This month's GGW Picture This Photo Contest theme of Autumn Harvest isn't a particularly difficult one, but I still had a tough time with it. I think it's because Charles Mann, this month's judge, provided such stunning photos to accompany his guidelines for the contest that nothing I came up with was nearly as good!
I read, and re-read the criteria Charles gave us:
"I have chosen AUTUMN HARVEST as my theme.
September and October are my favorite months in the Southwest and just about anywhere else for that matter. In New Mexico, the gardens are lush with grasses and summer growth, the aspen and cottonwoods light up the mountains while towns and villages celebrate the end of summer with dances and festivals. Chile, corn and other colorful produce make harvest time a visual feast, too, with many products of the gardens and fields being used for ornaments as well as for the table.
Often the setting or context makes a rather plain subject take on a special charm... After finding a photo, remember to look at the subject again and try composing both some overall context shots and then framing in more tightly on dramatic details. Most good subjects offer more than one or two interesting photographs.
Remember to shoot both horizontal and vertical composition when possible. Each and every well composed photograph had a unique energy and feeling.
Don’t hesitate to go off track and shoot something you did not come to see. B.F. Skinner famously said “Serendipity is the ability to see something important when you are looking for something else.” Blurring the back drop by opening up the camera to a wide aperture, like f 4, is a way to create context or atmosphere that can contribute to the photo without fighting with the main subject for attention.
Some subjects, like produce or containers, are moveable. Taking the time to create an interesting arrangement is an opportunity to practice another aspect of composition.
Learn to notice the surreal and whimsical things nearby. Sometimes odd juxtapositions or patterns present themselves and make great photo opportunities. Rene Magritte could have painted this scene of levitating chiles on a visit to New Mexico.
Use your wide angle lens to look at a subject from a unique angle. Wide angle photos can take in a lot of information and have the added benefit of an almost infinite depth of field even, at wide apertures.”
But make sure you click over to the GGW post so you can see Charles' beautiful photos. He gave plenty of information on what he would be looking for, but I could only come up with two photos that I liked that said harvest to me. The first was a shot of Lee holding the first tomato harvested from our garden this year:
But I remember an earlier judge's advice that the photo must stand on its own and I'm not sure this one does without the knowledge that it's the first tomato of the year. This is a photo* from last week and it kind of reminds of me some of Charles' photos, so I'm going to make it my official entry to the contest. Plus the low angle of the light and the abundant tomatoes scream autumn harvest to me:
Let's see what James thinks.
*You can click View this photo for a larger size version of my entry.