Week 4 Comments

Keith Walker Judge

A really hard task to judge the images this week as the standard was again very good. I genuinely enjoyed looking at all of the work submitted this week and hope you all keep entering.

All quiet on a Friday Night – 15

Not sure that there will have been many Friday nights when you will have been able to stand in the middle of Castle Douglas high street and not get knocked over by the traffic.  I like the way the image takes you down the street past the clock tower and out into the evening sky and love the way the evening sunshine is lighting up the building on the far left.  The car lights at the bottom of the street slightly diminish the impression of quiet and there is something unusual about the colour palette (white balance, my glass of wine?) which I’m not sure entirely works.


Transition – Commended 16

Finding three willow catkins at different stages must have been a bit of a job, but you’ve succeeded.  I like the way there are also three strong vertical lines in the image and the background is nicely out of focus. With the light coming from the right, there is also a nice light and shading on the two main small branches.  In the case of the one with the catkins on it, it helps it stand out against the background.  The subjects are clear and well positioned in the frame.  A bit more light on the catkin on the furthest left and a slight increase in sharpness would have seen this lovely image score even higher.


Spring Solitude – Commended 16

I really like the contrast here between the delicate, colourful flower and the dark, gritty background.  Indeed, it looks like the picture could have been taken on another planet!  I particularly love the way the light is striking the green stem giving it a range of different shades and there are so many shades of yellow to enjoy in the flower.  Though I’m still not sure the image would have been better if the background had been a bit more out of focus, this one drew me back to look at it several times and offered something different each time.


Spring is in the Air – Highly Commended 17

The warm weather has seen a lot of butterflies emerging from hibernation recently and feeding on the flowers like this dandelion which have opened.  This is a lovely, colourful image.  The butterfly is set a nice angle in the frame, the background is well out of focus and the yellow of the flower is a near perfect way of showing up the colours in the insect. Losing the end of the wing at the top of the image is a slight drawback and perhaps as a whole it is slightly under exposed.  Maybe a bit more light would have shown up some more detail in the hairs on the body.  Overall though a fine image.


A Changing Landscape – Commended 16

A super lens ball picture reflecting the seasonal landscape.  Sometimes the structure supporting the glass sphere intrudes in the picture, but I don’t think that this is the case here.  I love the way the background is out of focus, but the landscape is so sharp.  The author has made sure that their camera was concentrating on the key element of the image.  Though the small bright spot at the top right of the sphere is a little distracting,  I did wonder if perhaps this might have been an even better image if it had been turned through 1800 so that the part that was in focus was easier to view.


Starting to Leave Home – 1st Place 20

Great title, outstanding image.  The out of focus, dark green background is perfect for contrasting against the whites in the dandelion head and the space around the seed head emphasises this.  The background also works well against the pink of the stem. However, much as I like the colours, it is the textures in the parachutes of the seeds which is, to my mind, just superb.  Half feather, half fluff, the author has captured this texture perfectly and I kept wanting to blow on this image! A really outstanding piece of work.


Changed by the will o’ Nature – Commended 1

Given the brightness of the sky and the resultant high levels of contrasting light, this must have been quite a difficult image for the author to expose so well.  I love the colours and the way the light picks out the edges of the leaves.  The detail in the flower is also excellent, and |I think that the angle of the plant in the frame works exceptionally well. Indeed, this mage would have scored very highly had it not been for the way that the leaves obscure parts of the flower.  This, for me detracts from what is otherwise a superb piece of work.



How Life has Changed – Commended 16

I wonder how a judge would have viewed this image if it had been in a competition a few weeks back! Leaving the obvious references aside, as an image, it is well exposed and shot from quite an unusual angle.  I particularly like the way the angle of the sofa leads you back to the picture on the wall. I wonder if it would have benefitted from the presence of a few other household items around the figure to maybe emphasise the new way in which we live.  A really enjoyable image, and I guess that book is now a bestseller!


Now and Then – Commended 16

I really like the way in which the objects have been chosen and grouped together (the choice of that particular Carpenters album is great).  Though I don’t know what the white tape is, the way it spirals through the middle of the image is excellent. Un fortunately, the background lets this image down a bit.  The bottom edge of the wall and the marks at the top left are a distraction and the light colour of the “floor” also detracts from the impact. A slight vignette might also have helped pull the eye to the central objects.


