As winter approaches, there are quite a few great winter themed images in the portfolios. While none of the finalists feature winter themes, there were a bunch that were really close! You owe it to yourself to thumb through the portfolios and get a feel for the season. In the mean time, here are this week’s winners.

Topping the list is a great, fun image called Search in the sea by sulaiman almawash. The composite is really well done and all of the elements blend seamlessly together in the final environment. Lighting above and below the water line are consistent and the detail is tremendous. The blue color wash is something else that makes the color balance believable. And with the absurd nature of some of the elements, it just makes you smile. Everybody knows that rocks don’t float and camels all wear their scuba tanks on their humps. ;)

Thierry Dehove brings us Sunrise Islamorada, a beautifully dim sunset image that emphasizes color in the midst of a darkening environment. The green grass is especially rich, and except for the small halo around the sun on the horizon, the sky is an equally rich, deep blue. The lighter areas around the sun, the patch of ocean, and the sand patches is just enough lightness to let you know that the image is properly exposed, and as with so many well-composed images, your eyes are drawn to the lighter areas and it holds your interest. The perfectly horizontal horizon line, and the fact that it’s just perfect with the rule of 3rds, adds even more the the thoughtfulness of the image.

Lee churchill captured one of those images that, as much as any single image posted in NAPP portfolios this week, makes me want to be there! Gold Hill Colour.jpg is a beautiful cobblestone hill with quaint, historic looking homes, all sharing a gorgeous vista. Because of how NAPP portfolios compress images, some of the color is lost unless you click and enlarge the image. Then you see how great and bright the colors really are. In spite of the smooth, gray sky, there is such life in this image. Maybe it’s the lack of people in the scene that adds to the peaceful scene and how the “story” this image tells, could be interpreted in so many different ways. I can imagine just relaxing with this view in the evening and enjoying the beautiful, peaceful view. And I almost forgot to mention that the photography is technically great. The darker edges and crisp details, as well as the path that invites to in, are just right.

Wayne Kunkel shot an interesting tunnel and used a black and white conversion to help the viewer focus on the texture and the patterns of light. Inviting, interesting paths seem to be a solid photographic theme, and his image corn 2 _5X7B&W.jpg is yet another image with a path that invites you to explore. It has been a lot of years since I was in a corn field, so happy memories from my youth may be a part of what makes this such a compelling image for me. Still, you can’t ignore the craftsmanship of the image, the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ and the textures, which are all so well captured. I don’t think the image would work as well without the central light area or the black and white processing. Good choices all around.

Warren Stowell absolutely nailed the super-realistic, crisply detailed, coldly lit movie quality images we’re seeing in all of the recent comic book characters we see on the big screen. Cat Woman is a great image that forces you to make eye contact with an obviously powerful personality. The eyes are magnet and perfectly lit. Do yourself a favor and click to enlarge the image so you can see the razor sharp details in the face and hair. It contrasts beautifully with the smoothness of the costume and the atmospheric bokeh. There’s no question that this is a professionally captured and finished image.

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