Back in April we asked you to enter your best shots that take inspiration or bear resemblance to the classic Ansel Adams shot, ‘Clearing Winter Storm’. The contest was hosted over on Photocrowd.com and attracted over 500 submissions from around the world. There were two categories: the ‘Expert’ category, judged by photographer Nimit Nigam; and the ‘Crowd’ category which was voted for by the public.
The results are now in, and so we can now reveal the top ten photos in both of the contest categories.
(Reviews written by Nimit Nigam).
Expert 1st / Crowd 1st: ‘Along Smoky Mountain Road’ by Marek Kosiba – Location: Utah, USA
Expert Review: “This shot has loads of impact – the tones of the hills, texture of the foreground, the clouds and strong composition really help this image stand out. The wide angle focal length has helped to enhance the sense of depth in this shot – the formation of the clouds and the ratio of the frame they are given is very well spotted. This is a carefully crafted shot that has been exposed well and presented to show this clearing winter storm with wonderful light and colour.”
Expert 2nd: ‘Moods of the Vestrahorn’ by Trevor Cole – Location: Stokksnes, Iceland
Expert Review: This is an absolutely stunning shot. I love this shot for a number of reasons: perfect exposure, clouds, reflection and contrast. I love the crystal-effect reflection on the water. The sea and after-wave shapes play a great role in providing leading lines. Technically these types of shots are much harder than you would imagine. The water is constantly flowing making it really difficult for the photographer to capture the reflections in it, but the photographer did a brilliant job here.
Crowd 2nd: ‘Greenlandic Fjord’ by Ange –
Location: Greenland National Park
Expert 3rd: ‘Light and Rain’ by Sabbyy SG – Location: Kashmir
Expert Review: This is a beautifully-crafted image with lots of interesting layers in an addition to those big, poetic clouds. There’s a real energy shown in this shot – nature showing its enormous power. It is a vibrant choice to use black and white with minimal post-processing. The light shining on to the ground through the clouds give the image a magical essence, and creates a pathway in the centre of the frame which adds to the beauty, while the darkness on the left side offers a certain mystery in contrast. This picture has a soothing, painterly quality about it, which all adds to the overall calming feel. Good job.
Crowd 3rd: ‘Milford Sound’ by Doug Richardson –
Location: New Zealand
Expert 4th / Crowd 8th: ‘Inspired by…’ by Kathy Medcalf – Location: Cumbria, England
Expert Review: I absolutely love this. We have got so many images with sun rays bursting through clouds, but no other image was as soft and natural as this one. In landscape photography the ratio between the sky and land can be so important in highlighting the main subject of interest, and that’s exactly what the photographer has done here. The sky is beautiful with the rays partially covering the mountains. The trees, and their refection in the water, is also beautifully captured and the house in the middle shows some intriguing signs of civilisation in what otherwise seems to be a beautiful wilderness – what a place to live!
Crowd 4th / Expert 6th: ‘Nature’s symmetry’ by Trevor Cole – Location: Alberta, Canada
Expert Review: What attracts me to this image is the reflection on the water. It is crystal clear which is appealing to the eye. This shot has loads of impact – the tones of the sky, mountains, reflections and strong composition really help this image stand out. The beautiful mist and clouds is an add-on to the image, and gives it a subtle touch. The wide angle focal length has helped to enhance the sense of depth in this shot – it draws you in from every corner of the frame to the central part of the scene, which is incredible.
Expert 5th: ‘No storm!’ by Derek Osborne – Location: Tronador (volcano), Argentina
Expert Review: What a fantastic shot. I absolutely love the simplicity here – how the curves and light play such a great role in the photograph. The image has been designed and captured with a real feel for space, texture and light, and has been really well executed. The human element is gives a different dimension to the frame, showing the relationship between the giant mother nature and us –there’s a philosophical aspect, too.
Technically these types of shots are much harder than you would imagine, particularly controlling your exposure so get the correct balance between the bright and dark areas. The foot prints on the snow adds another story. Well done, this is a stunning image.
Crowd 5th: ‘Winter Storm Over Buttermere’ by Kathy Medcalf – Location: Cumbria, England
Crowd 6th: ‘Brewing Winterstorm’ by Ronniechua – Location: Banff National Park, Canada
Expert 7th / Crowd 10th: ‘Dusk’ by David Ball – Location: Death Rocks, Dunstanburgh Castle, England
Expert Review: What a beautiful long exposure shot of a seashore. The clouds are showing a sign of movement adding calmness to the shot. It is very well framed and there are some great leading lines here. Its straight horizon is appealing to the eye, and the detail along the horizon is subtle but effective. The slow shutter speed makes the moving water look like fog, and the texture of the rocks is beautiful. The overall balance of light and shadows in this image is perfect. Well done – a really powerful photo.
Crowd 7th: ‘Morning View of Mt. Bromo’ by Pradeep Raja – Location: Indonesia
Expert 8th: ‘Reaching for the edge at Beach Head’ by Gary Sanders – Location: Beachy Head, England
Expert Review: This beautiful image reminds me of Ansel Adams’ famous shot, Jeffrey Pine. There’s something very satisfying about the shape of the tree and the way the trunk curves out. I really like the framing of this shot, and the image is very well exposed.
The sky is full of stormy clouds which fits perfectly to the challenge. This image perfectly conveys what it feels like to be out there, caught up in the elements, as opposed to just what it looks like. The choice of black and white adds to the stark quality, and we’re left rooting for the tree to make it through the approaching storm.
Expert 9th: ‘Passing Storm’ by Kathy Medcalf – Location: Nottinghamshire, England
Expert Review: This is a wonderful scene of a field full of flowers, mystical stormy clouds and a lone tree. It’s a perfect example of vertical frame shots, and how to layer of subjects and sub-subjects. In the foreground we have beautiful flowers, then we’re lead to the main subject – a lonely tree which is standing under the falling clouds.
The simplicity of this scene is very relaxing and almost dream-like. The flow of clouds is like a waterfall. It appears as if the tree is taking a cloud bath! A very good example of minimal post-processing with good use of light contrast. Well done.
Crowd 9th: ‘Lead the way’ by David Ball – Location: North-East England
Expert 10th: ‘The ridges of Carn Mor Dearg’ by Pete Stevens – Location: Scotland
Expert Review: Anybody who enjoys photography can’t fail to have seen countless breathtaking images of Carn Mor Dearg, so much so that you can almost become immune to them and the use of black and white for this landscape is doing a spectacular job. Carn Mor Dearg may be one of the highest mountains in Britain, but it is completely overshadowed by Ben Nevis. It is the perfect viewpoint from which to admire Nevis’s magnificent North Face. I love how the clouds float across the top of the mountains, creating a hazy and mysterious but also calm feel to the shot. Well done.
To view some of Photocrowd’s other contests currently open for submissions, visit their ‘Challenges’ page.