A Winning Year

Popular Photography|March - April 2017

A Winning Year

Exploring the woods of Canada with a snow-dusted fox, watching the stars from under a cave on the Northern California coast, cheering front row at an action packed Arizona rodeo, or unearthing the inner workings of a family heirloom, this year’s prize winners captured mementos of lives well lived—and well photographed. Read on to find out the creative ways our readers used their cameras to skillfully depict their worlds.

Sara Cravatts


Janne Kahila, 26, data analyst, Espoo, Finland

When Janne Kahila first saw a photograph of the Vøringsfossen waterfall in Eidfjord, Norway, he knew he had to go see it for himself. “The valley and the waterfalls from both sides made the scene look almost prehistoric, which really gripped my attention,” Kahila remembers. Visiting an hour before sunset on a September evening, the photographer composed using the flowing stream as a leading line for the viewer’s eye. Both overall and graduated neutral-density filters let him set a long exposure. “I was fascinated by the way the light diffused through the fog in the valley and reflected from the stream,” he says. Kahila crafted his panoramic final frame by merging in Adobe Photoshop three separate vertical images captured with the same camera settings, after editing each individually in Photoshop Lightroom.

TECH INFO: Canon EOS 6D with 16–35mm f/2.8 Canon EF USM lens with 8-stop graduated neutral-density and 6-stop neutral-density filters, mounted on a Velbon GEO E630 tripod. Exposure, 2 sec at f/9, ISO 200; edited in Photoshop CS6 and Lightroom 5.

Objects & Still Life

Rodney Furgason, 72, retired, Topeka, Kansas

In his basement workshop, Rodney Furgason went back in time by exploring the inner workings of his grandfather’s pocket watch. “I was attracted to the old-school technology and precision of the gear works in the watch,” he explains. “It’s the opposite of all the digital tech we are exposed to now.” The photographer shot with his DSLR, with a macro lens and a ring light mounted on a Kirk focusing rail in order to capture the beautiful details hidden within the timepiece. “I like the almost abstract design of the shapes and repeating patterns of the gears as well as the tones and colors,” he says. Furgason shot five separate photos of the gears with slightly different focal points, creating a final composite image that’s sharp all the way through by stacking the group together in Helicon Focus software.


Kirk FR-2 focusing rail-mounted Nikon D800 with 90mm f/2.8 Tamron SP Di VC Macro USD 1:1 lens and GiSTEQ Flashmate Model F-60N ring light; 1/6 sec at f/11, ISO 100. Edited in Helicon Focus 6.7 and Apple Aperture 3.6.

Action & Sports

Arthur Schwartz, 74, retired, Tucson, Arizona


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March - April 2017