Thank you to authors Dave Stevenson and Nik Rawlinson for acting as our guest judge for the April contest! The theme was “light,” sponsored by Dave and Nik’s, Focus on Photoshop Lightroom.
First Place Choice: “Silhouetted Taj” by Krishnendu Pramanik, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
What Dave had to say: The Taj Mahal is a spectacular thing to shoot, but finding an angle that hasn’t been done before takes an awful lot of work – I photographed it in 2009 and had to crawl out of bed at five in the morning to get a crowd-free shot. This well-realized frame is packed with energy, creating a frame bursting with life that’s a cut above the standard dead-on shot you’re greeted with when you first walk through the gates.
What Nik had to say: It’s unusual to see so famous a building become almost incidental to its setting. Pushing it into the background within the composition gives it a new twist, and speaks volumes about the way in which for those who live close to any landmark, be it the Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower or, here, the Taj Mahal, it’s often merely the backdrop to the comings and goings of everyday life. The photographer hasn’t let this remarkable site blind him to the greater story of human existence, with the acrobatic antics of the subjects themselves reminding us that it’s companionship and human interaction that brings true joy and meaning to our lives.
Second Place Choice: “Icy Winds” By Iris Waanders, Vught, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands
What Dave had to say: This image tells a real story. The low camera angle really makes you feel every exhausting step, and the snow blown onto the lens gives you a sense of how hard going things must have been. Shooting straight into the light makes for difficult photography, but it works here, and the black and white processing gives the frame a spartan, high-contrast feel that should make anyone reading this in front of a computer in a warm house feel fortunate.
What Nik had to say: It’s the imperfections in this photo that really make it work, with the spotting on the lens accentuating the extreme conditions in which it was shot. The photographer has perfectly balanced the lighting, despite shooting directly into the sun, while not losing detail in either hiker. The larger of our two walkers sits in a very traditional space to the right of the frame, but allowing the smaller, more distant man to come so close to leaving the image entirely makes the viewer question what might be just beyond the horizon, and ultimately helps us to be drawn in by, and engage with the subject matter.
Third Place: “Little Steps” By Sirsendu Gayen, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
What Dave had to say: Light is everything in this image. Waiting until the monk stepped into the patch of light on the steps has created an image with strong composition, and the wait for a human shape in this image has been well worth it.
What Nik had to say: There’s a fairy tale quality to this image, which takes us back to the stories of our youth. The effect is heightened by the slanted light coming in through the trees, and although this shot may be one of many captured at the same time, the skill has been as much in selecting the best frame as it was in setting up the initial composition. Picking the one image in which the subject has strayed into the light gives it an ethereal quality, while the unusually narrow portrait crop heightens the impact of the steps themselves, and leads the eye up them in the wake of the subject.
Thank you to everyone who entered!