Holly Berry and Buds – 15

Red and green are excellent colours for contrast as shown in this well captured shot.  The prickles of the holly leaf are really clear, and the greens of the leaves are very nicely captured.  Unfortunately, the light has been against the author.  The strong, bright light has, along with the shiny nature of the leaves resulted in many very bright patches all over the image which distract from the main elements.  These for me are the shoot and the berry and had thee been framed slightly differently and the image taken when the light was less bright, this could have been a very interesting and unusual image.


Drilling Through the Ages - 15

A superb background and a great choice of objects for this image are let down by the rather random way these objects have been arranged for the image.  There’s loads of colours and textures here which with just a little bit of organisation would have produced, to my mind, a stronger overall image. Slightly more diffuse lighting would also have helped to reduce the bright highlights on the wood on the far left and the battery of the blue drill.


Buried Childhood –Highly Commended 17

A green plastic toy (a sledge?) abandoned and then covered over time with stones, leaves and other organic matter makes for an unusual but, to my mind, successful take on this theme. The plastic object is almost like a gravestone.  The smooth, bright lurid green of the plastic contrasts well with the less saturated, subtler tones of the rest of the image to make a poignant image.  Technically, more even lighting, brightening the top right corner of the image and reducing the bright highlights would have helped a bit.


From Vine to Wine – 15

This is another image where the author has done all the hard work in generating a really interesting and different approach to the theme but has not quite followed through on their artistic intent photographically.  The bottle, grapes and glass are super, with lovely reds, blues and greens.  These objects are positioned so that the light from the window illuminates the scene well and generates good reflections.  However, the background, and in particular the join between wall and surface where horizontal and vertical patterns change is a bit distracting.  The bottle is leaning over to the left and I’m not sure that the screw top lid and all the grape stems contribute much.


Change and Exchange 15

With Euros to the right and sterling to the left, I’m wondering if this is ever such a subtle reflection on the changes due to Brexit.  Again, the artistic intent has been let down a bit by the photographic execution.  With the light obviously coming from the top of the image, this has meant that the contents at the top of the tin are in shadow.  A quick bit of flash would have evened this out a bit.  I like the way the green lines lead into the tin but feel this effect has been spoiled a bit by the blurred digital artefact in the bottom left hand corner.  A really interesting take on the theme which with just a little more care would have scored much higher.


Dare I Enter – Highly Commended 17

Of all the images submitted this week, this is the one that perhaps best sums up the changes we have seen over recent weeks. Well thought of and executed, this is the kind of image which clearly documents everyday life.  I particularly like the fact that there are no people in this picture, either in store or in the reflection.  Indeed, by taking the image at the angle they have, the author has managed to avoid their reflection being present.  


Birth to rebirth – bulb to seed - Commended 16

An interesting shot showing the stages in the life cycle of a daffodil.  Taken against a nicely neutral background, the green stems give the image an almost graphic quality and their smoothness contrasts well against the stippled effect behind them.  Indeed, the flowers almost seem to be floating above the background. It could perhaps do with being just a bit brighter and might be even more interesting if the shadows were a bit darker.  It would probably also have benefitted from the presence of an actual bulb, but I guess digging one up might have got the photographer into trouble with the gardener!


Physical Change – Commended 16

Another interesting take on the theme. The rather solid, traditional “old” 2 pence pieces showing the queen and the Prince of Wales’ coat of arms, contrast really well with the bright shiny 50p.  It’s a well-lit interesting graphic/macro image with a lot in it.  However, I do feel that it is let down a bit by the lack of detail in the centre coin.  Though the writing is clear, the rest is not, and this is a little frustrating.  Also, given the author had so much control in this image, they probably should have made sure that the 2p at the bottom left did not have a bit cut off the bottom of it.


