Many thanks to this months Judge, Anne Johnson, an accomplished photographer from Wanganui. This was her introductory comment:

Thank you for inviting me to view and comment on your photographs, it has been a privilege. Our photography is very personal to us and it’s not easy to expose our work to public scrutiny, so well done all of you for taking part. I am conscious that my comments are only one person’s point of view, and hope that any criticisms are seen as advice given from my perspective only. I am impressed by the standard of work submitted and I will personally have learned from evaluating it.


Judge’s Comments

Open Prints, A Grade:

1 “Magnolia Grandiflora” (Kerry)

This photograph looks like an antique Durer botanical engraving. So that’s a compliment and I hope it was what the creator was aiming for. It’s exquisitely handled, the framing and matting very professional. HC

2 “Memorial”  (Kerry)

How did it get there? was my first reaction. Part of the mystery of storytelling which brings the viewer back again. Very moody and hard to read detail in this photograph because of the domination of darkness. I don’t think the atmosphere would be lost if the picture was brightened or lightened a little. A

Open Prints, B Grade:

1 “Hokianga”    (Eric)

A pleasing landscape with the colour of the dunes the point of focus and the jetty leading the viewer into the scene. I like the horizontal shape, very appropriate for this particular view. A lower horizon might have been different, but to do this there would also have to be cropping on the right to balance. A

2 “Green Icing” (Eric)

This photograph has great drama through the well-constructed placement of the linear patterns of the field. The low horizon adds to this effect. The almost monochromatic, cool, colour scheme concentrates the viewer’s focus on the design. Again, the horizontal format suits this study. M

Set Subject Prints “Yellow” B Grade:

1 “Making Sunshine(Pru)

This is a lovely child study that captures the moment. The tight cropping tends to concentrate the viewer on the action, the texture and sheen on the globby yellow paint mess. Though the eyes are barely seen and the features are soft, all focus is on the expression of concentration and the slight smile of satisfaction. Very well seen and captured. M

2 “Finger Painting” (Pru)

She’s loving the feel of it! The hands say it all. This view does not hold as much interest or tell as much story as the previous photograph, but still a warm and satisfying child study. A

3 “Love me Tender” (Eric)

A well thought out concept with dramatic effect. The title is quirky and draws attention to the yellow boat, the focus of the study. Dramatic interest is created by the horizontal and vertical lines which form diagrammatic patterns. The quality is marred by the out of focus flax in the right corner and could have been successfully cropped out. M

4 “Yellow Lillies” (Alyson)

Beautiful, if unusual study of Arum lillies. I love the soft flowing curves, the colour and shades of yellow, and the blurring of focus, which give it a mystical look. The angle is well constructed giving balance to the space

which is interestingly confined by the background. Purists would look for a point of sharpness, but in this work of art, I don’t believe it’s necessary. HC

Open Prints, C Grade:

1 “I’m Still Standing” (Brian)

A good attempt to capture the moody atmosphere about the river and the bridge. The light on the water is dramatic and the highlights on the foliage in the left foreground are well caught. The repetition of the trees on the right skyline is pleasing and gives distance. There is a good balance with light and shade. Well done. M

2 “I’m Not Finished Yet” (Brian)

Another view of the same scene but handled differently. I love the soft colours in the sky and the upper part of the photograph could well have been the focus of the picture as the light has now gone from the river. Another good attempt to handle difficult lighting conditions. A

Projected Images, A Grade, Open:

1 “Street Seller” (Cliff)

Documentary photograph which tells a story from exotic places. The whole scene talks of the waiting for a sale. The serene patience of the seller, the meticulous placement of the goods. The photographer has been meticulous also, capturing all the detail and enhancing key features without crowding. There is a gritty texture to the photograph which is a little distracting, but well composed and well framed. M

2 “Billy Goat Stuck” (Steve)

I really like this composition, the simplicity of lines both vertical and horizontal, but particularly the placement of the portrait in the frame. Yes, stuck, but I don’t think so, he’s too composed! However I enjoyed the play on words in the title. He’s a little soft but lovely colours and shading! M

