Note: No printed comments were provided for digital images.
Judge's Comments: Prints
Judge: John Hart
Greetings from Dunedin! Thank you for inviting me again to review your work. The very first competition I judged for you was also for landscape prints way back in 1964. Only 3 entries – one each from the President, Vice President, and Secretary. There were only 10 members altogether at that stage. The secretary was Bernice Adams who recently died when a nonagenarian. She was a great conversationalist, with our last phone chat being less than a year ago. As a memorial to her I still have 2 bountiful peach trees at my Lake Hawea crib, which were originally saplings from the Adams’ farm, Wratts Road, Rapaura.
Now to the prints! I was impressed by the overall quality of printing and matting. As well as the good presentation, the images were interesting, ranging from traditional pictorialism through to more experimental efforts. There was a quality entry from the B graders.
Gemstone Beach – Honours A very nicely composed coastal landscape with a moody sky and sea. The windswept dunes and coastal foliage add to the stormy vitality as well as providing natural history information. The pathway effectively links the foreground with the background.
Kaikoura Ranges – Merit This print provided both moody pictorialism as well as a documentary element. Including both the road and railway discretely enough without impinging on the beautiful scenery, you have produced a work capable of being used in tourism promotion. My only suggestion for improvement is to take an inch off the left hand edge to tighten the composition, and strengthen the balancing dynamics between the left hand sky highlight with the sunlit mountains on the right.
Lake Dunstan at Cromwell - Accepted Your factual title gives value to your print. Your panoramic format is generally well used up, and you convey a definite sense of place which may well change in the years to come. The intermingling of the pines and poplars add interest along with the textured water.
Moeraki Boulders – Honours A high impact print which is very monochromatic and is significantly abstract in essence. Excellent lighting, while the small rocks at the bottom left contributed to a vertical staircase to counteract the predominant horizontals. Would suggest you try to reduce, a little, the tonal density of the dark wave line between the boulders and horizon so that it becomes less distinct.
Anthony Downs, Wairau Valley – Merit This small image really drew me in to carefully explore the detail. Very well composed and very effectively lit. Interesting residual mist left after the storm.
Anthropocene - Acceptance A pretentious title which I could not pick up in my dictionary, but obviously the exhibitor had a strong sense of direction in his anthropological conceptualisation. The narrow depth of field has given us a very minimalistic abstract while the warm colour of the accent creates considerable initial impact, but does not necessarily survive repeated viewing. Nevertheless, it is good to see someone trying something different. It may do best as a projected image.
Castle Hill-Not Accepted This panoramic shot had some impact at first glance and I did like the use of the darker tones at the base. However, I did not find this an easy print to view, due to the many contrasting high tones scattered throughout. Also the signature rock formations were very much lost in the shadow. It may have been more rewarding to have gone closer to one of them to develop a composition.
Foggy Morning in Picton – Merit The textured canvas approach has a unifying effect on the composition and provides a painterly presentation. This thin panorama format works well with the subject matter. After a leisurely journey from left to right, the small cluster of misty trees provided a very nice ending point.
Frolicking Day – Accepted At first viewing I had real concerns about this very busy and high contrast image. However, after repeated viewing, I found myself increasingly feeling the boisterous elements. My response became much more emotional than intellectual, and I could understand why you felt moved to take this picture. To develop more containment, I suggest you crop off the top down to the top edge of the tree. This will put more emphasis on the breaking wave as a centre of interest, and anchor for your composition.
High Country Lights – Accepted It was a good idea to zoom in on this rather abstract study of the back lit hills. The print would have gained a higher ranking if you had managed to retain a hint of more detail in the central shadow area.
Lake Lyndon – Accepted A very well balanced panoramic study with good use of foreground, middleground, and background in the composition.
Marlborough Splendour – Accepted Your main grey cloud area and distant hills have been rendered with subtlety and interesting detail. However, your rendering of the yellow on the right appears overblown and distracting. Whether it is real or not, your image as a whole would be enhanced by a shift of hue from lemon to gold, then desaturation and darkening. Such muting would certainly benefit the other components.
Misty Morning on the Coast – Honours I really enjoyed the brooding mood of the trees and the effective use of the filtered light which contains both the high and low tones. It is powerfully composed with a good feeling of depth and recession. Reminds me of scenes I have photographed in the Twizel and Omarama areas.
Mystery Island – Merit This is a tapestry with many elements which have been arranged so carefully in the composition, in a stepping stone way, which allows us to leisurely move up the water way towards the recessive island in the distance. There is much to enjoy in the foliage area along with the pleasing colour and lighting.
Pink Cloud – Merit I have given you credit for producing a dramatic cloud study with a good feeling of space. However it does worry me that there are inconsistencies in hue and lighting between the pink cloud and the near hills below. If the image is a composite, its best to go either the fantasy way , or to use enhancement software to create a sense of reality.
Seasonal Transition – Non Accepted While the colour contrast is interesting, I find the golden foliage far too dominating due to its mass and lack of form. Composing more selectively in the lower half of the image would have achieved more satisfying results.
Snowclad Waimakariri River - Accepted As a general record of this location, you have done well, as this is very interesting subject matter. However I am disappointed that you did not make more of the curved lines in the bottom right quadrant. If you had moved a little more to the right to include a more spectacular foreground as a lead in to your recessive background, you could have had a winner.
Storm Brewing – Honours This is in some ways a relatively unpretentious image, yet it has been beautifully crafted offering many textural delights to explore both in the water and on land. Exposure, light, composition and colour have all been well handled. The sweep of wave arriving on the left provides a dynamic accent and anchor from which we can explore. The delicately rendered sky provides a nice resting place for the eye from time to time during the viewing process.
The Essence of Kaikoura - Accepted There are many good elements in this image including interesting sky and water. The composition makes good use of the shoreline which links the foreground rock with the distant headland. The image is spectacular on one hand but I am left with the impression of over processing. I get the feeling that HDR has been used, which is OK, but my experience has been that there are benefits in subsequently modifying the image in terms of colour vibrancy, and tonal range to less overstated levels. Our digital cameras and software are very clever, but as photographers we must firmly remain in the driver’s seat!
Tidal Pools –Non Accepted While you have given us a wide view of the area, I believe in this case, your panoramic format has discouraged you from being more interactive with your subject matter, and from including interesting foreground material. As it is, the soft focussed base and the lower right contributes little. The centrally placed rock and the waterway to the left of it may have combined better in a tighter composition.
Winter Vines –Accepted The subtle hues you have introduced have certainly made your work eye catching. I particularly like your sky and mountain background. I am less enthusiastic about the foreground fencing which block an entry path through the various planes.