Open Print Competition No 4 Judged by Graham Mansfield

by Apr 17, 2024

This is the fourth open print competition of the year, and the final round of our season.  With the results to date finely balanced the marks awarded tonight will decide the overall winners and runners up in this class for the club year.  Images can be submitted in either colour or monochrome format.

Our judge for the evening, and making his first visit to Photocraft, is Graham Mansfield.  Graham is a professional wedding and portrait photographer, and a keen bird photographer.  He is a member of the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers as well as The Society of International Nature and Wildlife Photographers.  He is also a member of the Guildford Photographic Society  and an SPA accredited judge.

We have 26 prints submitted, all to be judged in one class this season.  The prints are displayed in random order, generated by the online competition entry system.

Graham began the evening by introducing himself, and stressing that his comments were going to be his personal opinion on the success of each image.    He would make comments on that which had worked well in every case, as well as, where appropriate,  his suggestions as to how an image might be improved.  He stressed that this would be his opinion only, and that another judge may well hold a different assessment about any image.

Graham discussed many aspects of the pictures displayed, commenting often on sharp focus, control of depth of field, the colour palette, and the feel of 3D depth to the images.

Graham ran through each image in turn, holding back seven images for a second look.  It is  good to see that six different photographers had images in this higher scoring group.

The first of the images given a final score of 9 points was ‘ Carrion Crow with Prey’  by Mandy B, and this is reproduced below.  Graham felt that the low viewing angle on this shot gave a good interaction with the subject, and that the frog in the birds’ mouth was both excellent and extremely unusual.  The image had good exposure levels and control of depth of field.  He did feel that the bright flowers in the background did distract from the subject, and this might have been improved with a strong vignette to tone down the distraction. 

‘ Carrion Crow with Prey’  by Mandy B

The second image scoring 9 points was ‘This Way Up’ by Martin D, also shown below.  Graham’s first comment on this image reaching the display stand was “wow”.  The image was of clouds reflected on water.  Graham commented on the very strong colour intensity in the image, and wondered whether this was fully natural or intensified during post processing.  He also discussed the unusual balance between the appearance of the reflected clouds and those above.  He described it as a cracking image in his final comments, despite the photographers’ sleight of hand having been revealed by this time.

‘This Way Up’ by Martin D

The third image scoring 9 points on the evening was ‘Spring Meadow Colours’ by Brian C, reproduced below.  Graham described this image as fascinating.  He admired the 3D feel of the print, which he described as almost feeling like there was a layer structure to the image with incredible depth.  He also admired the colour palette and the square crop which both worked well.  Even the mount frame got an honourable mention.

‘Spring Meadow Colours’ by Brian C

The first image scoring 9 ½ points was  ’50 Shades of Blue (on grey)’  by Mark B, and is reproduced below.  Graham described how much he enjoyed this image, especially where the iceberg appeared to almost show 3D detail which pulled the eye into this point of interest.  He did feel that the sea surface was particularly bright and a little unusual – he was not sure whether he was seeing water or ice.

’50 Shades of Blue (on grey)’  by Mark B,

The next image scoring 9 ½ points was  ‘He’s behind you’  by Paul S, also shown below.  Graham described this street portrait as working really well.  He said he liked the image which was eerie and very intriguing.  The direct gaze toward the camera was effective, as were the dark eyes.  He did comment that the overall skin tones, especially the skin on the arms and the forehead, were very bright and distracting.

‘He’s behind you’  by Paul S

The first image scoring 10 points on the evening was  ‘The Shard, framed in granite’  by David M, shown below.  Our judge discussed the framing and the colour balance across the image as working well.  The boat in the view added interest, as did the reflections of the buildings in the polished granite.  Everything in the image was described as sharp.

‘The Shard, framed in granite’  by David M

The final print of the evening, and the overall winner scoring 10* points , was  ‘Above the Andes’  by Brian C – his second image held back this evening.  Graham described this image as showing incredible layering – almost a 3D feel to the image with subtle graduations of colour.  He described it as a lovely picture with lots of depth and detail in the darker areas.  He suggested that this picture, printed wall size on metallic paper, would be particularly effective.  In discussions after the scoring Brian revealed that the picture was shot through a plane window on a Smartphone, then post processed on a computer.

‘Above the Andes’  by Brian C

Our congratulations go to those top scorers on the evening, and our thanks to Graham for making the trip to our club this evening and for his engaging and constructive comments.  It was good to see so many different photographers represented among those images held back for a second viewing.  All of the scores on the evening will go forward to the leader-board for this competition.  The final score for this seasons open print competitions will be released under separate cover.

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