Camera Section - Judge David Young

ABBEY CAMERA CLUB SUMMER COMPETITION

COMMENTARY ON ENTRIES FOR COMPETITION No. 13

Subject – Flowers

A Basket full of Fuchsias 16

I find this a restive image and like how the tones of the “straw” at the bottom are reflected through parts of the main picture. The lighting has ensured that there are no burnt out highlights on the white flowers and I do not mind that some of the basket is shown at the bottom. However compared with the next image I am not sure that the best composition has been chosen as I find the bottom left hand corner quite busy with some of the flowers  behind the basket and others over it. I would suggest that a better composition may have been to focus on the three flowers on the right hand side, this would also have eliminated the piece of basket midway up the left hand side. Sadly the focus is slightly soft.

Blooming Lovely 18

The basis for this image was obviously part of a formal floral arrangement and the author has done well to select a composition which works well with the leaves providing nice lead in lines towards the main subject, the orange flower. The depth of focus is good across the image and the lighting has worked well to avoid any bright highlights. A strong image, the only slight quibble I have is that I would have cropped out the white flower at the top as once you notice it your eye tends to be drawn towards it.

Bursting Forth 19

I do not know if this image was created by manual endeavours or software adjustments but is works well for me. The key to me is that there is a small area in the centre of the image which is pin sharp which draws you right into the picture. The colours work nicely and the lighting has been well handled. Well done.

Carnation 16

A strong coloured flower has been used for this image with a nicely toning background. The addition of a few water droplets always lifts an image and provides further detail for the viewer to study. Based on my screen the image could do with the shadows being lightened slightly to improve the depth to the centre of the flower. Sadly, for an image of this nature, the centre of the flower is somewhat soft and requires to be sharper to maximise the impact.

Droplets on Daisy 15

Another different approach and water droplets on flowers is always an attractive subject. Selective focusing has been used with the petals supporting the water droplets well in focus. However I wonder if a slight change in focus point allied to a smaller aperture might have strengthened the image by bringing the centre of the flower into greater focus. Whilst the droplets are interesting the centre of the flower, for me, holds more interest. I would have darkened down the highlights a bit and maybe applied a bit more of a crop again to draw the focus to the key areas. Certainly an idea that is worth exploring further.

Flowering Log 18

I really like the contrast between the flowing organic nature of the floral display and the solidness of the wooden base. I assume that the base has been varnished, if so it further adds to its attractiveness. There is a good depth of focus and in the main the exposure has been well handled although some of the white lobelia lacks any kind of definition. Whilst there is no strong focal point to the image I think it works well overall.

Fuchsia 16

An interesting approach to a very common flower, the lighting has made the very small water drops like a sprinkling of glitter which is quite attractive and creates an almost festive feel to the image. The focus point appears to be on the anthers and stamen, would maybe have likes to see the main flowers slightly more in focus but that is a personal taste. I find the crop very tight with the edge of the left hand flower just clipped off and I wonder if it would have been a stronger composition with three flowers. Well done to the author for taking a different approach.

Natures’s Handwarmers 18

Another image showing good use of selective focusing with main stem well in focus and the supporting stems nicely blurred. Composition is strong with the prominent blooms off centre and exposure well handled. A good image but faces some strong opposition for the top places.

Negative Impact 16

Well done to the author for attempting something totally different by presenting a mono image in an almost a still life format. The image is nicely balanced with the two buds, left and right, creating a triangle with the flower at the top. Depth of focus is good although the strong edges on the leaves, buds and flower suggest that the image may have been over sharpened. I do think however that the image requires quite an increase in contrast as the tonal range is quite flat. Also I feel that as presented the flower at the top does not really stand out. I tweaked levels an found that it made, in my opinion, quite a difference as there became a much wider range of tones. 

Orange Dahlia 17

Another strong flower portrait with the author identifying that the powerful orange colour would work well on the grey or slightly damp day. Whilst I would prefer a little more space around the subject, I can understand that the tight crop was required to isolate the flower. It is good to see that the author has used a good depth of focus to try and ensure that all of the flower is in adequate focus. This has almost been achieved but unfortunately the focus is a little soft although the presence of water on the flower petals may have had an effect. 

 

Pink Daisy Head 18

Strong colours with the flower heads set in a nice triangle and good use of depth of focus to draw the eye to the front bloom and all the detail there in. The portrait crop works well resulting in a simple but well worked image. I would probably have removed the unopened flower at the bottom to retain the compositional benefit of having odd numbers in an image of this nature.

