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RESULTS – ‘Nighttime Nature’- PhoozL


RESULTS – ‘Nighttime Nature’

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Our penultimate Weekly contest of 2013 — ‘Nighttime Nature’ — was a challenging one. Judge David Gubernick comments:

“I greatly enjoyed seeing all the contest submissions and was struck by the diversity of nighttime subjects and the ways in which images were captured and presented. There were many worthy images, more than I can give awards to. My selections are based upon how the image impacted me, its technical and artistic merits, and whether it met the other criteria for the contest. In general, images can benefit from making post-processing adjustments in exposure, contrast, saturation, and sharpening – even small adjustments can have a major impact on the look and feel of the image. However, overdoing adjustments often makes the image look worse. Congratulations to all those who rose to the challenge of nighttime photography. I hope to see more of your nocturnal images and encourage all of you to venture into the darkness – just be safe out there.

Some Suggestions about Nighttime Nature Photography
“Nighttime offers a whole new realm of photographic possibilities that is fun and challenging to do well. The primary technical issues are how to focus under low light, how to get good exposures, and how to avoid or reduce noise that is inherent in long exposures especially with high ISO settings. It’s a counter-balancing act between wider-open f/stops (more light but less depth of field), slow shutter speeds (more light but possibly more noise at longer exposures and more movement – e.g., stars), and high ISOs (more noise at higher ISO; at what ISO noise becomes unacceptable varies with different cameras/sensors and the photographer’s aesthetics).

“Under low light, a Live View may not work for focusing nor will auto focusing; you may need to manually focus, which is why lenses with distance markings on them are preferable for nighttime photography. Likewise, fast lenses (lenses with wide apertures or low numbered f/stops) that allow more light to come in are preferred for nocturnal imaging. You will need to test your camera at different ISO settings (try to keep the exposure the same) to find out at what ISO noise becomes unacceptable and difficult to remove in post-processing – removing noise will reduce sharpness. Your camera may have a built-in noise reduction function that when set will take a second image internally but with the shutter closed for the same length of time and ISO setting as the capture image and then subtract the noise in that ‘dark frame’ from the captured image. The down side of this built-in camera noise reduction is that you have to wait twice as long before being able to take another image. Alternatively, you can take a dark frame image and later, in post-processing, subtract it from your images – the dark frame must be taken for the same length of time and ISO of the captured images.

“For your reference, here is a PDF file (“Moonlight & Night Photography Notes”) with hints, tips, suggestions for doing nighttime photography, including how to set up your camera controls. I hope it helps with your photography.”

— David J. Gubernick, Rainbow Spirit Photography

(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
by Mikael Sundberg
“Night at Savo”
Judge’s Comment: Nicely composed and quiet feel to this night image. The overall blue tone gives it both that nighttime look and peaceful feeling. The long exposure created a smooth, glassy look to the moving water surface and gives a sense of flowing clouds. The horizon line is well-placed, and the left and right shores counter-balance each other which works well in this somewhat panoramic image. Well-exposed and in focus with hardly any noticeable noise.
Gallery Photo Detail Page


Second Place
by johncbutler
“Ocean at Night”
Judge’s Comment: A haunting image of the ocean at night, with a woman(?) on the beach under moonlight. Wonderful placement of the person in the frame and colors. Even the tilting horizon line works here. Notice the four patches of color created by the sky, ocean, surf, and beach as well as the space they occupy, cut vertically by the person in the frame.
Gallery Photo Detail Page


Third Place
by Sandra A.-B.
“Northern Lights”
Judge’s Comment: Aurora Borealis – nicely composed with the aurora flowing from lower right to upper left, capturing the expanse of the aurora and giving it scale with the buildings in the bottom of the frame. The “fast” shutter speed (10 sec) kept the stars mostly as pinpoints of light.
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)

by Rachel-Dubicki
Judge’s Comment: This is a nicely composed image of moonlight on water with the landscape providing a strong graphic silhouette as do the shadows in the water. The clouds in the distant sky help bring it all together.
Gallery Photo Detail Page


by Gowtham
“Wild Hens in a Tree”
Judge’s Comment: Nicely lit and composed scene of these hens at night, presumably with the aid of a flash. The hens are separated from each other and the tree branches so that they stand out. The one small branch on the right is distracting and could be easily removed in post-processing.
Gallery Photo Detail Page


by Peter
Judge’s Comment: Good composition in a panorama format. Good exposure in the sky, mountains and mist in the valley below and well-focused. The two “V”s formed by the mountains and the sky provide a nice graphic element. Try several different croppings for different “looks.”
Gallery Photo Detail Page


Special Recognition

The judge wants to give added recognition (non-scoring) to:

by tubz
“Storm Surge”
Judge’s Comment: This is a powerful image of water from a storm surging through the village streets. Good composition and exposure, and well-presented in black and white.
Gallery Photo Detail Page


Congratulations to winners and thanks to all who participated in this ‘Nighttime Nature’ photo contest, and to our judge: David Gubernick. Don’t forget that the final contest of 2013′s “Weekly Wednesdays” is live until Dec. 27, 2013! Then we’ll update you on 2014.

Harald Johnson
(aka AdminHarald)

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


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