September Winners: Fins, Fangs, Feathers and Fur
Here?s your weekly photo dispatch with a list of September?s photo
Don?t forget: This month we?ll be voting on our $2,000 grand prize
Director, AWAI's Travel Division
The Right Way to Travel, Weekly Photo Tip
October 3, 2007
FINS, FANGS, FEATHERS AND FUR -- WINNING ENTRIES
By Shelly Perry in Portland, OR
Without a doubt, we saw more submissions last month than in any other
month this year. Most were good, too. It was incredibly difficult to
narrow down the field, let alone select the top three.
If you took the time to enter, good for you! Success, as they say, is
80% perspiration and 20% inspiration. It's great to know so many of
our readers are out there trying their hand at taking photos they can
sell. Indeed, many of the entries are of salable quality -- including
the three winners?
Without further a-do, here they are?
** First Place goes to jimemery for ?Zebra Quad?
** Second Place goes to for cam2yogi ?The Saints Red?
** Third Place goes to for Sophie4 ?Friendliest Turtle?
Our guest judge (who chose our first-place winner) was Rosalie Dale,
winner of the prior month's challenge. Read on for her insights about
the top pick.
FIRST PLACE -- ZEBRA QUAD
?Without a shadow of a doubt, I can say I have never seen so many
cute/appealing/fun animal photos together in the one place! What a
?Knowing how difficult it is to snap great photos on the hop (as
animals are not known to be the most cooperative of models), I take my
digi-hat off to all who entered. There are some amazing catches.
?While I ended up with quite a list of favorites, I must say I kept
coming back to jimemery?s Zebra Quad.
?Yes, there were others with more ?cute factor,? and some shots were
very clever, but this one pulled together a heap of elements, which
make the work a winner in my eyes.
?The composition of the scene is simple -- the sky, the zebras, and
the long grass, all taken from the unusual low angle. It would be
difficult to top this photo, even with a staged setup.
?To have all four animals making eye contact (I know eyeballing the
camera is not always desirable, but in this case it really draws you
in), and in a nice orderly group (notice the shorter zebras are on the
ends AND they are standing in a dip in the grass!) is a coup. The
softer lines of the dry grass complement, rather than conflict with,
the highly defined lines of the zebra-stripes. The sky works as a
?Depth of field is spot-on, colors are natural.
?One of the things that really appeals to me is the sense that this is
a strategic moment captured -- they have stopped to stare out of
curiosity, and now will they turn and bolt? Will they decide to ignore
us and bend to crop the grass? Will they scatter and stir up a warthog
and birds in the grasses?
?If I had one ?druther,? it would be a slight tweak of the saturation
levels, and a small crop off the right hand side. But on the scale of
things, they are minor edits.
?So congratulations jimemery -- you have captured a moment in time
that is truly unique. I?m finding myself continually composing
captions for this shot -- it will live with me for quite some time!?
I quite agree with Rosalie and appreciate her in-depth look into her
pick for first place.
BETTER PICTURES AT NIGHT? with AWAI's New Photo Tip Cards!
Details here: http://www.thephotographerslife.com/phctip/getstarted
SECOND PLACE ? THE SAINTS RED
I loved this shot the moment I saw it, even as a tiny thumbnail. This
past month's contest was dedicated to the animal kingdom, but a few
entries, like this one, included human animals as well. A big part of
why I love this shot is that little girl. This shot has ?story.? What
I mean by that is that this image is more than just the pigeons and
more than just the girl -- take either one of them away and what do
you have? You might still have a cute and or interesting shot but I am
not so sure you would have the story factor. I also really like the
post processing that has been done (Photoshop or Lightroom I am
assuming). That along with the motion in the bird?s wings gives this
shot a magical, dream-like quality.
I would wish for only two small improvements with this photo -- bear
in mind that with this type of shot, ?perfect? is rarely possible,
much less achieved. But since I'm here to leave you with some lessons:
I wish the little girl were one inch more visible so that her left ear
and the curve of her face were all in the shot. And I wish the white
pigeon and a few of the larger pieces of paper on the ground were not
there or at least not where they are. But, as I said, those are small
details and not deal breakers for me in this case.
THIRD PLACE ? FRIENDLIEST TURTLE
The title of this shot really feels right to me. I think that turtle
actually looks friendly. But regardless, the reason I picked this over
several others (I had 15 shots in my ?top 10? this time) was that it
works in every way.
The lighting is nice -- something often hard to accomplish with the
reflectivity of water. The shallow depth of field is wonderful,
bringing us right into the friendly turtle?s face. And the tone of the
image really works with the shallow depth of field to bring our eye
right to the turtle?s eye. (Remember, our eyes are drawn to the
greatest point of contrast in a photo. In this shot, the darkest point
in this mostly light-toned shot is the eye.)
And finally, this shot has really nice composition. The turtle has a
place to stand and room to breath -- notice how the turtle?s head
(which is really the main subject here) is just about at the thirds
line -- that?s great positioning.
Congratulations to all three winners!
October is a freebie month -- no theme to shoot for. I?ll be busy
looking through this year?s contest entries and deciding whether or
not I want to add a few honorable mentions before we vote on the grand
Next week, I?ll send you instructions for voting. As long as our
website cooperates, you and your fellow readers will all have a say in
who wins the $2,000 grand prize.
[ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Shelly Perry from Portland, Oregon, specializes in
people photography, what she calls documentary or lifestyle portraits.
She is known especially for her imaging of children. Shelly?s concern
for people is reflected both in her sense of purpose and the images
she produces. Her images have been seen all over the globe on music
CD covers, books, magazines, catalogues, web sites, ad campaigns and
even on TV. Her work has also appeared in several local exhibits and
To meet Shelly in person, visit:
The Right Way to Travel is a FREE newsletter from the American Writers
& Artists Inc., available to AWAI members and friends.
It is coming to you because you are either a member of The Ultimate
Travel Writer's Program or Turn Your Pictures into Cash, or you have
opted to receive information about getting paid to travel from the
AWAI Travel Division.
(c) 2007 American Writers & Artists Inc.
245 NE 4th Ave., Ste 102
Delray Beach, FL 33483
Phone (561) 278-5557
Fax (561) 278-5929
To LEARN MORE, visit:
To UNSUBSCRIBE from this free service, click here: