As I told you earlier, this has been my favorite of this monthly challenge so far and might be one of my favorites from you in a long time. I figured that rather tackling the piece as a whole, I'd go picture by picture.
With the first one, what really makes the shot is the right timing and the coloring overall. From the jacket, to the car interior to the hair, it's all various shades of brown and tans. It creates this feeling of the season without actually showing the season, he almost embodies fall.
For the next one, you've perfectly balanced the treeline between te lake and sky, something that feels very natural to the eye. Even with the trees being so far away, you can still see all the individual trees and details of the leaves, something that a lot of photographers don't accomplish with the landscapes.
Then there's the shot of Nicole. It's the radial blur that really makes this shot so beautiful. The blue gives this sense of intense movement and speed but it's juxtaposition with how peaceful and serene Nicole looks gives the illusion that the world is moving around her but completely in control.
The next one is a little iffy just because of the motion blur from being on the move, but because I'm Thom, I can say that it can symbolize how despite out-of-control the world might seem, if you keep your eyes focused on the future, the distance, you'll find a place to take control. That being said, it's possibly the weakest of the set, but still great with the lighting.
It's ironic that one of my favorites isn't one that you actually took but was taken by Nicole. It might be one of my favorites because it's of you, but also because the lighting of the setting sun gives this brilliant exposure and flairs. Plus the redness of your lips is surrounded but the warm and rich colors around you that the viewer can't help but be drawn to them.
This is almost what I picture of when I think of the south. Possible from years of watching old tv shows but the old cabin in an open field is somewhat iconic. Having it be just off center is a good touch to include the cars to create this reminder that places like this still exist in modern times.
This is another one of my favorites, not so much for the guy on the motorcycle, but for the open sideroads lined with cables and raindowed trees. The slight post effects you did for the ghost image and blurs are just the right amount to give hints of motion and importance without taking focus from the scene around the biker.
Lastly, I don't know how I feel about this final shot. The dust on the windshield kind of takes away some from the scene and pulls the viewer from the scene by reminding them "I'm within a car", it's a slight flaw, but that aside, it's a great view.
Overall, it a set that works beautifully together but also separate. Together, there's this overarching idea of the setting sun, with the final shot having the sun completely gone and welcoming the night, but it's more than that. You used the fall weather and lighting to capture some beautiful portraits and landscapes, something that, much like the excitement and joy of being with your friends, is something that should be treasured for it's limited, just like the remaining time of the setting sun.
You used minimal and subtle effects on already gorgeous photos. I can tell the amount of work you did on the post-production to balance everything, and you definitely found the right medium for all of the pictures.
For all of these reasons, this is my favorite of your challenges thus far, and some of the pictures are among my favorites you've ever taken. If this is a sign of how much you've improved, I look forward to seeing more like this from you in the future.