Finally we come to our winning trio. As you've seen over the previous pages the standard of submissions this month was extremely high, so narrowing the field to just three winners was especially difficult, and those who didn't win should not feel disappointed, because all the finalists were superb.
However we've only got three prizes, and the first of them goes to Paul Cook of Glasgow, Scotland, for this deceptively simple but beautifully composed composite image of maple leaves falling from the sky, shot on a Nikon D200 with an 18-70mm lens. Paul says that it symbolises the end of summer, which seems a little premature since summer doesn't seem to have actually started yet here in Britain. Nonetheless Paul wins a SanDisk 2GB CompactFlash card, a SanDisk Imagemate All-In-One USB 2.0 card reader, and the superb Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT1 waterproof compact camera, which considering the weather is probably the most useful prize ever.
I remember reading an article in a camera magazine once that advised people entering photo competitions to send pictures of cute children, because the judges are all big softies at heart and would find them irresistible. While that might work with some editors I'm not so easily fooled. The only things I find irresistible usually have very small f-numbers or limited-slip diffs, but then our regular entrant and previous winner Darren Athersmith of Cumbria has to go and send me this picture. It's not the cute kid complete with teddy bear that does it really, it's the perfect lighting and exposure, rich saturated colour and precise control of depth of field that won me over. Darren wins himself a SanDisk 2GB CompactFlash card, a SanDisk Imagemate All-In-One USB 2.0 card reader, and the excellent Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX40 luxury compact.
Our top prize winner this month is Peter Hopper, from Fife in Scotland. Peter has been entering our competition regularly for several months and been a finalist twice before. He has shown himself to be a master of beautifully constructed close-range studio photography, using clever lighting and camera angles to produce some stunning shots. He's outdone himself this time though, with this elaborate, perfectly lit and superbly composed scene, titled "It's the end of the night and things are finally looking up."
Peter explains "Taken with a Nikon D50 and sigma 10-20 lens, 1 snooted flash positioned above the table and held in place by a precariously balanced light stand, and a little bit of silver foil under the lens to reflect some light on the front cards and chips. 80 shots taken and about 3 with the flying chips actually in the frame. With throwing the chips in my right hand and holding the cards in my left hand, I had to use my little finger to press the remote shutter release and kept miss-timing." That's a lot of work, but then that's what it takes to get results like this, and to win a SanDisk 2GB SD card, a SanDisk Imagemate All-In-One USB 2.0 card reader, and the fantastic Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 compact camera.
Many thanks to all our entrants, and congratulations to Paul, Darren and Peter. Don't forget that the current round of our photography competition is open, with the theme of "The Power of Nature" and a closing date of August 31st 2009. Click here for details on how to enter, and the superb Panasonic and SanDisk prizes on offer.