are put together and scrutinised by someone outside the club. Duncan S K Hill MPAGB EFIAP will be our esteemed judge this year. More on this later. Meanwhile have a look at the images and see what you think.