Weekly Competition #109 - Something bright or sparkling Competition

Competition Details
Closing Date: 09/08/2009
Judge: mikew

That's it really - let's have photographs of bright or sparkling things. Could be reflections off water, metal or just something that is in itself sparkling like decorations or whatever really. rnrnBling is the order of the day! Watch the hot spots though and let your imaginations run riot rnrnEntries in by midnight Sunday August 9th. I'll try and get results out as soon as I can but I don't stay up until midnight.rnrnMike
Competition Entries


Link Posted 10/08/2009 - 07:20
Here are my thoughts about the entries for something bright or shining. Well I wasnít disappointed lots of interesting images of all types so not an easy task at all. All comments are meant to be positive so if Iím clumsy with my language please donít take offence!

Hehsty1 Ė Insect Bling

Very clear and sharp. Very well exposed as well, great colours but the composition is totally central and the fly has that large dark area in front of it. I think that really given the subject and title the insect should be much larger and dominate the scene which it doesnít although the photograph looks better full size.

Darlene Ė Sparkling bubbles

The sparkle is there OK as are a range of colours and some lovely prism effects which is all good. However, it all looks a bit soft and I suspect that focus was an issue. Canít be easy to focus on a bubble! Also there seems to be noise in the background which is a pity. The chair in the background is also distracting.

Dwight-Morton Ė At Tiffanyís Falls

Yes itís pretty bright and the water sparkles. I think perhaps more direct lighting could have delivered more sparkle. The composition does have the main fall of water very central which means you do have that dark area to the left which doesnít contribute a great deal. Then again the water falls right to left so you probably need some space on the left for this to look natural. Nice shot if a bit dark.

Aiki Ė Morning Sun

This does sing with sparkle and brightness! I donít know what it is and I donít care as it has those lovely sharp lines, good colours, the star burst light. The fact that the third droplet doesnít sparkle just adds to the effect. A very good composition that leads the eye, maybe just a bit too much black at the bottom but a great shot.

ASheridan Ė My Glass is Half Full

The idea is good but I canít see where the level of liquid is and while I expect this was quite intentional there is too much thatís burnt out off white for me. I think you need the glass and the liquid to have some very clearly sharp areas and Iím not seeing that (even if itís there). Nice idea needs a bit more work in my opinion.

Draken Ė Venice

Indeed this is bright and sparkling and full of a rich gold colour. I am in two minds about the overall colour which is a soft gold, I think you probably desaturated this a bit and Iím not sure that was the right thing to do. The composition was always going to hinge on how much of the mask you include and how you managed the crop. I think your choice is OK but I find the eyes too central. The background was always going to be assertive and I think you have managed that very well. I feel a little frustrated by this image and I think itís the central composition that does that.

JohnRiley Ė Light from within

A novel and interesting approach to lighting which has produced an unusual result. The background is my problem with this. Thereís lots of it and itís pretty dead. I wonder if black or white might have worked better? I donít think thatís cut glass which I suspect might work better with this technique as it will have sharper edges to reflect/refract the light.

SnappyCaz Ė Last Night

I can see where youíre coming from on this and it does have potential but the overall effect is that itís not quite sharp enough. Iím not sure just where the focus lies. Youíd think f8 at 31mm ought to give enough DOF but I donít think it has for this shot. Also Iíd interested to know how it was lit. Iíd use flash for this as then Iíd have total control and I could arrange for catchlights here and there. The repeated circles donít quite sit comfortably for me and I find the two dots very distracting.

Prieni Ė Solid as a rock

I shock myself when I say this but is that rock sharp? I like the water and the sand and I do like the rock but for me that rock has to be killer sharp. Iím assuming a tripod was used but maybe not. The colour is very gentle and the water does sparkle very well. The composition seems good to me as I think weíd expect.

GlynM Ė Shiny Fireside Scuttle

I trust you used rhubarb juice to clean it? Boy it does shine well. Beautiful focus, exposure and colours just warm enough without going over the top. The way the handle interacts with the fireplace and logs is a bit untidy otherwise the composition is very good.

