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December 2004 Photo of the Day Winners Announced!
(Monday, January 3, 2005 - 11:43 EST)

Our celebrity judge Gary Bernstein has perused last month's daily winners, and selected the three that "grabbed" him the most. Here's Gary...

Gary Bernstein's comments:
Talk about a strong collection of images! It was very difficult to select the best of the best, I assure you. But let's get down to it--and let me tell you how I went about selecting...

There should be one basic bottom line or constant when making a photograph: Create an image that pleases the "client." If, for example, you're photographing your significant other--then all that's important is pleasing that person with their photographs. If you're a professional shooting an advertising image--all that matters is pleasing the art director and the advertiser. And of course the real bottom line in the "ad game" comes courtesty of ad maven David Ogilvy who said "it's not creative unless it sells" (which of course, remains to be seen. :-) In the case of just making and taking pictures for the pure love of the art--for personal fulfillment--you still strive to create an image that holds the viewer and evokes an emotion through its visual impact. That is precisely what I looked for in selecting these wonderful photographs. I picked images that just "hit me," that forced my attention because of their graphic impact.

1st Place
Cranberry Farmer, by John Condon
(John won a Kodak EasyShare LS753 camera)

John Condon's "Cranberry Farmer" is a visual treat in terms of color, subject, lighting and movement. I love the fact that Mr. Condon works against the norm by having the movement go toward the outside of the frame--while keeping your focus on the subject through dynamic and classic compositional placement. What a great image.

2nd Place

Bored Elephant, by Daniel Falk
(Daniel won a Lexar 512MB memory card, in the format of his choice, and a copy of E-Book Systems FlipAlbum Pro.)

The same compositional attention (meaning the law of thirds and the "Golden Mean") was applied in all three of this month's winning images. Maybe we'll discuss this further in next month's column. Trust me--I wasn't looking for pictures that followed the "rule." But it is indeed interesting that all three of the winning images followed this tried and true age old lesson from the Greeks in how to create dynamic composition within a rectangular frame!

It's hard not to study Mr. Falk's wonderful elephant photograph with such great graphic treatment and balance. And just imagine the difficulty in getting that elephant to lie down and smile. :-)

3rd Place

Morning Autumn Sunrise at the Lake, by Yves Matteau
(Yves won a copy of E-Book Systems' FlipAlbum Suite)

You gotta love this photograph...the balanced lighting...how inviting those chairs are. It works as a personal reflection making you "just want to be there." It works as a furniture advertisement as well. Now, that's my kind of image. And again--notice the compositional placement--which forces your eye directly to the subject. These winning photographs aren't an accident. These are images produced by shooters who know what they're doing. Face it--great photography is rarely a consequence of luck.

See you next month...and at my home away from home www.ZugaPhoto.TV.

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