(Click on image for reviews)
CURATOR STEVE ZMAK: "The margin between first and second place was very slight and many of my following comments could also apply to Chris Axes's second place win, and all the entries were exactly what I had hoped to see in this competition.
My choice for first place is Neil Zeller's, "Collision", a beautiful and complex composition that also demonstrates this photographer's mastery of advanced shooting techniques. The strong horizon packed with the action of the storm and highway sets a strong landscape foundation that raises the viewer into the heavens packed with harmonious color and f/64-level detail. It combines many elements that each alone would make for a great image: the stars breaking through the storm; the color blends and swirling patterns of the clouds; the highway lights blending from orange to red at the nexus of the image; the forks of lightning and glowing thunder heads; the warmth of the clouds juxtaposed to the cool night sky; the degree of detail in the foreground with several lines leading to the nexus. There's a lot going on but the artist orders it into a very strong composition.
This image would be best presented wall size to allow its audience to wander through this symphony of nature and appreciate every nuance of the sublime fleeting moment."
NEIL ZELLER: "Photography is where I cleanse my spirit, nourish my soul and am truly happy. I see the world around me in 4x6 boxes. My eyes capture wide angles, interesting corners, beams of light and faraway things. My goal is to capture in my camera, the story in my camera, the story my eyes could never tell you."
To see more of Neil's work go to:
CURATOR CAROLYN HAMPTON: "This is a truly gorgeous image that for me, calls to mind the brilliant day-to-night photography of Stephen Wilkes, which I have been fortunate to see in person. I love how different the two sides of the image are, and as Steve said, how each element alone would be great. This is a photograph that is clearly quite skillfully made. I have always dreamed of adding a Wilkes to my collection, and I would be happy owning this one as well. Congrats and kudos to Neil Zeller!"
CURATOR JANE SZABO: "Neil Zeller's, "Collision", is a remarkably unique image. The juxtaposition of the heavy storm next to the peaceful starlit sky is a wonderful contrast; equally powerful is the streak of red traffic lights against the green sky. One feels the weight and depth of the natural world in this photograph."