Winners: September 2010

First Place: Carlos J. Miranda, Tallahassee, Florida, USA
Title: Open Doors

Second Place: Rebecca Prowlus, Danville, Pennsylvania, USA
Title: The Driveby Apparition

Third Place: Jonathan Pearson, London, UK
Title: Brixton, London

Lance Says: The two images I chose for first and second place couldn’t be more different, and that diversity was reflected in all of the best images submitted for the Night Photography contest. In addition to the things common to all great photographs- Strong composition and technical execution, the best night photographs usually have a strong sense of atmosphere and mystery. Interesting lighting, whether it be natural, or artificial, existing or added are generally a strong component of an image’s success. There were about a dozen images that clearly stood apart from the pack, and any one of them could have been a winner. A few that stand out in my mind are, Ghost Train, Burnett River Bridge, Santa Fee Apartment, Abandoned Columns, No Turning Back, and Chromatism. These images all exemplify the things I look for in Night Photographs.

The first place image, Open Doors, exemplifies all of those traits. The image is complex, but well organized, and easy to read. There is a strong sense of depth and movement, emphasized not only by the combined indoor and outdoor scenes, but by the mixed lighting sources that cause the interior and exterior to have different colors. Every element of the composition is carefully placed. There is a quality to this image that reminds me of the work of the early twentieth century photographers Carlos and Miguel Vargas from Peru, two pioneering brothers who advanced night photography techniques with their sophisticated lighting.

Second place winner Drive By Apparition is more subtle and mysterious. Dark and moody, the movement suggested by blur and diagonal lines are complemented by the contrasting warm and cool colors of the image. It’s not often that precise timing is critical in a night photograph, but the position of the headlight trails in the image is essential to the composition, and it’s a big part of why this image works so well. Had the photograph been a fraction of a second earlier, the trails would have started outside the frame, and the image wouldn’t be nearly as strong. There is very little detail in the image, and it’s full of deep, dark shadows, but the message is clearly conveyed none the less.

It was a pleasure judging this competition and viewing so many great images. Thank you for the opportunity.


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