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#251 - WINNERS The Earth's Bones
Posted By: Tamia, 07-27-2013, 12:55 PM

I'm astounded with the turnout for this challenge and by the quality of the photos. A big thanks to everyone who entered. Through your photos we've all had a kind of virtual geology field trip.

I based my judging on the usual photographic elements like composition, perspective, and DOF, but I was informed also by the presentation of the subject. As always, there's a large dose of subjectivity. Does the photo strongly pull me in? Does the nature of the rocks excite my inner geologist? Does the picture make me want to explore the place shown?

You know my criteria now, and I'll give my impressions of each photographer's entry, in order of submission. The winners are announced at the end. But before that, I thank each and every one of you for encouraging me to "bone" up on geology from around the world. It's been a true pleasure and has reawakened dormant little grey cells, while encouraging me to read up on each of the places shown here. Chapeau to you all!

Now let's get this show on the road, beginning with...

Arjay Bee: Great start, Arjay. The monochrome conversion is apt and brings out the texture and morphology of the formidable rocky landscape. I love the mood conveyed by the dramatic clouds, which serve as a counterpoint to the hard rocks. And the inclusion of the lighthouse hints at the rough nature of the sea, the danger inherent in plying the waters peeking into the photo at right. I find myself returning over and again to study your picture to think about the rocks and how they may have formed. Would I want to spend time there amongst them at Cape Leeuwin? Heck, yes!

Tim/atupdate: You've brought together two of my favorite things -- rocks and water. Water is the most powerful erosive force on the planet, and your picture beautifully captures the manner in which it manages to break down solid bedrock and convert it in stages to dust. There in your picture is the complex bedrock being sculpted by water and other elements, and downstream, below the tiny plunge pool, are silt and pebbles, the end product. But the rock cycle will eventually convert those small fragments into solid rock again. You've got me flowing along thinking about the history and future of those rocks. Wonderful job.

Susan/Slowpez: As usual, you've captured a stunning landscape. For anyone interested in geology, the rock exposures are equally stunning, with badlands terrane and a fascinating geo and human history. Beautiful complimentary colors. Compelling composition. Sharp focus, and with features such as the trails that lend scale to put the whole on a human level. And clouds that tease the dry, deeply eroded landscape below. What's not to like? I want to BE there in that photo. Super job.

Kyle/SpecialK: Another example of Southwestern rock formations, and a very compelling shot this is, too. The beautiful red sandstones (once they were sand dunes during the age of the dinosaurs) are here considerably eroded, and what makes this shot so compelling to me are those hollows, some containing white rocks, some quite angular. Now what's the story here? Where did those white rocks come from? Is this a natural feature (I wouldn't think so)? I'd love to "put my nose to the formation" with my handlens to see what those white "allochthonous" rocks are and to learn more about how they got there. A fitting entry for this challenge.

RollsUp: To the land of ice now, and a brilliant rock exposure that makes me want to know much more. Here we have deeply fractured, lightly colored bedrock, clearly eroded by ice, wind, and water, and wave action has smoothed the contours of the cliffs' base. I'm guessing this is a kind of granitic gneiss, but that's only a guess, and it's the mystery of this rock landscape that make me want to learn much more. I'd love to clamber over the slope and peer learn its secrets. Excellent entry.

Lisa/Casil403: Another fabulous entry from you, Lisa. Concretions are fascinating geologic features (see Wikipedia's article to kearn what they are and how they form). These in your photo are impressive, indeed, made more so by your skill as a photographer. Beautiful colors, textures, and depth make for a gripping portrayal of an unusual kind of rock. Here, too, I find myself wanting to get up close, to step into the picture and experience the place myself. Well done.

Bill2849: Some of the oldest mountains in the country there, Bill, and an important, intriguing geologic provence. The rocks themselves aren't visible as naked formations for us all to see -- a common lament of Appalachian field geologists -- but the topography of the forested ridges marching away into the distance clothe their structure, much like the folds of skin on a body soften the outlines of bones beneath the surface. Though some who don't take time to study the ridges would miss it, each is unique and hint at the complexity beneath. A dramatic geologic and biological landscape, and one which would be fascinating to explore in person. Nice job and a beautiful photo.

Charlie/Carhliezap: One of the jobs I had as a geologist was to participate in archaeological surveys. All of us (except those who contracted us to do them!) on those projects would have been thrilled to have found a stone axe such as this one, Charlie. Imagine what the landscape was like back when the artisan made that tool from what looks like a hard, water-polished cobble, possibly igneous in origin, and certainly much older than the tool-maker. A nifty and clever entry that certainly sparks my imagination, and a very fine family treasure.

