Entries for Fortnightly Competition #66 Spring has Sprung

Utopia Poppy

Link Posted 27/04/2011 - 18:00
Ok guys, the competition is now closed, results will follow shortly!

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep". ~Scott Adams

Q | Various Q lenses & filters | KP | 35mm 2.8 Macro

Utopia Poppy

Link Posted 27/04/2011 - 18:29
Firstly, thank you to everyone who has taken the time and effort in entering this fortnight. There are some really interesting shots here, and I like how some of you have taken the subject literally. It has taken me some time to look through all the varied entries, so I hope you don't mind my comments.

So, here is my critique of the entries, in the order in which they were posted:

The Spring Run-Off by JudithAnn
I love the silky flowing water in this shot, it gives an almost dreamy quality to the image. The blown-out snow (or sky?) in the top left corner is a bit distracting, and the red/orange hues in the grasses are a little overpowering for my taste. Maybe a different crop to remove the top left and accentuate the flowing water (perhaps a portrait crop) may have helped? All in all a nice shot showing the start of Spring, and the end of Winter.

Young Wallflower by GlynM
As I love to take flower macros myself, I was happy to see that the second entry was of a flower! I completely understand what the wind can do when you are trying to photograph flowers, so I'm glad you waited for a break in the breeze! This shot is well captured with plenty of the plant in focus. The colours are nice and vibrant, from the purple-tipped buds, down through the reds and oranges, to the yellow lower petals. However, I have to say, for me personally, it doesn't excite me as it is a factual portrait of a plant. Maybe shooting from a different angle (maybe higher) could have produced some more colourful, exciting results?

Nowt Today by Geordie01
Nest scenes are all too familiar to me at the moment, from Mute Swans to Canada Geese. It is a lovely sight, and this moment, which looks like Mum is checking to see if any have hatched, is a lovely capture. The fact that she is looking straight down at them is great. Unfortunately, the background does not help this shot (not that you could have picked her up and moved her, I know), and infact makes the shot quite dull. Maybe a square crop cutting out some of the background may have helped? I think the front of the swan is a little over-exposed, and the feather detail has been lost, which is also a shame - some tweaking of levels may bring it back?

Morris Dancers by mecrox
I really like this shot, as it is a different interpretation of the competition subject, and shows motion and energy. I love the detail in the stationary shoe and sock, and the contrasting motion in the other, however, there is one thing that niggles at me - the red stripe (backpack?) in the background is quite prominent as it appears smack bang in-between the legs. It may have been an idea to clone this out, so that the focus remains with the feet. Altogether, an unusual take on Spring has Sprung.

Malus metallurgis by prsjnb
I love the originality of this shot - very funny, but well executed at the same time. You have taken the subject literally and metaphorically, which is more than I could have hoped for. The centre bud is beautifully sharp, and the spring was an unusual idea - which I like. My only criticism is the brown stump in the lower right section of the shot is a bit off-putting, and I think a squarer crop would have been better - cropping out the brown stem and focussing more on the buds. That aside, I still really like this shot, and thank you for taking the time to find/make a suitable "spring hat" for the bud!

An impressionist view of Spring by sandinista
I like the pattern and colours in this shot - a really great idea, and "outside the box", which is what I asked for. It's just a shame that you're camera wasn't moved absolutely vertically to create this pattern, the slanted movement just bugs me a bit. The pattern created is not even, and I think you could have cropped a bit of the green from the left of the image, to make it seem more even. I really like your thinking though, and wouldn't mind giving this technique a try myself. Lovely vibrant Spring colours too.

Spring is Sprung by Frogherder
I like your literal take on the theme of this competition - well done for finding so many different springs - I wouldn't know where to start! I think the composition of the springs is good, but unfortunately the messy grass is letting the shot down. I don't know whether I like the background fighting with the subject this much, and the brown bits of grass in the foreground don't really say Spring to me. I like your thought process with this entry, but I just think it's too "busy" and my focus is not always drawn to the springs.

The spring has sprung by Karl
I have mixed feelings about this shot. I am assuming that this has been set up, and that you didn't just come by it in your cupboard? I like that you have taken the theme literally, and somehow shown the complete opposite of what the season of Spring is usually about. I have a morbid fascination with this entry, and can't decide whether I like it or not. Technically, I like the focus on the mouse's face, and that the trap is OOF, however, I think a little more space above the head would work better to balance the shot - it looks a little claustrophobic - maybe that was your intention also? An "outside the box" idea indeed, remind me never to come over to yours for dinner!!