3 “Past, Present Future Thoughts” (Steve)

This was a WOW for me! The composition, the depth of field, the beauty and serenity of the subject, the skilful handling of the lighting and the black and white medium. One very tiny distraction, the patch of light below the nose, but otherwise nigh on perfect! Congratulations. H

4 “The Kiwi Elvis” (Steve)

Another skilful photograph and control of the monochrome medium and composition. The angle is powerful and captures the movement. Depth of field good but could have been slightly deeper to sharpen the foreground hand, but this is a small point. The variation in shades of black, excellent, and the soft textured background highlights this. HC

5 “Geeks” (Kerry)

A couple of lively lads sharply defined and good colour tones. However, twos make difficult compositions and their central placing and sharply defined background does not help the composition. A

Projected Images, A Grade, Set Subject, YELLOW:

1 “Cloaked in Yellow” (Cliff)

An interesting, exotic, cultural study. Eastern, possibly Hindu? Well seen to focus on the middle figure of the three in yellow cloaks, with the other two not highlighted and out of focus. Well constructed. Three’s always provide a good occupation of space. There might have been a temptation to eliminate the highlight on the distant figure, centre right. I’m glad this was not done as I think it adds another dimension to the story. HC

2 “Flags” (Cliff)

An interesting view and patterning, but insufficient strength of colour to hold that interest. The background is drab which takes away further from what could have been a strong design if their was more drama. A

Projected Images, B Grade, Open:

1 “Old Commer” (Katie)

A piece of history! I like the low angle this was taken from which places the commer against the sky and eliminates any surrounding distractions. There is unfortunately not enough definition in this photograph, some toning down of the light shades and increase in mid tone contrast would really make the subject a striking feature of the landscape. Have a play with it, it will be a worthwhile exercise. A

2 “Burst of Life” (Karen)

This macro photograph (is it chickweed?) is a fine example of excellent control of depth of field with the strikingly white petals and the fine hairs on the bud almost leaping from the frame. The colour balance is lovely and the whole well composed. HC

3 “Hidden Treasure” (Helen)

Although centrally placed, the angles on this shed make the composition work against the two halves of the contrasting background and foreground. Some would say it breaks all the rules, I say well done! It appears to be nestled in cotton wool. I like the glimpse of the tractor adding another dimension to the story. The harsh light on the corrugated roof is a bit distracting but overall a very pleasing image. M

4 “Wind Taker” (Dan)

Such a delicate image and typifies the beauty of nature. It stands out strongly against the black background which enhances the fragility of the subject. There is a temptation to crop but I’m pleased the author did not. The expanse gives context. The diagonal lines of colour aid the composition. HC

5 “Spring Picnic” (Phil)

Glorious colour and lots of it, but maybe too much for the eye to take in at once. That may also be because of the lack of depth of field control. If the background had been softer and more muted the butterfly, which should be the focal point, would have been stronger and the body and left wing sharper. A

6 “The boundary” (Helen)

Old rural fences and gates make such good subjects! This is a fine example but would have been more dynamic had the dominant pole been on the extreme left of the picture. Do not be afraid of a square format, and try enhancing this by eliminating the accessory shape and hills on the extreme left and see what a great photograph it becomes! If possible, try toning down the white of the clouds. M

7 “Thermal Steps” (Alyson)

This is my second WOW! I just love it! I love the way the creator has seen it, has handled it, has framed it, the delicacy of the shapes and colours and the way the ‘weight’ of the images have been distributed to make the whole such a well balanced picture. I know nature made it but it takes a skilled artist to represent it to the viewer. H

8 “Tulip 1” (Gregg)

One of three photographs of this tulip. A gorgeous colour and beautiful play of light through the petals which highlight the texture and shading. Tulip 1 has the best range of light shade and hues in the petals, but unfortunately the centre is out of focus and cut off at the bottom. A

