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As usual, we let last month’s first-place winner choose this month’s star and once again, I’m glad I had help.

Judging was tough. Last month’s photo challenge theme — Planes Trains and Automobiles — brought in more submissions than ever before. Below are our top three picks but I’ve also added an honorable mention category this month to showcase some of my other favorites…

** First Place goes to Randy for “Last Light @ Lake Eola.”
** Second Place goes to hkuhnen for “Camel Caravan.”
** Third Place goes to Kerry10 for “Forgotten.”
(Honorable mentions are below.)

Here’s this month’s first-place winner

Greg Hayes, our previous month’s winner, said this about his first-place pick…

FIRST PLACE – LAKE EOLA LAST LIGHT
“Compositionally perfect, deliciously rich sunset color, excellent storytelling! The photographer framed the subject silhouettes against the reflection, not losing any of the elements against the buildings or the tree trunk. Leaves cascade into the sky as the heavy tree limb mirrors and complements the city skyline. Warm, intimate moment.”

I like that picture too. In fact, there were so many to choose from, I had a hard time selecting these next two…

SECOND PLACE – CAMEL CARAVAN
I like this shot because it puts the viewer right in the action. Both the lead rope and the dune rim pull focus right to the forward camel and rider.

With the sun’s low angle, the desert is graphically interesting and the scene isn’t lost in harsh blowout. Check out the light catching the windblown puff of sand from the camel’s step.

Though I feel the image would be stronger if our camel’s head were further to the right –clearing that hind leg from our camel’s head as well as presenting a fuller composition — I get the sense that the photographer tried to lean to the right to separate them as much as possible. The major elements line up nicely according to the Rule of Thirds.

THIRD PLACE – FORGOTTEN
There’s a story here. The repeating forms of the old double-deckers fill the frame, each presenting its own version of decrepitude, leaving just enough grass so we know this isn’t your usual bus parking lot.  The photo begs the viewer to ask questions. The description puts the shot in British Columbia but what are those right-hand drive (probably-London) buses doing there? Who brought them, to what use will they be put, how can I catch one?

HONORABLE MENTION – SAAB SHASTA
This photo gets the Almost-A-Car-Ad Award.  It’s got great lighting. Great background. And the inclusion of the trees in the middle foreground helps make the mountain behind them real.

With a little more careful placement of the car — a mere few feet behind its position in the photo — we could have solved two minor problems:

1. The trees wouldn’t interfere with the lines of the windshield and driver’s seat and
2. The parking spot’s white concrete block could be eliminated.

In general though, this is a great photograph, even to somebody like me who doesn’t give a rat’s about cars.

Wonderful work everyone!! I’m including a few more of my favorites here

ENTER TO WIN!
This month’s theme “The Softer Side of Strength” is underway with a few entries coming in already. We know this will be a challenging theme and one you may not have in your collection already, so be sure to take your camera along and watch for opportunities to catch that gentle nature of someone in uniform.

[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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