Lilly Ė Early morning dew

It really sparkles in every way. Very sharp image, almost brittle so I wonder if there isnít just a bit too much sharpening in there? Then I expect Iíll be told that no PP sharpening was applied! Personally I think itís very difficult to get a good composition of such an intricate image. I think I would have cloned out the stray leaf bottom right but beyond that I think itís hard to improve on this. F2.8 of a 135 lens has almost no DOF as we can see!

Malo1961 - Bright, sparkling and much loved these days....

Hmm an older SMC lens Ė I wonder if this is to show off their particular quality of image? It certainly does have a particular quality of colour and sharpness. It is to be sure sharp but itís not that razor sharpness you sometimes get. As expected focus good, colour good, exposure good composition for the subject is very well balanced. Bit wasteful on the subject matter and perhaps the froth going down the glass could be a little sharper but then the can would not be so sharp I expect.

DavidTrout Ė Polished Brass

This meets the shiny part of the topic and the colours are bright so thatís all good. Personally I donít feel happy with the composition although I think I realise why it is the way it is Ė David wanted the brass rails on the seats included. I feel the horn is the be all and end all of this shot so would have lost the seat and cropped differently. Indeed the bell of the horn interacts with the top of the bulkhead and steering wheel in a rather messy way. Good shot and sharp for handheld.

Bforbes Ė Wall light

It does shine but overall the image is a bit flat Ė I wonder if some adjustments of levels would lift it a bit. The colours are nice (if a bit warm maybe) and the exposure has preserved all the tones, Iím a bit concerned about how sharp it looks which could be focus, camera shake or resizing the image. I know I go on about being sharp but I do think the subject does usually need to sharp.

SimonArthurs Ė Water drops

Sharp where it needs to be and boy is it sharp. Itís a clever use of the different size of drops both in good focus. The colours are very nice, soft but still assertive. I find the composition a little awkward as itís all at the bottom and the space at the top doesnít do much. I think Iíd have been tempted to crop much tighter. Good shot!

ElScotto Ė Sparkling in the fog

And it does sparkle. The lamps are quite large which I realise is probably unavoidable. I donít like the lamp bottom right partly because I donít like it and partly because it isnít straight. Iím very tidy, uprights should be upright! Also the building looks a little crooked as well although I canít see how it can be. Do you need the dark areas intruding on the left?

Heidi Ė My bubbly little world

Iím always told off for allowing my reflection to appear in surfaces and I can see you here. In this case I think itís great as the shape of your dress/skirt mirrors to some degree the shape of the leaf. I could do without seeing the other people though. The sun shining over your shoulder is also good. I think I would have composed and cropped differently but what we have is OK. What Iím not so happy with is that the image is overall a bit flat and Iím sure some work with levels would give it some zip and lift the colours and everything a lot. Iím also worried that itís not sharp enough. I think the focus might be off a little or maybe camera shake as I think itís quite a slow shutter speed. This was a very spotted and captured image, real imagination.

JudithAnn - Sunset on the River, Puts a Sparkle in My Soul!

You have captured the reflected light on the water very well. The exposure and focus both look good and the colours are good too. Iím not sure you could improve on the crop and composition and given the topic I think it works. Some might say thereís no real focus of interest but the varied sparkle is that very interest.

Timcx500e Ė Pentax lenses

Iím confused and thatís quite a common state for me! Much of the frame seems static but the blue lights and trade name are seriously blurred like camera shake. I think this must some deliberate effect but as I say it leave me baffled as to whatís going on. Taking the image I donít really like the background colour nor the way you have cropped off the lens frame on the left. The big circle of brighter area centre top seems a bit looming to me and upsets the balance of the image. You can tell this one has taken me outside my comfort zone.

Ale_K200 Ė sometime bright

Yes it is sort of bright and the column certainly has reflected light. I like the way you have composed off centre and the mono conversion is very effective. Focus etc. are good but overall it leaves me feeling there should be just a little bit more somehow.

