Thanks to everyone who participated in September’s Plus Photo Critiques. We appreciate the fact that everyone abided by the new one-photograph submission. It certainly helped us focus on each individual’s work, and we think it will make the critiques much more helpful in the long run.

Hudson and I tried something a bit different with this month’s video: we critiqued each of the 38 photos submitted. The video is a bit longer than usual, but we hope that everyone finds it useful. Leave us a note in the comments below if you have anything you’d like to add about this month’s session.

Here are a few of our favorite photos this month.

Pine Cones, by Jeff Fleisher

Hudson and I were blown away by this excellent close-up panorama of a tree branch and pine cones. There is so much to love here: the sumptuous light and color, the sharpness of the branch (which contrasts quite well with the blurred background) and the subtle processing. This is one of the reasons we love doing the critiques — we discover new ways to look at the world, and new techniques to try in the field. Great work, Jeff!

Badwater, by Jeff Grossberg

We love Death Valley; it’s one of our favorite places to lead workshops, and there are tons of amazing places to shoot. Jeff’s sunset photo is lovely, with great (and sharp!) leading lines that take you into the frame, nice light, and excellent balance with the mountains and sky at the top of the image.

Nature’s Bounty, by Ronald Powell

This close-up of a bee on a flower is just about perfect: the color amazing, the bee sharp, and the beautiful blurred background. Ronald has submitted some lovely nature shots over the past months, and this one is one of his best.

Lake Eisbee, Bavaria, by Christian Riedl

This peaceful sunrise shot from Christian Riedl, is beautiful. The calm lake, the rays of sun on the mountain in the background, and the foreground elements all blend together into an excellent composition.

Artistic Lily Pads, by Gary Smith

Gary used a long lens to capture his mid-day shot of a lily pond at the Albuquerque Botanical Gardens. The lens helped compress the scene into a fantastic two-dimensional image that feels like a painting or illustration. The colors are great, the lines work and the composition is quite good. Hudson and I felt that the image might benefit from a bit less ‘crunch,’ to return a bit of softness to the scene, but it works quite well as is.

Colorful Fungi, by Chris Taylor

It must have been the coming of autumn (up north), because Plus members had fungi on the mind this month, and we had a few good shots of these denizens of the forest. This one from Chris is right up there, with a nicely composed scene, bright color and sharpness where it was needed. Hudson remarked that he would probably have brushed away the spider webs attached to the mushrooms, but this was a winner regardless.

Grizzly — Kukak Bay, Katmai NP, by Rick Weigel

As most Plus gallery watcher members know, Rick Weigel is the “bear whisperer.” Given the sheer volume of great bear phots we’ve seen, I’d swear that Rick lives in Katmai, and just wanders into the back yard from time to time to snap the bears of the moment. His nature photography is beautiful, and this one is another fun, perfectly framed (and processed) shot.

Night Sky on Pond, by Patrick McCabe

Hands-down, my favorite photo this month was this gem from Patrick. The deep dark colors and the overall softness of the scene give it an almost nostalgic feel, as if it belongs to a memory from our past. This shot reminded me of the early work of Edward Steichen, driven by the Pictorialist movement from the late 1800s and into the first years of the 1900s. Patrick’s photo, however, still feels modern to me. Phenomenal work, Patrick!

Thanks again to everyone who participated this month. It was nice to see a bunch of folks new to critiques, and, as always, we hope that everyone found this useful. We’ll see you next month — the October critiques start on Tuesday, October 6. You can find the upload page (with specifications for the file upload) here.