This month's brief could not have been more straightforward - u2018photograph a leaf or some leaves', an instruction that was embraced by many AP forum members.
For this round we received in the region of 42 images, which was fantastic. The standard of entries was superb and of the four rounds I have judged this was by far the hardest to whittle down to a top three. But whittle down the entrants I had to. Below is my top three and brief comments on some of the shortlisted entries.
Samsung has kindly provided a 32GB Micro SD card, with SD adapter for the winner, and 8GB cards and adapters for the second and third places. Second and third places also get an Amateur Photographer Loves My Pictures mug.
Photographing leaves is an especially apt theme for this time of year (of course choosing this theme as the September round was no accident), and entrants certainly came up with some impressive results. From backlit leaves with their array of colours beautifully illuminated to dewdrops on leaves and twisting vines, the variety of approaches was really exciting. I loved Skiddawman’s image of a backlit leaf with a cheeky lava lit up at the side of the leaf – the shadows cast on the leaf added interest. I also liked Roger_Provins’ close up of raindrops on a gorgeous deep red-coloured leaf and the textures of Caledonia84’s verdant green leaf photographed extremely close up. I loved the curving lines of the vines as they weaved across the wall in Ringo254’s image – a very simple but effective approach. Elsewhere andytraill bravely decided to ignore colour entirely and instead create a tonal black and white image that works well. Here are my top three, though it was a very close call.
Vivid Blue – “Autumn”
This image looks simple but it’s deceptive. It is one of those subjects that is far more difficult to do well than you might think. For one, with all those leaves in the frame there is a danger the shot will be just that – a picture of leaves, and not have a well-thought out composition. Another challenge is avoiding blowing out the lightest parts of the image. Vivid Blue has successfully avoided both these potential pitfalls and the result is an image with a well-balanced exposure that is nicely framed to generate interest. I like the way the image is framed to draw the eye to the leaves on the right and up to the sun as it streams through the canopy. This gives the image a sense of motion that keeps it from looking static. The smattering of bokeh in the background gives a nice impressionistic touch but most of all the colours are just gorgeous. This for me is autumn in a nutshell.
AntSmith – “Rain Drop and Leaves”
We received quite a few images of raindrops and leaves but AntSmith’s rendition was one of the strongest. A simple, uncluttered background was one of the first things I noticed about his image. Making sure there is a clean background is a basic ‘rule’ of composition. It is something that is frequently talked about yet so often forgotten. Not here though I’m happy to see. Secondly, I like the curves of the two leaves and how AntSmith has clearly thought about how they could work together. If the leaves had been touching, in my view this image would have been far less strong. The careful focusing, bright colours and attention to detail all add up to a harmonious and compositionally strong image.
RexK – “New leaves”
RexK’s image stopped me in my tracks. I’m a big fan of backlit plants and flowers as you might have already guessed and RexK’s picture is a particularly strong example of this type of image. There is something very delicate about the lighting that grabbed me straightaway. I’m assuming it was taken with natural light and I love the way the light illuminates the reds, pinks, oranges and yellows of the leaves. The light also accentuates the vein patterns of the leaves to interesting effect. It may sounds silly, but I’m quite moved by this image. By this I mean there is something quite moving about the scene – a flourishing plant against a dark, menacing background. In this way there is a kind of story at play here that you don’t often find with plant images. To me this image embodies hope and a positive future – and that is why it is my first placed image.
Thanks again to everyone who took part in this round. This was a particularly tough round to judge and there are some really excellent pictures. I’ve really enjoyed looking through them.
There is still time to enter our October competition.
See all the entries for this round
See the comments from this round
Leave your comments for the winning pictures here