February turned out to be another difficult month, with our theme of "Food and drink" attracting only half the usual number of entries. This is a bit puzzling; after all, everyone eats and drinks, so I thought that this would be an easy subject for everyone. Nonetheless, despite the smaller number of entries there was a lot of variation in the ways that people chose to interpret the theme. There were the inevitable no-effort phone camera shots of drinks on pub tables, the very sort that you think are competition-winning high art after a few pints, but really aren't. There were various snapshots of restaurant buffets, fish markets and delicatessen counters, and more than a few badly lit vegetables, but in amongst them were an encouragingly large number of people who had used some effort, imagination and skill to produce good results.
Our first honourable mention this month however is none of these things, and is included to remind us that sometimes a good photo is simply the one where you just happen to be in the right place at the right time with a camera. Darren Margetts of Northfield, Birmingham, UK, had his Minolta Z2 to hand when his daughter decided that using a spoon just wasn't a fast enough way to eat. The result may not be great art, but it's a great photo.
As usual, most of our entries fell into broad categories, one of which was moodily-lit fruit. This shot from Stepan Kudryashov of East Brunswick, New Jersey, USA, is a good example. I like the style, but the lighting is a little too dark and the apple itself is slightly out of focus. That large seam on the lower left is also a distraction. A little work with Photoshop could have made a big difference.
Staying with moodily-lit fruit for a moment, a rather more successful effort is this striking and unusual photograph with the title "Chosen fruit", from Gethin Lane of Burley, Leeds, UK. Gethin was also one of our runners-up last month. Shot on a Nikon D80, Gethin has put some thought into the lighting, angle, focus and depth of field of the shot, with excellent results.