Australia's third year of Wiki Loves Earth participation has produced many more wonderful images. This year we fell a handful of entries short of our 1 000 image target. Those images none-the-less were an amazing contribution. To me the most significant highlight is the return of contributors from past years. Of particular note is User:Katieleeosborne whose 2017 image of a Weedy Sea Dragon made the top 10. This year her image of a Leafy Sea Dragon made the top 10 but it was her image of an octopus living in a can under Rye Pier that was judged as the best for 2018. We can only lament at how our environment must adapt to our actions. Along with the Octopus, other aspects of our climate were well documented, with fires in the Blue Mountains, and a lightning storm also from the same location making it into the top 10.
On a personal note after 3 years of running Wiki Loves Earth for Wikimedia Australia I'll be stepping down to enable a new perspective to the process, which will also enable a potential change to judging panel which over the years has relied on my circle of photographer friends here in Perth. Judging-wise the process has been: I first do a review of every image, checking they meet all the WLE rules (watermarks, size, location, subject), basic technical aspects (straight horizons, noisy, or over-exposed). Then we get together as a group and work through the remaining images slowly, breaking it down to the final 10.
I suspect that there will be a lot of images in 2019 which will lay bare the scars of this year drought in the east, and the cold wet winter in the west. For me Dorothea Mackellar's poem really sums up the range of images submitted to WLE in Australia over the years. I'll look forward to continued images of ragged mountain ranges and sweeping plains being submitted WLE Australia in 2019 and beyond.