Article by Derek Gould
Inter Mersey Competition
23rd May 2019 at CADWA
Simon Rahilly explained that there were 50 prints and 5 clubs, with 10 prints from each club, submitted from St Helens, Southport, South Liverpool, Maghull and Crosby. No more than two images were to be submitted from a single author. Each Club used an external judge in 5 scoring rounds, each image marked out of 20. Tonight’s was the last of these 5 rounds, held with our photographic club friends at our SLPS Club night on 23rd May. Our judge tonight is the famous Terry Donnelly and his scores are to be added to provide the final tally across all competing clubs.
There was exceptional, insightful technical analysis of every print by Terry Donnelly. Some of his many, helpful and constructive comments are listed below.
The quality of bokeh in wildlife photography is important; its colour in the chosen background can provide contrast with the subject; it might be appropriate for bokeh to retain just a hint of background structure. Depth of field can be critical if photographing more than one creature; it must be of sufficient depth to retain sharpness through intended subjects; the need for sharpness may require you to raise the ISO. Remember to align the sensor parallel to the subject so the depth of field is properly distributed, e.g. aligned to the plane of an insect.
Be aware that documentary shots (e.g. wildlife) will need to fit different criteria in a general competition than in a wildlife competition, with its more specific mix of images.
Composition can make or break the image. Cropping needs to be carried out sympathetically; don’t crop through hands or paws. Don’t frame too tight on the subject – “let it breathe in the frame”.
Portraits should be natural; by all means remove blemishes in post-processing but do show skin pores and natural catchlights. Watch for glare on the skin; use rim lighting to separate subject parts from the background.
Use dodge and burn to lift a dark subject from a dark background; watch for banding in prints. Maintain detail in highlights; use the histogram.
Is there a narrative, a question or statement, in your image? Open doors add drama. Eliminate distractions that take your eye away from the subject. Remove blemishes where relevant, e.g. defects in wood panelling / veneer.
Note any converging verticals that might be reduced / removed by getting further away.
Check that white balance is correct.
Don’t rush the shot.
RESULTS: the players
First place: Trevor Davenport: Southport PS
Second Equal: Les Kipping — Jay: SLPS
Gavin Wallace — Magpie on Perch: St Helens CC
RESULTS: the Clubs
South Liverpool: 886
St Helens: 863