After a long bout of extreme busyness on the review front, we're finally catching up on Photo of the Day winner updates. Here's a look at the winners of our April contest; 30 great photos, 3 excellent winners, and 2 fine runners-up.
"Lily," "Small Island, Big Island," and "Stargazer" were chosen as our April winners. Congratulations to Peter Koeck, Luciano Teghillo, and Lajos Hajdu!
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.
Lily, by Peter Koeck
(Peter won a Canon PIXMA Pro9000 Mark II Printer.)
It's easy to understand why people take photos of flowers; they're beautiful, easily-accessible subjects. So it's no surprise that we see thousands of flower photos in the submissions queue over the course of a year. As a result, our standards for voting a flower photo in as even a daily winner are pretty stringent: We see a lot of really nice flower shots, but it's hard for any photo to rise far enough above the rest of the really nice flower shots to merit a prize. (In fact, checking back, the last flower photo that made it to the winners circle was Ed Harp's Orange XI, way back in May of 2007.)
All that by way of noting just how much we like Peter Koeck's "Lily." It's wonderfully simple and minimalist, but the composition is strikingly beautiful. The symmetry of the petals and leading lines they create draw attention to the perfectly-focused stamens. The slightly off-center position of the stamens creates a visual tension that heightens interest without being so much as to be jarring. The color and shading is gorgeous, and the crisp detail of the pollen grains on the stamens adds textural contrast to the tonal and color variation.
This is also a great illustration that you don't need thousands of dollars worth of the very latest technology to take great pictures: This shot was captured with a modest 6-megapixel pocket camera (the Fujifilm F30), that first went on the market four years ago. The camera lost detail in the strongest highlights, but the strength and beauty of the composition remain nonetheless. Just another example -- cameras take pictures; photographers make them, and Peter made a fine one here. Congratulations!
Small Island, Big Island, by Luciano Teghillo
(Luciano won a Canon PIXMA MP990 Printer.)
Sometimes, we wish we could award two First Places in the POTD competition, and this was a case in point. Luciano Teghillo's "Small Island, Big Island" is just a flat-out beautiful photograph. So much so, that we find ourselves resisting analyzing it: We just want to continue experiencing it visually; words somehow seem out of place. We'll keep this brief, then, and encourage readers to simply look at and experience the photo for themselves. The lighting, of course, is wonderful, and the exposure spot-on. It's a study in contrasts, with the dark rock balancing the brighter sky above, and the dark foreground providing weight while the tonal gradation leads your eye upward. The rock is the clear subject, but part of the mystical nature of the shot is that our eyes end up resting on the bright reflection of the orange sky in the water: Our eyes tend to rest there; taking in the central subject and its relation to the rest of the frame as a gestalt, rather than individual elements. A beautiful, magical photo; congratulations to Luciano for seeing and capturing it!
Stargazer, by Lajos Hajdu
(Lajos won a Canon PIXMA MP640 Printer.)
What a great shot! (And what a patient friend Lajos has, to pose so motionless for a 30 second exposure!) We love the way the silhouette of the stargazer establishes context and scale for the expanse of the sky. The exposure is wonderful, with the distant city glow fading into the black behind the stars, and the texture of the Milky Way so clearly visible. While a very different subject, we find ourselves experiencing this photo in a very similar way to Luciano's "Small Island, Big Island" immediately above. The stargazer himself is primary in the composition (and even the titular subject), but the fact that he's rendered only as a silhouette leads our eyes to rest instead on the stars themselves. Any detail at all in the stargazer or telescope would have defeated this effect. Gazing at the stars ourselves, we experience them and the stargazer as a gestalt, providing an incredible sense of expanse and depth. Another wonderful image, congratulations to Lajos on creating it!
|Corridor ||Dubai |
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|by Arie Willems ||by Rainer Mirau |
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!