This unfortunately sets some kind of a record for the longest delay in formally announcing/commenting on the monthly winners in our Photo of the Day contest. The winners have long since been notified and in most cases received their prizes, but we've been unreasonably delayed in writing up the details below, to share the results and our thoughts on them with the rest of our readers. We have no excuse, other than to say that it's been unusually hectic here at IR HQ of late, with hurry-up review postings for the Samsung NX-10, Panasonic G2 and Sony NEX-5. - Not to mention now trying to get caught up on the backlog of other review work that was put on hold so we could turn those hot models quickly.
Life's getting back to what passes for normal around here (mere 60-hour work weeks :-), so we can finally catch up on our Photo of the Day winners. Let's take a look at the monthly winners from our March contest; we'll try to get the results for April posted very shortly as well.
"BubbleFinger," "Waiting," and "Size Order" were chosen as our March winners. Congratulations to Damian Zumbrunn, Kyaw Win Hlaing, and Michael Farruggia!
Without further ado, here's the three monthly winners for March, and comments from the judges on what made them so great. Clicking on any image will open a larger version in a new window.
BubbleFinger, by Damian Zumbrunn
(Damian won a Canon PIXMA Pro9000 Mark II Printer.)
Wow! We've seen a lot of bursting-bubble photos before, but this one is far and away the best/most amazing to date! The lighting is perfect, with the large softboxes set up on either side of the bubble, to give something to be reflected from its surface, while the black background makes it easy to see details in the bubble itself, with no distracting background detail. The composition is perfect. The hand position may have been a happy accident, but we suspect not: The angle of the finger and the position of the knuckles provide weight in the lower right corner of the frame that offsets the floating bubble, emphasizing its delicate, ephemeral construction. Of course, the timing is absolutely perfect too, with just the right amount of the bubble having collapsed; neither too much nor too little. We wonder how many attempts it took Damian to get this shot just right. Even with the speed of a Canon 7D's motor drive, we suspect it took dozens (if not hundreds) of attempts to get just the right bubble, just the right position and framing, and the exact, perfect moment. Big kudos to Damian for a truly unique shot!
Waiting, by Kyaw Win Hlaing
(Kyaw Win Hlaing won a Canon PIXMA MP990 Printer.)
We get a lot (believe me, a lot) of frog photos. Even though they're cute creatures, well-deserving of photographic attention, it takes something more than just a quick macro snapshot of a frog to get our attention these days. This shot by Kyaw Win Hlaing really stood out for the excellent lighting on the subject, and the excellent job Kyaw did of isolating the subject from the background. We like that there's some sign of a background, in the soft blue blobs, as it makes the photo much more realistic than many shots we see where the photographer has simply silhouetted the subject in Photoshop. The background detail is so soft and unobtrusive here that it doesn't detract in the least from the subject, while still suggesting a physical setting somewhere. As noted, the lighting in this shot is just wonderful: The warmth of the back/side lighting contrasts with the coolness of the light above (setting sun and sky light, respectively?) to not only light the subject fully and naturally, but to increase its sense of three-dimensional depth. Focus is pretty well spot-on, with the plane of sharpest focus right on the frog's eye. It would have been nice to see the detail in his skin a bit sharper on his near side and leg, but to do so would have required a smaller aperture, potentially losing the nice background separation. Like we said, we see a lot of frog photos, so it takes a shot as nice as this one to get our attention. Congratulations to Kyaw on a beautiful macro shot!
Size Order, by Michael Farruggia
(Michael won a Canon PIXMA MP640 Printer.)
Sometimes a great photo is simply the one that brings a smile to your face. This photo has a lot of elements that help it compositionally, such as the contrast between the foreground grass and striated plain in the background, and the leading lines of the elephant's bodies, drawing attention to the calf on the right. All that said, what really put the picture into the winner's circle was its humor, and the visual story it told of Dad, Mom, and Baby, out for an afternoon stroll. (It's secondary to the enjoyment of the photo, but it's worth noting that the animals aren't as closely grouped as the image suggests: Being a long telephoto shot, the elephant on the left may not actually be any bigger than the one in the center; simply close to the camera. The animal on the left is obviously noticeably closer to the camera, shown by its being slightly out of focus - Although at f/3.6 and the equivalent of almost 350mm, the depth of field might well be pretty shallow, and the subjects relative sizes not far different from what's shown.) All in all, a great photo; one that reminds us of why we like photography so much. - And it's also evidence that you don't need a $10,000 kit of SLR and lenses to bring back memorable photos: This was captured by a digicam that first debuted at a price of $650, back in September of 2006. Nowadays, you can get similar capability for considerably less money. Congratulations to Michael on a fine image!
|Midwest meets Mexico ||Punching |
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|by Cindy Jo Lane ||by Bojan Bonifacic |
As always, 31 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 March'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!