Seddon Shield Landscape Competition

Judges Comment

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to evaluate your entries, a task which I enjoyed.

While it was not difficult to see why photographers were drawn to certain locations or subject matter, the degree of success varied. The better images were certainly captured by those who were well organised in their approach, and fully interacted with their subject. Landscape photography can be quite difficult because there are so many components and details. Those who do justice to all three of foreground, middle ground, and background, will often link or separate them by the use of lead in lines, tonal contrast, colour dynamics, and differential focus. All of these can help identify accents and a centre of interest. It is also important not to include too much which could disrupt an otherwise balanced composition.

Good lighting is a key to good photography but do use it economically, and avoid excess highlight tones being scattered everywhere. It will distract the eye and rob you of dramatic impact. Conversely also recognise when soft lighting can be your friend.

Print workers will mat their work to help contain their images. Owners of Projected Images need to take the same kind of care to ensure their edges offer similar containment.

I commend all those exhibitors who included locational information in their titles where appropriate. This will add value to your work as time goes on.


Landscape Prints:


Irene Callaghan Kaikoura Sunrise.jpg This print offers excellent colour contrast, good modelling and textures, and three distinct planes. However I was rather disconcerted as to how I should navigate the image. There are stepping stone routes at the far left and centre, while a gap has also been provided on the far right.1

Gary Stowell Lake Brunner.jpg Although the image is a little lacking in recession, the treatment of the water is good. Its greatest strength is its informative documentation of the Lake Brunner botany and ecology.1

Gary Stowell Lyell Cemetery.jpg As well as having considerable historical value, this study, offers a well balanced composition, a careful handling of tone, contex, and the creation of nostalgia.1

Iain Galloway Winter at Vestrahorn.jpg The bleak mood of this image first attracted me, before prompting me to check the location on Google Earth. My main reservation is about the arrangement of the foreground. While the use of lead in lines is useful, I am not so happy about the centrally placed dune which butts on to the mountain range, and interrupts the thin water base.1

Barry Doig Rain Approaching.jpg This has a good foreground and an outstanding background. However, the tree silhouettes in between provide an intrusive middle,ground, particularly where they merge with the boat’s mast. Some lightening and softening may have helped.

Dennis Brown Sunset.jpg This is a high impact study of low, luminous back lighting. The trees provide a well balanced composition. Should the impact become too overbearing, it is rewarding to take a closer view of the base.

Dennis Brown Lake Tekapo.jpg There is so much I like about this work – its minimalism, colour contrast, subtle water detail, mood and print quality. However, I just feel that the hint of light breaking through the central upper sky, just needs to be taken one small step further, towards matching the interest of the base.

Irene Callaghan Ridgeline.jpg This shows good conceptualisation and craftsmanship both at capture and during post exposure. My first impression was that the right hand side including the clouds, summit and tree may have been too heavy. But then I realized that the long panel format accommodating the toe of the ridge, plus the sky mass of higher tone, did contribute well to the fulcrum and balance.

Iain Galloway Lofoten Morning Layers.jpg This reminded me of the romantic landscape works of some of the old painting masters. Its success is built on the moody warm hues, generous detail in each of the three main planes, subtle recession, and the upward movement of horizontal lines, which make the navigation of the whole work very accessible. Everything contributed to unity, harmony and interest. Top Landscape Print

Projected Images​

Non Accepted

01 Furniehurst It certainly portrays winter but has little artistry, and the fence puts up a barrier.

02 Three of us Scene has some mood but the birds are rather lost through being too small in the frame and being drowned out by the featureless highlight areas. A generous crop of the base and left would help.

03 Veiled Terraces This is a difficult Otago icon to photograph. A clipped exposure would have given more shape and fewer competing higher tones.

04 Anatori There is some good material with the clouds, dune patters, tire marks, and trees, but I do not find your composition cohesive and flowing. Also, I do not like the bas relief artifacts hugging your trees.

05 Sabine River I do like your mist covered mountain tops. However, your unremarkable river rendition does not really give us a bridge from the foreground to the background.

06 West Coast NZ While this image is typical of parts of the West Coast, I would like to see a less loose composition. Including a wave on the right hand edge only diverts attention away from the left hand rocks.

07 Catching the light Light is captured well but what a pity you did not crop out the distracting upper snow and instead made more of the reflection in the lower right.

08 Awaken I really like your moody left, but it needs an accent on the foreground right to balance it.

09 On top of the world The fog and the rocks are very interesting but the figure does not really contribute. Reducing the flatly rendered foreground so as to add more impact to the rocks, would help.

10 Wainui Ghost Tree I do not think the tree is evocative or elegant enough in itself to warrant the space it is given. Showing more sky, particularly what is on the left, could portray the tree more dramatically.

