See the results for the Forum August 2014 competition – The World Under Moonlight

August 14 shortlist
It’s telling that this round seemed to attract fewer entries than normal. Shooting at night is not the easiest thing in the world to do. With so many technical factors to consider, it can certainly be overwhelming. What impressed me about this round was that while many of you met those technical challenges head on, a portion of you decided to use the limitations to your advantage (good examples are sr1867 and Patrice). What that gave us was a richly varied set of images, all of which met the brief. Well done. Let’s take a look at the top three images from The World Under Moonlight.

Contents not included
Prize applies to UK & EU residents only

Our first prize winner receives a Manfrotto Active Backpack I. The bag is a structurally sound, high-capacity yet compact rucksack that can also be used as a standard daypack. With its capacity to hold a DSLR system with 2 standard lenses, 15″ laptop as well as personal items and accessories. The bag has four zippered compartments with the top part designed for personal items and the bottom for photo gear.

‘Ashness Jetty by Moonlight’

Alfbranch tells us that this image was taken at the Ashness Jetty in the Lake District. The shot was taken at 01:59 hrs on 21 November, 2013 under the light of the moon. We are also assured that the shadows cast upon the jetty are not the result of artificial lighting – they are the direct result of the strong moonlight illuminating the scene. Being the sneaky sort I am, I delved into the Exif data to see that this image is the result of a 121sec exposure. We see a number of jetty shots in the pages of AP, but I must say it’s nice to see such a dreamy take on a common theme. There’s something about shooting under moonlight that renders a scene somehow unreal. The night can change things. Everyday objects and places take on a different quality. As Lon Chaney once said, ‘There’s nothing funny about a clown in the moonlight.’

2. MartyG - Distorted Realities2nd Place MartyG
‘Distorted Realities’

In his image comment in the gallery, MartyG reminds us that ‘sometimes the whole is more than the sum of its parts’. It’s part confession and part reminder that the ends justify the means. This image is, of course, a blend of two shots using two cameras: a Nikon 1 V1 and a Fujifilm FinePix HS50. It’s not often that I include Photoshopped or composite images in the shortlist of the forum competition. That’s not because of my distaste for the post-processing; it’s just that it can often be very difficult to get right. So many of these images scream Photoshop. But there’s a key difference here. We look at this image and we know that it’s not real. But the fact is it’s done so well that the thought only crosses our mind for a split-second before we find ourselves absorbed in the scene. Once that happens, we begin to believe in what we’re seeing. And isn’t that true of all good photography, no matter how ‘straight’?

Ffolrord Sea-Stars1st Place Ffolrord
‘Sea & Stars’

I imagine that a number of you saw this shot and predicted it would be first place. As we’ve seen in previous rounds, it’s not often I go for the obvious choice. But for this round I had to admit that not only was this the obvious choice, it was also a really excellent shot. Photography can transport us to places we may never otherwise visit and introduce us to cultures we will never encounter. Images can give us the illusion of travel. But at the same time, photography can remind us of our place in the greater scheme of existence, whether that’s in society, on Earth or, in this case, the cosmos. It’s difficult not to feel a little overwhelmed by this image. Our world is so polluted by light that there are so few occasions when we are afforded scenes such as this. So until society crumbles and we start eating each other under starlight, we have images like this to remind us just how beautiful the universe is, and just how small we are within the ever-expanding megacosm.

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