Goliath-UK Ė Dusseldorf star

Central composition has to be right for this. Would a square crop work better? Iím back to sharpness! Where is the point of focus and how much is killer sharp? I suspect the original was sharper than this and something may have got lost in resizing or conversion. The exposure is very good as there donít seem to be any badly burnt out areas. Pity there couldnít be some contrasting colours perhaps but it is what it is. ISO 1600! Ė whereís the noise please?

NathanEver82 Ė Sunset de Giacomino

All the technical bits are great Ė focus, sharpness, colour exposure Ė totally spot on. The composition Ė I donít know itís hard to assess. Itís mainly central which in this case works well but the sun isnít directly above the mast. Does it need to be? Iím not sure. I do like the small amount of texture in the sky, not so keen on the slightly lighter bit trailing away from the boat. I keep coming back to the relationship between the boat and the sun and probably I feel it would be better if the sun were more to the left Ė but it wasnít and you couldnít very well move it! It is a very nice shot.

Timk Ė Bejewelled fly

Is this shiny or bright enough? Itís touch and go I fear. Very good shot, sharp, well exposed, good colours. What more can I say, as a macro of a fly it would be hard to beat. In this case Iím not sure you really comment on the composition as the subject fills the frame as it needs to. Very good shot.

HenriTeine ĖSparklin Blues

This is another tough shot to assess as once again it a mass of detail and how do you assess the composition in this case? The exposure seems fine, the focus is probably OK and I suspect it looks a little soft because youíre shooting through glass. The colours are good although for me a bit flat Ė did you adjust levels at all I wonder? Tricky one to assess.

Galoot Ė Petrol cap

Bang and hereís a sharp one! Sharp but not over sharpened. Very well controlled exposure, it would have been easy to lose the blacks or the highlights and thereís only a tiny hint of trouble on the circular bit at the top. Iíd say lose the handlebar and lettering Ė what do they really contribute? The answer of course is some extra colour and extra lines and flow. So maybe Iíll let then stay! Very good shot that just gets under the sparkling bar!

Matwhittington Ė Sunrise in Swanage Bay

Fits the topic very well, colours are lovely, focus and sharpness fine so that leaves the composition. Itís pretty centralised which I think is OK, the sun as before does it need to be over the mast? In this case I think itís less important as itís in landscape format and thereís a lot more going on. The small lighter area at the front of the boat is OK. Good shot overall.

Lenscape Ė Chief

Not quite what I had in mind but the chief is to be sure bright and very clearly caught. Good focus, sharpness, colours. For my taste the composition is a bit too central I think that you might be able to lose the brown feathers on the right which would move the face off centre and potentially improve the overall composition. The overall clarity of the portrait is excellent Iíd be curious to know which lens was used.

Lots of very good images to choose from but I have a clear winner which just stands out for me as being the best image in the group. The other places were an agony to choose as there are quite a few competing:

WINNER: Aiki Ė Morning Sun
SECOND: Galoot Ė Petrol cap
THIRD: Simonarthurs Ė Water droplets

NathanEver82 Ė Sunset de Giacomino
Draken - venice
Heidi Ė My bubbly little world (this would have been in the first three if a little sharper and brighter almost just for the reflected dress!)

But to be honest I could probably add another 4 or 5 to highly commended!



Link Posted 10/08/2009 - 07:52
Oh Boy, what have you done !
Again ! Do I really need to do all this judging work again !
Thanks of course !

I went for sth like Lilly and Simonarthurs entered, but didnt succeed. That means I give my pluss points to them for getting good results!
Finally noticed my childs bike with droplets I got the "stars" for the first time to my pic. Until that I thought that some filter (or PP) is needed for them. So it was surprise result to me

Although without lot of sparkling, I liked Drakens Venice a lot. Just beautiful pic with nice colors and comp.

