The last round of our monthly photography competition in 2008 had the theme of "Celebration", since many of the world's people have some sort of festive activity at that time of year, whether it's a formal cultural or religious festival (Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, Diwali and the Day of Ashura were all between late November and early January), or just celebrating the start of a new year with your friends. Celebrations are always a good excuse for some photos, so I was hoping to see some good pictures reflecting the party spirit from around the world. I wasn't disappointed.
Starting in the Far East, Alex Gooi of Reading, UK, sent us this colourful photo from Hanoi in Vietnam. Says Alex "There were several shops along this street selling decorations for Christmas and Chinese New Year, this being one of them. I found it amusing having the shopkeeper's head appear from the multitude of hanging lanterns and stands. He used a wide-angle 18mm lens on his Konica Minolta Dynax 5D and an exposure of 1/30th of a second at f/3.5.
Another picture from the Far East is this marvellously expressive shot of a dancer at a festival in Japan, taken by regular competition entrant Richard Koizumi of Luton, UK. He used his Nikon D70 and a 70-200mm lens, and an exposure of 1/500th at f/4.0.
Slightly closer to home is this nice monochrome picture from Danny Bartlett, of Kirby-Le-Soken, Essex, UK. "This photo was taken in Italy during the summer. It was my friend's 22nd birthday so they got a flight out and joined us in the mountains around Cortona and Lake Trasimeno." I have to admit, summer in by the Italian lakes sounds like a good birthday to me.