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Winners- 66th Show and Tell Comp: The Decisive Moment

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Winners- 66th Show and Tell Comp: The Decisive Moment

Post Thu Nov 29, 2007 3:11 am

Following last week's very successful contest by M. Niekirk, first I will discuss the finalists and then in a post below, the winners.

We had many excellent contributions for the theme this week, and I feel that the most interesting aspect of the contest was to see how many different ways the theme was interpreted. My own interpretations evolved over the course, broadening as I learned from the many superb photographer on PBase who contributed to the forum. A big thanks to every one for taking the time to post such thoughtful entries.

In analyzing the work, it seems to me that the images fall into broad categories: Some that are spot on, in terms of my original stated view of the decisive moment, where I was looking for tension, fates being decided but not yet determined, and a background that contributed to the interpretation of the subject. I was primarily hoping for "accidents" such as a configuration of people, animals, or objects that happen to be in the right position/arrangement/expression than the expected cases that will occur during sport activities. Also, I was less interested in images where a fate was clearly already decided and now the consequences were in evidence.

Then as my understanding evolved from all of the beautiful images, I better saw another category where the tensions and fate aspects arise more from a design perspective and less from human or animal action; how a carefully placed subject amidst a background can be captured at the precise moment where no other moments could define the beauty and coherence of the elements in the image.

Finally there was the category where to my eye, tension/fates/etc. were not strongly in view but the image was fantastic anyway! All of this being said, of course I am bringing my own bias here about what constitutes a Decisive Moment. Besides my need for growth, there appear to be inevitable limitations and one contestant rightfully pointed out that my interpretation of the theme was from a Western perspective, and I did not understand the Eastern perspective of tension in his/her images. My only hope here is that we can all grow from each other and, for example, people will take the time to give me their counter-opinions, so to speak, on my choices. Thanks again for your time.

Finalists are roughly broken down by the above categories, going from monochrome to color, but each category is not necessarily in order of preference. I encourage you to view them in original size:

Eric Heberlin:
[/url]This is great. There is tension between the two, in that she is looking for his return of affection and his mind is either completely elsewhere, or perfectly at ease with receiving her affection and not having to return it, at least at that moment. The sepia tones give a timelessness to the image, while on the other hand his peering out extends the couple to the exterior, as he watches time or other events pass by. I like the off-balance feel of the image, emphasis right, centering on her eyes and the tangle of their arms. I wonder what is their fate?

Jeroen Bosman
This is very strong; the zig-zag of the road, the line of light more or less down the middle, the silhouettes and mix of soft and sharp tones all come together at precisely this moment to generate a visually stimulating image. While the image doesn't have much tension, or lead to questions about fates/decisions in terms of human/animal emotions, it is a great example of how the elements of a scene can come together at precisely the right moment to generate harmony, interest, and beauty. Jeroen has another contender that beautifully captures a moment.

I like this a lot. Two aspects drive the attention in this image. The first (for me) is the dramatic line of the stairway on the diagonal, leading me into the picture. The second is that the people in the foreground and several in the background are all focused on the boy in the air. This is exactly the kind of tension and use of subject-background interactions for the theme this week, which along with the setting of the boats in the distance, gives depth, height, and danger to the jump. Pingupingu also has another beautiful image in this contest.

Alain Lestrade:
I like this a lot. You can see enough of the woman's expression to know that she is genuinely happy to kiss the man. The man behind contributes mystery though, he seems perhaps surprised, questioning, not in agreement with or expecting the kiss. Then the darkish background, outdoors, the space, all contribute to the questioning, turbulent mood. It has tension, balance, fates, background/foreground interaction, everything. Alain has another shot that is interesting too.

Timco van Brummelen:
The overt tension/balance element is contributed by the clock, the note of an instant in time while the main image recedes into the distance, perhaps symbolic of time receding. Thus, the tension between the moment and the continuum. A secondary tension is of the bridge, holding above the people and the space. This is a more subtle example of tension/fates, but the whole image comes together so beautifully and is very thoughtful.

