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December POTD Winners selected!
(Sunday, January 8, 2006 - 18:45 EST)

We chose "natural composition," "Roof Top Lovers," and "Extremely Green" as December's Photo of the Month contest winners. Congratulations to Luigi Piccirillo, Chuck Bieneman, and Jamie Felton!

Another great month made choosing three winners very difficult, congratulations to all our daily winners! We're glad to see that you folks not only like cameras, you love photography as much as we do. It shows in your pictures.

First Place
natural composition, by Luigi Piccirillo
(Luigi won a Kodak EasyShare P880 digital camera)**

Photographing any living thing from this close can be challenging. Time is against you, because you don't know what the animal is going to do next. Photographing a white creature without underexposing is very difficult, but so is adjusting settings while under the pressure of time. It is entirely possible that Luigi's D70 left enough latitude to work with after the shot, but either way, the shot and its composition tell the story of a resting bird, and reveal a bit of its personality. That rugged beak, wrinkly face and inquisitive eye are there to examine closer than most of us would dare. He could have backed off and got another shot showing the whole bird, or even its entire beak, but this daring vantage has given us a rare detailed look at a beautiful creature.

Second Place
Roof Top Lovers, by Chuck Bieneman
(Chuck won a Kingston 512MB memory card, in the format of his choice, and a copy of E-Book Systems FlipAlbum Pro.)

Sometimes a photo wins by having so many excellent elements that fall into place. Photos of fiberglass roofing are not interesting of themselves, nor are silhouettes, nor are pigeons standing around doing nothing. But put two of the right size pigeons on a sunlit fiberglass roof at just the right angle to keep them identifiable as birds, and have them stand appearing to look at each other affectionately, and it's a witty exercise in anthropomorphism. Looks like the end of a love scene in some Disney movie about birds. Chuck had his camera in the right place at the right time, and waited for the perfect opportunity to make a timeless photograph. Then he had the good sense to crop the photo down to just the area surrounding the birds, rather than leave all that dead space in, thus framing his shadow portrait with illuminated fiberglass roofing.

Third Place
Extreemly Green, by Jamie Felton
(Jamie won a copy of E-Book Systems' FlipAlbum Suite)

Depth of field is difficult to maintain in macro shots, and few subjects are more difficult to keep in focus than a dragonfly, because their body parts extend in several directions. Shooting from above eliminated the depth of field problem, and shows the dragonfly's beautiful coloring and marvelous delicate structure. Whether the colors were changed in Photoshop or Jamie was very lucky I cannot say, but the dragonfly's vibrant color leaves just the creature's sharply-defined black structure to define the subject. Here again is a subject where cropping to get in closer helped rather than hindered the photograph. A fine image.

There you have it: 31 superb Photos of the Day, with 3 exceptional ones capturing top honors. - Now that it's a new year, resolve to take the time to capture your surroundings and enter your best images in our Photo of the Day Contest. That could be your photo up there this time next month! Dig through your digital shoe boxes, pick your best and join the fun!

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