I'm unfortunately setting a new record for delay in posting these notes about the February monthly winners, but fortunately the images themselves are worth the wait. We'll try to make up a little ground this month, so hopefully our announcement of the March winners will be along a bit more quickly.
"Not In The Mood," "Alien Thoughts," and "La Familia" were chosen as our February winners. Congratulations to Sharon Isern, Popa Florin, and Frank Somma!
Without further ado, here's the three monthly winners for February, and comments from the judges on what made them so great. Clicking on any image will open a larger version in a new window.
Not In The Mood, by Sharon Isern
(Sharon won a Canon PIXMA Pro9000 Mark II Printer.)
It's hard to take really good people pictures (or at least to take ones that pass muster with the POTD judges), but Sharon did a great job in this shot. The pose and expression are great, and Sharon did a great job eliminating distracting details from the rest of the frame.
The elements of the boy's torso, legs, violin, and hair work together to focus attention on his face and particularly his eyes. It's a near-perfect illustration shot for the "rule of thirds" composition concept, with the boy's face placed at the boundary between the upper-left and center sections of the frame. Patterns of light and dark within the subject work well, too, with the tonal weight of the lower left corner anchoring the composition and deflecting attention towards the boy's face. Our only criticism of the piece comes from the heavy retouching Sharon had to do to deliver such a clean composition: We're not sure whether the background was dropped in entirely, or if it was just retouched to eliminate distracting details. Cloning artifacts are visible at the extreme left, around and underneath the boy's body. The most evident giveaway was the boy's right foot (frame left), which looked a bit like it was floating in air. A drop shadow might have helped that a bit, but that's really a nit-picky detail in an otherwise excellent composition. We'd really like to encourage contestants to get more involved with their photos; not stopping the creative process when the shutter fires: Without the retouching, we suspect this would have been a rather ordinary photograph, albeit one with a good expression on the subject's face. With the retouching Sharon did, though, it became a monthly winner. Congrats on a fine effort, both before and after the exposure!
Alien Thoughts, by Popa Florin
(Popa won a Canon PIXMA MP990 Printer.)
Wow, what an amazing light-painting image! "Light painting" is the creation of images by "painting" with a hand-held light during a long time-exposure with a camera, and we see a handful of submissions every month shot that way. It's a tough medium, though, not least because there's no feedback during the exposure process. It can also be tricky to balance exposure from the hand-held light and ambient illumination, as Pop did so well here. (We love the stars in the sky and the fringe of light (city glow?) on the trees adds depth to the scene. Light painting photos tend to either focus on the light source itself or on the light cast on a subject; it's rare to find both elements used well in a single shot. Here, the floating halo produced by the hand-held light source is in many ways the dominant element of the image, yet the ring of light cast on the ground is every bit as much part of the composition; an extension of the halo itself. We like the way the human subject's attention is focused on the (laptop computer?) in his lap, seemingly unaware of the phenomena taking place around and above him. The whole scene is magical, suggesting mystical forces at work; it'd be a great illustration for a science fiction / fantasy story. We would have preferred it if the image had been cropped to leave a bit less empty space on the right side of the frame, with the photo composed so there was a bit more space in front of the human subject than behind him. It's a magical photo, though, and one that likely took Popa and his subject a good many tries to perfect. Big kudos for an unusually creative and well-executed application of the light painting technique!
La Familia, by Frank Somma
(Frank won a Canon PIXMA MP640 Printer.)
It's hard to go wrong with Meerkats as a subject, but this group photo goes a lot beyond the upright poses you typically see. This is more than just a cute, unusual pose, though; the composition is really excellent. The bodies of the two outer Meerkats frame the image, the patterns of their coats providing great visual contrast with the animals' faces and eyes. The curve of their backs combines with the relative expanse of their coats to create a visual sense of a single object, from which the Meerkats' faces protrude. Not a particularly complex image, but a well-constructed and appealing one. (And all the more so because it's different from the hundreds of shots we've all seen of Meerkats standing in sentry pose. Congrats to Frank for another in a long line of excellent submissions to the IR POTD contest!
|Afterglow ||Catherine |
| || |
|by Dom Brady ||by Mario Brouard |
As always, 28 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 February'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!