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Here's a tiny puzzler. =:) The lens rental company I used to obtain the (rather wonderful, and of course, painfully expensive) 200-400mm f/4 for RIAT is now running a little competition for the best aviation photograph taken in 2015, using one of their rentals. (Which, sadly, eliminates the ultrawides, as that 10-20mm is my own)

Now, I do have other possibilities, but, of these three, which would you choose? I've left it deliberately as a checkbox form rather than radio button, if you want to opt for two, not just one. If you feel so inclined, I'd appreciate reading specific constructive criticism on them - absolutely not compulsory, as I know I'm fairly useless at highlighting why a given image catches me, so maybe others aren't any more comfortable trying. (The checkboxes are by the lower left of the photos) However, ultimately, I can only submit one entry. So, if you're in a critical mood, I'd appreciate hearing why one of them would be better than another.

Poll #2022965 A competition entry

Which of these really grab you?


And to compensate, here's one of the tracks from JMJ's forthcoming album, in this instance, coming from his collaboration with Little Boots - "If.. !" I'm definitely looking forward to the release, although the mention on iTunes of a "deluxe" edition gives me pause for thought, as I'm no fan of these "exclusive" releases labels are so fond of, keeping a few different tracks back for different channel sponsors. Still, maybe this'll just be a "basic" and "deluxe" release, wherever it's purchased.

Or if you'd prefer something a touch more surreal, how about a 1980s infomercial, Santo Gold. It's a.. slightly confused piece, as this review manages to get across quite well. Be sure not to be in a sober state of mind first.
Okay- the second shot grabs me because of the startling clarity of the two fighter jets flying in such close proximity at super-sonic speed: it's like the essence of air-show, or 'this is what we do.'

Were I an aviophile I might also comment that the first shot's plane has a nice butt :D
When I see the exhaust trail in the first photo, I hear an engine noise.  The other two photos have no synaesthesia effect for me.
What I want to know is: Where do people find out about these competitions? ;)

Absent any other context (like a reason one might specifically seek a red-white-blue theme), I really like the first one best. The other two just sort of strike me photographically as "a couple of planes in the air." There's no point of reference, not really a strong sense of speed, not a particularly unique angle, no interesting depth of field, and although the second one comes close to bonus points for interesting composition/repetition, I don't think two of something is quite enough to push it into the "really cool" range for me personally. (Though, kudos for timing the shutter on the third one!)

On the first one there's a good horizon(?) line which helps set apart the otherwise-hard-to-capture heat haze from the exhaust.. plus a unique angle... plus if not depth-of-field, a background so naturally neutral that it really helps the subject stand out.

That's to my eyeball, anyway. :)
Also, you just like the gold ad for the CARROTS, amirite?
I must confess, I now see that I'm not particularly interested in air show photos – much like I'm not interested in bird photos. I guess you "gotta be there." Photos 2 & 3 feel static to me, so I say that #1 is the best of the bunch. Candidly, I wouldn't look twice at any of them in a gallery. But maybe it's just me.
I can't decide! :D
I like all of them, but the first shot, with the afterburner and the trail of heat distortion, is the grabbiest.

Edit: here is another aviation photography competition you may or may not be aware of. I cannot seem to remove myself from their mailing-list for love nor money. http://www.airscene.co.uk

Edited at 2015-09-23 06:55 am (UTC)
First one grabs me the most, it's full of drama and obvious motion, and an interesting level of detail. The middle one looks too static, there's some level of drama in the last one but the lighting is dull. The greyish light actually helps with the mood of the first picture.