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Winners ! beauty of things imperfect and transient
Posted By: tessfully, 11-26-2013, 03:24 PM

Thanks to everyone who submitted a photo. I have sincerely enjoyed contemplating all of the images and find depth, specialness and uniqueness in each. It has been a wonderful and evocative journey.

Julio/Jools -- “Resigned” -- the flowers in your photo were my grandmother’s favourite, and they are flowers I photograph often. Yet your rendering of this image is special beyond anything I have managed. The black and white grainy quality, subtle lighting and select focus evoke melancholic feelings of loss, but also a deep appreciation/love for the beautiful qualities found in a life fully lived.

Special K -- “rock piles at death valley” – The name alone conjures for me the flux and flow of extreme heat, and rock piles dotting millions of acres of wilderness provide a palpable presence of people who have travelled through, striving to leave their mark on the landscape. You have captured a humbling beauty and strength within this austere and vast landscape.

Sealonsf – Your image of rotting berries still attached to their life source, the stems, branches and tree, celebrates profundity in the cycling of nature. Juxtaposing the decaying fruit with those that still grow lends immediacy to the passage of time. You highlight the beauty of aging skin.

Jessesdad – “Poppy out & in” -- Absolutely love your image of the poppy “before and after.” Gorgeous colours, perfect focus, and lovely bokeh. It is hard to say which is more beautiful, but the seedpod has a lot of character, and also holds next seasons new generation of flowers.

John/Jheuo2 – “Volunteer Squash Plants” – I feel that beauty is always present, but seeing it can sometimes be difficult. You have met that challenge with this image! There is something uniquely striking in the mottled appearance of the small squash and the overall composition with the underlying decomposing leaves. The patterns of decay are beautiful. Interestingly for me, the beetles evoke a sense of place and a feeling that everything is as it should be in the world.

Mark/mecrox – “Carried on the Wind” -- Such an interesting and thought provoking take on the theme! The fringed woven material is beautiful in many colours and subtle changing light. Peace is a beautiful concept too often transient and imperfect. I am left wondering about your story behind the peace flags.

Dave/daacon -- “The imperfect circle, the imperfect reflection and the life of a bubble” – This is an amazing shot!!! I opened this up as big as I could and zoomed in on the bubble. I love the warped reflections, sun stars, rainbow colours, and I think I see you! Transient fleeting beauty that you somehow managed to capture in a photograph.

Tim/atupdate –grasshopper on ornamental grass – This is a perfect silhouette of a grasshopper beneath the changing sky as sun sets; a lovely image full of warmth and a sense of silence and solitude. It is the metanarrative that throws me for a loop! That the grasshopper is dead with a prosthetic antenna, and glued onto the grass --- perfectly funny and ironic!

Tamia – Ephemera – Your image highlights the beauty of chaos in nature. At the same time, the individual blades of rain soaked grass bring into focus a sense of place and a kind of reaching or clinging to the present. The colours are warm, rich and inviting. I find myself lying in the wet leaves, watching as gravity slowly stretches the rain droplets till they fall and are replaced by another.

Charlie/charliezapp -- A true transient from Mother Nature – This is a dynamic and beautiful image. The sunburst streaking down, the bud ready for tomorrow’s bloom, the flower in its glory, momentarily alive. I really enjoyed your narrative as well. I can sense your deep appreciation and attachment to these flowers and I can feel the joy they bring into your life.

NaClH2O – Ripples from a Fallen Leaf – This image is witness to tacit reflective beauty, which as you said, inspires quiet introspection. I love the dappled light on the water, reflections of what can and cannot be seen in the frame, implicit movements of the leaf and ripples, the muted colours and silky appearance of the water.

Stuart/smf – October Leaves – this is why I am having so much trouble getting through all of these wonderful images. Your photo draws me in and holds me captive. I open it up large, then full screen, and I disappear into layered crevices, mottled patina, waves of colour, life in transition. Your image is bereft of everything but the sublime.

Susan/slowpez – The Boys of Summer – This is a wonderful interpretation of the theme. Happily melancholic as the past rushes up to great me. There is something very present about this photograph too, which contradicts its vintage feel. In that tension lays the vibrant reality of the children (their body language and actions) and their stories. Stories past, stories present, stories yet to be written.

