SPC Digital Assessment May 2021

Photos, awards and the judges comments for the May competition
Capture SC01 - Egg and Spoon - Barbara Reed  The colour contrast in this image is very pleasing, and the shadow tones on the egg help define the there dimensional shape of the egg – which is part of the real challenge in photographing an egg. I find the highlight in the end of the spoon on the edge of the frame distracting, and would encourage everyone to be careful about having white highlights on the edges of there images – this is not always possible – but I this instance I find it distracting, and it is a good learning point for us all. The breaking of the spoon by the edge of the frame is well done, but its proximity to the corner concerns me – was this a definite choice.  Did you try the composition with the whole spoon. I think there are more possibilities to explore with this composition both in subject and colour. Perhaps a different point of view shooting along the line of the spoon to the egg? Overall a very competent composition and image. SC02 - Sunrise Egg - Sue Williamson  What a sumptuous image of an egg. Can you not imagine dipping a hot buttered toast soldier into that oozy yolk – you can feel the nostalgia and warmth in the image. Maybe to food porn it up a bit some sea salt flakes, freshly cracked black pepper or some sweet paprika. Very evocative image with a powerful use of depth of field. Well Done. SC03 - Sunrise Surprise - Robyn Larson-Shelton  What a delightful autumnal scene – and there in probably lies the problem if the theme is egg. Egg should be the subject not pat of an overall scene. I love the color contrast and the red leaf is very evocative. The blown-out highlights on the egg and leaf are distracting and should be better managed, use the highlights warning on your camera display to give you an indication of where you have blown out highlights. A great capture of the morning dew on the egg and the leaf. The strong Horizontal line and background highlight at the top of the frame do little to enhance the composition, perhaps a tighter crop, or recompositing of the egg on or in the leaf may have led to a stronger image.
SC04 - Egg and Spoon - Judi Anderson  What a fabulous egg cup and luminous egg. The contrast between the rugged honesty and of the metal egg cup and the silver spoon is enchanting. The glow and dimensionality of the egg is excellent. The vignetting is heavy handled and is a case where less would have been more – it seems to be a heavy-handed approach in duplicating the oval forms of the egg. SC05 - Carved Eagle Eggs - Dave Macquart  What an interesting sculpture, but I don’t feel that the eggs are the focus or focal point of this image. The green leaves in the bottom left are an unwanted colour distraction. The highlights in the leaf litter are blown out – again use the highlights warning feature in the image review function of your cameras. I would like to see a different composition for this subject, perhaps low down on the left-hand side shooting over the eggs to the eagle rising above – this may have made a more powerful image SC06 - Egged On - Ian Brown  A strong image and again is the egg the subject, or is it that an egg is the canvas for a painting? The idea of using a reflection is good, but I find the use of the props divert attention away from the subject Eggs. Be careful in the processing of the image as it looks like there is blooming and over sharpening on the edges of the figurine in the reflected copy. SC07 - Egg All Alone - Judi Anderson  CREDIT  What a great example of the power of  and challenge of photographing an egg. The light, shadow, volume of the subject create real  visual presence of the egg. It almost feels like it is pulsing with life and potential. The horizon line between the reflective tabletop and backdrop I find reduces  the power beauty and simplicity of the image. Remember, doing simple is hard to do well
SC08 - Red Egg - Anthony Turner  CREDIT  Love the colour of the egg. Makes me think of Easter traditions, maybe  a cross on a chain , or an old leather bible (out of the plane of focus) would add to the story telling of the image. I find the crop of thei mage to subject very confining and doesn’t allow enough room for the subject to breathe. I would also like to see more of the reflection of the egg in the egg cup. SC09 - And One Fell Out - Robin Pitcher  MERIT  A beautiful composition and lovely lighting on the egg, almost blown out highlight on the top of the egg –so maybe look at dodging this area a little bit more to bring it into a more unified lighting over the top of the egg – at the moment it is a little jarring. A lovely nest, but it is not a chicken's nest so there is a contrast in the size of the nest and the egg. The nest does dominate the scene and reduces the importance of the egg, As a suggestion maybe recompose the image with the nest further back and out of the plane of focus, so it has a softer less dominant presence in the image. SC10 - Egg Still Life - Robyn Larson-Shelton  What a fun image and well thought out extension of theme. I feel there are issues with the cropping of tis image, and it detracts from the potential power of the composition. The subject fills the frame and is dominate, but in this case some negative space would add to the power of the image, also a balanced crop would also lend power to the image. The lighting and color choice of the egg cup are excellent. SC11 - Yours or Mine - Kevin Veness  Excellent humor and made me smile. Having worked around bird cliffs and rookeries  I have seen this behavior. Just because an egg is part of a composition, does not make it the subject of the composition. The choice of fabric colour and lighting are excellent. Take care of the wrinkles in the fabric in the rear center of the image, like was the curvature in the horizon line of the fabric against the backdrop.
