Smokey Cactus © 2013 NATE METZ
Smokey Cactus © 2013 NATE METZ

It’s almost hard to believe that another challenge has come and gone. While on vacation in North Carolina this month, I had about an hour in the Biltmore Estate Conservatory to take photographs. Tucked away in a side room were the cactus including this Old Man Cactus. With my signature tight framing, the wisps of hair instantly reminded me of thick wafts of smoke. I knew when the challenge prompt included this direction– “The theme of your photo should clearly be smoke, NOT a person smoking, or the word (smoke). You are welcome to use as much post processing as you like.” –black backgrounds with white or colored smoke in elaborate, decorative patterns would be common. As quickly as I thought I’d experiment with that type of photograph, I decided to upload Smokey Cactus.

I’m happy with how well my entry fared in the challenge voting. The feedback I received through comments were about the technical proficiency and how it related to the theme. All but one comment acknowledged that it was a creative interpretation and different in approach. The lone dissenter’s comment was arrogant,disrespectful and narrow-minded. So, I won’t discuss it further. I am grateful at the warm reception and hope that my work continues to challenge a status quo, to make my viewers reexamine their own beliefs, and to make such bold statements!

Challenge 168: SMOKE
PS postprocessing: crop, levels, auto color correct, resize, USM, export
Rank: 13th
Nikon D80: 1/125 sec, f5, ISO 360