Stu Egan:
The girl turning to look at Big Ben at noon clearly has a dynamic element; the clock at noon presenting a nice fate concept, the movement of others ignoring the clock. Why is she so concerned about the time? The image draws me in, especially with the low angle. And of course I like the monochrome and dark tones. That being said, I think the vignetting here is just a little too much, as it heavily darkens the clock, a main feature. Still, a great capture.
Stu has another I like, where the subject looks like Jean-Claude Belmondo smoking a Galouse and saying "screw off". Perfect. The other guys, out of focus but we can see enough of their expressions; all complementary. This is just the right moment to depict his mood, waiting among his contemporaries, but it doesn't convey much about fates, per se.

Andy Thomas:
The man moves opposite to each of the reflections, clearly showing a fate choice, tension, movement. The lines of the walls and convergence provide a strong contributing background. Despite the perfect symmetry of the background, the subject is making an "asymmetric" choice. Also I like the monochrome and tonality here. If I had to critique anything, I would be interested to see what a bit more contrast looks like in the subject or the image as a whole. That's just forcing myself to be picky though.

A beautiful capture, wonderful how most peoples' attention is directed to the boy. Somehow they are in a line, and their diagonal and the line of bricks on the ground draw your attention in and towards the boy.

Markus Grompe:
I like the captured movement of the men in different positions, with several of them focused on the man on the left, who is taking his time to pass his judgment on something. To some extent the extreme white in the upper left is distracting, as are the feet in the lower right, but otherwise I like the moment captured here.

Terry Bowker:
Here the background people passing by and the cart wheels show how low the woman has unfortunately become; the absence of eye contact from others emphasizing how displaced she is. She is calling out, presumably to no one in particular, just a wail; an awful human condition. Clearly there is tension between her and the world.

Stuart Clyne:
The woman is clearly poised, ready to do something with you or move on, and the dog standing at attention is ready for movement or action too. The entire scene is framed and colored so beautifully, it could be a dream. The diagonal line from lower right to the upper middle works very well to draw attention into the view.

Eric Dutordoir:
This is an eye-catching shot. There is mystery about the woman in the foreground: if her feet look like that, the rest of her must be interesting. Then again, this apparently was taken at a gay pride parade so it may not be a woman and [he] might look very interesting indeed! Also, his/her foot is just a tad off the ground, about to initiate action. There is the look of the man, judging her and ready to make a decision. There is the crowd standing around, wondering what is next here. The background thus contributes well to the defining aspects of the image. Also, technically it is superb, there is excellent depth of field and I like a photographer who is not afraid to lie on the ground to get the right shot! This captures the theme very well.

John Hastings:
Here the swirl of the brush, design of the streaks, and stance of the man all come together to balance out the tension of his movement. These are not profound issues about fates, but illustrate how can something so simple can be so beautiful. Also, this image is very well balanced tonally, not to mention technicalities such as sharpness.

I like how the subject and background change each time I look at this, creating an interesting dynamic and commentary on how the homeless man and the men enjoying life in the poster are ignorant of each other. Tsienni has another interesting image where tension arises from the child staring at the indifferent man, who is using his cell phone.

This is an interesting example of where the striking composition arises from a perfect moment in time. It is such an unusual perspective, great graphically, and has wonderful colors. I also like the vignetting effect, looks like a bow shock wave from the plane, somehow pulling the tower.

Ernst van Loon:
As in the image above, the movement of the man at the right moment completes the composition. Ernst has entered another photo of a beautiful capture of a girl at play.

Paul Guttenberg:
I like the wide angle and sense of the woman's movement here. She gazes at the oncoming car and as anybody who has walked through NYC knows, this truly is a decisive moment for her! I wonder if cropping out part of the right would further enhance the impact of the image.

In this lovely photo, the man is thinking but it is hard to tell how the background environment connects to what is going on in his mind. Is he removing himself from his environment, deciding what to do next, or reveling in it, and staying while he can? The image is wonderfully composed, with the man's shadow nicely creating a diagonal to draw the eye into the image.