SC12 - Egg Art - Ian Brown  I am not sure a painted egg meets the theme of an egg. The choice of egg stand is a great textural contrast to the promise of the egg. There is a distracting halo around the top of the egg in the reflection and is probably a processing artifact. Personally I think I would have preferred this as an unpainted egg composition, with  different colour background. The scale of the egg in the composition is well balanced. SC13 - That's My Egg - Sue Williamson  And still the question is left unanswered what came first the chicken or the egg. Good use of diagonals in this composition, but I do find it a bit flat compressed from the point of view used. Perhaps a lower point of view shooting over the egg to the chicken would  be more powerful, and more challenging when working with animal. The catch light in the chicken's eye is exemplary. Capture-1 SM01 - Egg in a Nest - Robin Pitcher  CREDIT  This is a strong image, and the monochrome treatment processing has been sound. The lighting and shadows on the egg highlight the form and shape well. As this is a still composition, I find the upper twig cutting across the top of the egg distracting and unwanted. This is a case where taking the time to review the Image would lead to a cleaner image. Sometimes walking away and coming back provides you the space to review your work before moving on to a new subject. I also find the size of the egg confronting to the size of the nest and the reality that they do not belong together. Perhaps shooting with a quail egg may bring the size relationship back into reality.
SM02 - Egg Temptation - Robyn Larson-Shelton  CREDIT  Wow this is a powerful composition but also the feathers give an overall feel of tenderness. The highlights are blown out and that is a minor distraction in the image – so again use the highlights warning in the camera review make an adjustment and review. As we know a blown highlight is 100, 100,100 and there is no data to manipulate n processing. There is  pleasing use of repetitive diagonal lines in the image. I might look at dodging the shadows in the base of the feathers and the leaves at the base of the egg. Overall an excellent image. SM03 - Cosy Nest - Sue Williamson  MERIT  What a wonderful contrast between the texture of the fabric and the smooth structure of the egg. This image does lead to the interpretation of a luxurious and relaxed Sunday breakfast. Again pay attention to the highlights in the fabric and the egg, may need to bring it back by about 1/3 of a stop. SM04 - Egg Shadow - Judi Anderson  Again, a textbook example of shooting an egg. Great definition and volume to the subject. Given the work on the egg, I feel the soft horizon line, and marks and damage in the background detract from the overall image. This is an instance where the totality of the image is important to the strength of the image. SM05 - Your Egg - Matt Kaarma  MERIT  What a charming use of props, the lighting of the backdrop provides a peasant duplication of the form of the subject and is well done. There is some loss of definition of the right hand side of the egg where is starts to morph into the prop. I find the front on pose is a little bit blunt. I think if the pose was rotated 20 to 30 degrees t the right we may have had a stronger and more pleasing and calming image, But the lighting of this image is sublime.
Capture-2 OC01 - Eastern Curlew's Breakfast - Kim Touzel  MERIT-  (RUNNER UP TO PICTURE OF THE MOTNH)  Wowser’s, what a fabulous image, the bokeh in the foreground and background is perfect to focus the attention on the subject and the action. Great catch light in the eye, and great use of space. When you can’t include a bird's feet in the image, give them space to be interpreted in the image. Also, a good use of negative space to the right of the subject so there is room to move and breathe. OC02 - Horsing Around - Pauline Kitto  CREDIT  Lovely use of repetition and framing in this image. The buildings in the background are a bit messy and the image may have been more powerful with a sky only background. There is a loss of detail in the sky – and this is one of those challenging situations where a graduated neutral density filter may have enabled you to capture a well exposed frame over the entire image. OC03 - Sad Unicorn - Kevin Veness  What a whimsical image, and the background bokeh is delightful. I find the soft tree trunk frame in front of the image detracts from the image , and the image would work well cropped to the trunk or recomposed not to include the trunk.
