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Last month’s photo challenge theme was “Home Sweet Home.” The prior month’s winner, Jennifer Schnepf, acted as our guest judge and chose our first-place winner.

Here is what Jennifer had to say about her favorite photo…

“Hands down, my pick for the Home Sweet Home challenge has to be ‘Evening Rays’ by Rosalie Dale. Breaking down the photograph into elements, I really appreciate the sweeping curves in the storm clouds, which are then repeated in the rolling landscape, and one more time mirrored by the quiet road. All of these graceful curves contrast nicely with the hard lines and texture of the bench, which sits quietly in the bottom portion of the frame, seemingly taking in the landscape itself.

“The colors and light compliment each other nicely as well. If this same picture were taken in full sun, it would have lost interest. I also like how the trees frame the portrait, so that your eyes have a place to stop. Without those trees, the road might have led your eye out of the photo. A beautiful job done in seeing something that most people may have passed right by.”

(click here to see the photo)

I agree. The dominant subject is the bench and although there is no person in this scene, it does indeed take on a feel of character or a persona. The shot evokes the idea of people even in their absence. I really like the worn patch of grass just in front of the bench, which indicates that it is well used. The lighting is beautiful with the long drawn out shadows across the field. The one thing I would change is the position of the horizon — it’s a little bit too centered in my opinion.

Here are my other favorites, our second- and third-place winners…

SECOND PLACE — HOME SWEET HOME OF DAYS GONE BY
(click here to see the photo)

I was really drawn to this shot for the texture and the mood. The open door with daylight streaming in, the torn wallpaper, leftover furniture … there is definitely a story or two that could go with this image.

I can almost smell the must and feel the dust looking at it. The shot is a bit overexposed and flat and could benefit from some post processing to bring out some more of the details. But even as it is, the overexposure gives almost an old, faded, weathered photo feel to it.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: For advice on post processing your photos, check out Two Quick Photoshop Tips to Perfect a So-So Photo: http://tinyurl.com/2hdaqk].

THIRD PLACE — QUIET AFTERNOON WITH A BEST FRIEND
(click here to see the photo)

This is a touching shot that evokes the essence of a lazy summer afternoon, friendship, innocence, calm, quiet peacefulness.

I really like the clouds reflected on the water as well as the girls and the paddles. I also like the placement of the paddles, which create a small frame within the frame.

The one thing I don’t like is the bit of tree and whatever that other thing is at the top of the frame. That is distracting and it keeps drawing my attention. Also, the two girls reading are nearly dead center. I would have used the Rule of Thirds and moved them slightly off center on one of the thirds lines. Still, a great shot.

Congratulations to our winners!!

[Editor’s Note: 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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