Results April 2015 forum competition – Unfamiliar Places

May 12, 2015

Results April 2015 forum competition – Unfamiliar Places

The brief for this round was relatively straightforward. Go on a random journey, somewhere you’ve never been before. It could simply be a case of turning left instead of right when you leave your front door. Once your surroundings are suitably unfamiliar, walk around and take a picture every minute for 24 minutes. Present your best shot in the gallery.

Sounds simple, but was it really? The point of this round was twofold. First, I wanted to see how well you’d cope within the limitations of such a brief. Being able to find a great shot in a place you have no relationship with, or prior knowledge of, is quite a challenge for anyone. I also wanted to hark back to the days of film where photographers would often find themselves limited to just 24 or 36 frames. This, as I’m sure you all know, forced them to be economical with their shooting and develop a much keener eye for a good shot. More than that it’s just a fun way to approach the process of taking a photograph.

Looking through the entries I’m very happy to see you all went for it. It could be the case that some of you bent the rules ever so slightly (and one of you was gracious enough to admit this on the forum comments), but I’m quite happy to live in blissful ignorance.

You’ll perhaps notice there is no shortlist for this round. The reason is that this is the first month where I’ve found it an impossible task to whittle down the selection. I liked every image submitted. You all made the shortlist this month. However, there are a couple of shots to which I will give an honorary mention. ‘Tourist Information Office Cladding at St Paul’s’ by Skiddawman is a great shot. Sometimes the simplest scenes are the most effective. Here we find a very basic approach to architecture. The interaction of shapes and lines is very interesting. An image that deals with a similar theme is ‘Woman Descending at the Tate’ by RovingMike. Again we see a nice exploration of architectural photography. But where the tones of Skiddawman’s shot were muted, RovingMike’s image is bursting with colour. Most pleasingly, we have the top of a person’s head as they move out of frame. While it would have been interesting to see a little more of her, the fact she is almost out of view is actually a nice element.

I also really liked Ffolrord’s chicken image. It’s a seemingly mundane subject enlivened with nice lighting and a solid composition.

Now, let’s take a look at the top three.

unfamiliar places

Photo by Satlight

3rd Place
Red Skies by Satlight

This image was an instant standout for me. I love the eerie stag-headed tree against the deep sanguine light.

‘A walk along the sandstone trail to Helsby Hill was my unfamiliar place,’ says Satlight. ‘I took many photos of the sun setting over Cheshire and surrounding area, all of which I found disappointing. The exception was this tree, which was in the field behind me all the time. I took one photo and headed back.’

One photo was all that was necessary to convey the beautiful atmosphere of this location.

unfamiliar faces

Photo by MartyG

2nd Place
The Mediocre Old Mill by MartyG

I’m going to leave it up to MartyG to talk about this excellently composed and toned image.

‘Some say that you’d only use compact cameras if you want mediocre photographs. I say it’s the photographer that makes the photo mediocre, not the kit. This is from the Canon S110. I reshot my twenty-four photos for the April forum comp partly to show this and partly because I wasn’t happy with the stuff from the L glass. This is #3 potential and the one I decided to go with. This is a part of Stamford I’d never been to before and only learnt of its existence by chance through another photographer on Twitter. I’d never have stumbled across this place by accident as it’s a bit hidden and out of town.’

unfamiliar places

Photo by JKP

1st Place
Fyfield Down by JKP

JKP took this during a walk on Fyfield Down near Avebury. It was a place he had not visited before, and of all the images I felt this one best demonstrated how important it is to have your eyes peeled when out in an unfamiliar location. This image has so much going for it. The colours are lovely, the lines leading into the distance, the cirrus clouds are like delicate brushstrokes, and it must be said that horizon is perfectly straight. It sounds an odd thing to mention but you would not believe how many photographers fail to get a level horizon. All in all, it’s a great shot and a more than deserving winner for this month’s forum competition.

See the themes for the 2015 competition

Look at all the entries for this round

Read all comments for this round, Unfamiliar Places

Leave your comments for winning pictures for this round

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