I really enjoyed judging this year’s Wandoan Photo Challenge. Since the challenge’s inception, the photography standard has continued to strengthen, with so many keen, skilled photographers stepping up. Overall, the images are a wonderful reflection of all that goes on in the Wandoan district. They tell diverse stories of agricultural production and life and work on the land. They also speak of the people and animals in and around town, the bush lifestyle and stunning landscapes. I was also impressed by the young photographers’ entries. They present wonderful, unique perspectives and clear, emerging talent.
1st – David Wilson
This is a great action shot of Wandoan’s annual rodeo. Well composed and timely snapped, it captures the moment the rider hits the deck. The concern of those watching is also evident. This image tells an immediate story. Essentially, the focus is sharp and the depth of field allows the viewer to see the bigger picture. The flying dirt and light in the bull’s eye helps make it an even stronger photo.
2nd – Emily Blackley
This is a joyful, candid image of two children enjoying unusually wet weather. The joy in their faces and movement tell us that they most likely haven’t been able to stomp in the mud for some time – a great story in one portrait. It has a lovely depth of field and is well composed, with the focus on the little girl out front. The child in soft focus running towards her adds to the image and story.
3rd – Megan McNicholl
This image suits the theme, Small Town, Big Country, perfectly. It’s a crisp, colourful and sharp image (not easy to do in harsh daylight) portraying a well organised community luncheon – something small towns do so well. I love the pink pub in the background – that speaks volumes too.
1st: David Wilson
The moment I opened this image I could see it was a ‘WOW’ shot. A beautiful portrait of a local cattleman (“I’m guessing he is) holding his nearly full rain gauge. Water is life – and makes his work life so much easier. The image is beautifully in focus, has great tones and there are no black shadows under his hat (hard to avoid in bright sun). With skill, the photographer has ensured the face and eyes are clear. Depth of field is perfect, with the subject in vivid focus. Framing this image from waist up works brilliantly. The face and the rain gauge are both important standouts and tell a powerful story. Well done!
2nd: Tracee Hay
This image of cattlemen bringing in the stock is a great, iconic capture of life and work in the bush. I like the soft, black and white tones, good focus and the mix of light and dust.
3rd: Tracee Hay
Great capture/story of local firemen in their work environment. It looks like they’ve had a very long day and now the fire is under control. Lovely colours and tone.
1st: Diane Griffin
Fills the brief very well. The combination of action and close up is well done. We can see the wood chips and great focus on the chainsaw, hands and arms. Shooting in good, natural light has helped immensely.
2nd: Diane Griffin
This image of well worn work boots and bush hat speaks volumes of working on the land. Nicely framed, simple and in focus.
3rd: Tania Baker
A nicely composed image of a local woman working in her garden. The close up of the cactus in her hands is very effective. Great depth of field, sharp focus and vivid colours work together perfectly.
1st: Caitlyn Bowling
This stunning, late afternoon shot is the best ‘big country’ shot of the competition. The combination of soft light, a full rainbow, farming country, wide angle and a stormy sky makes for a wonderful landscape image. Fantastic work.
2nd: Ben Moore
A super silhouette! Well done capturing a colourful sky on dusk. The child on the gate with a big hat makes this image. Sunset shots can be a little cliche – so adding a person brings in new interest, making it a ‘wow’ photo.
3rd: Will Bowling
A lovely angle of a horse in soft light. Capturing some light in the eye helps bring the image out.
Paula Heelan (April 2021)