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RESULTS: “The Art of Nature” Photo Contest

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(click here for Winners Showcase & PhoozL Points)
(click here for results of the “Seeing the Light” photo contest)
(click here for results of “Travel Photography” photo contest)

The second PhoozL “Super-Judged” photo contest again exceeded all expectations in terms of both numbers of submissions (>1,000) and their quality. We thank our head judge and professional nature/wildlife photographer Daniel J. Cox, who had this to say about the contest…

“Overall, I was very impressed with the quality of photography that was entered in this competition. I saw many really beautiful images, and it was hard to narrow it down to just three winners (plus Honorable Mentions). Everybody did a great job with sticking to the theme ‘The Art of Nature.’ A large part of my selection process was based on whether the image looked real or not, then it came down to light, composition and subject matter. Although the contest had the word ‘Art’ in its title, and the guidelines said there were no processing or editing restrictions, I naturally gravitated to a more conventional (non-manipulated) presentation as that’s my personal style. TIP: always do your homework on the judge(s) and what types of images they are partial to. Just a little FYI for the future.” — Daniel Cox

THE RESULTS: Here are the winners as judged by Daniel J. Cox in the “The Art of Nature” Photo Contest: (NOTE: click on the images for larger views)

 

Grand Prize (1st Place Overall)
“Whale Shark and Sardines”
by Matt Potenski

1st Place

Judge’s Comment: “The overall Grand Prize winner was an amazing image of a whale shark feeding on sardines, and it was by far the most natural looking of all the pictures entered. However, its beauty came from numerous elements such as capturing just the right moment in time, the difficulty of getting such a photo of a relatively rare subject, as well as perfect composition and gorgeous natural light. It’s a stunning image, and it jumped out at me above all the others even during my first perusal through the initial contest review process.”

(NOTE: the Grand Prize is a very special, 1:1 communication with judge Daniel J. Cox about this winner’s photographic work. Winner also receives a custom icon for posting on sites and blogs.)

 
2nd Place Overall
“Sunset of Fire”
by Andy Hutchinson

2nd Place

Judge’s Comment: “For the second place winner, the pelican and setting sun is also a very natural looking image. The intensity of the sky is stunning by itself, but that wouldn’t be enough to win. It was the beautifully composed pelican that made all the elements of this image come together. Without that pelican it was just another gorgeous sunset. And, without an eye for composition, this image would not have gone as far as it did. It’s just stunning from foreground to background with great elements of interest: the pelican, the colorful sky, and a background of additional roosting birds.”

(The 2nd Place Prize is a free book voucher from Course Technology PTR from their great Digital Photography & Video book category. Winner also receives a custom icon for posting on sites and blogs.)

 
3rd Place Overall
“Lady in Red”
by Marty

3rd Place

Judge’s Comment: “For third place overall, this ladybug in the tulip is another great example of how color can make you look further. The intensity of the flower mimics the warmth of the ladybug and together they compliment each other beautifully. I had some concern about the ladybug being nearly smack dab in the middle of the frame, but in this situation I actually think the composition of the insect is a bonus. The beautiful lines of the multi colored petals make up for additional compositional elements that work to make the ladybug seem fine just where she’s at. A centered subject would not normally be very appealing, but a good photographer knows when to break the rules and if they can get away with it. Here it worked.”

(The 3rd Place Prize is a free, one-year gift subcription to APERTURE magazine. Winner also receives a custom icon for posting on sites and blogs.)

 


Honorable Mentions

Dan explains: “There were many images that could have been in the Honorable Mention category. Here are my top six…” (click here to see the Gallery of all submitted images)

 
“Colored Stones 1”
by Mundy Hackett

colored stones

Judge’s Comment: “The wet, colorful rocks were a favorite. The photographer did a great job shooting straight down on the subject, which gave him/her the ability to have great depth of field from top to bottom and side to side. I often teach this technique in our Photo Tours.”

 
“Ice Curves”
by Victor

Ice Curves

Judge’s Comment: “The leaf on the ice is another favorite. Growing up in Minnesota and spending a lot of time in the Arctic, I’m actually a fan of ice. It can be so beautiful with such subtle patterns, monotones and intimate details. The leaf, which looks like an alder or willow, adds a soft, serene element of interest that jumps out with its beautiful color.”

 
“Geese in the Corn Dust”
by Mike Landwehr

Geese in corn dust

Judge’s Comment: “The snow geese landing is all about the lighting. What a great image with three birds in the frame and hundreds of heads sticking up from the grain field. I would love to shoot with this photographer! This is my kind of photography: beautiful light, lots of birds, and the knowledge to know what side of the light to be on. Backlight or sidelight is the way to make a still photo look as though it’s three dimensional. And the image timing is just right as the geese came in for a landing.”

 
“End of Eternity”
by Cpt

When Silence Rules

Judge’s Comment: “The duck swimming silently in the still water of a bayou or northern wetland was another favorite. This image has so much ethereal emotion and mood in it. Normally, I don’t care for an image with a great deal of white cloud with no details at the top of the frame (white spaces in the sky draw your eye out of the frame), but once again, that broken rule works wonderfully here. And the way the duck is headed as if he’s moving off into the sky is great. The pattern just works.”

 
“Modest Grandeur”
by Lara Nouri

Modest Grandeur

Judge’s Comment: “The beautiful purples and greens of the peacock feather plus the composition are stunning. I really liked this image from an artistic perspective.”

 
“Lagoon”
by high evolutionary

Lagoon

Judge’s Comment: “The Egret landing on a small pond or lagoon is another example of the beauty of capturing just the right light at the key moment. The bird’s turned-out wings create a large enough subject for interest. The only small drawback to this image is the sky, which isn’t quite as interesting as, say, the second place mage. However, the foreground with the river and the bird is stunning.”

 



CONCLUSION: PhoozL thanks head judge Daniel J. Cox and ALL the photographers and photo enthusiasts who participated. We hope you were challenged, had your creativity sparked, and learned more about photography along the way. The next Super-Judged contest is being planned so keep an eye out for it. And feel free to comment on this contest (or others) wherever you see the Comment boxes at the bottom of pages.

And a final note from Dan: “Congratulations to all of you. There were lots of great images, and it’s always fun to see how others see the natural world. I really enjoyed being a part of the PhoozL experience. Keep up the great work and get yourself prepared for the next contests!”

— Harald Johnson
(aka AdminHarald)

P.S. Special thanks to Chris Wormald for helping with preliminary selections.

P.P.S. Additional Links to Daniel J. Cox:
Natural Exposures Blog: http://www.naturalexposures.com/corkboard/
Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/naturalexposures
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/edit?trk=hb_tab_pro_top
Google+ https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/118225367158431311178/118225367158431311178/posts
Twitter: https://twitter.com/danieljcox

 

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