"Playing Cane-Ball," "Approach of Sunlight," and "Down the Cobbled Path" were chosen as our November winners. Congratulations to Zaw Zaw Tun (Kyauk Me), Lester A Garcia, and Kay Beausoleil!
Without further ado, here's the three monthly winners for November, and comments from the judges on what made them so great. Clicking on any image will open a larger version in a new window.
Playing Cane-Ball, by Zaw Zaw Tun (Kyauk Me)
(Zaw Zaw Tun (Kyauk Me) won a Canon PIXMA Pro9000 Mark II Printer.)
This shot was as near to a unanimous pick as we ever see among the judges; almost everyone named it as their number one choice. The composition is near-perfect, with lots of visual interest, contrasting forms, and elements that draw the eye nicely. We don't see a lot of silhouette shots in the POTD submissions, perhaps because it can be hard to deliberately throw away so much visual detail and still keep the image interesting. This one does that very well, through the dynamic frozen-motion of the boys' figures, and the odd angles they're captured in. Compositionally, the shape of the cloud formation works to direct attention to the ball, yet the extreme contrast of the boys' figures creates a visual tension that draws your eye further and keeps it moving around the frame. The soft details of the clouds also create a strong counterpoint to the sharp-edged details of the ball, the figures, and the ground, adding contrast in form as well as tonality. An unusual and striking image.
Approach of Sunlight, by Lester A Garcia
(Lester won a Canon PIXMA MP980 Printer.)
This is a beautiful, bold image, but we confess we winced a little inwardly as we chose it: Not because there was anything wrong with the image itself, but because it makes use of two techniques (high color saturation and high dynamic range or HDR) that we *very* often see over-done in POTD submissions. We've had a fair number of winners (like this one) that used high saturation to good advantage, which apparently has led many contestants to assume that all they need to do to create a winning entry is crank the saturation way up. In actuality, more otherwise-worthy photos have been ruined this way than winners have been created. Likewise, HDR is easy to do these days in software, and images created with it can be visually arresting because they look so different from what our eyes are accustomed to. The "HDR look" has become a cliche, though, and again, we see it ruining more good photos than we see it rescuing lesser ones - so our fear is that choosing a winner using both high saturation and HDR is just going to lead to further abuse of both methods.
To our eyes, Lester's photo takes it right to the edge with both techniques, but the result stays within the realm of believability. (Well, the blue in the sky is perhaps a bit beyond believable, but it works nonetheless.) The dodging (or HDR) applied to the rearmost set of rocks bleeds into the sky a little (visible as the light glow surrounding them), but details in the rocks still look like shadowed detail as it would appear to the eye. Compositionally, the image just leaps off the screen/print at you: The cloud details and the sun lead your eye down to the cleft in the rocks, where it's caught by the splash of the wave surging toward you. Most viewers looking at this image would name the sun as the subject, but we found that the wave was where our eyes ultimately ended up, making it the real primary subject. The balance between foreground and background is excellent as well, providing a sense of space and depth that can be difficult to achieve in a two-dimensional medium. Bottom line, an exceptional image, one that required excellent skills both behind the lens and in front of the computer.
Down the Cobbled Path, by Kay Beausoleil
(Kay won a Canon PIXMA MP620 Printer.)
What a lovely image! It's interesting to note how varied the appeal of different photos can be. This is a very strong image compositionally, with its powerful framing and striking textural contrasts between the couple and their surroundings. Strong leading lines in the wall and the gradation of lighting in the cobblestones almost force your eye to the subject. Not just to the couple, though, but particularly to their intertwined arms. So, while the image is beautifully and strongly composed, its ultimate appeal is emotional and human: Tenderness and support in the face of age and infirmity. Who among us wouldn't hope to find the same as we grow older ourselves? The fact that the subjects' backs are turned to us helps greatly with the abstraction: We aren't distracted by their individual characters or personalities as revealed by their faces or expressions: They instead become a metaphor for life's journey, and the human qualities that make it worth living and sharing. A beautiful, touching image.
|red simmetry.. ||Clearing Storm at Pinamar |
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|by Fausto Mirandoli ||by Luis Argerich |
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 November'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!