Daffodil by JamieT
I really like the water droplets on the petals of the daffodil, it makes me think of morning dew or a quick Spring shower. Personally I would have liked the whole flower head in focus,and I think your polarisation down to 21 colours has really messed about with the surface that the flower is sitting on, and I find it quite distracting. It's a little more subtle in the daffodil head, but still takes away some vital detail. The pale streak of what I think is the stem of the flower in the background draws my focus from the flower head a little. If I was to discount the polarisation, I think that the fact that the daffodil is lying on a surface instead of still being attached to the plant says the opposite of Spring to me. The flower actually looks quite sad.

Green Crown by Pentaxophile
I really like the lighting in this shot. Dappled light coming through the trees, a fern reaching up to basque in the rays amidst a carpet of Bluebells shouts SPRING at me straight away. I love that the focus is on the "crown", and that there is some OOF greenery near the camera, it really gives the shot depth and substance. I have no negative criticism for this shot, believe me, I've looked, but I can't think of any. I just really like the (late afternoon?) light and the feeling that it gives this photo.

Barbed Bouquet of Spring by TOZZA27
I like the vibrant colours in this shot, but can't help but notice the part-eaten leaf just left of the centre, the dust and dirt on other leaves, and the (bird poo?) on the wood in the background. With a little bit of cleaning up and cloning out, this shot would say Spring to me a little bit louder than it does at the moment. The composition is a little uneven, and the leaves just coming into shot on the top left don't work for me. The up-turned leaves across the bottom left corner are also a distraction, as are the dirty wooden slats in the background. With a little more care in the selection of foliage and background, (and maybe a bit of a wipe with a damp cloth first), this could have been a great shot.

Duckling by Unlocker
Now I don't want to seem biased on this one, so here is my honest critique. I like the subject matter, and it does say Spring to me. However, it is a little sad to see a lone duckling, without it's brothers and sisters, and especially it's Mum. The bright green water is lovely and vibrant but it is also a little overpowering, and it may be a good idea to tone it down a little. An interesting crop, showing the ripples in the water, but the crop also chops off some of the duckling's reflection. A nice shot, with really subtle lighting.

Unfurling by DrOrloff
Another fern shot, well executed. I really like how the natural light is falling on the fern, highlighting details like the curled up ends of the frongs. It is lovely to see ferns "unfurling" this time of year, but unfortunately this shot doesn't completely work for me. The blow out OOF areas are a little distracting, and I don't like the cobweb across the top of the fern. The background is rather busy, and the contrasting very light and very dark areas detract some attention from the fern in focus. I do like your thinking for the subject of this competition though.

Daffodil in the Rain by R o b
This is an unusual shot, and I really like how you've captured the falling water droplet. The petal the water is dripping from is nicely focussed and the yellow colour is amazing. The green stem or leaf in the shot is a little distracting and I would have liked to have seen the shot with no green, and just the black background, with more of the daffodil in the shot. I'd really like to know if this was set up or whether it was a chance capture after a shower? I can't decide from looking at this. But a great effort in getting the droplet mid-air - something I'd like to try myself.

Ok, now for the final results:

1st Place goes to Pentaxophile for Green Crown
2nd Place goes to mecrox for Morris Dancers
3rd Place goes to Unlocker for Duckling

I'd also like to give some Commended awards to:

Highly Commended for prsjnb - for creating a spring hat for a flower bud!
Commended for Karl - for thinking WAY WAY outside the box!

Well, that's me done! Congratulations to Pentaxophile, and over to you for the next competition!

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep". ~Scott Adams

Q | Various Q lenses & filters | KP | 35mm 2.8 Macro


Link Posted 27/04/2011 - 18:51
Nice one Will - really like your entry - well done all the runners and uppers.

I fear I am not a clone fan but thanks for the ideas - bird poo is part of the Spring I fear and I wanted an interpretation not a still life.

Away for a week next week so will possibly miss the new comp - we shall see.....................................

Great judging

K20D,*istD ( now a dedicated M42 digital ),K100D,MZ5N,P50,ME Super,Spotmatic 1000,Spotmatic,ESII,ES,H2.18-55 II,18-55,75-300 FAJ,35-80 FA,80-200 F,28-105 FA,Sigma 24-70 AF Aspherical,Sigma 28-300 Hyperzoom , Praotor II 500 M42,Centon 500mm mirror,and a few Pentax M42 Taks,super-Taks,smc Taks,A and M lenses.Benbo trekker,7dayshop monopod and a Lowepro rucksack.

