Before the start of the photo contest “Wiki loves Earth – 2014” the Organizing Committee decided to supplement the published earlier results of the contest of 2013 by brief comments to the best photographs.
Oleg Zharii was asked to write them. We hope that his thoughts concerning the twelve photographs will help one to understand why namely these pictures were awarded by jury and will provide useful recommendations to photographers including participants of the next contests.
1. The ground of success of this photograph: it shows a natural phenomenon hardly ever seen by us. One can easily see sunlight over clouds through a plane window but rarely from the ground. A good detail contrast in the foreground, even in shadows, gentle colors of sunrise lighting, nice background and sky – well-deserved first place.
2. Dnister’ canyon is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Ukraine, and the loop of the river around Zalishchyky is its most beautiful spot. The photo is a classic of landscape photography: both foreground and background are interesting. Long shadows from trees show that sunset is coming, and the best time for shooting is namely two or three hours after sunrise and before sunset when lighting is softer than at daytime.
One could shoot this picture with one frame using a wide-angle lens. However, in this case the peninsula in the background would look too small as compared to the foreground. That’s why the author made use of the panorama technique at a moderate focal length. The photograph has been stitched from eight vertical frames, what equalized scales of plans. However may be the panorama should be completed by one more frame on the left.
When one is shooting a picture with several planes (this landscape has also a middle plane, the bridge), shift for even several centimeters strongly affects the final result. A composition is ideal when the foreground details do not hide each other. The stones should remain in the picture and the tree should not hide the bridge (should the proper shooting location exist). May be, shift to the right would enable the photographer to reveal the bridge, however the picturesque stones could be lost. This panorama demonstrates importance of careful selection of the surveying point. It seems so that the author has selected the best one.
3.Trees in the foreground and in the background add volume to the image of a unique geological formation, and the road brings dynamics to the picture. The photograph could become more interesting under a different lighting. However, photography, similarly to diplomacy, is “the art of possible”. That’s why at the moment when the travelling photographer found himself at the surveying point, he surely made the best possible shot.
4. Prerequisite of an interesting landscape photographs like this is the presence of both foreground and background. At a slow shutter speed, water flow and plants movement in the foreground are blurred. This brings dynamics to the picture. Sun reflection in the right part and a sun spot in the foreground add charm. Tender April leafage makes the photo more transparent.
5. Chimeric stone conglomeration in the foreground and a quieter one in the background create contrast of the picture. Middle of spring with its intrinsic tender leafage and flowers in stone fissures, probably, is the best season for shooting. Middle placement of horizon in this case is a justified violation of photography canons not recommending dividing the frame in half by horizontal or vertical lines. Thanks to that, nice sky occupies in the picture it’s deserved and enjoying equal rights place. Stones on the right close the frame thus creating a balanced composition.
6. The best way to represent an unusual object of nature in a plain is to shoot it “as is”. For this relief, absence of sunlight may be is a better variant of lighting. The picture is well completed by a soft pattern of summer sky. However, the result could be better in early spring or in gold autumn season. Also it would be better to expand the frame both ways. Otherwise, the composition looks too tight.
7. Small waterfalls in mountains are especially magical in autumn when ground is covered by colored leafs. We should accept the situation that direct sunlight won’t reach water in the forest. However, whenever possible one should avoid symmetrical frame composition when the main accent is centered.
8. Classics of landscape photography: foreground under sunlight, shadowed picturesque mountains and sea in the background. On should try to guess how such amount of snow has sticked to the tree!
9. Contrast of the picture is created by beautiful clouds and blue sea. When you don’t know what is outside the frame, you can assume that one should experiment with composition to get the most impressive photograph.
10. Zest of the photograph is its diagonal composition. Reflection of clouds in still water creates impression of conciliation.
11. Contrast side light reveals relief of snow covering and volume of the construction. People figures on the roof give an idea of its size. Impressive contrast between bright snow and subdued sky.
12. Emotional sculpture of Rosych makes contrast with quiet and majestic beauty of the island. Beautiful sky. The picture would be better if the frame has been expanded to the left and obviously under the quiet weather.
Oleg Zharii, photographer, member of jury of the contest «Wiki loves Earth – 2013», www.zharii.kiev.ua