A classic winter scene -- outdoor skaters on a frozen pond (or, in this case, a frozen bog) captured the top prize in December's 'Tis the Season themed contest. Our judge, professional photographer Melissa Robotti, was fulsome in her praise for this shot:
"There are a lot of wonderful things going on in this photo," she said. "I thought it captured the theme perfectly. The photographer obviously put a lot of thought into the composition of this image: the interaction between the man and child, the skates and hockey sticks in the foreground, the activity in the background, the symmetry of the trees, and the interesting sky. Plus the placement of these elements in the frame reflects the important rule of thirds and helps makes this a really interesting shot.
"I encourage everyone to carefully consider every element in the frame, as this photographer did. It's what made this photo a winner."
SECOND PLACE -- $50
Melissa had a tough time choosing between this photo and the First Place finisher, but your votes were the deciding factor -- you put "Bog Hockey" first and this second. "It was a very close contest between this photo and the winner," Melissa said. "I love how the movements of the two people in this scene are almost perfectly synced. The stark, solitary tree and white-out conditions capture this month’s theme nicely. The splash of color on the skiers stands out against the black and white of the rest of the scene, and again, it is composed very well."
THIRD PLACE -- $25
"This is a photo with a plan, not a snapshot," Melissa said. "It shows a lot of creativity. The photographer looked at the ornaments and their reflective surface, and thought, 'How can I position these to reflect something and get an interesting shot?' He also made good use of natural light.
"The best photos come from experimenting. I encourage everyone to steer away from the literal and the obvious and start thinking outside the box like this photographer did. Many of you did that in your shots; congratulations, and do it some more!"
This gallery contains the entire array of Top 10 finishers. Click on "Full-screen" to get large versions of each photo.