• White-naped Honeyeater

    White-naped Honeyeater.   Photographer: Emmy Silvius

  • Crimson Rosella

    Crimson Rosella.   Photographer: Bill Harding

  • Common Bronzewing

    Common Bronzewing.   Photographer: Gunther Frensch

  • Great Egret

    Great Egret.   Photographer: Judy Leitch

  • Hooded Plover

    Hooded Plover.   Photographer: Mark Lethlean

Competition was stiff at this Intermediate level, with a number of images that would not have been out of place in the Advanced level. That said, there were a several images which would have been further improved with some additional selective cropping, even amongst my final selections. Birds in flight images can be spectacular, or awkward, depending on the wing pose or angle of view at that critical moment the shutter is released. Obscuring foliage is usually to the detriment of the image, however not always. The tightly cropped head study of the Gang-gang Cockatoo (Image #20035) is a perfect example of how it can used effectively to draw the viewer in. Well done to all who submitted their images, it has been a pleasure to judge them.

Winner: Gang-gang Cockatoo - Stephen Garth (Image #19939).

For me, this was the absolute stand-out image. It’s by no means your typical Gang-gang image, and this bird has a beautifully relaxed pose about it. Focus is pin-sharp on the face, which is critical when shooting with a wide-open aperture on a tele lens. The subtle aesthetics of soft greys on bird and rocks, in combination with the pale feather-edging mimicking the out of focus river stones, is superb. Likewise, the flecks of red on head and breast are balanced by random leaves of similar colour. Having the head contrasted against the bright, sunlit background, gives additional depth to the image. The sheen on the water sets the foreground off. There’s just so much to love about this image!

Gang-gang Cockatoo (Stephen Garth)

Highly Commended: Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo - Wilson Lennard (Image#19809).

Another cracker of an image, of a truly beautiful bird. I certainly like the off-centre placement of the bird within the frame, however I would have cropped a little from the left-hand side, and possibly a little of the sky, to further strengthen the composition. Quality of light on the bird is strong without being harsh. The colours really pop. Excellent.

Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo (Wilson Lennard)

Commended: Galah - Stephen Garth (Image #19941).

A very fine portrait, the vertical format works well. Wonderful sharpness of detail in the bird and perch, with the background trunk knocked completely out of focus, to help eliminate it as a distraction. The small, sharp protruding branch in the top RHS corner does however need cropping out. I might have added just a touch more saturation, but this is really subjective. Very well done.

Galah (Stephen Garth)

Commended: Little Corella - Adam Higgins (Image #19991).

Despite its flaws, this is just too good an image to pass up! The top of the image needs cropping around 10% in height, and the face could do with some lightening, but the gloriously soft background is amazing and is a hugely important contribution to the overall aesthetics. The eye is sharp; such a shame it lacks a catch-light which would have made this delicate portrait utterly superb. Nonetheless, an image to be proud of.

Little Corella (Adam Higgins)

Commended: Cockatiels - Mark Lethlean (Image #19834)

This image is similar to the one of Galahs at a water sprinkler in the Entry level competition, in that the more I considered it, the more I liked it. The very judicious horizontal cropping is a strength of the image, but with attention to detail I would have removed the very fine twigs creeping into the bottom right-hand side. The image is crisp, lively, and my eye delights in examining every individual, for no two are the same. It makes me want to get out there and see these Cockatiels for real.

Cockatiel (Mark Lethlean)

Commended: Little Corellas - Stephen Garth (Image #19938)

I really like this image for its sense of intimacy, as the playful Corellas are not in the least bit interested in the photographer! Pin sharp, excellent exposure, and well-framed. The clipping of the wings of the top bird is not detrimental to the overall impact of the image. Despite the soft flat light, the white plumage contrasts against the rich greens of the grass. To my mind, out of all the cockatoo images in the Intermediate and Entry level competitions, this image is the strongest for effectively depicting an aspect of cockatoo behaviour.

Little Corella (Stephen Garth)

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