Without much ado, here we go!
@akash.nu - Thank you for being the first to post. You seem to always be in such nice places out in nature! I like the yolkey orange of the sun and the way the mist hangs over the valleys; being in the city I miss sights like these, so this image made me smile as soon as I saw it. It's soothing but makes me wistful at the same time.
@someoldguy - I like the glassy tone of the water and how it reflects the blue of the sky. That little patch of cloud at the bottom left is an even more magical gold. The scene is a bit red though; but I’m not expert at eking out natural WB. Very pleasing and captured the feel well.
@deep diver - I could see this hanging on a wall; feel it needs a frame to really complete the photo due to the crop. I like the mottled green and smoothness of the water in flow; good colour combination with the whites of the rapids. The longer I pay attention, my eye is drawn to the line of white in the bottom half and how it provides a nice rising streak, like the flourish of an artist’s brush. First three entries and we are seeing Mother Nature as the supreme artist.
@koolmagicguy - Lovely colors, bringing the gold in golden hour but up in the sky. I like how the perspective is balanced and also the fact that some people do look up, marvel and capture. Is this SOOC? I don’t use iPhones so don’t know; I feel the HDR look is a tad over the top for my taste - fine except for the deeper patch of blue at the top right. Still enjoyable though!
@redshifted - Disqualified. Joking. This image is striking right off the bat. Not all immediately eye catching images stand up to sustained scrutiny but this one does. I like the stratified composition which works both vertically (colours) and with depth (elements). I’m struggling to find anything off balace and appreciate a nicely levelled off photo.
@tizeye - So neat. The composition: lawn, house, lighting balance, shadows, framing, levels and ratios. Wispy cirrus in the background. You have employed your artistic licence to bring out more detail from the photo in a manner that shows skill and experience. Very nice.
@Hughmac - Cheer inducing image with very compliant sheep, such good models. I like how the photo is anchored by the sun at a point off centre in Q4 (apologies for math terminology; perhaps there is a better way of explaining in photography). You’ve managed to keep the sun from overwhelming the exposure while still maintaining its golden, focal quality. An image to return to.
@Clix Pix - Another composition calling out to my appreciation for playing with layers. You’ve got the centre line, the thirds, the right amount of grass at the bottom of the frame; and the sun, boat and divot in the grass all nicely aligned off centre. Visually appealing because of the tones, but even more so once I paid attention to the compositon.
@mollyc - Disqualified too as I seem to have a particular affinity for Molly’s style in images of hers that I’ve seen since joining this forum. Forgive my jest, not disqualified! In the interest of objectivity though, I’d say this is the entry I find most pleasingly balanced in terms of DR. I like how the people (family?) counterbalance the positioning of the sun which is still distinguishable despite shooting right into it. Blues and golds; the surf and sands, detail preserved.
@LiE_ - Shadow detail lost but the tonality, framing and golden sunlight preserved make this a gorgeous photo and really put me there in the scene, for which I appreciate this a lot. I would have cropped the bottom a bit though as the dark areas make it look heavy. Striking image and IMO warrants multiple looks to understand it more.
@oblomow - While I’ve complimented others for anchoring focus off-centre, this is an example of how to tastefully centre something. I like how it’s just the tiny third of the sun, captured just as it dips below (they sink so fast so timing is paramount), forms the apex of the slopes of the trees and their reflection. Very nice. The clouds have turned up in character too. A lovely photo overall.
@anotherscotsman - Thanks for throwing your hat in too. Such a picture postcard holiday photo; must have been a great time. An image to help one instantly remember the moment and scene. Nicely balanced silhouetted elements and framing with lovely tones in the sky and water. You have done the rich and golden view justice.
@Janichsan - You’ve captured that golden hour feel in a way that I can almost imagine myself being there: squinting into the sun, enjoying the quietness, the feel of the ground under my feet, perhaps hearing some birds. It’s a tad dark but that has allowed you to capture the light perfectly. I’m a little confused how the tree on the right is out of focus but that could be my limited understanding of lenses.
1st - @redshifted This was the most evocative image for me, but that wouldn't have been enough if it weren't also so sound in technique.
2nd - @mollyc A strong photo overall, technically sound and just a simple yet wonderful scene.
3rd - @Clix Pix The kind of photo used in photography class lectures: simple and eye catching at first but when you understand why it is so, it gets even better.
Thank you'll for your entries! It was a pleasure scrutinizing them and putting my thoughts into words. It's my first time ever doing something like this, in fact, judging someone else's photos. Please feel free to disagree with my feedback/placing as I will happily learn what I can look out for, pay more attention to or value more when looking at images.
Congratulations to the winners and really - even though I don't feel I need to say this - I'm honoured to have been given the opportunity to go through all your wonderful submissions.
The apologies are a running gag. First place means a lot of work. Everyone wants second place: the honor but no real work...
Seriously, it is!!! Number 2 can be called into service unexpectedly, whereas it is pretty rare that Number 3 on the podium has had to assume the duties. I literally breathed a sigh of relief when I saw the results today! LOL!