9 “Tulip 2” (Gregg)

Tulip 2 shows the exquisite central patterning at a better angle, but again is out of focus and masked by the petal on the right. The idea and angle is very workable and should be retried. A

10 “Tulip 3” (Gregg)

Tulip 3 is the better example of depth of field control. This view would benefit from left and bottom cropping to improve the positioning of the focal point and enhance the contrast of petal patterning, light and texture on the right. M

Projected Images, B Grade, Set Subject, YELLOW

1 “Mr McCaw” (Scott)

Strikingly brilliant bird, so colourful and a good portrait format. It’s sharper in the centre foreground but looses detail further back. The eye is good but the beak is a little soft and these two features need to be sharply in focus in a study like this. Good out of focus background and the complimentary colours of blue and yellow always work so well together. HC

2 “Runaground” (Scott)

This is a lovely serene landscape with an fascinating point of focus. The interest is definitely in the juxtaposition of the boat in the middle of a cultivated field! Purists would say the boat is facing out of the picture, however on reflection there is what looks like a jetty to the left which means there could be a stream running through it. This alters the perspective in terms of story telling. M

3 “Sitting Pretty” (Scott)

A colourful pair! The positioning is near perfect. The weight to the right is beautifully counterbalanced by the strong bifurcating branch angled across the centre. The repetition of the bird’s posture is almost mirrored.

The detail is a little soft in the yellow but overall a very colourful entry made stronger by the unobtrusive black background. HC

4 “Frosty Buttercup” (Katie)

Nature in all it’s exquisite beauty! The yellowness of the cup, highlighted by the crystal frieze, outstanding on the right side against the darker out of focus background. The soft centre and foreground of the cup could have been improved but difficult depth of field with this magnification and probably cold fingers! HC

5 “Yellow Bloom” (Katie)

Yellow in it’s many shades, from the green yellow centre to the tips of bronze on the petals. With the background green eliminated at the top, this flower is transformed and the variations in shading more noticeable. The lower central positioning is appropriate and enhances the diagrammatic formation of the petals and serrations. M

6 “Ball” (Sarah)

An air of mystery surrounds this image. What is it, Why is it there? brings the viewer back to look again. The low vantage point puts the ball against the sky, eliminating distractions and use of opposing colours on the

colour wheel for maximum affect. The ball is not as sharp as it could be but overall a well seen and constructed picture. A

7 “Frozen Niblets” (Dan)

Yellow, yes, contrasting against blue, yes, but very out of focus with no creative effect. An attempt has been made to construct this picture, however the composition and the weight balance within the space is not achieved. Disappointing result for the idea and effort involved. NA

8 “Minor” (Sarah)

A great subject for the set topic, what a shame it’s not complete. There must have been a reason for cropping the back, ie something intrusive? Was there not something else that could have could be done? Because the photographic and exposure qualities are very good and the background enhances and is not intrusive. M

9 “Tuscan Moon” (Dan)

I love this image with it’s subtle monochromatic colour and interesting texture. I do wonder if it would have been more appropriate in the open section as there is not a lot of yellow. Compositionally, I would like to have taken a little off the left to bring the moon further left and less central, as it’s the strong point of focus in the photograph. To balance this a slight trim top and bottom might be necessary. M

10 “Twirled” (Sarah)

Beautiful subtle lines and folds. Soft creamy bronze colour and texture. It’s a soft and dreamy image which talks to me of giving. We all love presents. The frame encroaches a little at the bottom leaving more space in the top right. Small point, but could be improved. Well made. M

11 “Portrait in Yellow” (Helen)

A very natural outdoor portrait, soft and gentle handling of the subject. This is almost two pictures with 50% of the frame featuring the flowering tree which is more in focus than the portrait. Her features are soft, beautiful eyelashes resting on the cheek needed to be pin sharp to make up for the fact that the eyes are not visible. I like angle of her face and the space in front. A

12 “Past it’s Prime” (Davide)