Spring Pollen Collection – 2nd Place 19

A fantastic macro shot, full of colour and detail.  It is superbly sharp, with a surprising depth of field allowing more detail in the main flower to be shown.  I like the inclusion of the bit of branch in the bottom right of the image as this, to my mind, both provides a bit of extra context whilst at the same time “grounding” the image. I also really like the background which whilst showing other obvious flowers out of focus, also provides a lovely diffuse colour to show off the subjects to their best. Maybe, just maybe, the image might have benefitted from a tiny bit more headroom, but this is a very, very minor issue.  A really fine piece of work.


Spring has Sprung – Commended 16

Sharpness of image is a bit of a mantra in camera club competitions and the main subject of this image is not sharp.  That said, I don’t care, as I think in this instance the slight blurring of the image has made for an almost painterly effect and I really like it.  Rather than making you look for the detail in the blossom, it is the colour of the flowers, contrasted against the blue of the sky which draws you in.  The inclusion of the farm buildings adds a bit of context and the unusual angle of the tree, I think, works in this case.


Slow Progress 15

Jigsaws are featuring a fair bit in the lives of many folk at the minute and this looks like a particularly difficult one!  Well exposed and framed, the inclusion of the days provides a clear link with the theme.  It’s almost like the beginning of a time lapse sequence.  For me, there’s not quite enough detail in the jigsaw itself and had to enlarge it a bit to get a better idea of the picture.  I suspect that with two landscape images, it might have been better to put them under each other.  I also wonder if the inclusion of images of further progress might have been helpful.  Mind you at this rate, this might have taken a wee while!









Blue Sky lockdown 15

A strong graphic image shot almost directly into the sun; I was particularly drawn to the different patterns in the various paving materials. This image emphasises the greater isolation we are all experiencing, and I half expected to see some tumbleweed!  It is obvious that street photography is a whole different challenge in the current situation.  However, capturing the “decisive moment” remains a key element and I feel that the author has missed an opportunity here.  Had they shot a moment or two later then the figure on the left would have been completely alone in the centre of the image.  A moment or two later and the figure would be out of frame.


From 1920 to 2020 – Highly Commended 17

Of all the “collection” type images in this week’s competition, I think this one is the most successful.  A very well constructed set up with three distinct layers (books/images, cameras/film, more books/images) there’s lots of interest here and I found myself returning to this image a few times.  The presence of a little bit of the shelf/work top at the bottom and the wall at the top left detracted just a little and I wonder what the final effect would have been had these been filled.


A New Hope – 3rd Place 18

An absolutely lovely panel of 3 spring flowering trees. This is a well thought out and executed image with the two pink images balancing out the white one in the centre.  All have backgrounds which help explain what the main subject of each contributing image is, and all are sharp and well-exposed.  The only slight drawback is that the central image is tonally not as bright as the other two.  Consequently, it appears more drab than it actually is.  It would be interesting to see the effect if the white flowering tree had been shot a with a predominantly blue background.


Renewal - 15

Technically, this is a stunning image. The level of detail which can be seen when it is enlarged is quite incredible, and the exposure is spot on despite covering a very wide range of lighting conditions.  The sky too is fantastic.  Colourful, diffuse and in no way distracting from the main subject.  And this brings us round to what for me is the main issue with this image, namely the subject.  The two flower buds at the end of the branches, to me, unfortunately look more like slightly unsightly clumps of moss or fungi rather than flowers and thus reduce the impact of the image.


Cherry Blossom starting to bloom – 15

The pale pink colour of cherry blossom is often lost in images which are under exposed or over saturated.  In this picture we get an impression of the true delicate nature of these flowers.  Unfortunately, these bright sunny days at the moment present photographers with real challenges as regards exposure and in this case the light has fooled the camera.  The result is that too much light has been let in and this has caused the main subject i.e. the central flowers to be overexposed and become “burnt out”.  There’s not much in it, and I suspect just one or two less stops of light would have been beneficial.


Where is Everyone? - 15

A lovely sunny spring day in the park and yet not a soul about.  I like the path in this image as it really leads you through it.  The empty benches are a nice touch (though I’m not sure if the one in the foreground would have many people sitting on it in normal times!) and the little splashes of yellow add just an extra bit of colour.  The low angle is also a good choice.  However, the big tree is a bit overpowering and I wonder how this image would have looked from a slightly different angle so that it was not so obvious.