"Kilimanjaro," "Destiny ahead," and "Amsterdam at Dusk" were chosen as our April winners. Congratulations to Rob Bukar, Martin Alejandro Bordagaray, and Stefan Guth!
Without further ado, here's the three monthly winners for April, and comments from the judges on what made them so great. Clicking on any image will open a larger version in a new window.
Kilimanjaro , by Rob Bukar
(Rob won a Canon PIXMA Pro9000 Printer.)
Wow, what an atmospheric effect! There's much to be said for simply being in the right place at the right time, but Rob's use of focal length and framing contributed to this being an exceptional shot: The image is very neatly divided into three zones, defined by the sky/mountain, hazy middle region, and sharp landscape with the zebras. All the judges liked this photo, but there was some disagreement about its exposure. On the one hand, some felt that the high-key emphasis (mostly lighter tones present in the image) did a good job of evoking the sun-baked feeling of the plain. Others would have liked to have seen the upper three-quarter tones brought down more into midtone territory, feeling that the image looked a little washed-out as it stood. (Although we're sure that the hazy, washed-out look accurately depicts the scene as Rob found it.) That's a minor issue, though, given the image's great appeal otherwise. (And as we just noted, the tonality is likely very close to the way the scene looked in real life.) Great job!
Destiny ahead, by Martin Alejandro Bordagaray
(Martin won a Canon PIXMA MP970 Printer.)
Ultra-wide angle lenses can be challenging to shoot with; it takes some practice to be able to conceptualize shots visually with them, and it's often hard to find subjects that work really well with them. For many scenic vistas, where you'd think an ultra-wide would be the way to go, the wide angle makes the background recede so much that you lose the sense of grandeur that inspired you to take the shot in the first place. Here, though, Martin found a perfect subject (the night sky is already *at* infinity, so there's no issue with having objects recede too far from the viewer), and managed an absolutely perfect balance of exposure between the lantern (fire? gelled strobe?) in the foreground, the light from the lantern on the walls of the structure, and the light from the stars and noctilucent clouds. A shot like this can be *really* tricky to set up using continuous light sources; it's somewhat easier if you're using a strobe as one of the light sources, as you can control the light from it via the lens aperture somewhat independently from the exposure from the ambient, via the shutter speed. Given that Martin was shooting at f/3.5 here, though, it's likely that the main light source was indeed a lantern of some sort. However he accomplished it, this is just a spectacular shot, perfectly composed and very nicely lit. Beautiful work!
Amsterdam at Dusk, by Stefan Guth
(Stefan won a Canon PIXMA MP610 Printer.)
Wow, two ultra-wide shots in one month's winners circle! Here again, we see a perfect balance between widely varying light sources, but this time, we suspect it was done using some sort of HDR (High Dynamic Range) technique, combining two or more shots captured at different exposures into a single final image. It's easy to get carried away with HDR, producing overly-dramatic skies, or images with tones that have obviously been monkeyed with. If that's the sort of thing you like, then by all means go for it, but we at IR feel that the obvious "HDR look" is becoming something of a visual cliche. Much more noteworthy (and praiseworthy, at least in our humble opinions) is an example like this, where the image just looks natural, as your eye might have seen it. Of course, it's also possible that Stefan just got lucky here (or made his own "luck," by being patient enough to wait for the moment when the light was just right), but regardless of the particular technique, the result is beautiful image. We always like contrasts in images; they keep things visually interesting. In this case, there's a nice, natural contrast between the strong rectilinear, man-made lines on the right side of the frame and the frizzy, organic shapes of the trees on the left. Likewise, there's a contrast between the man-made lighting on the right, and the natural light drawing your eye to the left. All in all, very nicely done: Well-framed, nice composition, and perfectly exposed. Superb!
|Anu ||The Fishtail Waves |
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|by David April ||by Daniel Pham |
As always, 30 great daily winners made it hard to select the three very best, but that's a happy chore here at IR. Congratulations to all the daily winners, and thanks to everyone who submitted photos for April's contest. The consistently high quality of images submitted to the Photo of the Day contest are what makes it the success that it's been!
So - what are you waiting for? That could be your photo up there this time next month! Dig through your digital shoe boxes, pick your best and join the fun!