Help me pick the winners

As a new apprentice of the Arcanum (the Magical Academy of Artistic Mastery), I am slowly working my way up the 10 levels of Foundation mastery to get to the elite Sphere 1 of photographic expertise and hopefully beyond.  Along the way, one of the things I’ll be learning is how to process the raw images I’ve taken into much better stories through the same Photoshop and Lightroom photo editing programs I have been using (but scantily and poorly).

flamingoes at Cayo Coco, Cuba

But my first step is to winnow down the 10 images I have selected from the hundreds of photos I’ve taken over the past three or so years to the top 3 that should be critiqued by my “master” photographer, Les Imgrund.  Les, an Australian, is also a bird lover and photographer par excellance, but has a portfolio of some pretty impressive landscapes as well — something I would like to learn more about.

And this is where I need your help.  Please browse through the next 10 images and select your 3 favorites to post in a comment.  You don’t need to be an artist or have photographic training to know what you like, so just be choosy.  You can click on the photo to get a larger view, and then click the back arrow to go back to the post. Thanks very much.

1.  The Sierra Nevada landscape

Bishop Pass, Sierra Nevadas

View from the top of Bishop Pass (12,000 ft) in the Sierra Nevada mountains, California

2.  A prairie farm

Farmhouse in Glacial lakes area, MN

This farmer in central Minnesota collected old steam-driven threshers, which he displayed on one of the hills of his farm.

3. Pine Marten

pine marten

The very cute, vivacious Pine Marten we saw on our trip to the north woods a couple of weeks ago

4. Red Fox

red fox and kits

I photographed a pair of red foxes and their kits in 2013 on a magical evening when the light was just perfect

5. Prairie-Forest edge

prairie forest edge

Minnesota is where the prairie meets the forest, highlighted so well in beautiful fall foliage. Ignore the garish blue sky — I’ll fix that.

6. Prairie sunrise

prairie sunrise

Light on the prairie right as the sun was rising and the fog was lifting.

7. Hummingbird and red flower

Ruby-throated Hummingbird on cardinal flower

A ruby-throated hummingbird pollinating cardinal flower

8. Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan stretching

The Trumpeter Swan yoga stretch…

9. Birch forest at sunset

prairie-birch forest sunset

The prairie meets the birch forest — shot at sunset in the fall after the leaves had dropped

10.  Little Bee-eater

little beeeater

A Little Bee-eater, from our recent visit to the Okavango Delta in Botswana

28 thoughts on “Help me pick the winners

  1. I love your blog and have really enjoyed your work. I applaud your desire to improve! I had a tough time deciding, but went with my heart on this: 4, 7, 8 are my favorite three photos. They are all wonderful, but those were the ones that gave me an immediate visceral reaction. I hope this helps, best wishes, Wendi M

  2. What I look for in pictures, what makes them stand out for me is the framing and moment when you chose to capture the image, how I can see the message. As a long time developer of hundreds of thousands of pictures, I choose #2 for its topic and old America feeling and #4 because of the wild unlikeliness of a mother and her cubs. My husband chose # 6 based on the feeling the picture portrayed to him.

  3. 2,5,9 have it for me if we are talking photography and artistry. I don’t concentrate sufficiently on composition etc, I just go for a flat informative image i.e. a snapshot. I think it is laziness gradually with me. I’m getting to accept “good enough” – for me. I think what you are doing sounds fantastic. Happy photography! Amelia

  4. 3, 7 and 8. I loved all of them, though. I like the Pine Marten photo’s composition, with space on the right where he is facing. The Hummingbird photo’s colors are very vivid. The grey gentleness of the water in the Trumpeter Swan photo complements its action.

  5. Pingback: Results of the photo contest | Back Yard Biology

  6. Pingback: My progress report | Back Yard Biology

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