You be a judge

The shortlists for each of the categories in the Bird Photographer of the Year Awards are published. So you can decide for yourself who the winners are. You’ll find it a lot easier in the privacy of your own home than in a room with a lot of people who have similarly firm opinions and preferences – it’s just that they are firmly in favour of very different images from you.


So, go on then – pick the best image of them all. What do you think?

You’ll have to wait until the Bird Fair to see whether we, the panel of judges, got it right or not…

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3 Replies to “You be a judge”

  1. What I like about the shortlist is the fact that not all the birds are "exotic' and there's some common species on the list. I like the Hen Harrier & Bearded Tit. But there's one images that raise questions, as a photographer that is the female owl, with eggs.

  2. Very interesting. I've always taken some photos of birds, but really I've been a macro photographer. Only lately have I been trying to get a bit more serious about photographing birds. With macro photography I know what makes a good image, and how to get them. I've been less certain with bird photography about what is achievable and what separates the best from the also ran i.e. the standards. One of the most difficult things to judge has been image quality. Good bird photographers only tend to make their online images available at quite low resolution sizes, so it's often difficult without seeing the full resolution image, or a big print what image quality is achievable and acceptable.

    Obviously with birds you have to do a lot of cropping due to the difficult of getting close enough. This is what makes image quality important in judging how good each image ultimately is. In other words to know if an image is a massive crop, or fills much of the frame size available.

    This was my main difficulty when going through these images on the Bird Photographer of the Year shortlist. I found the images a bit low resolution to ultimately judge which were the best. Also if you click on the + sign the image massively enlarges, but all you are seeing is a horribly enlarged low resolution image with loads of compression artefacts.

    The images which personally stood out for me are "Cuckoo and Meadow Pipit" in the "bird behaviour" category, and "Courting Ravens" in the "birds in the environment" category. There are many other outstanding looking images, but I was unsure with many how good they'd look as a big print from a full resolution file.

    I've seen many images which look great at low resolutions, but not so great at the higher resolutions needed for a good print.

    Out of interest Mark, did the judges see images only at this resolution, or were higher resolution files available to the judges?

  3. Where's Henry? 😉

    Some stunning images, hard work for someone to judge. After all, 'art' is in the eye of the beholder and by virtue of that subjective (unless you are into the technical aspects)?


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