Filter February: The Winners

Filter February: The Winners

First Place: Chris White

Photo by 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

Photo by 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)

Photo by Amy Lee Gagnon

Photo by Beth Jenkins

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!


Honorable Mentions

Photo by JaNell Frisby

Photo by JaNell Frisby

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.

We have another promotion coming in the Spring, and the stakes are even higher. Please stay tuned for more information. Follow us on Twitter (@DanvilleDesign) and check our blog for updates.

One Week Down

Friday marks one week since the launch of our website and the official launch of our Facebook page. It has been a very exciting time, and really rewarding to see all of the support from our friends, relatives, and their friends and relatives.

Constitution Square

I stopped by Constitution Square here in Danville yesterday and played around with Hipstamatic's shake-for-random feature.

Google Encouraging Proper Video Orientation

Google Encouraging Proper Video Orientation

One of the things that has bugged me the most about the age of smartphone video is the vertical orientation that so many people use when filming. YouTube has previously dealt with this phenomenon through pillarboxing. This always looks wrong to me. I don't have the heart to tell anyone that their videos of adorable toddlers or puppies sneezing shouldn't be so tall; especially when my argument amounts to: "I don't like it. Have you ever seen a vertical movie screen?"

The new YouTube Capture app for iOS [Free] is encouraging people to turn their phones sideways before recording. Actually, the default setting is to require a horizontal orientation for recording. If you skip past the initial settings screen (above) you may never find the option to film in portrait mode.

Of course, I applaud Google's attempt to enforce a standard. I am eager to see if other apps will follow YouTube's lead. Curiously, this seems a lot like an Apple move to me: restricting choice for the sake of overall quality.

Speaking of quality: I am really optimistic about the design approach Google seems to be taking with iOS apps. The new Google MapsGmailGoogle+ and now YouTube Capture apps all have a very nice, minimal design that looks appropriate for both Android and iOS. I wonder if Apple will adopt similar design conceits or if they're hard at work developing something totally new. I can only guess that corinthian leather and linen will soon be gone.