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Last month’s photo challenge theme was “It Means the World to Me.” We received a wide swath of life in the photos that were submitted. This was a much more conceptual theme than usual, so in some cases the final pick came down to the description — the explanation of what the photo represented. Our March winner, Dane, was the guest judge. After experiencing the challenge of judging he made his choice for first place. See his pick below… ** First Place goes to Oakleigh for “White-bearded man playing accordion” ** Second Place goes to Ange for “Part of the family” ** Third Place goes to krissphotography for “Children enjoying nature” ** Honorable Mention goes to Dane for “Statue of Liberty” FIRST PLACE — WHITE-BEARDED MAN PLAYING ACCORDION The photographer’s description here was, “Forgetting all the troubles of the day, while the world goes by. Music — the great therapy.” Dane had this to say about his pick… “Music is one of my therapies also — I couldn’t live without it. And it is a great shot — music makes the world go round type of thing. It is #1 for me. The photograph is excellent — the soft, diffused lighting, the bright red in contrast to the black and white, and the photographer used the Rule of Thirds.” SECOND PLACE — PART OF THE FAMILY Those of us who have pets can relate to this shot and understand instantly how our cherished companion can “mean the world to me.” This shot has great composition, and a sweet subject. I really like the use of natural light here and the black and white works excellently. The photographer got the exposure set well for the lighting conditions, which could have been a challenge, with the white dog and the strong backlight. What is important here is that the dog’s face is the subject and the exposure is not too dark (as it easily could have been given the lighting). Because of that I am not overly concerned about the blown out highlights (the areas where all the details of the fur have gone totally white). It’s a touching pet portrait. THIRD PLACE — CHILDREN ENJOYING NATURE Children and nature rolled into one certainly meets the theme well. This shot has a quality to it that draws you in and brings you back to it time and again… even though it has a major compositional drawback: the kids are smack in the center, leaving the whole section to the left of the girl as wasted space. This same shot using the Rule of Thirds would be absolutely dynamic and possibly could have grabbed first place. There is an almost mystical, magical feel here. The black and white works great. I am not a huge fan of isolated color and not sure if the blue sky helps or hinders here. Regardless of its drawbacks it has so much feeling and grab to it that I found it worthy of a place with this month’s winners.

 

  HONORABLE MENTION — STATUE OF LIBERTY Since Dane was our guest judge last month, he could not exactly vote for his own shot. He did not realize that he would be judging April’s challenge and I did not realize this was his photo when I put it in my top picks… BUT I think it is a beautiful shot and speaks so well to the theme “It Means the World to Me” that I just had to mention it and make sure you all had the chance to see it. In his description Dane says, “The more I travel and live around the world, the more I realize what Freedom means — to be born and raised in America.” I’d say that fits the theme well, likely for many. The black and white seems to be a perfect call for this shot, with the strong contrast with light pattern and people in the foreground and the ghostly gray image of the Statue of Liberty in the background. It has a nice editorial feel to it. Congratulations to each of our winners!! The first-place winner will get a $30 gift certificate to the AWAI E-Bookstore, and all winners will be entered into the Hall of Fame to compete for the $2,000 Grand Prize in October. HOW TO ENTER AND WIN! Remember, this month’s theme is “Fun Phone Photos.” Submit your photo by 8:00 a.m. EST, Monday, May 30th. If you’re a first-time user, you’ll need to register first on the “New Users, Register” link on the left side bar. Once you have a username and password, click “Enter to Win” to upload your photo. Only one photo per challenge, please. More details on how to enter the Photo Challenge. [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, catalogs, websites, ad campaigns and even on TV. Her work has also appeared in several local exhibits and gallery shows.] [Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]

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