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RESULTS – ‘Architectural Details’- PhoozL


RESULTS – ‘Architectural Details’

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This ‘Architectural Details’ contest struck a nerve and brought in an above-average number of submissions. Judge C. David Tobie comments:

“This was a difficult contest to judge. The first impression on viewing the submissions was that of many amazing architectural shots. Color, texture, detail, pattern, contrast, perspective. Closer review showed that many of these shots, however, were really about engineering, not architecture. A few were not details, but wide angle shots of entire buildings, or even entire cities.

“Amongst those that clearly fit the architectural detail category there were many interesting images, ranging from pure black-and-white with no grays, to blazing full color, and from macro-level closeups covering a foot wide detail, to shots covering parts of multiple buildings. My comments on the individual winners will explain the unique characteristics of these six images that brought them to the winner’s circle. Thanks to all the participants for a strong showing in one of my favorite categories!”

— C. David Tobie, cdtobie.com, cdtobie.wordpress.com

(click here for the Gallery of submitted images)
(click here for 2013 Winners Showcase for Weekly Wednesdays contests)
(click here for 2013 PhoozL Points tally for Weekly Wednesdays contests)
(click here for this contest’s Instructions & Rules and information about the Judge)


(NOTE: click or tap on the images for larger views)


First Place
Lesley Ackman
“Shaker Stairs”
Judge’s Comment: Architectural detail photos are often studies of beautiful staircases, one of the most organic and carefully detailed elements of architecture. What makes this staircase shot stand out from others in this contest, and others in general, is that it forms a very powerful visual form, and a very powerful puzzle at the same time. By bringing the image to a high key state, where the whites in much of the plaster lose all detail, the darker elements seem to hover on the white of the image background, much as staircases seem to hover against gravity. But, in addition to the dramatic and symmetrical graphical form the dark elements create against the white of the background, there is the puzzle of what the viewing angle is, and just what the large white element in the center represents. No “spoiler alert” required: I’ll leave it to the viewer to attempt to solve the puzzle; but I will say it is real, it was not done in Photoshop, and other than helping the effect along with the high key highlights, the image is very much as the eye would see it, in the Shaker building in which it was photographed. Sometimes, all that is needed to create an award winning photo is a unique viewpoint and the eye to see it.
Gallery Photo Detail Page


Second Place
Kay Beausoleil
“La Maison Chevalier”
Judge’s Comment: Architectural detail sometimes shows components of multiple structures and relates them to one another. Here the image relates roofs, chimneys, and windows of an organic group of buildings to one another in a way that creates a dynamic, but balanced, composition. The photographer skillfully avoids any image content that is not about this theme. The controlled color palette (reds and tans) brings further harmony and graphical strength to the image. While this image may have been an after-the-fact crop from a hand-held-shot image, the result is extremely pleasing and very powerful, showing that formal shooting techniques are not the only way to take great architectural photos.
Gallery Photo Detail Page


Third Place
leka huie
“The Way Out…”
Judge’s Comment: Architectural details sometimes contain great depth, while still expressing only a detail-sized portion of a building. Here the image covers a few feet of width but many feet of depth. When shooting a symmetrical structure, taking pains to create a totally symmetrical image adds to the power and satisfaction of the image; here that is done so perfectly that one needs to examine the details of the structure carefully to be sure that this image is not actually created by mirroring one half from the other. In addition to choosing the exact right spot from which to shoot, and capturing (or HDRing) a very effective exposure of all elements, the photographer also managed to choose exactly the optimal time to shoot. The person in the distance, at the focal point of the image and at the one-point perspective point, is the highest contrast element in the image, drawing the eye into the depth of the tunnel. This image shows superb control of many difficult elements in architectural photography.
Gallery Photo Detail Page


Honorable Mentions

More winning images, not presented in any order or ranking…
(click here to see the Gallery of all submitted images)

Judge’s Comment: Architectural details are often about zooming in on a tiny part of a structure and describing it in minute visual detail. Here a single porcelain door knob, and a small portion of the door and jamb, form a complete and full composition; the essence of detail. The photographer’s choice of high contrast black-and-white, to the point of eliminating virtually all grays from the image, accentuates the detail and texture of the cracked paint on the door, while at the same time accentuating the smoothness and whiteness of the porcelain knob. The highly graphic result tells a powerful story, and tells it clearly, at a glance. Tiny details, such as the screen door catch, the keyhole, and the knot in the wood play supporting roles in this small, but compelling story.
Gallery Photo Detail Page


Stephano M
“Architectural Details”
Judge’s Comment: Architectural details are often tell compelling stories about easily overlooked details. This image captures a particularly whimsical set of chimney tops. What brings it to the winner’s list is the angle, and the composition, which incorporates the chimneys with other architectural elements, with strong components in all three dimensions. It then displays all these in a well-related, dynamic group of warm components against the cool sky. Local contrast has been heightened to a satisfying, but not artificial-looking, degree. Lightening the shadows on the foreground elements would make the image even more transparent and dynamic, and could have bumped this image to a top prize position.
Gallery Photo Detail Page


Matt Heffernan
Judge’s Comment: Architectural details are often about singling out one particularly beautiful element, and then relating that element to the structure it is part of. In this image, the photographer avoided the deep focus so common when shooting architecture, and used a very shallow depth of focus to accentuate a beautifully carved handrail element, from an unusually low angle. This is then related to the rest of the winding staircase, which stands back from the handrail detail by its out-of-focus state. The off-angle of the image accentuates the sense of vertigo open staircases create. Black and white avoids distracting colors and emphasizes the graphical composition. Avoiding deep focus results in a refreshingly soft, smooth image with only the key element sharp and detailed.
Gallery Photo Detail Page


Congratulations to winners and thanks to all who participated in this extended ‘Architectural Details’ photo contest, and to our judge: C. David Tobie. Don’t forget that new “Weekly Wednesdays” contests are already live or being planned. Get in the Weekly Wednesdays photo habit!

Harald Johnson
(aka AdminHarald)

(click here for current 2013 Winners Showcase for Weekly Wednesdays contests)


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