Great stuff I was a bit surprised to not see this in the top 3 of the environment contest.
Perhaps from a mostly esthetical point of view the top 3 winners were justified, but especially the contest winner was of no technological significance. I bet the original in colour is pretty mediocre. Ansel Adams would turn over in his grave to see this one actually really seriously being compared with this one. The second is quite nice, although the ice shader isn't that special and far from realistic. The third is a real miss by the jury. The terrain has no surface shading except for the snow (see bottom right). Only a mountain, a castle and some grass/bushes.
Therefore I think it's a pity that generally speaking there's too much attention for the way things look rather than the technical aspects. The visual result is key, of course, but as soon as you can't choose between 2 on a visual basis then choose for the one which is technically the most beautiful one. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, just to use a cliche, but I think your work is much more interesting and not only from a technical point of view.
Anyway, in the end you're probably just having fun and that's a real win.
Thx man for these kind words. I do not take these competitions to seriously and as you said, to have fun is the main reason I do all of this. But, in the course of events, that A. Adams wannabe got disqualified and I got the third price after all. Not as happy as I would be if I got it right away but, still fun. Cheers mate