The judging is done and the winners are chosen. The results:
FIRST PLACE - $100
Nikon D60, 1/160 sec. at f/6.3, ISO 100, focal length 12mm
Judge Alison Shaw writes: "The photographer who shot this winning image accomplished something that is not easy to do. He/she shot a well-known landmark (at least amongst landscape photographers) on a picture-perfect, sunny, blue-sky day, and yet still managed to come away with anything but a cliché. The composition is simple, frontal, and symmetrical, framed at the top by a band of sky and at the bottom by rock outcroppings. The strong light, low angle of the sun, and clouds on the horizon all enhance the drama of the scene.
"Whatever work the photographer did in Photoshop or Lightroom succeeded in enhancing the image without crossing that line into making it look fake - it certainly pushed that envelope, though, which just adds to the drama. My favorite compositional elements are the reflection of the blue sky in the water, and the strong curved line of shadow running the width of the scene. Choosing to shoot the scene at sunrise enhanced the red in the rocks, thereby making the contrast with the blue sky and water even more pronounced. Great job in going beyond the 'postcard'."
SECOND PLACE - $50
The Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route in Washington County, Oregon
Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 1/60 sec. at f/11, ISO 50, focal length 16mm
Alison writes: "I am most drawn to photographs where the creativity and technical expertise of the photographer is what makes the image successful, and where the subject matter itself might not be innately picturesque. This is very much the case with this 2nd Place winner, an image of a road and a stand of trees, with the sun peeking through. The same scene in the hands of another photographer could have produced something that was downright boring.
"I love the composition, and how you are literally 'pulled' down the road and into the stand of trees, and from there into the light that lies just beyond. There are a number of elements that contribute to making this photograph a success: composing the scene as a vertical rather than a horizontal, the choice of a wide-angle lens, shooting slightly down at the overall scene, the use of a small aperture to maximize depth of field and to create the starburst effect with the sun peeking through the trees, the symmetry of the composition, the slight vignetting along the top edge and corners, and the cool tones of the foreground set against the warm sunlight hitting the background."
THIRD PLACE - $25
Alison writes: "The photographer responsible for this 3rd Place winner has created a wonderfully atmospheric and evocative picture. The mood is clearly defined in a perfect marriage of subject matter, color palette, rich detail, and the overall diffusion of the image (this soft, diffuse look can be accomplished using the Clarity slider in Adobe Lightroom). The resulting photograph is not only beautiful to look at, but I can literally 'feel' what it's like to place myself into the scene. One small element kept this photo from scoring even higher in the contest - I'd love to see a little more breathing room along the left edge of the image, which would bring the bench further into the composition and make the two clumps of yellow leaves less distracting."
Here's a full-screen gallery of all Top 10 winners. You'll notice that Alison put the first five photos in order of finish; the other five are Honorable Mentions. Congratulations to all of the photographers!
Entries are arriving every day for our June contest, "Lines and Curves." Photo contest details.
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