By Pat Greenhouse
In judging the May Flowers contest, I had to whittle 287 images down to 50 and then select a top 10. The top 30, those that immediately impressed me, revealed themselves in the first cut. The standouts made good use of natural and artificial light, perspective, composition, mood, and a bit of whimsy. The top 10 came from this group.
The next 20 did not come as easily. A lot of the photographers apparently see with the same eye. Many images looked like carbon copies. That's okay, but I was looking for something different. Some had a bit too much fun with quirkiness, which suggested that they were not serious submissions. That's also okay. It would have been nice to see some strong human elements that were truly "found," not manufactured, situations. I was hoping to see a good people picture and flower picture in the same frame. This occurs when you just happen to be in the right place at the best time. Sometimes you're good at anticipation or just have the gift of patience and know when to wait for the right moment.
I had silent cerebral dialogue with myself and tried to advocate for some of the images in these subsequent cuts. While looking to round out the group with variety of scene and content, I had to skip over many because of poor cropping or execution. A little extra post-production work would have elevated some of these.
Looking back to the top three, they are all about simplicity.
FIRST PLACE - $100
My choice for 1st place is unpretentious, elegant, and sexy. Yes, this flower is sexy! The shape, the color, the light, and the background all converge at a place that is understated, with no need to boast about its deserved position.
SECOND PLACE - $50
For 2nd place, I chose this perky picture with back-lit petals. Here's some of that whimsy I mentioned. And again, very simple. The pleasant composition shows the flowers competing for the sun's attention.
THIRD PLACE - $25
In 3rd is an image that combines subtle light, texture, color, and shallow focus to produce an evocative mood. It is a delight.
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