Judge David Young - Comments
ABBEY CC SUMMER COMPETION NO. 5 SPRING- FLORA & FAUNA
A)Baby Apples - 20
A simple image but very well handled, colours of flower buds and leaves complement each other and whilst the background is also green it is a different shade and well blurred resulting in plenty of separation. The angle of the branch adds to the composition, so it is nicely balanced. Only a very slight negative comment, I would have cropped out the small grey area at the end of the branch on the left-hand side.
B)Blossom – 15
Again a very strong spring scene with the cherry blossom and the fresh leaves all benefiting from some backlighting. Not sure that the author has got the balance right between the blossom and the tree trunk as I find that the latter tends to dominate the image. As such maybe a light crop would help or revisit and change viewpoint. Sadly the image is somewhat soft which increases the dominance of the trunk
C)Elegance - 17
Have taken many photographs of Butterflies, not always successfully so I know how difficult it is to do. This is a nice image and with the Butterfly being in profile there are no serious out of focus areas. The balance is nice with the flowers providing a suitable resting place for the Butterfly. The light is quite flat and I think the image would benefit from levels being adjusted to improve contrast. I would also try and dampen down the light window in the background. Normally for images of this nature you would want the background to be well out of focus, it is not and is slightly distracting particularly the aforementioned window. Sharpness could maybe be improved a little but never the less a good image.
D)Gratitude – 17
A lovely woodland spring scene with the Bluebell as the point of focus. I do like the mossy background behind the Bluebell as it provides a very neutral backdrop for the flower. I appreciate that the woodland included in the top third of the image provides the narrative for this image but this is offset by the light cloud immediately above the flower allied to the bright blue sky. It may be me but these two elements keep drawing my eye away from the key focal point of the image, the Bluebell. A very well spotted image where maybe a slightly different viewpoint may have strengthened it.
E)Mama’s Watching – 17
Well spotted image with the with the gap between the stones drawing your eye to the two lambs, then you notice the Ewe on the skyline. Whilst close to the edge of the image the fact that she is looking back in towards the lambs draws your eye back in. I think I would have cropped it a little to reduce the impact of the blurred stones in the bottom corners. A very good attempt but there are stronger images in this selection.
F)Midnight Daffodil - 16
A very different approach to the subject which has created almost an abstract image of the said daffodil. Not sure that the square crop works as the area to the left is quite uninteresting. I would have tried a portrait crop which I think works better. There is as to be expected quite a lot of noise in this image and a few artifacts but that in some ways is an attraction of the photograph. Well done for the different approach.
G) New Beginnings – 15
I do like Dandelion seed heads and take many photographs of them over the season. I may be wrong but I think that the author has decided to take a slightly abstract approach to photographing this particular seed head. I like the way the seed head is slightly off centre which always helps composition albeit the crop is quite tight and there is nice lighting picking out the highlights in the individual seed heads. I am afraid that in this particular instance this image does not work for me in that what focus there is at the back of the main subject and overall effect seems strange.
H)Pansies in Purple - 17
I do like the concept of placing the Pansies in the Purple container as it works very well with the colours of the flowers and I can understand why it was attractive to the author as a subject. The flowers are acceptably sharp, maybe the whites could have been adjusted a little to bring out some more detail. However I do feel that the author has missed a much better image by not getting down to the same level as the flowers and maximising the attractiveness of the faces in the flowers. Certainly worth another go.
I)Peekaboo - 15
The author did very well to capture this moment just as the lamb came round the corner. The lighting is good with lambs slightly back lit, unfortunately the image is slightly soft and would have been stronger if there was only one lamb in the picture. A good attempt never the less for what was probably a fleeting moment.
J)Spring Bloom – 19
A well captured bloom with the angle taken emphasising the layout of the petals which are all nice and sharp. The strong colour and the background being sufficiently soft make the flower stand out. My only negative thought is that the crop is maybe a bit tight, there is not enough space around the key subject.
