I agree with you that NA draws inspiration from Japanese landscaping, my point was more that Amano's work stops at "inspire" whereas IAPLC seems to favor "inspire then replicate".
Reef folks more natural? Maybe. Most folks go out of their way to put the gaudiest corals together in densities that would get the polyps killing each other off within a year. It is, however, a scene that has more in common with nature than a "garden" aquascape.
Gaudy? We will ignore all discus folks 100%
They tend to go out and look at the reefs, they tend to go out and see what is there, what parameters, actually measure things and measure them well, FW people? Nope, not even a little bit............
Reef scape designs are fairly tired though, but I have seen some cool stuff on both sides.
Still, a single Front of tank full shot and nothing above the lip sort of sucks and limits the aquarium and it's artful display into the living space.
T%he Dutch often judged this aspect FAR FAR more than any ADA contest, which essentially gives no merit to the tank's placement in the home/living space.
ADA does do this at the shop headquarters.......at his own home......for client's etc.....but not for the contest. Videos seem much more fair and details about each aspect of the tank etc, but/that's a lot of work also to do.
Hard to say.
Such issues make me feel unable to be a judge. I cannot come to terms with my own thoughts, how can I judge others?
I cannot in all fairness, it would feel like a job I do not like.