First, a big thank you goes to Roger Foley who did a fantastic job of studying, pondering and finally selecting the winners for this month’s contest, Winter Light. When you have a moment, check out Roger’s book, Clearing In The Woods. It’s a beauty!
Without further ado, below are Roger’s choices.
“Thanks to all those brave souls who endured the cold in this extreme winter month to capture winter light. An extra gold star for effort should go to all those in the Mid-Atlantic region of the US where we’ve received record-breaking snowfalls – 56″ in DC, 73″ at Dulles Airport and up to 80” in Baltimore! I did trudge through the thigh-deep snow with tripod and backpack, so I know you all can truly say you’ve suffered for your art.
Some of the entries took the challenge of photographing the light itself, by looking at shadows of plants falling onto the snowscape from the low angle of the winter sun. I hope you’ll think more about this way of seeing where the subject of the photo is not the thing itself, but a picture of it painted on the surface in cool-colored shadows.
First on the list is Mr. McGregor’s Daughter of the winter light playing off Echinacea purpurea.
Dave of The Home Garden took this photo from a window looking out onto his backyard. He named it Shadow Play.
The next photo taken by Heather of Heather’s Garden can cause a double take. The wet, fluffy snow stuck to these branches mimics early spring blossoms against the vivid blue sky. The impact of a photograph becomes turbo-charged when metaphor is invoked.
A snowy path through the woods really comes alive in this photo shot by Natalie of the blog I Grew This Earlier. The line of the path fades as it’s seen through the snow-laden air. It leads you to the strong ‘Y’ silhouette of the tree, which pops out of the background due to that same snow-filled air behind it. But the most vivid effect is the falling snowflakes themselves, ‘frozen’ by a quick shutter speed.
The next photo of spartina grasses, taken by Les of Tidewater Gardens at the water’s edge in the early AM, could be seen in fall or winter, but I was seduced by its warm light hanging in the heavy air. The water, mist and sky melt together to obscure any horizon line, which simplifies the composition into something more abstract, while the undulating line of the grasses moves your eye from foreground to background.
Now for the final two images: These photos both wowed me with their evocations of winter. It’s hard for me to pick between the two.
For the Silver Medal, Kari Lonning has used the most ephemeral of winter effects to create a metaphor for a garden scene. Looking at this shot of frost on a window, I see a mini landscape of ferns swelling up on the right side stopping against the straight lines of a stem nicely placed at one quarter of the way into the square image. Maybe it’s a rose cane covered in thorns, or a thick, hairy tomato stem. The photo becomes a playground for your imagination. The background is out of focus just enough so that the lines of frost can be read, and she has kept the subtle blue tone of the frost to contrast against the warm tones behind it.
And finally, and appropriately, receiving the Gold Medal is Kylee of Our Little Acre whose photo, Bejeweled, has most beautifully captured winter light in all its glory – golden and sparkling in the landscape. The composition and framing is impeccable with horizontal layers of texture anchored on the left by the silo. The largest tree balances that dark shape and then the other trees form a soft curve down to the horizon as they shrink. The luminescence of the back-lit trees is intensified by the grey-blue sky behind them, with the light clouds at the top of the frame echoing the warm light on the treetops. It might seem a bit counterintuitive, but the best color photographs are sometimes the ones with the smallest color palette. Some of the power of this photo comes from energy generated by the blue and gold colors as they play off each other in the landscape. Awesome!”
Congratulations to the all of the winners! As Roger said, there were plenty of worthy entries from which to choose. So a big round of applause goes to all of the entries.
Take the time to check out past Picture This Photo Contests and Entries. They’re a feast for the eyes.
For those of you who can use a dose of spring (and who can’t?), next month’s Picture This contest, judged by GGW Regular Contributor Saxon Holt, will get you thinking about spring.