K)Spring Lambs - 16
There is lots to like about this image, the agricultural setting, loads of daffodils, the ewe and the two lambs, it is a real spring scene with some nice lighting including some shadows to break up the background. Bearing in mind the foregoing comments the real interest is all in the top third of the image and whilst the gate may provide a bit of foreground interest I think it almost dominates the photograph. I would crop to a landscape format the top of the image where the real attraction of this image lies.
L)Taraxacum – 17
Love them or loathe them Dandelions are a vital source of nectar to insects in the early spring and I think attractive flowers in their own right. The author has gone for a close-up approach in this instance and the square crop certainly works for me. The detail in the image is very good unfortunately the sharpness of the petals is not quite strong enough for a close-up image.
M)Trees - 15
Again a subject which signifies Spring, fresh leaves breaking on the trees with nice back lighting, I can understand why the author was attracted to this subject. The tree trunks draw you eye up to the interesting part of the image the fresh leaves at the top. The contrasts within the image have been handled well with detail in the shadows. This image is similar in some ways to the Spring Lambs image in that all the serious interest is in the top third and maybe the trunks dominate this photograph. I wonder if there is a stronger image to be had by again cropping the top in a landscape format or maybe revisiting the site and focusing on the leaves through a landscape orientation.
N)When it is Spring - 18
Once again the red and green colours complement each other in this strong image of red Tulips. The flowers are all acceptably sharp and the grey wall at the back provides a nice neutral background albeit it is fairly dominant in the scene. I did wonder if a square crop of the middle section would have made an even stronger image with total focus on the tulips.
1)Bee Filling Station – 17
A close up from the centre of a Tulip and I like the colour combinations which make the anther stand out with the square crop working well. There is a good depth of focus within the image but the key part, the anther is slightly soft partly possibly due to the ISO used or the software treatment. A very good attempt but there are stronger images of this type in the competition.
2)Bleeding Heart - 20
I like the almost dreamy effect within this image, it says a spring evening, nice lighting, good use of aperture to ensure that the background is out of focus and the main subject is nicely sharp. The whites have been handled well with no blown-out highlights. The curve of the plant stem adds a graceful aspect to the overall effect, a lovely image.
3)Budding Azalea - 15
Nature certainly knows how to make a statement with this colourful image of Azalea flowers and I can see why it attracted the author’s attention. I think I would have given a little more consideration to composition, maybe tried to isolate 1,3 5 blooms, odd numbers work best, to increase the focus on the flowers as I find it difficult to find a structure to the image. Sharpness is acceptable and I would have maybe have toned down the brightness a little to increase focus on the flowers.
4)Bursting Forth – 18
A very well spotted image with one flower emerging quicker than its siblings thus providing a strong focal point. The lighting is strong and the colours work well together with the curved outer petals drawing your eye towards the focal point. The only slight issue I have is that the emerging bloom, as the focal point, I assume, is not quite sharp enough.
5)Emerging from Lockdown - 18
An image similar to the previous one and again well spotted with good detail throughout the flower. The lighting in this one is maybe not as strong and I think it would benefit from levels being tweaked a bit to improve the contrast, a sound image never the less.
6)Fern Unfurling - 17
I love the gracefulness of this image and how the heads of the two ferns both finish on the same line and fac3e in different directions. The detail is excellent in that the wee hairs on the stems are quite clear and as such there is much to like about it. However I am afraid I am not entirely convinced by the treatment as there is not enough separation between the subject and the background. Even adjusting the levels a bit does help but I do feel that there is a stronger image to be had than that which has been presented.
7)Flora & Fauna - 15
This is the first of two Panels in this competition and I think it is a good idea to use a panel for a competition such as this as it allows you to show several aspects of the subject together. As always the choice of images to use is the key to creating a panel and I think they have to relate in some way either by colour tones, subject or photographic style. In this panel they are all gardening related but I am not sure they create the necessary harmony. I find the image of the selection of pots at odds with the flowers and would not have included it. The two flowers at the top are quite sharp whereas the bottom one is not so which again creates a difference and has an impact on the overall harmony. A good idea but maybe needs further thought.