While I realize that posed images are not in the original HCB spirit, I found this triptych to be a thoughtful contribution. There is mystery: a woman enters the scene and something happens to her that we cannot know. The missing parts are what draw me in, and the tones are well done.


Randall Fox:
Clearly the moment of truth. At original size, the sharpness and clarity of the image really stand out; the background of the wave perfectly contributes to our understanding of the subject. The dude has lost it, and he can only watch as his fate plays out. Very well balanced graphically.

Dennis Fishit:
The background is necessary to understand the foreground; the context of the game, the approaching ball, and the pitcher having thrown the ball. The ball in dead center is a bit too literal to me, as a focus point for the batter and us, the viewer, but that's being picky, it's a great capture.

ANIMAL SECTION: These certainly capture moments of decisive action, though the fate issue and relationship to background etc. is not as prominent here. Nonetheless for nature photography, these are very rare shots that clearly took an enormous amount of patience and expertise to capture; please click on links to see the images.

Dominic Cantin:

Andy Moore

TODDLER SECTION: There are so many decisive moments with young children and we have worthy entries in that regard:

Peter Schmidt:
This is simply an excellent shot of the moment of connection between siblings; it could be the first moment of realization, and should lead to a new depth or meaning to their relationship.

Wolfgang Wander:
The decision has been made here, but there is still tension because we know that the next moment will be quite a mess! Enough analysis: there is so much joy in the child and his/her wonder at the exploding ice cream.

This is likely to be one of the child's first interactions with the computer, and he/she is clearly trying to decide what to make of it. The keyboard and warm environment behind the child contribute nicely to the theme. This image also lacks tension about decisions or fates, but it is a well-rendered emotional depiction of a learning moment for the child.


David Kinahan:
This falls more into the straight portrait category, without a contribution of the background, but it is a very well rendered view of a man making a decision of some kind. The lack of context limits our ability to understand the decision and fates that will result, but the sincere emotion and thought is there. David has another interesting entry.

Jim Critchley:
In this image, the simple presence of the hand provides all that is necessary from the background. Now the decision is whether the child will accept the comfort. It is interesting to me how the simple presence of the hand changes the image from a straight portrait to a story.
Last edited by kzaret on Fri Nov 30, 2007 3:04 am, edited 3 times in total.

Posts: 2701

Post Thu Nov 29, 2007 5:44 am

I really love the time being put in by the various judges to show and tell us
exactly what it is about the photos that have moved them in an unusual way.

Many thanks.

Posts: 126

Can't Wait for results

Post Thu Nov 29, 2007 5:40 pm

These finalists are fantastic. This is going to be a hard choice. It was a tough and interesting assignment. I did not enter in this contest as I am just getting started with photography and hadn't any shots in this nature.

But all of these wonderful images have inspired me to work on this type of photography. I'll let you know if I post something worth viewing.

Thank you for the great contest subject.

Posts: 138

Post Thu Nov 29, 2007 7:39 pm

I totally agree with the above posts. I am really looking forward to see who wins this round

Posts: 75

Eye opener

Post Thu Nov 29, 2007 7:48 pm

Hello all. Fantastic Subject and submissions.
To echo the above sentiments-
I'm still very much a rookie, and didn't quite understand this subject at first to be honest. Many looked out of place given the intro to the contest. But after reading the judges feedback, and studying the shots a bit, it's kind of like a light came on.
Thanks to the judges for taking their time to so carefully review the submissions. There is a ton of great info and evn greater images here, glad to be part of it. Here's to me judging one of these in, let's say, 10 or so years.......


PS-Can't wait to see the next topic so I can begin stalking a shot! No library to pull from yet, still shooting....

Posts: 675

Post Thu Nov 29, 2007 11:00 pm

Some great shots into the final - ah really like the way these competitions are goin and the amount of effort put in by both the judges and the entrants.

Let's keep this goin in the right direction.

