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Tone and dimension deliver appeal to this composition of an agave plant. Foreground and midground layers are sharp, and they imply the three-dimensional nature of the scene. The background remains soft—nothing to see here; move along—effectively reflecting our attention back toward the front. The curves and soft light and palette contrast with the sharp spines, and the single arching element dominates the view.

This photograph has earned a First Place Award. At another competition, it was criticized for having a blue tint instead of being green. Really.

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