Bruce/Bramela: A lovely portrayal and a terrific depiction of erosive processes on solid rock. Foreground exposures and the rocks at the cliff's base are smoothened by wave action, which is underway in the photo. The rugged cliff face exposes the formation's structure and hints at its origins. As a young climber I'd have been tempted to get my hands right onto that cliff face, which is full of character and teases with a hint of secrets there to be discovered. A dramatic and rugged place that must have been a joy to explore. Great job.

Joe/Jmschrei: Your photo is very Ansel Adams in its quality and, of course, in its monochrome conversion. A fitting treatment for so rugged and raw a rocky landscape. Very "boney," and it quickens this old heart to explore this slice of Rocky Mountains with my eyes. Hard rocks, youthful mountains, with a glimpse in the foreground at what the peaks beyond can look forward to -- rounded, eroded, more subtle but every bit as beautiful as their younger selves. I love the serrations and the smooth faces and the juxtaposition of ragged vs smoother. Well done.

Tom/Ramseybuckeye: Badlands indeed, and a "tactile" detail shot of the nature of badlands rocks. The textures, the the colors, and even the inclusion of vultures (among my favorite birds) all tell a story about the bigger picture. Here we have layered sedimentary rocks, deposited many tens of millions of years ago in very different environments than are seen today. Once more my imagination is sparked by this glimpse into what is to me an exotic landscape where the earth's bones are laid bare. Excellent!

Don/Fotogaffer: A surfeit of "bones" and another stunning presentation. In the foreground, hoodoo details (form, textures, color) are palpable, from solid rock to the results of erosion. Yet in the nearer background the overall stratigraphic form is emphasized, and in the far background the viewer gets the Big Picture. Icing on the cake is your vivid description! Goodness gracious, I can almost feel the grit under my hands. Superb photo.

Mike L: I love it! What's on center stage here is the chilled remains of a molten lava mass that flowed some 50+ million years ago. As that lava cooled, it cracked on contraction, and those cracks formed these columnar features. Their roughly hexagonal cross-sections reflect the microscopic crystalline makeup of the basalt. Another result of cooling contraction in some basalts is that pillars crack cross-sectionally, with one concave side and one convex side. Your photo captures that in the fissures visible in the sides of the taller columns. The reddish color is another sign of weathering, another characteristic you captured very well. Erosion has taken its toll, but that hasn't diminished the outcrop's immensity nor its awe-inspiring character. I bet it was a blast to explore! Great job.

Salty/NaClH2O: Your Bronx rocks do indeed rock, Salty! You captured the character of this granite outcrop beautifully, with the water-smoothed polish emphasized by the especially well captured quartzite exposure and its pearly luster. Beachcombers and the wind-swept grasses provide scale so we have an idea how big the boulders are, and the fissures show just how the boulders form. A lovely scene and excellent "bony" outcrop. I wish I was there!

Neville: South Africa has a complex and deeply fascinating geologic history, and your photo of the Golden Gate is a lovely slice of that history. The pretty sandstone hue is brightened and enriched by your choice of lighting. This emphasizes the sandstone's layers and the fissures that crisscross the cliff face. In the middle ground, you can trace the layers further, and I find myself wanting to get out there and follow it along. The rounded topography in the background contrasts with the stark vertical exposures -- another tantalizing appetizer that makes me want to know even more. Super!

Sealonsf: More of the Rockies, this time further to the south. And here we have the serrations of the rugged backbone of the North American continent, along with a clue to the glaciated near-past (as measured in geologic time). The shallow U-shaped valley in the middle ground was carved by a glacier during the Ice Age. The rocky spine of the higher peaks is carved and cracked, but the structure of the underlying rocks is hinted at by that white horizontal band. There's so much more that this picture is telling me, but there are also mysteries. Add to that your usual superb skill and we have an artistically as well as a geologically stunning shot.

Dan/Audiobomber: An arid land and thin vegetation is a dream for geologists because the earth's bones are laid bare, or almost so, for anyone who cares to look. Your monochrome conversion is well done and emphasizes the Joshua Tree NP's rocky nature. Far beyond, snowy peaks form a backdrop for the faulted, eroded ridges and slopes nearer-to. An intricate rock record is to be found here, hinted at by the nature of the topography. The dramatic sky is a bonus in this already excellent picture.

John/Jhue02: I was wondering if anyone would go beneath the surface, and you've done it with an evocative and mysterious photo. I love the intricate details of the stalactites emphasized by your choice of lighting -- the colors, the drippy inverted cones, the knobbly texture of the solution rocks. You're right. It IS like The Incredible Journey, and a rare view of the inner workings of the earth. What's down below our feet? This shot reawakens my youthful yearning to explore caves and caverns. Marvelous!

