What criteria are people judging the photos with? It seems that its all about clarity here--composition or difficulty of shot doesn't seem to have a whole lot to do with it. One would think it would be more than this, but you never know, so I'm asking. I don't care how you voted, I simply want to know why! What is it that draws your attention to a photo and holds it there long enough to be called the best? Will the photo you choose as the best today hold your interest tomorrow, and why?
These are the reasons a pic gets my vote...
1. Focus, this include depth of field. In some cases we may want the back half of a fish to disappear into a blur because we are focusing on a head shot, but for the most part I want the focus of the pic to include the proper DOF. Meaning if it was intended for the background to blur fine, but if the way the shot is taken is supposed to or would of looked better with a deeper DOF, then I will deduct it from a candidate for a vote.
2. Composition. How was the fish framed in the shot? Is it dead center or are there elements portraying the pic into thirds?(like shadows or contrasting colors?) Is the pic an extreme close up? It is how, I guess artistic and realistic the pic looks.
3. Creativity. How was the pic exposed? How was it lit, from above, below, from the side? Is the subject doing something cool? Like breaking the surface of the water or what? How it is presented may make me remember it more and even save it as a screen saver.
4. Post editing. Here less is more as oversaturated pics do nothing for me. I like that Levels is used right to get rid of the hazed look, I appreciate an increase in Contrast and Sharpness, but despise color adjustments.
These are the main things I look for when choosing a pic.
When taking my own shots I have to try to remember to think about these very things as I get frustrated sometimes and just take any pic I can get and hope for the best.