Winning Selection: Year End Digital Color Previously Entered: 01,SE135,DP,Chicago_Sunset
This was another very difficult selection. Great Blue, Comet, Okoboji Sunrise, and Dandelion Swirl all were considered. Chicago was selected because of its stunning color palette and also it left me asking questions of its creation. The saturation and vibrance are rich in both the sky and water. The longer exposure softened the water nicely, feels like clouds but still provided reflective highlights from the city lights across the way. There are a few small noise specks in the water to the right of the first post and one blue speck to the left of the second post but otherwise this is a clean photograph, no dust, no rogue flares from a dirty lens, it looks great! The composition is really nice with leading lines of the dock taking us to the beacon at the end and across the way red tail light streaks move us into the commotion of the city. The file size seems a bit small, could have been downsized for upload but it is causing pixelation in the city. The small aperture selected and used to create the light flares is perfect! The light flare on the dock is strange and not uniform like the rest? Maybe a dim lightbulb? Or maybe because the source is on the edge of a wide angle lens? The base of the dock light pole has been painted with a spotlight, either by the photographer or another light source or potentially in post production. It draws our eye to the left then we follow it up and then across to the city scape. Maybe would slightly reduce the exposure of that spot with a targeted adjustment to draw a little less attention to make it feel more natural. The small aperture and selected focus point also does a great job of giving us an almost infinite depth of field and focus. It is a great photograph and would pop printed on metal or high gloss photo paper.
P.S. About the dandelion swirl! I loved the creativity and only did not select because the motion of the floating seeds does not match the motion of the swirl edit. Concept is fantastic and should be played with more in post production! I could imagine the seeds moving in a similar swirl into the sky. The tips of the seeds still attached to the dandelion head should also show the same directional movement. Maybe a second layer of the original static image could could placed to show a semi transparent static stalk/stem, allowing just the seeds to begin to swirl. It is fun and playful!
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