First Place: Chris White
Everything about this image is great: color, movement, texture. We've been admiring the images that Chris posts for a long time, and his work was sort of the inspiration for this promotion. We joked that he shouldn't win with the very first entry, but over and over again, we keep coming back to this image.
There's some debate in the creative community – and especially among photographers – about the value of artificial filters in smartphone photography. Thanks to this promotion, we're starting to come down on the pro-filter side. This image demonstrates all that is best with the method: the blown-out highlights are accented by the rough border. The color saturation emphasizes the movement in the frame. Essentially, this image is an authentic record of a moment in time – a trait shared with much great photography.
In the end, what we see is a technically great composition further enhanced by the creativity and artistic sense of the author. This image proves the maxim: the best camera is the one you have with you.
Second Place: Pamela Drakeford
Are you kidding? Look at this shot: It's not just the clouds reflected in the large window at Saint Andrew in Harrodsburg – it's as though the sky itself is boiling out of the top of the parish. The rings representing the Holy Trinity in the window are each framing a different aspect of sky: clouds (top), light (left), and clearing (right). We could write a thesis on just the coincidental aspects of this image.
But the quality is no coincidence. This shot is perfectly framed. Instincts tell us that little has been done to the original image. It looks as though the contrast has been pushed to increase the drama. It could be the X-Pro filter in Instagram, but it's good editing in any case.
There is so much represented in this image, but the shot itself reflects only one thing: pure talent.
Third Place: Amy Lee Gagnon and Beth Jenkins (tie)
These are both great shots with similar subjects. Amy Gagnon's late afternoon (or is it morning?) image is lush and warm. The sunlight just off-frame gives a nice flare at the top of the center tree. On the ground, sunlight and shadow mix in rusty hues. Like Pamela's image (above) this probably didn't need too much post-processing: it's a solid composition and the tones added only enhance it.
Beth's beautifully asymmetrical shot of trees covered in snow is a great counterpoint to Amy's image. Instead of rich browns, the palette is all frigid gray and white, with a slight yellow tone at the top. We love the apparent V-formation of the trees, with the closest tree hitting a perfect ratio for placement in the image. There's no way our experts could choose between these two, so they both win!
We didn't necessarily disqualify pictures of adorable children, but who could compete with the Frisby girls anyway? It's really remarkable how all of the submissions to the Filter February contest were so great. Our humble and heartfelt thanks to everyone who participated.
We had some technical (read: Facebook) issues early on, so if anyone submitted an image that is missing from our Filter February album please let us know. We're going to keep the album open, and add to it over time, so we'll still accept any shots you want to share with the community.