StephenHampshire – The Mantelpiece – This is an eclectic image. My eye travels from one object to the next, looking for connections in the small details. The clock is a scream. The symbolism of the melted wax, stuffed bird, and an ornamental bird covered in polka dots are noteworthy. My eye moves past the objects to the shadows on the wall and linger. “Life itself is but the shadow of death, and souls departed but the shadows of the living.” Thomas Browne’s words somehow seem to suit your image.

Joe/jmschrei – Light and Texture – Absolutely love the understated beauty and simplicity of this image. Like you I am attracted to the persistence and presence of leaves, plants and flowers amid freezing temperatures, snow and frost. The black and white conversion, grainy textures and modest composition embrace an austere beauty. The way the light glances of the ice crystals in your photo is stunning.

rbefly – Tree Face – I always see faces in trees, but not usually this obvious! This is an entertaining interpretation of the theme, and yes, the painted on face is transient. It is a happy face. I assume/hope the tree enjoys watching the neighbourhood grow and change over time from its rooted perspective.

Noel/noelcmn – backlit leaves in transition – The backlighting emphasizes the mottled mosaic of colour as the leaves pass through various stages of growth and decay. You have captured a strength of character in those leaves…

Billy/Paleo Pete – seed hung up on a broken twig – Gorgeous! Nicely photographed with beautiful bokeh and the seed temporarily trapped, patiently waiting for a breeze to carry it off. Your image evokes a sense of time that is unhurried.

Lisa/casil403 -- old pair of sneakers hanging on a wire in ice fog – Brilliant! I love the whole concept of this and the juxtaposition of the sneakers and ice fog bokeh is amazing. Whereby, old sneakers flung over wire and ensconced by frost are a thing of beauty, of philosophical meanderings, and the melding of technology, nature and art.

Mareket -- Nutmeg – is the most beautiful rat I have ever seen and your story is special and touching. I don’t think there is anything more beautiful and imperfect than unconditional love (try as we might, us humans have difficulty with the concept). And for me, your photo has captured that elusive emotion shared between you and Nutmeg. You have shown Nutmeg the sun and she makes you happy…..thank you for sharing some of that specialness with us.

Bill2849 – feather in sand – What I love about this is that it is hard for me to find the words to tell you how much I love this photo. There is a lack of clear boundary between the feather and the sand. They melt together as one but remain separate. The feather is weathered and grounded, the sand gently textured. I love the humble beauty and perceived quietness evoked by your image.

Workingdog – Oh gosh, another image that inspires deep thought. There is so much in this shot that evolves the theme into a philosophical meandering. Your choice of select colour highlights the (ironic) beauty of (plastic? cut?) flowers and the black and white cemetery marker reminds us that our bodies are perpetually in the process of returning to dust.

Lukulele – 57 years young – A very rustic and wonderful interpretation of the theme. This car emits imperfect beauty with a touch of melancholy as I travel down memory’s highway. Don’t touch the time-honoured rust!!! This car is perfect as-is.

Tom/ ramseybuckeye – Leaf Stain -- Your image is unconventional and very compelling. The pattern of the stain moving down the cement is evocative and the concreteness of the expansive backdrop is thrown into question by the movement of the leaf and the textured lines in the cement. This image is a minimalist poem aching to be written.

The winner and next week's host is Stuart (smf)


Followed very very closely by






and Tom

and a special honourable mention to Mareket and Nutmeg

Last edited by tessfully; 11-27-2013 at 07:03 AM.
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11-26-2013, 03:41 PM   #2
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Wow, Tess! You have gone above and beyond the call in your generous comments and reflections on each picture.
Great choices and worthy winners. Congratulations to all.
11-26-2013, 03:42 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Congratulations and well done Stu! That's a winner among a lot of very fine artistic photos. Well done also to Bill, Salt, Tamiia, Jools, and Nutmeg, I really enjoyed them all. And Tess, you should be writing if you are not, I always enjoy your critiques, I can tell they are from the heart, you really get into each photo to get the best out of it. You write almost as well as you shoot photos. And with reviews by you, I know why Norm is such an excellent photographer.
11-26-2013, 03:51 PM   #4
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That was a tough one Tess really good job on judging and commenting. Congrats to our winner Stu and all the HM and close seconds. Aside from not picking me as the out and right winner I got no complaints ha! There were so many variations on a most excellent theme well done everyone.

