We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Did a quick run through and got a sense of what was being presented. Most have the usual NatGeo "Golden Time" feel to them - the gold light that starts right before the sun reaches the horizon and for about 10 minutes. And they are all good - I like them all. Some are remind me of other NatGeo imagery seen over the years, some were unique.
On the second run through, I took my time and looked at each one. What I was looking for were images that stood out to me - that attracted me on both a visual and emotional level. Images that smacked me upside the head or evoked some feeling of sad, happy, etc. Quality, to me anyway, isn't as important as what the image conveys and how it presents it to the viewer. I also don't read the captions until after I see the image - better idea of what the photographer saw and compare it to what I see. With that in mind, I narrowed it down to six images.
#2 - Super Cell. Very dramatic - the detail is incredible and you get a sense of impending danger and drama just looking at the wall cloud. The rather dense nature of the detail attracted me as well. Subtle color shading (there is more color in there than you might see on first pass) and the right on the edge of bloom light just adds to it's feel.
#10 "Alone". I love the symmetry of the fir trees with the subject just sticking out right in the middle - very unique and very different. Green is a difficult color to handle in photography and this was captured just right (or tweaked - it doesn't matter, the green is very true and life like). All kinds of interesting details too.
#12 "Cosmic". Reminds me of Adams' "Moonrise" - very similar in concept and execution. The dark to light to dark again is really pleasing to the eye and of course any star scape just enhances the total effect. From a technical standpoint, the light on the horizon is not over done and just compliment the rest of the image.
#24 Serra Pa Leba Road. This one jumped right off the screen at me - it took me a minute to figure out what it was. The sharp gold color of the road against the gold glow and the dark surround builds a very dramatic image that at first glance, looked like a hand back lighted somehow. This is a great capture and a something to keep in mind for a future composition I'm willing to steal ideas from anybody better than I am. :>)
#28 - "Lightning Crashes" Lots of color and light all complimentary with plenty of color detail but just vague enough to let the eye focus on the lightning strike instead of the buildings. Not your usual lightning image and much better in comparison to #16.
#46 - "After Crash". I got the sense of rebirth, renewal, life affirming purpose from this image when I first viewed it. On second viewing, looking at the scars and body imagery only confirmed what I felt when I first saw it. Reading the caption just confirmed what I felt. It's a raw, yet tender and visually beautiful image that evokes a lot of raw emotion.
At this point, it was down to three. #2 (Storm Cell), #12 (Cosmic) and #46 (After Crash).
AND THE WINNER IS (drum roll please)........
#46 After Crash.
Honorable mentions: #12, #2, #24 in no particular order.