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April Picture of the Month Winners + Runner-ups!
(Monday, May 8, 2006 - 12:18 EDT)

We chose "The Insect," "Road Test," and "Icarus" as Photo of the Month contest winners for April. Congratulations to Rafal, Pedro De Carvalho, and Esad Mulabegovic!

Wow, quite a few excellent shots to choose from. So many, in fact, that there were six images left on my desk after the selection. After a good bit of pondering, I had to pick the three winners, but I've decided to include the runners up for you to enjoy. As I say, though, all of this month's winners were notable, so be sure to visit the POTD Winners Gallery to see all of them.

And now, on to the winners for April.

The Insect

First Place
The Insect, by Rafal
(Rafal won a Kodak EasyShare V570 digital camera)

Quite a combination of factors come together to make this a great portrait of a flower's ecosystem. It really takes something for a bug picture to earn my praise, but this one could appear in a book. I enjoy the contrast that the soft focus gives to the already soft flower in the background. Add the soft light coming in from the left, and this could be a good picture of a flower just by itself; but the story intensifies with the five insects working on the flower. Whether parasites or helpers, their presence gives the photo more depth and interest. The big long insect contrasts in shape, sharpness, and color to the background of the flower. The position of its head and antennae add to the sense of domination over the flower and even the other beetles as he proceeds to munch (or maybe smell?). It's just a cool shot with a pleasant glow. Looking at it too long still makes me itch, and I do want to flick the bugs off this flower, but I still really like the photo.

Road Test

Second Place
Road Test, by Pedro De Carvalho
(Pedro won a Kingston 512MB memory card, in the format of his choice, and a copy of E-Book Systems FlipAlbum Pro.)

It does go without saying, but sharpness is not always necessary in a photograph, especially when subject and photographer are in motion. This shot has a lot of basic elements straight from the Kodak photo tips book: Leading lines, S-Curves, and the Rule of Thirds. While I love nature shots, it's remarkable how much of the world in which most of us live is manmade, and in this case the entire visible world is constructed; even the sky is blotted out as this Range Rover zips through this tunnel. I especially like how the white lines emanating from the four corners pulls me into the frame, such that I anticipate the turn ahead. This is a fine illustration.


Third Place
Icarus, by Esad Mulabegovic
(Esad won a copy of E-Book Systems' FlipAlbum Suite)

Icarus flew in myth long before man first set to flight, but now people do it daily with a few thousand dollars worth of gear and sufficient courage. While I frequently see shots of these parasailers from a distance, this shot gives a unique perspective. I admire the composition made by the parasail's black wavy line that just touches the pilot's figure. The TITAN II logo (further Greek mythology to ponder) offsets the pilot's silhouette, adding more graphical balance. The bright yellow fading to orange in the shadows makes a vibrant contrast against the cloud-dappled sky, bringing to mind a flight too close to the Sun. It's a case where the title works for the photo. I also like the broad space for the parasailer to travel through. It's just enough to let the mind imagine the rest of the flight. A nice shot.

Those are our picks for April. Congratulations to all the Daily Winners, we tip our hats to you as well.

Now for those runners-up, we'll just show them below and offer our congratulations for some great shots that just got edged out by the three above.

Canon against Canon

First Runner Up
Canon against Canon, by David

Via Mordor

Second Runner Up
Via Mordor, by Mirza Hasanefendic

Lost Location

Third Runner Up
Lost Location, by Edin Dzeko

Remember: one of these could be your photo next month! Grab the nearest digital camera, pick your best and join the fun!

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