8)Flora Panel - 14
This is the second Panel in this competition and is the slightly weaker of the two. When composing a panel there needs to be a selection of images which work together to create a measure of harmony be it colour or subject. Unfortunately in this particular selection I do not think that they work together as the pinks blossom and orange pansy tend to clash in my opinion with the green plant adding little to the mix. The other issue is that on my monitor the images are quite soft. I would also suggest that the black lines separating the images is a bit excessive and it would also have been better if there had been a border round the panel as well.
9)Flower Offering - 17
What a super idea and I like the side lighting although I may have toned the brightness down a little. The image is well balanced with the statue sitting on a third although I do wonder how a portrait crop would have worked. In any event I would suggest the crop as presented is a little tight at the bottom. The aperture used has not fully worked as there is still considerable detail in the background whilst the key parts are somewhat soft i.e. the flowers and the statue at the front. This is certainly an idea I would try again.
10)Green & Pink - 16
I like the concept of this image, the fresh green foliage contrasting with the pink of the cherry trees in the background and the sandstone wall in the foreground. I think the image does need the levels adjusted to lift the colours of the cherry blossom in particular. There is some colour fringing on the top right hand side of the tree. I think however that this image needs a much closer crop and I would use a formal square crop to remove the double yellow lines at the bottom and the colour fringing at the top. As the tree trunk is in some ways the dominant feature I would place it on the right hand side third. There is potential in this image, it just needs re-assessed.
11)Hanging On - 18
Having attempted many time to try and photograph Bees on flowers I know how difficult it is to achieve. The author has managed a very good composition with this image which is basically the flower and the bee with no extraneous branches/leaves about. The exposure has been well handled the only weakness being that the flowers are slightly sharper than the Bee but the latter is not easy to achieve, well done this is a good image.
12)In the Pink – 18
A similar image to the previous one albeit a slightly different approach taken in that the author has gone for more background around the Hoverfly. The composition is good as is the use of the focal point, the Hoverfly is quite sharp with the surrounding flowers nicely out of focus. The stem of the flower it is sitting on provided a good lead in line as does the adjacent flower. Overall a very nice balanced image.
13)Pansy Infrared - 16
Another different approach to flower photography and I do like the subdued colours of this image and the effect the treatment has had on it. I suspect the image has been cropped, there is a tell tale white line at the top. However I think it has been too tightly cropped in that the edge of the bottom petal has been lost. I would also have removed the three marks on the petals as they tend to catch your eye. Well done for trying something totally different, maybe a review of the crop is required to strengthen this image.
14)Pretty in Pink - 16
I like the curved flow of the flowers in this image which provides a degree of structure up to the top bloom. The author has been selective in his choice of composition and it helps the image with the slightly muted tones adding a degree of gentleness. I would have probably removed the branch top left. The main issue with this image is that the flowers are slightly softer than the leaves with the result your eye is drawn past the former to the latter.
15)Snapshot of Springtime - 18
Another very imaginative idea and one that has presented a very attractive image. The colours work well, the lighting suits the overall effect and the image is sharp front to back. There is a lot to like about this image but I also think there are a couple of areas which hold it back slightly. My first comment would be is that there is a lot of space at the top of the image, within the mount, I would have liked to see the foliage reaching higher up or indeed the whole floral arrangement further up. My other comment would be that the glass jar is quite prominent and it does, in my opinion, take a bit away from the overall attractiveness of this image. A great idea, well done
16)Sticking his neck out – 19
Another very well spotted image and the timing is perfect with the lamb about to eat the leaf. The composition is good and the background is nicely out of focus meaning that the lamb and the leaf both stand out.
17)Watching - 19
Beautiful portrait of a happy dog with the yellow gorse in the background providing the Spring interest. The aperture used works well, the dog is good and sharp with the background nicely out of focus