OC04 - Shoalhaven Bridge - Anthony Turner  Tranquil night, you can feel the night settling in.  Perhaps shooting at – 1/3 of a stop would have enhanced the colors in the sky (an in-camera trick). I would also like to see more of the tinny in the left foreground – either recompose and shoot or wait for the tinny to move further into the frame. Delightfully peaceful image. OC05 - Green Tree Frog - Dan Crowley  CREDIT  Lovely image of a frog, full of character and personality. Eyes pinpoint sharp with great catch lights. My suggestions for the image would be to change the point of view, potentially lowering it to change the background to have a consistent green background, the distance between the subject and the background should still provide ample separation between the in-focus subject and the bokeh of the background. I would also like to see the crop of the image changed to add more space at the top of the frame. OC06 - Wallaga Sunrise - Dave Macquart  Captured the quiet of the dawn. However, the image is a little crunchy – “technical” term for over sharpened and this highlighted by the white line on top pf the mountain range, the pale band over the foreground ridge, and the obvious lightening of the sky in the amongst the tree leaves – this is a result of how the sharpening algorithm works – which is to look for difference in values between pixels and then exaggerating the difference to make the edge stand out. I also find the tree in the upper left of the image to be foreground image tokenism in composition. Composition is not just about what we put in an image but also about what we leave out, and it is a conscious choice we make. I would play with having more of the tree in the image or none. But the mood captured in the image with the movement of the ripples is wonderful. OC07 - Sunny Sunday Sail - Pauline Kitto  Sunlight dancing on waves is always a pleasing the scene. The small scale of the sailing dinghies or windsurfers add some interest into and otherwise monochrome image. I am not sure if the crop works well for this image, and in fact bringing the left-hand edge into concentrate the scene on the main group of sails may provide for a stronger image with an increase in the scale of the watercraft.
OC08 - Glossy Black Cockatoo - Peter Noakes  Captured the cheeky personality of this stunning bird. The background bokeh frames and focuses the the attention on the face and eyes. I find the crop unsettling in that the bird does not seem to have enough room to move, maybe try providing more room to the upper right quadrant, or crop in tighter on the eye and focus the attention of the colour and texture of the feathers, also be careful of the highlights on the beak – they are very close to being blown out. OC09 - Green and Gold Bell Frog - Kim Touzel  MERIT  A tender and beautiful portrait image of the frog. The lack of background distractions focuses the attention on the subject. The inclusion of the branch gives the sense of the natural environment. The catch light in the eye adds life to the image, and the control over the flash is commendable. This image may benefit from a bit tighter crop on the right hand side, giving the sense of more room to move for the frog on the left-hand side. OC10 - Blue and Green - Matt Kaarma  CREDIT  Pattern, colour, repetition, breaking the repetition, proving that simplicity in geometry can lead to powerful images. Well seen and well captured. OC11 - Singing for my Supper - Peter Noakes  What a glorious image of the joy of the Australian bush. Feather detail is sharp and fluffy at the same time, the bokeh soft and illuminating providing a perfect foil for the subject. Again, I find the cropping on the Right-Hand Side of the image to be too tight. That leads to an unpleasant tension in the image, and maybe enhanced by the bird's head tilt and turn to the right as well. The subject needs room to move and breathe.