11 Long hot summer of 2019 Nearly there, and I can understand your intention. It is a pity that through repositioning yourself, you could not have shown a longer trunk to raise the tree higher in the frame and show more sky underneath.

12 Sunrise on a misty morning You have made a great start to this image but it needs a much stronger centre of interest.

14 Rarangi This brought back memories of the time when I lived in Blenheim! Your rendition of the distance is good but you have a very untidy foreground which you could have avoided.

13 The Old Log Barn The barn and background are interesting. However I felt the fencing was invasive, while the monotonal range could have been enhanced with a little more contrast.

15 Reflections on a landscape While your rendition of the window frame is very good, your over exposure of the landscape lets down your title and the potential impact of the image. It could have gained a Merit.

16 Rainbow at Moeraki The rainbow, sky, well lit grasses, and coastline, are all excellent components. Unfortunately they are all competing with one another, and lead to a cluttered composition. Some cropping off the top and right could help but a repositioning at the time of capture would have been even better.

17 Rock Formation This was close to an acceptance, but I felt that the centrally placed rock on the bottom edge, and the break behind it, interrupted my entry to the rock pathway leading to the waves. There was also some evidence of low resolution which detracted. Conceptualisation was generally good.

18 Mangatini Falls This was another close miss. The waterfall itself is well organised in the frame, but the high tones near the right hand edge compete too much for attention.

19 Moonlight on Motueka Beach The moon and reflections have much initial impact, but due to the high contrast, the extensive shadow areas and unsympathetic horizontal lines do not make best use of the frame.

20 Morning light on Maori Lake I really liked the material you included in this carefully arranged study. However you needed to better control your use of tonal range, particularly the higher tones which make the reflection too dominating, and render the alpine background too flat and lacking in drama.


Eunice Belk Awatare Valley Vineyard.jpg This is a carefully composed study using the soft lighting to do justice to the various elements. It is also a good example of how colour contrast rather than tonal contrast can be used to give life to the image.1

Dick Campbell Golden hues at Sunset.jpg Although the composition is not entirely flowing, the blocks of abstractions are interesting. It is a real feast of light, colour and texture.

Denise Manning Irish mist.jpg This is a creative effort which does contribute to a mystical mood. The composition and tonal range help to portray recession. Maybe lighting up more detail on the foreground trunks would be an enhancement.1

Wendy McGregor Kina.jpg I like the beautifully captured foreground and breaking waves. Unfortunately the light sky dilutes the dramatic mood. Consider toning down or cropping.1

Bron McKenzie Lake Hanlon.jpg This well seen study plus a tight grip on exposure, has created a rather menacing mood with a wealth of detail to explore.1

Roger Ball Lewis Pass.jpg This was not an easy photo to take with so much frontal lighting around. However, good conceptualisation and execution have prevailed. The road provides a good lead in, while your centralised cumulus cloud provides a strong accent. The composition is well balanced.1

Sara Varenne Lindis Pass.jpg The simplicity of this typical Lindis landscape appeals. While the main block of sunlight has been well placed, I would prefer to see removed, the road on the left hand edge, and the small spot of sunlight on the far right toned down. They are inclined to be distracting.1

Sara Varenne Marlborough hills.jpg Despite not having a strong centre of interest the composition is well balanced and contains many interesting elements inviting repeated viewing. It draws an emotional response.1

Roger Ball Maruia Falls.jpg You have interacted well with your subject matter. The monochrome approach has contributed to this quiet portrayal of the falls. I would suggest that you tone down further, the higher tones close to the upper edges.1

Kathy Pantling Motueka Salt Water Baths.jpg This was accepted because of the interest created by the aerial viewpoint. It could have potential as a PJ image. Some toning down of the rocks in the top left corner could reduce the heaviness of the left compared to the right. Some tidal water on right could similarly enhance.1

Jan Baily Photographers Rock, Totaranui Channel.jpg This is a superbly composed image with strong back to side lighting available to show all the components to advantage. However, too full an exposure has reduced the dramatic potential. Otherwise it would have been placed higher in this competition.1

Eunice Belk Red Clover Crop.jpg Although this image does not have a strong accent, it does have a strong sense of unity created the graduated warm hues. The sky injects some relieving colour contrast.1

Jean Willis Shag Pt.jpg The composition has been much better handled than in the previous Moeraki shot. There is even room for a rainbow!1

Michelle Kelly Silence.jpg This was another good effort about which I felt a little uncomfortable. Again, there was much I liked. I would ideally have liked the nearest boat to be a little more to the left and slightly larger, with the distant boat clear of the breakwater. The image has a very good tonal range and a tranquil mood is conveyed.1

Ruedi Mosimann Spring Star Shower.jpg This image was accepted because of the interest and dynamics of its content. Artistically, it presents best as a thumbnail or from a distance. Close up, the beautifully lit mountains and the star trail bombardment, seem to be in conflict.1

