The results of the February round of the Amateur Photographer monthly forum competition. The theme was Contre jour/lit from behind.

Amateur Photographer forum competition February 2012 Results

Theme – Contre jour/lit from behind

I?m not going to tell you it is wrong to be thinking about your subject when you are taking a picture, but thinking about the light is just so much more interesting. I suppose what we need to do is think about what we are photographing in two stages ? firstly, the actual physical objects that are in the frame, and then the light. Or the other way round.

The point is that photography is about capturing light, and it is only with light, its characteristics and its direction, that we can see at all and that the objects we look at, and take pictures of, have shape. Side lighting and frontal lighting, top lighting and lighting from below are all very nice and perfectly acceptable, but from behind is far more interesting, exciting and dynamic and, in my mind at least, always makes a much better picture.

This February?s round of the competition goes some way to proving that ? purely by the percentage of entries that have made it into the shortlist. We have some really exceptional images, and the shortlist makes inspirational viewing. Picking the top three was quite a challenge, with more than that number being very close to the top spot. Those who deserve a special mention are: Rustyknight, Dougall, AaronTucker, PhilW, snowqueen, Mr Mischief and Tonycro.

This year’s competition is being supported by Samsung, and this month’s first prize is the Samsung PL150 compact camera with dual LCD screens – one on the front as well as the back, and 12 million pixels. The second and third placed winners will receive a wonderful Amateur Photographer Loves My Pictures mug.

3rd

sharpneil for Sunset

It is a bit tough on sharpneil that this picture only came third, as in many other months this could be a winner, but the competition is fierce in this round. What an awesome shot, and how full of atmosphere it is. It?s a kind of iconic image that has umpteen different story scenarios behind it and so many meanings. There?s a ?hopes and dreams? feel, as well as ones of natural beauty and of ?a great sense of achievement?.

I love the backlighting too, and the way the setting sun has created an amazing golden glow about the boy?s head. And that flare ? fully allowable as that is what our eyes would have seen had we been there looking in that direction too.

It?s the kind of picture this lad will treasure, and the sort that other people will look at and envy the experience. Really good, and worth more than a third place. Well done, sharpneil.

2nd

Betinalap for Brett

Leni Riefenstahl would have been proud of this ? the hard grafting worker, the backbone of our national society. It is full of patriotic emotion and iconic graphics. The light dripping onto the man?s shoulders suggests he is under the watchful gaze of some higher being, and his fine looks and chiselled features tell us he is an ideal specimen. The hanging cigarette represents the hard-fought and simple pleasures of the working classes, and the lamp post with its banner that he tolls for the good of his country.

That could be a load of old tosh, but that is what I see when I look at the picture ? it is full of symbols.

The exposure is perfect, allowing us to appreciate the details of the forehead and the basic shapes of the face, while still enjoying the appearance of a silhouette. The low angle immediately gets the attention and looking up at this man tells us we should idolise him and, well, look up to him.

I think this is an astonishing piece of work. And there is still so much more I could go on about. Very well done. I love it.

1st

BrianWall for Flaming Hair

What an absolutely stunning picture. I can?t get over how much I like it, and how powerful those colours are. Technically, of course, it is dreadful, with all that lost detail and pixilation, but I think had it been crispy and detailed it would not have possessed half the charm or the same degree of drama.

The girl?s hair is alight with the fire of the setting sun, and the wind blows the flames across the frame. The sea in the background is like molten lava flowing at her feet. The colours are so intense I?m not sure if this a vision of Heaven or of Hell, though I?m inclined to believe it is the former.

This is also a picture of icons, but quite what those icons mean is less obvious. It?s a bit like a Banksy, and has an air of The Girl with the Heart Balloon.

Just brilliant, and the kind of picture you can go back to again and again, and enjoy it just as much each time.

I think this must be one of the strongest rounds we?ve ever had. The pictures are really first rate and are an absolute pleasure to look at. Thanks very much to everyone who entered and to those discussing and commenting in the forum.

Go to our forum to see all the entries, to read the discussions and to enter this month’s round.