OC12 - Strange Tree Roots - Kevin Veness  I think there are some potentially powerful and creative images in this subject. Changing the point of view and potentially shooting in monochrome would develop some intriguing images. I tend to view this sort of image as part of  visual diary to refer to and plan another shoot. I would certainly clean up the bird scat from the roots and grounds. OC13 - Split Rock Lighthouse - Dan Crowley  I like this image and leads to me think how great it would be to sit on the rocks and ponder the past – what storms has the lighthouse weathered; what ships has it protected. A challenging image to get the exposure right on, a lower exposure may bring out some more colour in the sky, and a longer exposure would bring out more details in the shadows. I find the shadows on the Left-Hand Side to be a bit heavy and dominating, and possibly also leads to the tight feeling on the left-hand side with the crop. OC14 - Frozen Flowers - Robin Pitcher  Working with ice is fun and challenging. Keeping the subjects in place as the water freezes, what textures and patterns the trapped air will form. If you want to have clear water, try using boiled water as it will have less dissolved air in it. The colour and details in the flowers is great, although the centre of some of the flowers is getting a little to dark, so maybe a little more burning in post may bring out some more of the geometric detail, A project certainly worthy of continuing with and exploring during the dark wet winter months. OC15 - Tawny Twins - Ian Brown  Lovely image of the owls, eyes tack sharp and nice details of the water drops on the feathers, great separation between the subjects and the background. I would like to see a change n the point of view and shoot from a lower angle and capturing more of the background. Again, maybe provide some more space with the cropping so they have room to breathe
OC16 - Horse Head Rock - Dave Macquart  Great use of he tools of the trade and the Neutral Density Filter, always a tricky trade off in capturing the movement in the waves and reducing the movement in the sky and over exposure in the sky – you are right on the limit with this exposure. Perhaps a little more space to the right of the rock will give a more complete feel to the horse head (not clipping the animal), but it may also be a tradeoff between the crop and wat is in the background. Potentially find a different spot to shoot from. There is no such things as bad light, but a bad position to shoot from. Capture-3 OM01 - Echo Point - Barbara Reed  CREDIT  I feel wet and can smell the damp bush in this very evocative image. There is clever use of the walkway to guide the eye around the scene, and leaving you with a sense of wonder and expectation as to what is being hidden by the fog. This is one of those careful images, that do not rely on the instantaneous wow or shock of the image, but more Zen which leads to deeper reflection of the image. Be careful in the construction of this style of image as it is easy to miss the mark and end up with a flat ho hum image. OM02 - Strong and Sturdy - Pauline Kitto  PHOTOGRAPH OF THE MONTH - MERIT  Wow what an awesome example of framing, and guiding the eye like a laser beam. I feel like I am looking at an image of infinite mirrors, and keep getting drawn into the image. The repetition of the framing in the image is genius, and I feel that I can see the rail tracks on top of the bridge, even though my brain knows they aren’t there. After that glowing here comes the but – maybe have a look at dodging some of the darker shadows to bring out a little more detail in them, they feel heavy at the top of the frame and you may end up creating an even more powerful mage.
OM03 - Cathedral Rock - Dan Crowley  Power and movement in the water, and the sphincter clenching of am I going to drown my camera in the rush of that oncoming wave. I would like to see some more details in the shadow tones of cathedral rocks and the rock platform leading to the rock. I am not sure if it is possible to change the shooting location slightly more to the right to reduce the amount of white on the bottom edge of the frame. OM04 - Cranky - Peter Noakes  Immediately taken back to the TV Commercial not ”Not Happy Jan”. Certainly captured the emotion of the moment, and from an ethical point of view – I trust it is not a reaction to your presence. Great definition and contact with the eyes, and lovely definition in the fur. As he is looking to the left, I would add some space and room to move to the left so it doesn’t feel as cramped, an whilst it is a great get in close and fill the frame with the subject, I think I would like to be a little bit further back to encompass more of the head. One of the those decisions do I get in closer or a little bit further back. Only way to know is to experiment with both and choose the one that works best for you. OM05 - Mogo's Tiger - Barbara Reed  A beautiful animal and amazing detail captured in the fur. I feel I can almost reach into the image and stroke the animal. Given the eye gaze and the cropping of the image It feels cramped to me – I do not know where the animal is going or looking at – I am left wondering in – is it far away or just outside the frame? The clipping of the tail is also off putting, either have the whole animal in the shot, or room for people to imagine where the missing parts would be. As nature photographers you clip a birds wing – you are terrible, but capture a Whales tail and you are amazing – makes no sense but that is how we have become conditioned. A stronger more powerful image would be created by having strong eye contact with the tiger. OM06 - Portrait of Neil - Matt Kaarma  MERIT  A deep thinker in his natural environment – so this would meet my definition of an environmental portrait. The environment gives us strong clues as to the potential character of the subject. There seems to be an easy charm in the image, a sense of deep thinking. There is a lot to see and explore in the image that is engaging. Again, does changing the crop to be tighter on the right and looser on the left add to some more balance and relaxation to the Image. It would impact the painting on the floor and may require a rearrangement of the pictures on the desk. But there is good use of depth of field to make use of props in the room to support the story and understanding of the character and personality of the subject.
Photo of the Month Strong and Sturdy - Pauline Kitto