Starburst 19

A very colourful and strong example of a popular style of flower photography using the petals to draw your eye to the centre of the plant. I like the way in this example the petals almost seem to be like flames flickering around the hot plate in the centre. Depth of focus works and the pattern in the centre adds to the attractiveness of the image. A very minor point, I would have removed the small green areas from bottom right and bottom of the image, pedantic I know!

Sunburst 15

Another example of this style of flower photography where the leaves act as lead in lines to draw your eye to the centre. In this image the author has  emphasised this by selecting a bloom where the round orange parts are getting smaller toward the absolute centre thereby creating even more depth. Unfortunately the lighting is quite bland maybe to counteract the white petals and the focus maybe a little soft. I would have tried lighting the bloom from below, a torch would probably have worked, to see if it would have lifted  the lighting on the petals a bit. This image does suffer as it immediately follows a much stronger example of this style.

Surfina Hot Pink 17

An image full of colour which is provided by a selection of popular summer bedding plants. The colours all work well together and the pale wall provides a good backdrop. Depth of focus has been handled well with good sharpness back to front. Whilst the flat lighting does reduce the incidence of burnt out highlights I feel that the contrast could be boosted a little to give the image a bit more punch. Even with the flat lighting some of the white lobelia has no detail. I think that the image may have benefited from some tighter cropping, on both sides and along the bottom to focus the attention even more on the main flowers. 

The Colour Purple 20

A beautiful flower portrait, the lighting is simple but attractive and the exposure has been handled well to retain excellent detail in all the petals. The depth of focus is good with the centre to the tips of the petals all sharp. The choice of the dark background makes the flower really stand out well and this is a very worthy winner of this week’s competition.

Whites with a hint of Colour 17

Nice to see a panel being included in the competition and this one has much to like. There is the similarity of image style in each of the selected images, predominately white with some colour as the title says. White of course can be a tricky colour to work with as there is a danger of blown highlights but the muted lighting works well in this instance although maybe a little more contrast would help. Whilst the six images do work I personally think the panel would have been stronger without the two left hand images. The top left hand image has traces of blue/purple in it which makes it slightly different allied to which the flowers are facing the edge of the frame drawing the eye away from the rest. In the bottom hand image the actual blooms are much smaller than in the rest of the images which I think does impact on the balance. 

Whitesands Wonderful Weed 16

This is a well chosen example of what I think is a mimulus flower, the main bloom is perfect and the supporting flowerheads, old and new, provide as nice balance. Focus depth is good throughout the image and the background provides no distractions. I do however find the light very flat and this lack of contrast takes away the attractiveness and effectiveness of the image. 

Wide Open 17

Well done to the author in managing to get such a good depth of focus on this flower whilst it is obviously still attached to the tree, that is not easy to achieve. The angle of view allows us to see both sides of the petals, ranging from almost white to bright red which adds to our interest. I think this is a magnolia flower and they tend to have a nice centre which would have provided a good focal point but never the less this is a well taken image. The lawn in the background probably does slope naturally but I would have levelled it up as I found it slightly disconcerting. I would also have maybe darkened down the highlights a little and cropped a bit off the bottom. The author had limited control when taking this image and has handled it well.

Phone Section Judge Christine Harkness

Week 13 Phone Comments

 

A really good selection of phone images this week. My scoring is based on personnel preference rather than any photographic knowledge.

 

BAD HAIR DAY – First place 20 points.  I think this is a stunning photograph, well captured and full of interest and content.

 

BEFORE THE RAIN – Second place 19 points. Really like the way the colour of the flower has been highlighted from the black and white background. The detail in the flower is nice and sharp.

 

SUMMER HEDGEROW – Third = 18 points. Beautiful picture of the wild roses with a lovely landscape background.

 

ALL QUIET IN THE GARDEN – Third = 18 points. A really nice composed photograph. Everything in focus even the clock and the dovecot. 

 

LOVELY SWEET PEA – Highly Commended 17 points. I really like the clarity of the sweet peas enhanced with the dark green foliage.

 

SEA HOLLY – Highly Commended 17 points. This is a sharp interesting image.

 

FLOWER OF SCOTLAND – Commended 16 points. Kept coming back to this one. Interesting in the way the image has been edited to black and white with a green tinge.

 

BLOOMING LOVELY – Commended 16 points. A bright complete flower head with buds set against the contrasting brick wall behind.

 

BOUQUET IN A BARREL - A nice overhead shot of planter.

 

FLOUR POWER – A lovely display of flowers and flours. 

 

HOLYWOOD THISTLE – A nice image with background of trees. Unfortunately background a bit bright.

 

PSYCHADELIC ROSE – The colourful background shows up the artificial rose well.

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