DavidRGillespieDavidRGillespie Chilliwack, British Columbia, CanadaRegistered Users Posts: 819 Many Grins

I knew this would be a difficult challenge to evaluate when I chose the topic and I was right. Everyone has submitted spectactular images, and I have really enjoyed watching the set build. Every set has at least one photo worthy of first, and

@Lab_Tested -#2, Eastern Screech Owl, is a particularly nice image. The bird is in sharp focus against the out of focus bark. You handled the muted palette nicely. I might have cropped a tiny bit off the left side, which I think might emphasize the owl's very nice pose.

@pegelli - you submitted three very nice images, and I particularly like #1, Robin. The framing is great, with the bird a bit off-centre, in the frame and on the structure. The background is lovely and soft, and, because the structure the bird is perched on is not level, there is a bit of tension in the image that draws my mind in the direction of the bird's gaze.

@ Cavalier - #1, northern pintail drake - afloat, is a nice image. The lighting is great, and it emphasizes the contrast between the bird and the water. The bands of dark shadow (foreground structure?) make a nice frame.

@shawnc - @3, GBH on the prowl, is a nice image. The bird stands out nicely from the background and the lighting is great. The pose is nice - the bird is a bit unbalanced, which implies movement (for GBH, this usually means the bird takes flight seconds later).

@grandmaR - #2 Barbet, is an intriguing image. The bird is a bit out of focus, and at first that bothered me. But the way the image zooms to the centre draws my eye to the centre the image and then back to the bird. As you say, it is very well camoflaged, and the speckles make a nice counterpoint to the radial lines coming from the edges of the frame.

@lkbart - #1 Macaw Love, is a great behaviour study. It shows the pair bond and behavioural interactions between individuals. The birds are nicely framed, and you have kept the colours muted, which is in keeping with the shady setting.

@JAG - You have three nice shots, but I particularly like #2, Tiger Heron. The background is lovely and soft, but with enough detail to provide habitat clues. The framing is nice and the body and head are in sharp focus and show a lot of detail.

@Third_Son - you submitted three technically great images, but of the three, #2, Ruthin Castle, is my favourite. The pose of the bird, in mid-call, conveys a lot of strength. The puff of vapour coming from the bird's mouth as it calls is great. It says "cold morning" and completes the whole scene.

@sarasphotos. I like all your images, and #3, Swan, is an especially nice portrait. There is nice feather and water drop detail and the background is lovely and soft. The pose and colours are very nice. I might have used a brush to brighten the eye just a bit, and if you felt like "cheating" you could insert a small highlight.

@GSPeP - #3. Looking for food , is a great bird shot. Everything about the pose of the bird and its gaze tells one that something dramatic is about to happen. The background is totally blank, which works in this image as nothing distracts the viewer from the bird and the story.

@Gatto - You contributed three great images, two of which are probably once in a lifetime captures. #2 "Blu 35 hook..." is a really intriguing image. The pose does indeed imply an American football huddle, and that is what I saw even before reading the caption; but perhaps you have to be familiar with the game to see that? Beyond the humorous pose is a big question. What are the birds doing? is there a desperate fish in the centre? The key character in the image, which is the bird at the centre, top, anchors this very radial image. All the bird heads contribute to the sense of chaos and competition that must be taking place.

@bfluegie - #1, Great blue heron grooming, is a great image. Capturing an element of behaviour such as grooming (preening?) is always wonderful. The feather detail is great and the bird is nicely lighted against a dark background. The perch (branch) provides a nice platform for the image, which is, overall, very nicely framed.

So now I have to pick placers and a winner from this wealth of superb images. It is redundant to pick honorable mentions here

In third spot, @Lab_Tested with the fine image of a Northern Screech Owl

In second spot, @Gatto with the wonderful pelican image, Blu 35 hook left..

And in first place, and earning the duty to start the next mini-challenge, @Third_Son with the spectacular image of a peacock, Ruthin Castle.