Noel/Noelcmn: Here, kitty-kitty! A whimsical shot from you, one which brings a smile to my face. But don't imagine I can't weave a geologic story around your picture. Where did that stolid well-rounded boulder come from? What's outside the frame? The boulder's large, it's been there long enough to grow a fuzz of what looks like lichens, and exfoliation (shed rock) is apparent. That the lioness is resting on top suggests it's a prominent point, and that makes me think that this boulder is a loner. And the predator herself is iconic, as stalwart as her perch. Love it!

John/Johnyb3000: Warm rock indeed. One of the appealing things about rocks is how they soak up the sun on cold winter days. This looks like a formation that could be from the northern Adirondack Mountains. A granitic gneiss? The streaky, confused banding, the xenoliths, the struggle that took place long ago when the country rock was plastic and maybe intruded by molten rock. Now, though, the rock is solid, cold, but this is an outcrop of a formation that once existed deep below the surface and which is now exposed to be warmed by the sun on a cold winter's day. You see? If you look and listen, rocks can talk to you. That's what your photo is doing for me. Splendid work!


And at last, the winners. It has NOT been an easy job, let me tell you. Everyone who didn't make it to the top three steps is an honorable mention in my book. Now for the podium:

Third Place: Neville





Second Place: RollsUp




First Place, and next week's host: Don/Fotogaffer




Finally, I couldn't agree more with Dan/Audiobomber when he wrote, "We need a whole new thread where we can post lots of Earth's Bones photos." So I've started a thread on The Earth's Bones with my pictures which I used as examples when I put up this contest. Come on over and add your own!

Once more, my thanks to everyone who entered photos, and thanks also for indulging me as I nattered on in geospeak. It's been a pleasure to see them all and to wander, even if not in body, to each of the places you shared.

Last edited by Tamia; 07-27-2013 at 01:03 PM.
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07-27-2013, 01:09 PM   #2
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Congratulations Fotogaffer on the win. What a gorgeous bit of "bones" you shared with us. Congrats also to RollsUp and Neville on second and third place. What a great topic you provide us with Tamia and a wonderful job of judging and commenting on all the images. Looking forward to the next challenge.
07-27-2013, 04:24 PM   #3
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Congratulations Fotogaffer, great photo, I thought it was a notch above the rest, and wow there are a lot of good quality photos her. Also congratulations to RollsUp and Neville also, well done. Tamia, great job as usual!

Hey and don't forget to enter the Project 52 challenge on Rural/Agricultural architecture.
07-27-2013, 07:54 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by ramseybuckeye Quote
Congratulations Fotogaffer, great photo, I thought it was a notch above the rest, and wow there are a lot of good quality photos her. Also congratulations to RollsUp and Neville also, well done. Tamia, great job as usual!

Hey and don't forget to enter the Project 52 challenge on Rural/Agricultural architecture.
Wow! Truly honoured to be picked as winner of this thread with so many fine submissions. Thanks so much Tamia for selecting my photo, but also for all the time and effort you put into judging, and commenting so diligently on all the entries. Your knowledge of geology shines through. Congrats to RollsUp and Neville on their selections as well.
Well done all!
I will try to come up with something by tomorrow night, stay tuned!

07-27-2013, 08:13 PM   #5
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Congratulations Don! Great judging Tamia and thanks for the kind words. Looking forward to next week's theme!
07-28-2013, 05:19 AM   #6
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Those multi columned 'Hoodoos' are certainly distinctive and memorable - Good choice Tamia.
07-28-2013, 11:23 AM   #7
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Congratulations Photogaffer. Good grief, this challenge has made me want to pack my bags and go exploring, none more so than this place you have captured so beautifully. Love the different lighting and the details. Great Comp Tamia, you'll be making us all geologists yet! Congrats Neville, my fellow countryman, and to whom I must confess I have been pretty much all over SA, but never Golden Gate. Great lighting there. Congrats too RollsUp, love the textures in your shot.
OK Fotogaffer, where are you going to get us crawling next time round.
07-28-2013, 12:13 PM   #8
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Well judged, a very worthy winner. Congratulations to Fotogaffer for an outstanding shot, to the placegetters. All round, a top week of shots.

07-30-2013, 11:05 AM   #9
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Wonderful series. Congrats to winners and thanks Photogaffer for such interesting comments on the photos. Gives them a whole new perceptive. Thanks!
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