Wendy McGregor Stranded Together.jpg Well done! The photographer has brought artistry and story telling to objects which in themselves are not particularly beautiful.1

Nicole Tai Sunrise at Lake Alexandrina.jpg There was much I liked about this work, but there were also some discordant aspects. The small degree of under exposure seems to hinder the dinghy’s role as an anchor for the composition. Blue is normally a receding colour and seemed to struggle to advance against all the warm hues around it. A slightly lighter rendition may have offset that. A relatively lower light value on the water, or some cropping of the top and right could have put more emphasis on the dinghy. The component themselves are really good and its only the distribution of the light values which concerns me.1

Alison Meier The Winter Graze.jpg A pleasing use of the vertical format to emphasise the sky formation and to enhance the restful aspects of this rural scene.1

Ross Beech Tumbling waters_.jpg This image, by comparison with the previous image conveys quite a lyrical mood thanks to the strong directional lighting and complemented by the pleasing sky and native bush. Is the scene’s whereabouts a big secret?1

Heather Knapp Waipapa Point lighthouse.jpg This is a well constructed composition involving the story telling components of protection, location, weather, and marine navigation. Well seen.1

Ruedi Mosimann After the rain.jpg I evaluated this in terms of being an impressionistic work. I do think your treatment has conveyed well the fluidity of light and water. My only reservation was the cut off look of the jetty at base. But maybe that was a deliberate part of the conceptualisation.

Ritchie White Cape Farewell.jpg This is a very big canvas which illustrates the effect of light on landform. The composition in parts is challenging, but overall its most rewarding when viewed circularly. Start with the shimmering sea and then allow the foreground lines to take your eye right wards anti clockwise along the top and back to the sea. Let it be a leisurely trip so you can enjoy the detail. My only suggestion is to tone down the centre base which is a little too powerful at present.

Jan Baily Landscape with fire.jpg Certainly this is a time and place we all would have liked to share with you. After absorbing the immediate emotional impact of the sky, we can explore more slowly the detail of the foot hill recessions. Maybe some of the darker tones of the base can be lightened still further to reveal even more receding and continuous planes.

Ann Knipe Lk Pearson in the Mist.jpg The monochrome treatment, soft directional light, a beautifully rendered anchoring rock, and a panoramic format all combine to convey a feeling of space and tranquillity. Maybe slightly more darkening towards the right hand edge would add to the effect.

Rebecca Bowater Sand Dunes Farewell Spit.jpg This abstract study echoes both spent waves and snow drifts. The gentle subtleties in both colour and tonal contrast are hard to nail in one’s memory. As a consequence, repeat viewings are always rewarding.

Dianna Hambleton Castle Point.jpg I thought this work scored well in both pictorial and documentary terms. It illustrates the use of foreground and background planes, and how recession may be conveyed using all of size, colour and tone. The sky is decorative, and the landforms are dramatic, but the capture of the lighthouse is so powerfully done that it holds the whole composition solidly in its grip.

Roger Thwaites Clearing mist.jpg This image displays how a restricted colour palette can be very effective. From the very strong yellow ochre of the foreground, we go to the more subdued umbers in the middleground. At the top we make the transition and dilution to the neutral greys. As well as colour and tonal recessions we also enjoy progressions in textural intensities. On top of all that we have mood and simplicity. My only suggestion is that I would like to see a little more down toning at base.

Andy Rae Reflections.jpg The photographer did well to capture this image which can be enjoyed either in abstract or reality terms. Part of this was by making sure that the bottom portion was not a repeat of the top. This is done by cleverly disguising the shoreline, and introducing new colours and shapes to the bottom half. The rather vertical compilation of the rocks provides a central and very effective focal point from which we can explore the wealth of detail in the composition.

Ritchie White Veiled light Upper Rakaia.jpg This image conveys very well the typical Canterbury high country when a north-westerly storm is developing. To be fully enjoyed, this work needs to be viewed firstly from a distance and then at closer range. While the sunburst area provides an undeniable focal point, the composition is loose enough to provide different routes to that point, either through four gaps in the middle ground, or by taking the left to right circular route following the back lit grasses in the foreground. It is indeed a work which invites both an emotional and intellectual response. That response can take either the fast track or a more leisurely amble.

Nicole Tai Lake Alexandrina.jpg As you will have gathered by now from my comments, there were several works which could have had claims for the top placing. In the end I chose a work which is accessible, has soul, no weaknesses, and above all, superbly conceptualised and executed. I did like the dynamics which allowed the four diagonal lines to hurtle like daggers from each corner towards the centre. From that dramatic entry, my eyes were then able to rest in the interestingly graduated sky area for a short while, before leisurely soaking up the detail, colour, and tranquil mood of the sunset hour.  Top overall Ellis Dudgeon Memorial Landscape Award