11-26-2013, 04:06 PM   #5
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Some gorgeous photos here and a well-deserved win by Stu. Great job, Tess!
11-26-2013, 04:26 PM   #6
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Tess, what a great topic and a wonderful job judging and taking the time to comment on everyone's images. Congratulations to Stu on the win and to all the HM's. This was a tough one with some really memorable entries.
11-26-2013, 04:30 PM   #7
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Great work Stu. Congratulations! Thanks for such a wonderful theme Tess, every entry was a worthy contender.

11-26-2013, 04:33 PM   #8
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What a brilliant competition! Many thanks for your judging and comments, Tess, and congrats to smf and the other winners. Just looking through the thread of entries is sooo heart-warming.
11-26-2013, 04:43 PM   #9

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Congratulations to Stu and all the other honorees. You set the bar pretty high for commenting here Tess.

11-26-2013, 05:12 PM - 1 Like   #10
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Tess, you chose a subject that encouraged the best from the challenge's participants, and what an array of excellence it was in every possible way. Photos reflected not only the photographers' interpretations of the theme, but also something of their souls, too. That was YOUR doing, because of the superlative subject you asked us each to consider. And then you had to judge them. A super job you did of that, too, rewarding everyone's efforts with a monumental effort of your own in what has to have been one of the most difficult judging jobs anyone has had to do here, especially as you gave such thought to critiquing the works. Bravo!

Congratulations to Stu/SMF for well deserved top spot, and to Bill, Salty/NaClH2O, Julio/Jools, Tom, and Mareket and Nutmeg the charming rat. Thanks also for the HM. An honor among so many memorable photos.

Watching the entries come in on this challenge and reading Tess' comments on every one of them has been a treat!
11-26-2013, 06:31 PM   #11
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Thank you Tess for a great theme, for your evident ability to appreciate the best in each photograph, for your ability and willingness to communicate that appreciation, and for judging among a very wonderful field of entries (and I agree with Tamia that your choice of theme had a lot to do with the quality of the entries). Congratulations, Stu for an excellent photo and for top honors. Congratulations too to the other runners-up/HMs. Thanks to everyone who entered and thanks for my runners-up mention.

The theme and the thread is very timely for those of us who are preparing for Thanksgiving.

11-26-2013, 06:35 PM   #12
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Tess, I echo the comments of fellow participants.
I appreciate the time you took to judge and express your insightful comments of this week's exemplary array of images.. Very well done.
Humbled you included my work in your final decision.
Congrats to Stu for a marvelous image and to Bill, NaClH2O, Tamia, Tom, and Mareket as well for your fine interpretations.
Really a great topic and strong submissions from all. Kudos!
I've been somewhat in a photographic doldrum as of late but just viewing this week's entries has inspired me. I thank you all for the breath of fresh air.
Saludos, Julio.

Last edited by Jools; 11-26-2013 at 06:50 PM.
11-27-2013, 03:29 AM   #13
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Congratulaions Stu, fab shot, true to theme, and a worthy winner. Congrats too to all the others mentioned Bill, NaClH2O, Tamia, Tom, and Mareket. Terrific challenge, terrific entries and equally terrific judging with constructive commentary, so a hearty thanks to Tess for all that has made this an awesome challenge. Maybe we should consider publishing these in a book-much like WPD. These weekly challenges are so good!
OK Stu-what's you got after Thanksgiving.

Talking of Thanksgiving-here's wishing all our American forumites a wonderful and joyful Thanksgiving.
11-27-2013, 05:57 AM   #14
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First of all thanks to Tess for the wonderfilled (not a typo) theme and the care and thought put into the judging. As others have said the comments were thoughtful and heartfelt. Thanks for your time, energy, wit, clarity, empathy and emotion.
Secondly, Congrats to Stu for a beautiful evocative image and congratulations as well to Bill, Tamia, Jools Tom and Mareket/Nutmeg. Wonderful images all.

NaCl(looking forward to the next theme)H2O
11-27-2013, 06:59 AM   #15
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Wow! Thanks for the nice comments I am humbled and honoured (and inspired!) by everyone's participation in this challenge.

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