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March Picture of the Month Winners + Tips!
(Monday, April 10, 2006 - 16:00 EDT)

We chose "Silk And Glitter," "bliss," and "colors in my lens" as Photo of the Month contest winners for March. Congratulations to Branko Radonjic, jcsuperstar, and Lucian Baraitaru!

Another rich month came and went, and now a new trio of winners. I got some good feedback from folks to my query about listing "honorable mentions" along with this lineup of award winners, all in the affirmative. However, I've been unable to figure a way to do it without hurting feelings or driving people away. After all, these are your precious images, and who am I to hold them up for scrutiny if I'm not giving you an award? I'm still wrapping my mind around that one, but I do have a few tips I'd like to offer to all contestants before we get to this month's winners.

Tip 1: Crop your images. I get a lot of interesting subjects that would be so much better if they were cropped this way or that. I can't do it for you; it wouldn't be fair. So consider your photo, then choose the main subject and crop out the rest.

Tip 2: Avoid frames, titles, and signatures. Please let your images stand alone. Framing often does add a bit of flair to an image, but it doesn't look good on the site, and it's unfair to those with the courage to submit un-framed images. Please leave the frames for real world gallery exhibits.

Tip 3: Skip the panoramas. Occasionally we get some striking panoramic images. Some are stitched, others are just cropped. Unfortunately, we are limited by the medium, so I will seldom pick even the best panorama, horizontal or vertical. I can't judge it well due to the contest's resolution limit, and they mess with the homepage too much (Horizontal images display too small, and vertical ones display too big, pushing other content down the page).

Tip 4: Don't resize before submitting. We now support displaying images 800x800 in size. I notice many folks are resizing their images before they send them in. Please don't do that anymore, because your image will not resize appropriately to fit the new design. Just submit the full image; our server will handle the rest. We're excited about the larger images, because we can both judge and show off your images a little better than the previous limitation of 480x480 offered. You'll still see the smaller sizes, but when you click on the 480x480 image on the Contest page you'll get the larger version. This change started with the April 4, 2006 image.

And now, on to the winners for March.

Silk And Glitter

First Place
Silk And Glitter, by Branko Radonjic
(Branko won a Kodak EasyShare V570 digital camera)**

Regardless the medium of capture, or the object photographed, photographers capture one thing: Light. Our eyes see many colors, but light can be most poignant when reduced to its mere presence and absence. That's a long way around to saying, "Black and white photographs can be striking." Forgive my attempt at eloquence, but the way the light is made to strike and reflect off this flower captures its elegance. It stands out strong against its background, yet we know from experience it is soft and fragile. Subtle transitions on the petals tell of its texture, the gentle folds speak of pliability, and you can almost feel the veins radiating out from the center as if they're under your thumb. My eye is drawn from edges to center, and I appreciate the glow inside the central petals that hints at its color. Yet the color is stripped away, all that's left to enjoy is the beautiful craftsmanship.


Second Place
Bliss, by jcsuperstar
(jcsuperstar won a Kingston 512MB memory card, in the format of his choice, and a copy of E-Book Systems FlipAlbum Pro.)

If there is one shot that encompasses this day for this photographer and his (her?) friends it is this. While certainly not planned, the rake of the hair and hats speak of a day spent exploring, hiking, or just hanging out at the beach. They come to the end of the day and sit to listen to the sounds of the sea, breathe the air, and feel the sand crunch beneath them. Can you tell I used to live by the beach, and miss it a bit? I do. There's not much more to say except that this shot is not only a portrait, but a nice sunset shot, even before the sun is down. It's arguable whether it can truly be called a portrait in the traditional sense, but it certainly captures the mood of the moment for two people as the day comes to a close, and it's very nice to look at. Remove the two people, and you have another boring horizon; put them back and you have a nice cameo. Well done.

colors in my lens

Third Place
colors in my lens, by Lucian Baraitaru
(Lucian won a copy of E-Book Systems' FlipAlbum Suite)

While a box of colored pens can be beautiful, they don't evoke the excitement they once did when we were kids. But a good photographer--that is, an artist--can look at ordinary objects in new ways, and that's what Lucian did here. The simplicity of the idea is paired with sophistication. By rearranging them, Lucian has created art with these pens in a manner unforeseen by their creator. Whether you see just a bunch of pens arranged or the firework that I do, "colors in my lens" is a striking photograph. It would have stood just fine on its own without the border.

Those are our picks for March. Congratulations to all the Daily Winners, we tip our hats to you as well. Remember: that could be your photo up here this time next month! Grab the nearest digital camera, pick your best and join the fun!

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