Pentax K20D; SMC DA 18-55mm II kit; Sigma AF 70-300/4-5.6 APO DG MACRO
GIMP Flickr


Link Posted 10/08/2009 - 08:36
Well done Aiki! And well done Mike, fast and thoughtful assessments.
Best regards, John


Link Posted 10/08/2009 - 09:41
Good judging Mike and congratulations to Aiki. I thought the water droplets would win as soon as I saw it, the picture is stunningly beautiful.
PS: I agree with all your comments on my picture.
PPG: http://www.pentaxphotogallery.com/artists/davidtrout
Last Edited by davidtrout on 10/08/2009 - 09:47


Link Posted 10/08/2009 - 09:49
Ok, maybe it's my imagination but is there more to the "NathanEver82 Ė Sunset de Giacomino" entry than is initially apparent?
What's going on at the bow?
.........all the gear, no idea!
Me super, MX, LX, K5,DA 18-55WR, DA 17-70, DA 55-300, DA40 Ltd, FA50 1.4, Samsung D-Xenon 12-24,Samsung 100mm macro M50 1.7(x3), M28 3.5, M35 2.8, M100macro f4, M135 3.5(+others)


Link Posted 10/08/2009 - 10:24
Excellent judging Mike and congratulations to Aiki - love those starbursts!
Joining the Q


Link Posted 10/08/2009 - 10:55
MarkD wrote:
Ok, maybe it's my imagination but is there more to the "NathanEver82 Ė Sunset de Giacomino" entry than is initially apparent?
What's going on at the bow?

I see what you mean Mark. You must have good eyes to spot that.
PPG: http://www.pentaxphotogallery.com/artists/davidtrout


Link Posted 10/08/2009 - 10:59
Or an imagination of 'a certain kind'

You can see some of my shots at my Flickr account.


Link Posted 10/08/2009 - 18:47
Excellent judging and a fantastic winning shot - well done all round!
Mat W

My Flickr: link


Link Posted 10/08/2009 - 18:48
Thanks Mike for the kind words. Congratulations to Aiki. A wonderful picture and a warm welcome to the exquisite club of doubles. A deserved membership, believe me.

Note on Nathans entrie. I would like to know if he saw at the picture taking stage, what some of us (me included) think we have seen. Whatever the answer may be, it sure gives a new meaning to the word sparkling.

About my own entrie.....The use of the older K lens, wasn't intended as a show off. It happened to be the right lens for the job, and the only one in my possession to deal with the limited DOF I wanted to achieve. The froth being not sharp is due to the fact it was moving down, and the used 1/40 shutter speed limited my options. Decisions,decisions....

Best regards,


Curious about my photography?? Just Follow the Light.


Link Posted 10/08/2009 - 19:42
Ah the froth was moving - that explains the lack of crystal clarity.

Each lens has its own characteristics and I did wonder if you'd selected older glass for the different qualities they have.

It's someone putting a sail away for goodness sake. Tut, tut lowering the tone of the forum you lot are.


You can see some of my shots at my Flickr account.


Link Posted 10/08/2009 - 22:39
mikew wrote:

It's someone putting a sail away for goodness sake. Tut, tut lowering the tone of the forum you lot are.


Darn, I think you are right. That also solves the question of why the guy on the steering wheel is so passive, and not helping out.

I will now return to my corner and start those sweet Mary's.

Best regards,


Curious about my photography?? Just Follow the Light.


Link Posted 11/08/2009 - 17:49
Congrat Aiki......Thanks mike for the commments ...it was fun!!


Link Posted 11/08/2009 - 17:49
Congrat Aiki......Thanks mike for the commments ...it was fun!!


Link Posted 11/08/2009 - 17:49
Wow Aiki....won again...How very nice.

Good work Mike! I have already put in my next picture! Such fun!


Link Posted 11/08/2009 - 18:26
Well done Aiki, I love this shot. Thanks for the competition & judging Mikew. Great topic, I enjoyed the challenge & appreciate the feedback. Incidentally my shot was lit with a SAD Daylight panel. I think you are right, selective flash would have given better results. But we live & learn.


Link Posted 11/08/2009 - 22:07
How bright are SAD panels then? I thought that they weren't all that bright?

You can see some of my shots at my Flickr account.


Link Posted 12/08/2009 - 21:28
Actually the one I have is very bright, 10,000 LUX
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