Probably a well loved car in it’s prime! It’s very closely cropped to avoid background distractions (which are evident in a later photograph) This photograph shows more detail of the mini which is nice and sharp. The image has been over saturated beyond what is appealing, making the green and maroon colours unnatural, which is a shame. A

13 “Pointer” (Davide)

Unusual object, interesting shape, is it a mail box flag? It certainly meets the criteria for the set subject but does not have any great creative merit. The subject is well in focus and balanced against the dark background, however cropping is a bit tight on the left side. A

14 “Yellow” (Davide)

Yes, it is yellow in both senses of the word. Is it the creation of the photographer, or is it the creation of the original graphic artist? From a photographic point of view, the angle it is taken on distorts the lettering. I guess it’s clever and humorous take on the set subject topic. NA

15 “Caterpillar” (Mary)

A good clear, sharp, well focused record shot of this vintage tractor. It would have been better viewed more to the left to give forward space and possibly a better background. The twiggy branches are a distraction and there is unused space at the rear of the vehicle. Colour and shadows are strong and taken at a good angle and for detail. A

16 “On Safari” (Mary)

We saw this car in an earlier photograph, this time in a wider context. The colours here are more natural, but the whites in the picture lead the eye away from the point of focus, the car. I would have cropped out the drainpipe and toned down the tusks if possible. There are also conflicting horizontal lines making it difficult to straighten. There are too many stories in the picture making it hard to focus on one. A

17 “Sunflower” (Mary)

A good sharp well lit sunflower demonstrating the creativity of the maker. A lower perspective might have placed it higher in the sky and eliminated the distraction of the tree and other extraneous background detail. A

18 “Button” (Alyson)

Great contrast, both colour scheme, subject matter and texture, well seen! The button is a little soft compared to the wire immediately under it, which is a shame. Depth of field could have been wider to take into account the coils on the right also. An interesting study. M

Projected Images, C Grade, Open:

1 “Softly Flowing” (Bruce)

For a C grade entrant, this photograph and the following one, are fine examples of the natural landscape and the handling of water. The colours in this photograph are lovely, the contrast of reds and greens work so well together (opposites on the colour wheel). I felt this could be enhanced by cropping the top down to the apex of the central rock. This really makes the viewer concentrate on the texture of the slow water and surrounding colour of the rocks without the dominance of green. M

2 “Tumbling Waters” (Bruce)

The outstanding feature of this photograph is the formation of the rocks and the lichen on them. The colours are subtle and beautiful, the shapes and size create variety and to me there are two views in this photograph. Try copying and cropping down to the large rock and across from the left to create a photograph of the rocksand water. Very satisfying. M

Projected Images, C Grade, Set Subject, YELLOW:

1 “Yellow Autumn” (Verna)

Autumn brings out the best of nature’s gold tones and this landscape captures them beautifully. It might have been improved by cropping out some of the detail on the right, and counterbalancing with lowering the horizon toward the top of the blue hills, keeping the tips of the green trees and those on the left. A lovely scene but dominated by strong brightness of the road. M

2 “In Need of Paint too” (Verna)

“In need of paint” (the next photograph) perhaps should follow this one or be seen in context with it. Because they exemplify the importance of angle and perspective. This one has both and is therefore the better photograph. Because of it the old post has a 3 dimensional perspective and contrasting angles with blocks of colour shapes that aid composition. M

3 “In Need of Paint” (Verna)

The front view of this interesting marker lacks perspective and is a boring shape because of it. The strident stripes of the fence are intrusive and reflect the white which distorts the exposure. I’m pleased to see the photographer experimenting with shapes, angles, perspective and comparisons which are such a good learning process, well done! A

4 “Spring is here” (Bruce)

Floral art is very difficult to photograph and I commend this C grader for this attempt. It is important to have no distracting back ground which he/she has done. The exposure and colours are very good. The most interesting feature for me is capturing the glass and water with lovely detail, subtle tones and hues. A