March 2014 Online Competition, Rust – The Results are in

Judging is complete, Please see below comments and results from Steve Wood our judge for this month.
The Rust subject has provided some very interesting images, with straight forward record shots to mind boggling composites! When I first sat down and started looking at the entries, I thought I would be able to pick out 3 fairly easy but in the end there were around 8 images that could have been in the top 3.
Please remember that the images the judges receive are the same as you see on the website, so there is no zooming to pixel peep.
In order to get to my top 3, I have made my choices based on the skills that we all learn  – Exposure, focus and composition. Most of the images have nailed these processes well, so to finalise my top 3 I factored in the initial impact, and whether the subject held my attention to keep looking at the details in the rust (which after all is the subject of the competition).
Here are my comments on all the images. Hopefully you will see my point of view (and please remember it is only my point of view) and take any criticism as being constructive.
1 – Too Many Coins – I liked the idea and the composition, however  I felt the highlights were a little distracting which took away some of the detail on the coins.
2 – Rust (2) – A dark image, but I can see where the author was going with the lighting through the tin can. Maybe the image would have been better with only the tin can being the image?
3 – Lost Sheep – The characters are nice and sharp in this image. The brightness of the background is a little distracting and maybe a shallower depth of field would help to isolate the subjects better.
4 – Rusty Leaves – I liked this image as the rusty object fills the frame, and the lighting shows plenty of texture detail. The focus is good throughout with lots of details on the leaves.
5 – Farmer Copley’s Hooks –  I Liked the separation of the hooks and chains in this image, maybe a slight darkening of the chains to get back a bit more detail along with a cropping of the bracket to the left.
6 – Rust (1) – The exposure and focus is good. I think the tin can could have been moved to a different position to show more of the rusty details.
7 –  Rusty Cab – This one had me thinking for a long time. The focus and exposure are good but I found myself looking all over the image for a particular focal point. I wondered if a crop on a particular area may have worked better?
8 – Beyond Help –  I liked this image, then I didn’t, then I did. I couldn’t make my mind up if the tractor is as rusty as it appears to be, but it definitely had my attention. The focus, exposure and composition are good, my only gripe being the large bottle in the bottom left is a little dominating.
9 –  Not Just a Paint Job – This image and another later down the list have very similar qualities and I liked them both, but there were just a few things that I feel could have made this picture better and that would be to tone down the highlights on the bonnet and wing and shift position to get more of the side of the vehicle in the frame. The vehicle is fantastic and I kept coming back to this one.
10 – Steam Punk – I’m not sure what the rusty item is in this image but it is nice and sharp and exposed well, as is the model’s face. What I am not so sure about is the composite of the two images? I think the colours within the rusty area provide enough interest to provide a good image.
11 – Rusty Groin – This image has a nice side lighting which shows detail in the textures. Focus and exposure is good, I just wonder if the author could have gotten a bit lower to the ground to isolate the circular disc shape?
12 – Rust (3) – A nice record shot with no distracting background. The lighting is good providing a small shadow to provide a bit of depth to the hinge. The texture details are nice and sharp. A nice simple image that works well.
13 – Crustacea – An interesting subject, which has a nice separation from the background which is also full of rusty objects. The thing that bothers me is that I’m not sure if it is the processing, but the image doesn’t look as sharp as it could be.
14 – Rusty Rail to Nowhere  A nice image with the subject also providing nice lead in lines to the distance. There is nice detail captured on the rails along with the timber retaining wall. It is a shame the nice light in the distance wasn’t on this side of the hill.
15 – Help me! – This image definitely had me thinking “help me” for a while….. and also had me looking constantly for somewhere to settle my eyes, which inevitably seemed to be in the eye / vortex in the centre. When you do look at it properly, there is a lot going off in this image with the links of chain showing some good detail and colour.
16 – Rust Bucket – This is another image that liked, then didn’t. It fills the frame with the rusty object which I like, along with the lighting which highlights the rust colour nicely.  My only gripe is that I think the image should have included the whole wheels in their entirety or left them out and focused on the bucket.
17 – Rusty Bed Springs – I liked the simplicity of this image, the orange rusty springs against the green background which is out of focus. If I am being picky, there are a few of the springs just going out of focus towards the front, but its impact got me straight away.
18. A Little bit Rusty – This has similar qualities to the car in the earlier picture. The vehicle sits prominently in the frame. The vehicle is sharp and I like the angle, I just wonder if the author could have gotten slightly lower to take the horizon just below the cab window level
19. Whitby Rust – I like the composition and initial impact this image has, there is also nice detail shown in the rust of the ring and strapping. I like the out of focus area, however I wonder if the height of the author could have been lower to remove the building in the centre of the ring?
So that’s the comments and now for the results
In 3rd place – Rust (3) I just liked the simplicity of this record shot
In 2nd Place – Whitby Rust A nice image with good detail
In First Place – Rusty Rail to Nowhere I liked this from the start, great composition, focus, exposure and impact meant I kept coming back to it. Well Done.
I would also like to highly commend Beyond help, Not Just a Paint Job, and A little Bit Rusty.
Well done to the winners and thanks to all that entered!
You can view the images here.
Finally, thank you to Steve Wood for judging the March competition and providing such excellent comments and feedback.
The entered images were

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