Mike :)

Posts: 129

Post Thu Nov 29, 2007 11:57 pm

Many thanks to Ken for an inspired theme, and a very thoughtful and well run contest. Well done to all the finalists, and I can't wait to see who will be selected from such a superb range of images.

Posts: 1030

Winners of the 66th PBase Comp: The Decisive Moment

Post Fri Nov 30, 2007 3:06 am


As I confront my own decisive moment here, I note that we had very strong contestants and this is simply my own opinion. Please see my comments above for more details about each image. Also, do the images justice please by clicking on them to see full size versions.


Timco van Brummelen:
The exquisite balance of elements in this image stay with me. I like how the tension is more subtle than in many other images.

Andy Thomas:
Many aspects of the positions, lines, and depth come together well at the precise moment the image was taken. It appears a bit posed but the overall graphic effect is excellent.

Eric Dutordoir:
Among the other comments I made on this above, this has an element we don't see enough of on PBase: humor. Again, I like the sense that something is about to happen here, but we don't know what it is (Mr. Jones).


Eric Heberlin:
A superb capture. There is tension between the two, in that she is looking for his return of affection and his mind is elsewhere, or at ease without having to return it. The sepia tones give a timelessness to the image, while on the other hand his peering out extends the couple to the exterior, as he watches time or other events pass by. I like the off-balance feel of the image, emphasis right, while centering on her eyes and the tangle of their arms. The tones here are excellent too.


Jeroen Bosman
This image stays in my mind; I just love it, that's all. The zig-zag of the road, the line of light more or less down the middle, the silhouettes and mix of soft and sharp tones all come together at precisely this moment to generate a visually stimulating image. It is a great example of how the elements of a scene can come together at precisely the right moment to generate harmony, interest, and beauty.


Alain Lestrade:
This image also stays in my mind, but as a dream. The slight HDR effect, which usually I don't like, gives a surreal view. The woman is genuinely happy to kiss the man. But the man behind seems surprised, questioning, not in agreement with or expecting the kiss. Then the dark atmosphere and the closed feeling, even though outdoors, contribute to the questioning, turbulent mood. It has tension, balance, fates, and background/foreground interaction. Great job here and congratulations Alain.

Alain, next week is up to you!

Best regards, everyone, and drop by sometime!

Ken Zaret

Posts: 497

Post Fri Nov 30, 2007 3:07 am

Wow ! Outstanding work, congratulations! A big thanks to Ken is in order !!!

Posts: 195

Post Fri Nov 30, 2007 7:27 am

Thank you so much Ken, I'm proud to win this contest because your choise of the topic "decisive moment" was very interesting and actually, fundamental in photo.

Thank you again and congratulations to all the participants & finalists.


Posts: 102

Post Fri Nov 30, 2007 8:27 am

Firstly well done Ken, outstanding input into the judging, well done :-)
And congratulations to the winners, all excelllent images that deserve the honour of being chosen.
Also well done to everyone who participated, i really enjoyed looking at some wonderful entries :-)

Posts: 184

Post Fri Nov 30, 2007 9:52 am

Congratulations to Alain - when I look through each competition I always try and pick out what I personally think should be the winner, even though I'm not the judge, and in this case I really liked the eventual winner and the photo in second place so I'm glad to see them both there.
Ken - thanks again for your feedback and constructive criticism. It has been very interesting to read your thoughts on the photos above and I appreciate the time and consideration you have put into it.

Posts: 190

Post Fri Nov 30, 2007 10:56 am

Congratulation to the winner and to everybody entering the contest.
A special thanks to the judges and their careful work on each image.
I am really learning a lot from these contests... :)

Posts: 84

66th contest

Post Fri Nov 30, 2007 1:30 pm

Congratulations to all on the short list! I could not tell, who I find the best; I just think, you have all done a splendid job! Greetings, Claudia

Posts: 126

Congrats to Alain and all who entered

Post Fri Nov 30, 2007 4:52 pm

Boy what a hard pick. With that said, there was something about Alain shot that captured my attention and curiousity.

Alain, this contest is going to be a tough one to follow. Looking forward to finding out the subject.


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