After our last Shooting Challenge, I had almost given up all hope of getting you lot to step away from your screens and capture the world around you. But step away you did, and I must say, you captured a lot of bloody great images; so thank-you to everyone that took the time to capture their silhouette and send it in.

Now, the only problem with so many great images is that it makes picking a winner that much more difficult.

And in the words of Connor MacLeod from Highlander, “I've been alive for four and a half centuries, and I cannot die.”

Shit; not those words...I meant these words: “There can be only one.”

The winner of this week's Shooting Challenge and first recipient of the mystery prize (personalised Facebook playing cards from Firebox, worth £12 each), is...

Laurence Howe.

As soon as I opened the attachment I went “WOW!” It completely blew my little socks off. It's a fantastic image that fits the brief perfectly; the sort of image that I'd frame and put up on my wall at home.

So, how did Laurence create his stunning image?

"This shot was part of a spur of the moment shoot with some friends who popped around mine a couple of days ago, and they started smoking outside. Capturing the light of the smoke against the shadows of the girls created a very interesting effect I found, and had seen similar things before on Flickr, which inspired me to get this shot.

 

The subjects were lit by a Nissin Di622 MKII flashgun on a tripod which was placed behind them on manual exposure, which was triggered remotely with some Hahnel Combi TF wireless triggers. The camera used was an old Canon 1000D which wasn't ideal, but my main camera (Canon 60D) was being borrowed by a friend. I used a Sigma 30mm F1.4 EX DC prime lens, which is a fantastic everyday lens. I tightened the aperture slightly to F3.5 however, as it can be a bit unsharp at 1.4. I bumped the ISO up to 800 as it was dark outside, and set the shutter to 1/50 to let as much light in as possible whilst freezing any motion.

 

I took several shots, I think the posing and the smoke shaped in this one are best. I shoot in RAW, and edited the shot in Adobe Lightroom. I had to brighten it up a bit, and the high ISO on the 1000D created a lot of digital noise. I decided to leave the noise in as I think it adds to the gritty and noir feel of the photo. I made it black and white and played with some split toning to give it yellowish highlights and blueish shadows."

I think you'll agree, it is a fantastic image and a deserved winner.

As I've already stated, it was really tough picking an overall winner this week and there can be only one. But there can be many runners-up; so congratulations to the following people whose images deserve a special recognition (and who will each receive a personalised pack of Facebook playing cards from Firebox):

Adam Douglas

Gavin Buckley

Jeannie Moulton

Jonathan Williams

Josh Armistead

Kenny Cheung

Richard Minns

Ross Galypchak

Stewart Bell.

View all 35 of the Shooting Challenge entries over on Flickr here, and tell us: Which photo was your favourite? Which image made you go wow?

One question to those who either submitted an entry to this Shooting Challenge, or failed to do so: did you find the extended deadline a factor on whether you submitted an image or was it the subject matter?

Martin Snelling is a Hampshire-based man about town who works in the videogame industry. A keen photographer, Martin shoots on film and digital; he blogs here, and tweets here.