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By Carol Shields, in Atlanta, GA

If you entered our November photo contest (“Photos for All Seasons” was our theme) — thank you. And if you didn’t… don’t miss your opportunity to submit a photo this month. The images have been really fantastic — varied, interesting, and just plain beautiful. Choosing a winner is proving to be a real challenge, though an enjoyable one — as our guest judge discovered this month.

I should explain: Starting with November’s contest, the winner from the previous month serves as the judge for the following month, selecting the first-place image (I’ll continue to award second- and third-places). Our thinking is that this will give our winners a chance to practice their critiquing skills and learn how to articulate what it is they like about an image.

Diego Echeagaray, a graphic artist in Mexico, was the first-place winner in October for “Coffee with a View,” and he selected the winner for November’s contest. His pick?

You’ll find it here, along with my choices for second and third place.

** First Place goes to ThisOldHag for “Luxembourg.”
** Second Place goes to tcobbin for “Jumping into Summer.”
** Third Place goes to wdlm500 for “Early Spring Sunrise in Michigan.”

FIRST PLACE — LUXEMBOURG

This landscape is a great image, full of color and rich in detail. It is a basic, simple composition of two halves in sharp contrast.

The lower half, the foreground, is warm, colored in bright yellow tones, with a soft, flowery texture. The upper half, the background, is a cool array of shades of green, with a smooth texture. The large trees, sandwiched between the two halves, stand out boldly against the background, adding a sense of depth to an otherwise flat scene, while connecting the two halves.

The road that cuts through the fields and the distant trees, small and dull-colored by the atmosphere effect, invite the mind to wander along. A beautiful summer landscape!

SECOND PLACE — JUMPING INTO SUMMER

This image does a perfect job of freezing a fleeting moment of great fun. It’s a good example of “the decisive moment,” a phrase coined by Edward Steichen, one of the fathers of photography.

The boy, in full sunshine, is caught in the air just a millisecond before plunging into the dark water. His hair and his life jacket are warm-colored, contrasting against the cool, dark green of the water.

His left hand is open, relaxed and carefree.

At an angle opposite that of the boy, the sun’s reflections on the ripples add movement and texture to the water’s surface. This is an extraordinary action picture well suited for summer!

THIRD PLACE — EARLY SPRING SUNRISE IN MICHIGAN

This image conveys the crisp quietness of the early morning air, the bareness of a field in winter, but also the warmth of a rising sun, heralding an incoming spring.

The dark tree branches, leafless, devoid of color or any softness, seem to scrape the perfectly blue and cloudless sky. The purplish shadows grow long towards the camera, covering the frozen ground. This picture talks stillness, and depicts what is NOT there, rather than what is there. But isn’t it what winter is all about?

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Carol Shields has a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, majoring in photography. During college, she had a lucky break and got a job in the photography department of a Fortune 500 aviation corporation. She picked up many more skills there and eventually worked into the staff photographer position, which she held for almost 10 years. Working for a Fortune 500 corporation gave Carol the opportunity to see many of her photographs on the cover of trade magazines. Today, most of Carol’s photo sales are accompanied by articles.

Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]

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