I am now on Flickr which is nice !


Link Posted 27/04/2011 - 18:55
Thanks Fiona! Appreciate the kind comments and the first place. It was indeed taken at around sunset
Last Edited by Pentaxophile on 27/04/2011 - 18:57

Utopia Poppy

Link Posted 27/04/2011 - 19:22
Tony, I must admit, I never like commenting on other people's photos, for fear of offending them, but I had to do it with this competition. Hey it's only my opinion ("worth a pinch of salt" as my Nan would have said) You're right about the bird poo being part of Spring - I practically got dive-bombed on the way home from work this evening!

No problem Pentaxophile, it was a pleasure to host and judge a competition at last! It was really quite fun and I look forward to doing it again

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep". ~Scott Adams

Q | Various Q lenses & filters | KP | 35mm 2.8 Macro

R o b

Link Posted 27/04/2011 - 19:27
Well done to Pentaxophile for a lovely shot, and to everyone else for some of the most varied shots I've seen in one of these competitions. Thanks to the judge for thoughtful and prompt judging, and for egging us on to think outside the box. I particularly liked Unlocker's shot, and it seemed appropriate given his icon.

So, was it a set up, or not? Well, perhaps I should reveal the title should really have been "messing about in the garden on a lovely sunny evening trying to photograph something that was probably a daffodil but was more frilly and didn't have the central horn and folded over under the weight of the water I'd sprayed onto it and had to be held up with bamboo pole". I thought that might be a bit long though.

What amazed me was it only took about thirty shots to get the focus and lighting about right and capture a water drop in flight. I think I was lucky.



Link Posted 27/04/2011 - 21:06
Well done Pentaxophile, mecrox and unlocker well worthy of the winning places. Thanks for the comp and getting the results out so quickly Fiona and a great comp theme.
Great simplicity is only won by an intense moment or by years of intelligent effort. T.S Eliot

Gear Not enough!!

My not so new website


Link Posted 27/04/2011 - 21:10
I reckon that you picked the right ones and gave a fair critique of all - I'm happy with the result.



Link Posted 28/04/2011 - 00:17
Maybe I shouldn't have played 'Devils Advocate' with the wife judging, but I couldn't resist!



Link Posted 28/04/2011 - 08:57
Fiona, Many thanks for setting a good subject, your excellent, well balanced, comments and judging. I think you did very well.

Congratulations to Pentaxophile for the winning, spring woodland image, which I really liked. Congratulations also to our runners up and everyone else for a marvellous, diverse, set of interpretations.

Last Edited by GlynM on 28/04/2011 - 08:59


Link Posted 28/04/2011 - 10:17
Congratulations to Pentaxophile, mecrox and Unlocker for their winning entries and a big 'Thank you!' to Fiona for the detailed and thoughful commentaries.

Fiona: the commendation for my own effort is much appreciated.

Not long after uploading my entry I decided that, very much in keeping with your subsequent critique, a tighter crop was needed and went on to produce an 'improved' version incorporating this and someother minor 'tweaks' that can be seen, should you be interested, in my portfolio.

Kind regards,



Link Posted 28/04/2011 - 11:31
Good honest forthright judging, just the way I like it. Well done Pentaxophile, lovely shot.
You can see some of my photos here if you are so inclined

Utopia Poppy

Link Posted 28/04/2011 - 13:05
Ahh, thanks everyone for your kind words, it's not easy to come up with a competition theme when you're ill in bed (as I was 2 weeks ago!). I am glad that you appreciate my critique, and as I've said before, it's only personal opinion, and no-one has to agree with me!

Jon, I'd be very interested in seeing your improved version.

Again, thanks to everyone for making this competition so enjoyable.

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep". ~Scott Adams

Q | Various Q lenses & filters | KP | 35mm 2.8 Macro


Link Posted 30/04/2011 - 00:03
Thanks very much for judging, and congrats to the winner! I enjoyed this subject a lot. I know what you mean about that red band in the middle of my pic, but I'm a bit of a purist and tend not to clone things out even though the pic might be improved if I did. Mind you, my cloning skills are such that I'd probably leave a big hole anyway ... onwards to the next comp!
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