May Winners: Silhouettes and Shadows

Jen Stevens here. I’m the author of AWAI’s Ultimate Travel Writer’s Program. While Lori and her “bun in the oven” are busy guiding a group of your fellow readers around Paris, I’ll be sitting in as your guest editor.

Below you’ll find this week’s photo dispatch and the announcement of last month’s Photo Challenge winners.

Don’t forget: This month’s Challenge theme is “Body Language.” If you missed the details about what, exactly, that means, you’ll find them here.

-- Jen

Jennifer Stevens
Guest Editor

June 3, 2009
The Right Way to Travel, Weekly Photo Tip

By Shelly Perry in Portland, OR

Last month’s Photo Challenge theme was “Silhouettes and Shadows.” I was really impressed with how many submissions were potential winners this time around -- more than any other month in our Challenge to date. It was incredibly difficult to narrow it down to the winning shots, so I included a few “honorable mentions,” which will be included in the Hall of Fame with the rest.

** First Place goes to David Adler for “Roofers”
** Second Place goes to heather.fuqua for “Having fun”
** Third Place goes to jenerate for “Waiting for the Stars”
** Honorable Mention goes to hester56 for “catching a ride”
** Honorable Mention goes to Robla for “Final Strokes”


Silhouettes And Shadows

Here is what last month’s winner, Barbara Eggermann, had to say about her first-place pick for this month:

“A simple, clean, crisp, and well-composed photo. The leading lines from the left side of the photo steer the eye right to the workmen’s silhouettes. I liked that the two men were captured at an opportune moment to express the physical nature of their work.”

I agree with Barbara that this is a clean, crisp image, with very strong silhouettes. It would not require model releases to be sold as stock. The composition is nice; leaving the stove pipes in the scene, along with the action of the men, provides a sense of place and action. Usually, I would prefer the men moving into the scene, but you can't always arrange for a perfect shot in real life. In this case, the direction of the action came second to keeping the stove pipes in and I think that was the right call. I also like the clouds in the background, which give this image a little more depth and variety of tone.


Having fun is an overall wonderful shot. The silhouette was achieved with a beautiful exposure for the sunset in the background. The exuberant motion and action of the couple gives a sense of strong emotion. This image could be a good seller as a stock photo. My only suggestion for improvement (and I am being picky) would be to move the couple even more off-center.


The silhouette on Waiting for the Stars is so crisp and clean, it nearly looks like a drawing. The composition on this shot is very strong. The backpacker is moving into the frame and facing the open space. This is great for text placement, as this will lead the reader to look into the space. The tall, dominant trees at the person’s back are a dynamic placement. This shot also could do well as stock.


I chose Catching a Ride as an honorable mention because this shot has a lot of story. The photographer did a terrific job using the doorway of the barn for framing, and then layering the silhouette of the cowboy walking out to the horse, who we see in the distance. The horse and the dog are both paying attention, but in a natural way. This composition, with its many layers of interest, is exceptional. And this shot, too, could work for stock.


The setting on the water, the colors, the person, the action, the composition, everything comes together in this shot in such a fantastic way. I love the dramatic lighting here, how even the ripples on the water are backlit and defined. This is the type of image that could convey a lot of meanings beyond the sport, itself, and would probably do quite well as a stock shot also.

Congratulations to our winners and to everyone who entered this challenge, many of your shots were worthy of a win!!

Winners will all be entered in the grand prize contest for a $2,000 prize in October.


Remember, this month's theme is "Body Language." Submit your photos by 8:00 a.m. EDT, Monday, June 22. If you're a first-time user, you'll need to register first on the "register" link on the right side bar. Once you have a username and password, click "Enter to Win" to upload your photo. Only one photo per applicant, per month -- multiple submissions will be deleted.

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]