Here are the stories behind this Salon’s top scoring images: 

Assignment – Route 66 Safety Pays – Mick Richards

I was going to title the picture as “Arnold Ziffel Stands Guard Whilst Fred Ziffel Makes a Pit Stop on Route 66 Enroute to Hooterville”.  That’s a weak attempt at humor and a judge might not remember Green Acres!
I saw this car and shot this midday so the highlights were blown out. I wanted to convey a gritty image in that the car was rusted out. I converted this to B&W and used Topaz Textures to get that grunge look. I wanted to include the pig statue in the picture while making the car the main subject.
Taken with a Pentax K5iis camera, Pentax 12-24 lens at 16mm, ISO 100, f/16, 1/13 sec.


Assignment – Marine F4U, VMF 312 – Chap Achen

The photo of the F4U-Corsair was taken at this years experimental aircraft show in Oshkosh Wisconsin.  I was using a new lens for me, a 150-600mm telephoto lens, I wanted the reach that it would give me to photograph aircraft in flight. During the airshow aircraft from the WWII era were highlighted by recreating the feelings of combat with pyrotechnics exploding as the aircraft passed over the show line. I used the lens handheld to follow the action and captured the image of the Corsair as it passed over an exploding fireball.  I had been using a higher shutter speed because of the fast paced action and I was not in a position to accurately pan with the aircraft which would have been more desirable. The reason being that in order to show the prop in motion you need to be shooting at less that 125th of second and more like a 60th of a second to get that prop to show as a blur with a panning action to keep the aircraft frozen and in focus.  What made this image for me was pilot in the cockpit clearly visible and exploding clouds below reflecting off the underside of the aircraft.

For me this image is special, as a kid I used to build model airplanes and this one, the gull winged F4U Corsair was my favorite.  And to top that off, the markings on the aircraft signified it as a Marine aircraft in Squadron VMF 312.  I was a Marine Aviator back in the late 60’s and early 70l’s and was flying F4 Phantoms attached to Squadron VMFA 312, the same squadron as the Corsair some 30 years later.


Creative – African Fish Eagle – Melissa Anderson

This image was taken at Lake Naivasha in Kenya, Africa.  These Eagles sit in the tops of the trees along the edge of the lake and then swoop down onto the lake to catch fish for their meals.  I was with a small group of photographers and we were in a small boat while we waited for the Eagles to do their fishing.  I’ve always considered photographing flying birds to be quite a challenge, and this exercise didn’t prove me wrong!  The Eagle was captured against a white sky which made adding a texture very easy.  After adding the texture, I added a preset from the Topaz Glow collection to get my desired effect.  This was taken hand held with an Olympus E-M1 MarkIII camera, Olympus 40-150mm f2.8 pro lens, 1/3200 sec @ f/2.8, ISO 400.


Nature – Magnificent Macaw – Marianne Diericks

My goal was capturing the stunning color and detail of this Blue-and-yellow Macaw, especially the black facial lines that are as unique to each macaw as fingerprints to people.  The bird was at a small zoo but not caged, offering a natural background.  And, the overcast sky provided filtered light.  As with all bird photography, I watched and waited for the macaw to “pose” with the desired background.  I took this photo with my Nikon D500,  choosing a 70-200mm f/4 lens, focal length 200mm, ISO 400, 1/200 sec. at f/8.  Post processing in Lightroom included lighting adjustments, emphasizing detail and cropping.  I added a slight vignette to draw attention to the macaw’s face.


Pictorial – Floured Painter – Fred Sobottka

One of the items on my photography bucket list has been a powder shoot.   I have been thinking about doing it for years, but didn’t know where I could shoot one.   I found a studio in Minneapolis that would seal off a room and would allow you to throw powder, so I set about learning how to do one.   I googled and read and watched videos and felt I was ready.   I enlisted 4 models, bought some colored powder online and booked the studio.   I talked to each of the models about ideas and we came up with some great ideas.   One of the models suggested using a painter’s palette and a brush and we talked about several different ideas with those props. 

 The studio had a wall of windows that was open and used fans to blow from the far wall to the windows to eliminate powder in the air.  I used 2 Godox AD600 Pro strobes behind the models (one to the left and one to the right) and one Godox AD600 Pro in the front.  The idea was to illuminate the powder from the back to make it more visible.  I was using white, blue, pink and yellow powder, but soon it was all mixed together and we had mostly light green powder.   

 To shoot the photos, I was using a Canon R5 with an RF 28 – 70 F2.0L lens at f5, 1/600 – 1/800 and ISO 400.  I wanted to shoot fast to capture texture in the powder.  I wrapped the camera and lens in a rain hood and taped it down, so no powder could get in the lens or camera, also put a UV filter on the front of the lens.  I had 2 people throwing the powder with dustpans.  They were to the left and right behind the model.  They would run in, throw the powder and run out.  There were a lot of retakes at first trying to get a good position on the model to throw the powder, in addition to using the right amount of powder, adjusting the angle of the throw, getting out of the scene quickly and synchronizing the 2 throwers.  It was very difficult at first and we had a lot of failures.  But I also got a lot of great shots with the models jumping, dancing, flipping hair and a few with models working together.  For the shot that was submitted for the salon, it was one of the easier shots.  The model struck a pose and the powder throwers threw powder on her back.  We put some of the colored powder on her arms, shoulders and face, just to add a little color. 

 For post processing, I had to crop the photos.  I shot wide to catch the models jumping and swinging arms and also to catch the powder spreading out.  I also had to clone out the people throwing the powder in many cases.  There were a lot of shots with arms or dustpans in them.  Otherwise, some light editing like color adjustment, or lighting adjustment.   Tons of fun, but so messy.  Cleanup took forever.


Creative – Summer Stroll – Chap Achen


This is a photograph of two women passing each other on a stroll along the Salzach River in Salzburg Austria.  The temperature was in the 90’s and the young women on the left was using a parasol to protect her from the sun. I hurriedly raised my camera to catch the two as they passed. I had been using a very slow shutter speed to capture motion.  The meta data says that it was shot at ? of a second which created the blur and the out of focus image helped to create this abstract image.  I further enhanced the image by increasing the saturation and added additional noise to the photograph to create the final image.  It was also cropped more tightly which helped the composition as shown in the salon.  What grabbed my attention initially was the way these two women were dressed, one in knee length skirt and the other in a very short dress that showed off her legs while looking totally cool.


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