The cream rises to the top – “Food” results are in!

The subject for the March online competition was “Food” and there was plenty to get your teeth into. As usual lots of members had a go and Nigel Hazell as judge had plenty to chew over (I’ll stop the puns now). Nigel has done a splendid job and provided comments for all entrants so everyone has some feedback. So let’s see his comments and see if you think the entrants got their just desserts (couldn’t resist).

Not wishing to detract from Steve Wright’s delight in using a good pun or two in his web pages, I can’t really resist either because there are some very tasty shots in the 19 entries for the month of March…

Here then, are my observations for the offerings on the March menu. Chef’s recommendations will be served at the end with coffee…
1 Cream Tea for Two – Soft lighting suits the subject of this shot. Diagonals create an interesting dynamic and the placement of the cutlery and milk jug lead the eye to the subject. I was slightly distracted by a catch light on the left hand spoon and the crumbs on the platter.
2 Tucking In – The square crop enhances the composition, with the carcase and the horns of the poor victim helping to frame the lion. It’s a shame that the lion is not looking at, or gorging on its prey.
3 Demon Jelly Babies – Someone’s had some real fun here! Nicely set up lighting certainly gives the viewer a real nightmare feeling. Perhaps this shot should be used as part of a campaign to reduce our sugar consumption.
4 With Chips – Fishmongers displays can provide a great wealth of subjects. Here the grouping of fish is well seen and provides an interesting composition. A very shallow depth of field means that focus is not quite on the front two fish.
5 Share Nicely Boys – A very appropriate title for this well caught shot of gannets fighting over their lunch. The crop enhances the composition with a strong diagonal from the wing leading the viewer’s eye to the action.
6 From an Andalusian Orchard – I like the simplicity of this shot, the vibrant reds of the pomegranate and the subtle greens of the fig are set off well on the white plate. I’d like to have seen a shot before the feast had started though.
7 Take Your Pick – The first blackberries I’ve seen this year. A triangular composition works here with the pale stem leading the viewer’s eye. It seems to me though, that the un-ripened fruit is sharper than the ripened berry which is the main subject.
8 Cheesecake – Although I’ve not got a sweet tooth, this is an eye catching shot with texture, diagonals and a splash of colour adding up to a memorable image. More breathing room around the subject and a little more depth of field would have given this image even more strength.
9 What Can I Tempt You To? – I enjoy wide angle/fish eye images and the characteristics of these lenses has been put to good use in this shot with a strong foreground. I also like the inclusion of the figure in the doorway. Because of the predominance of browns in the confectionary, I would like to see a mono version of this image. There are one or two distracting high lights especially on the cling wrapped ginger bread biscuits.
10 Having my Cake and Eating it – An appealing use of colour and props in this studio shot. The baby with a quizzical expression, does seem though, more interested in the photographer, than the cakes.
11 Garlic Bulbs – A tight mono shot of well placed garlic bulbs and their cloves. The papery texture of the garlic is well handled with a good depth of field too. Perhaps the table top could have been softened in post, as this in my mind fights a little with the subject.
12 All Dressed Up – The salmon pink of these crabs works well with the blues of the counter top. I think that rotating the image though 180 degrees and widening the view a little would have added to this pattern picture.
13 Onion Strings – Taken in strong sunlight, this is a well seen arrangement of brown and red onions. I would like to see this shot taken on a cloudy day and so reducing the hi-lights on the onions as well as softening the contrast and shadows.
14 Working Lunch – The only thing that’s missing here is a glass of ale to accompany this tempting platter! Soft light has brought out the subtle shades and textures in the food. For me the background is a little too dark, consequently the plate appears to be hovering above the table top.
15 Who’s a Cauliflower? – The things folk do eh? This image stands out well against a dark background with a clear (turnip?) base. Strong light has brought out some texture in the cauliflower but also has caused blown hi-lights on the right hand side.
16 Kiwi Seeds – An unusual kiwi shot, with a letter box macro composition and beautiful pastel shades, which offer a lovely contrast to the black seeds. I like the echoed transition from the seeds towards the top of the frame. Perhaps cloning out the cropped seeds may have strengthened this image.
17 One Slice or Two – Mary Berry would be delighted with the open crumb texture of this tasty looking slice of sponge, which the photographer has handled well. Shooting the cake at an angle and allowing more space around the subject would I think have strengthened this shot.
18 Newton’s Other Apple – I’m always impressed by those of you who have the skills to do this sort of thing. It’s a good idea with a well light subject and I do like the way that the flesh can be seen within the apple. Perhaps a little bit of extra zing could be added by making the reds punchier.
19 Heads or Tails – A busy composition, that helps the viewer enjoy the wonderful patterns and colours seen on the fishmonger’s counter. Eventually, my eye is drawn to the fish at the bottom of the frame, so I think it a shame that its head is not looking directly at the photographer.

So here we go then, my three star Michelin images are as follows;
Newton’s Other Apple; every good meal should begin with a little ‘amuse bouche’, so I have awarded a highly commended to this picture for the cleverly delivered technique.
In third place, is Garlic Bulbs, although I would have liked to have seen this in colour.
My second place image is, Share Nicely Boys. This could have easily been my winner, however I have seen several great shots of this subject (and this is one without a doubt) so I guess that counted against it in the end.
So then to conclude this menu of delights, I went for the healthy option and am very pleased to award first place to Kiwi Seeds, an image which on my screen, serves the viewer with a wonderful range of subtle tones along with a strong graphic element – good enough to eat!

Nigel Hazell LRPS

Well, there you have it. Thanks again Nigel for giving everyone some feedback. Do you agree with Nigel? See what you think looking at the gallery below. The subject for next week’s online competition is “Wheels” – which may explain why there were so many wheel shots at the BMW garage visit! Why not have a go. Anny wheel will do – bicycle, wheelbarrow, roller skate, trains, model cars …. the list is endless.

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