Red Alert! The online results are in.

The subject of June’s online competition was “The Colour Red” and the entrants did everything but paint the town red. Our esteemed Treasurer, Trevor Bottomley, was the judge this month so he had the task of picking his favourites, and giving red cards to others. As usual Trevor has been very thorough and given comments on every image so everyone will have something to read. Here they are with his prizewinners at the end. Below his comments are the images themselves so do have a look. Congratulations to all. July’s online competition subject is “Macro” so get your magnifying glasses out and get to work.

Well, there’s a good and varied selection of images this month. Unlike my previous online judging in which the subject matter (textures) was a bit more rigid, this subject opens itself to a much more diverse range of subjects. Each image certainly fits the criteria, and the variety makes it much more difficult to judge!

So, I’ve also taken into consideration the subject matter, presentation, title and appealabilty (is there such a word?!). 

Looking at each image:

‘No Fuel Today’ – Some wonderful flaky red paint here, with nice tones and textures giving it extra flakiness, but the title is more about the petrol pump rather than the main subject behind. A bit of side lighting would have enhanced the shape of the corrugated metalwork, making it stronger.

‘Besnard Lakes’ – I looked at this long and hard, trying to make out the darker shapes, as I thought initially it was some geographical location and wondered where it was. Having done a Google search, it seems that Besnard Lakes are a Canadian indie rock band! Now knowing this makes it a lot more obvious that it’s a figure, but the shape is a little lost in all that redness and it’s not obvious he’s playing a guitar. More detail in the figure would give it more impact.

‘Reds of Menton’ – Reds, with lots of other colours too, but find all the other colours are competing with the red, which is not particularly dominant in the image. Think the overall image too is a rather flat, and taken on a sunnier day with some strong shadows would have given it more contrast, depth and impact.

‘Red’ – A nice capture of the flower, the lighting picking out the shapes of the petals well, but I’m confused as to the connection with the Wakefield Express it’s set against. Also, the newspaper takes the eye away from the main subject and I find myself wanting to read the newspaper rather than appreciate the flower’s beauty.

‘She wanted an Audi TT but instead got a Teapot’ – Well, it’s different and I find the title quite amusing! Minimalistic in the colour red (the least red content of all the entries), but think it works well. I’d have expected though that if tea was being served at the table from that teapot there would have been teacups set out and not glass tumblers.

‘The Girl in the Red Hat’ – A fine portrait of this young lady, looking quite relaxed and happy to be photographed, very well captured and isolated from a not too busy background. Nice hat too!

‘The Girl with the Red Umbrella’ – Another fine female portrait, this one being of a Whitby Goth (no mistaking St Mary’s churchyard in the background!) It’s a pity her hair is the same colour as the brolly, as it tends to blend into the brolly – different colour hair would have given it better separation. Do think the selective colouring on girl plus brolly works well here.

‘Smokin Chilli’ – Great bit of digital work, in getting the chilli to smoke! Although the chilli and it’s smoke are red, it suggests to me heat or fieriness. A slight shadow below the chilli would give it more lift rather than just placed against a totally plain background (I’ve tried this in PS from a screenshot). It does though appeal to me and I like the simplicity of the presentation.

‘Roses are Red’ – A very lovely capture of this rose, and the best of the flower entries in my opinion, with wonderful lighting and the reflection giving it extra impact. I wondered if removing some of the dark area to the left would have worked better, but on masking bits off, found it’s fine just as it is!

‘Where the Heart is’ – A nice presentation of this hanging decoration, good depth of field to isolate it from its background, though it doesn’t actually convey the location of ‘where the heart is’. Also, the focus on the heart itself drops off at the left hand side, and I would have expected the whole of the main subject to be sharp.

‘Old Timer’ – Think I travelled on this Old Timer when I went to Beamish last year! Seems very devoid of people in this, the busiest part of Beamish. However, we’re looking at the vehicle, and it’s a good shot and placing of the old bus, but it looks like it was taken on a very wet day, muting the colours – had it been on a sunnier day it would have lifted the colours and enhanced the red in the vehicle.

‘Robin Red Breast’ – An appealing capture of the robin posing for the photographer, nicely exposed with good colours. Pity about the black rail in the background, which is partially behind the robin’s head – the composition would have been better taken from a very slightly higher viewpoint placing the rail more towards the top. I think however that the robin isn’t as sharp as it could have been.

‘Anchored’ – Is she anchored to the wall, or her mobile?! Not sure about this title, but a good street candid of the young lady engrossed in her texting. Think the composition would have been stronger had she been positioned a little to the left rather than bang in the centre. If it was a grab shot, this could have been re-composed afterwards in PS, cropping some off the left – and the bottom too – which would emphasise the red more. (Again, tried this in PS from a screenshot).

‘Red Poppies’ – Like the low viewpoint in this image which makes the poppies stand out well against the sky, and it’s well composed, with the poppies nicely balanced with the wind turbine in the background. As with ‘The Girl with the Red Umbrella’ think the selective colouring works well, helping make the wind turbine less dominant. Brightening up the poppies a little in PS though does make them leap out more and give it more punch.


Well, now to choose my three favourites – this is the hard bit! After much deliberation, my choices in reverse order are:

3rd – ‘Red Poppies’. Just think brighter poppies would have made it punchier, but very well composed and captured.

2nd – ‘Smokin Chilli’. Like the simplicity of the presentation, but with a shadow below the chilli it would have given it more ‘lift’. Just pips ‘Red Poppies’ for its creativity.

1st – ‘Roses are Red’. Can’t think of anything negative to say about this, or improve it, so it has to be my first choice!


I’ve tried to provide constructive critique on each entry, but there are some super entries here (don’t think I could have done any better had I been entering!) and hope my nit-picking hasn’t offended anyone!

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