  • Lab_TestedLab_Tested ColoradoRegistered Users Posts: 58 Big grins

    Thank you @DavidRGillespie for taking on the judging of this challenge, and also for the 3rd place honor. You did indeed set yourself up for an almost impossible task. I am amazed at the quality photos that everyone brought and I enjoyed examining all of the entries. The 1st and 2nd place photos are outstanding and well deserving.

  • sarasphotossarasphotos Major grins Augsburg, GermanyRegistered Users Posts: 3,626 Major grins

    @DavidRGillespie Thank you so much for the time and effort you took to make such extensive and helpful comments. Congratulations to all of the winners for their really terrific shots. @Third_Son I am really looking forward to the next mini!

  • grandmaRgrandmaR Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,905 Major grins

    I concur with Sara, and Lab_tested - thank you for running the mini and for the comments.

    Third_Son, We had a peacock living in our area for awhile last year but we didn't get such a spectacular photo. (Our peacock seemed to like looking at his reflection in my car).

    “" adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered." G.K. Chesterton”
  • Third_SonThird_Son Registered Users Posts: 29 Big grins

    Thanks for the honor Dave (blush)....Last year we took a hop around the UK and were in Wales one evening. Ruthin castle has a group of resident peacocks that want all of us to know they are present most of the day as well into the evening. Serving as the morning rooster was this bright-eyed fella who woke me bright and early. Seeing that he was exhausting the morning CO2, I had to try to get him in action. This one stuck out as my favorite. Thanks again...I will try to come up with something in the next day or two....

  • shawncshawnc shawnc PHX, AZRegistered Users Posts: 660 Major grins

    Thank you for the kind words in your comments. Congrats to all who participated, some wonderful shots posted.
    Congrats to @Third_Son with the spectacular image of a peacock. looking forward to the next Challenge.

  • GattoGatto Major grins Registered Users Posts: 412 Major grins

    Thank you to all the participants and Dave. I am honored just to be mentioned, never the less get considered for the top 3, Thank you !...the picture was taken in the Florida's Keys after a fishing trip, while we were cleaning the fish the Pelicans gathered and waited patiently for us to throw them the fish scraps and that's how the shot came about.
    P.S. I am glad I didn't win because I will never be able to do such a good job at judging as Dave or the past winners did :-)

  • bfluegiebfluegie Big grins IndianaRegistered Users Posts: 683 Major grins

    Dave @DavidRGillespie, Thanks for running a great challenge. And thanks for the well considered comments. Congrats to @Third_Son for first place with a great shot. Also congrats to @Gatto and @Lab_Tested for second and third. Great shots all.

  • CavalierCavalier Life is a Bokeh Foresthill, CaliforniaRegistered Users Posts: 2,951 Major grins

    thanks for running such a good mini with lots of feedback and you picked the right one for first place - great shot @Third_Son - Congratulations.

  • pegellipegelli Major grins BelgiumRegistered Users Posts: 8,332 Major grins

    Thanks for a great mini David, it attracted lots of very good entries so I think you had a tough challenge yourself picking the winner(s). Also thanks for the comments, that makes participating a very worthwhile experience.

    And congrats to Lab_Tested for a shot that could have easily been missed due to the camouflage and Gatto for a shot (with caption) that was very funny. And of course also congrats to the winner Third_Son with the smoking peacock which is also a fantastic capture. Looking forward what you can dream up for the next one.

    Pieter, aka pegelli
    My SmugMug
  • JAGJAG Photomaniac Wasilla, AKSuper Moderators Posts: 9,037 moderator

    Great work on running the challenge @DavidRGillespie Congrats to all the winner and runner ups!

  • lkbartlkbart Wandering in left field~ Derby, KansasRegistered Users Posts: 1,912 Major grins
    edited March 24, 2020

    Awesome winning shot! Congrats to @Third_Son & the runner ups, & thanks to @DavidRGillespie for the great challenge & comments!

    A photograph is an artistic expression of life, captured one moment at a time . . .
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