LAST DAY: 2012 Photo of the Year Contest Announced - $10,000 Cash and $25,000+ in prizes to Photographers!

Nov 1, 2012
by Karl Burkat  
 
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Last year we held our first annual Photo of the Year contest and after 275,329 votes were tallied, John Wellburn took home a brand spanking new Specialized Demo. This contest exploded beyond all expectations reaching several major photography websites and main stream news magazines. So with that success we wanted to take things a step further. As the old adage goes for photographers, "I can't eat bike parts". So we worked hard with our sponsors this year to get a major cash prize for this year's contest, $10,000! (Yeah we might even have one of those big checks).

Photography has played an integral role on Pinkbike, with almost 9 million photos uploaded to the site for users to look through and get stoked on. Photographers bust their asses in the trenches to make this sport what it is and we wanted to recognize that. So what's the best photo on Pinkbike this year? There will be 10 more days for users to upload photos and nominate shots after which our judges will go through the nominated shots and select the top 32 for you to judge.

How Does it Work?

All Photos taken and uploaded this year that are nominated by users are eligible. So upload your photos now to enter. Each Pinkbike user can nominate up to 3 different photos into the contest (see how to nominate below). The judges will then spend several sleepless nights narrowing the nominated photos down to 32 after which we will open things up to the public. We will pit each photo randomly against another photo in a College Baskeball Bracket-like showdown. At this point the users will vote on the match ups and the photo with the most votes will move onto the next round. So 32 photos will narrow down to 16, then 8, 4, 2 until there is a single photo deemed the 2012 Rocky Mountain Photo of the Year Powered by SRAM. Deadline for nominations is November 3rd.

  Each photo uploaded this year can be nominated by any user by clicking the 'Nominate this Photo' link. All nominated photos will then be viewed by the panel of judges and narrowed down to 32.


$10,000 Cash and $25,000+ in Prizing

Winner will receive a 2013 Rocky Mountain Altitude 790 MSL complete with the newest SRAM XX1 components and a check for $7500
• Runner-up will receive $2500
• Top 4 receive a complete SRAM XX1 groupo
• Top 8 receive a RockShox fork (to be announced)
• More prizing to be announced next week!


Judging

Photography heavyweights Ian Hylands, Sterling Lorence, Harookz, Margus Riga, Colin Meagher, Fraser Britton and Dan Barham will be the judges and select the initial 32 photos for the contest. We will look to cycle through judges for next year so these guys can participate.


Rules

• Everyone is eligible except for judges
• Only one photo can be selected from each photographer into the final 32
• You must be the photographer who took the photo and have it uploaded on your personal Pinkbike account to be eligible

Nominations

You can see all photos currently nominated here.
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85 Comments

  • + 71
 stoked! this is going to be sweet! last year it was such a tough choice with the voting....
  • + 57
 Yeah, this is one of my favorite things on PB.....
  • + 27
 That is an absolutely wild set of prizes to give away...
  • + 4
 Last year I downloaded 32 of final photos, it is very nice to have a look at them still. This year I am thinking to save all the nominated photos, that will be a pretty nice archive. Exciting contest!
  • + 2
 They are some seriously good prizes man ! Gonna have to have a go at this photography stuff !
  • + 12
 The only problem with this competition is that a lot of recent photos get more attention than older, better photos. There's really no fix to this but I just wished people went back and looked at older ones too.
  • + 14
 @ doorknob100 - There is definitely some truth to that. I nominated a few oldies to compensate.
  • + 2
 Don't forget all the photos from the first part of the year that all seemed to get forgotten in the last contest.
  • - 2
 We con only nominate for 9 days??
  • + 0
 do you want to be the one to have to sort thru 5000 pics and pick 32? every day there will just be more...
  • + 0
 wow. that's amazing.
  • + 0
 yeah - good shot
  • + 3
 Or they could pick all the top nominees...
  • - 2
 the amount of nominations a photo has doesn't make it the best photo of the year
  • + 1
 @doorknob and Karl-burkat: If you consider the fact that people actually already "nominate" their favorite pictures by clicking "add to favorites" doesn't that kind of defeat the fact that only newer pictures will be chose. I know personally I'll be choosing pictures I have already faved in the last year instead of going threw the shitload of pictures that can pop-up on any given day on PB.
  • + 2
 Well, some people are more free with their nominations than others and will give it to the next three PODs they see. Others will go through their favorites and find them, like I did (though I'm still holding 1). The problem is, and no offense to the judges at all, it seems that the more recent photos get more love from them when bracketing the top 32. For example, last year there were so many sweet ones that didn't make the top 32 and there were like 10 from the past 2 months that made it in and were arguably unworthy, especially when compared to some other goodies.
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  • + 20
 This is gonna be cool, but I wish that there was a competition for up and coming photographers, cause its only ever gonna be pros who win these kinds of competitions, which I can accept, I mean they are pros for a reason, but I just wish that there was a comp for the little guys.
  • + 14
 +1 for this.
Reminds me of someone asking for a "Pro POD/VOD" and an "up and coming/amateur" version at the same time.
Would round off the community nicely.
  • - 4
 I totally agree with you on this one, its like people who already have all the high end photography gear are getting a $7500 cheque because they have had so much experience and get paid to take these shots, while those who bust their ass for a sick photo don't really get recognized for all their effort. not everyone has the gear to get the perfect lighting. the money should go to someone who spent the day with a camera and a lens to be able to go purchase the good gear to take even better photos, not someone who had 6 different lenses, special lighting set ups etc.
  • + 2
 I understand the implications of having a professional POD and VOD but it doesn't really represent the community that well when we never get to see amateur stuff on the front page.
And even when we do, people bitch about it not being "pro" enough. I think having both at the same time would greatly benefit pinkbike. More motivation for the less known people to participate and create , you know? So I agree with you on that as well.
  • + 30
 The biggest problem with pro/amateur is defining who those people are. There are people who are amazing photographers with $30k in gear that shoot photos as a hobby. Pro or amateur? There are a lot of full time photographers that grind it out everyday and take amazing shots and just get by. Pro or amateur? Distinguishing the groups is near impossible, so we've kept things open to all. And the bike and cash will be a nice bonus to any photog in the business. Let's face it, there aren't many biking photographers driving lambos. So we're trying to drive additional cash and prizes into the pot.
  • + 16
 If you are an amateur photographer wanting to compete in something like this stop wasting your time asking for separate POD/VOD/Comps, Get out there and Shoot! Practice your composition, read online tutorials, do anything to work on your skill... Yes gear does play a factor in how your shots turn out but save your money. If you want something bad enough you will find a way. I have seen some photographers on this site over the past years go from very basic almost boring to HOLY SHIT now thats a shot. It doesnt happen over night Boys and girls. The only way to get better is to compete again people that are BETTER than you! And Karl I totally agree with you...
  • + 18
 For alot of photos, gear isn't really the determining factor. You can take an amazing photo with a basic DSLR camera if you wait for the right light and moment. The winning photo from last year just happened to be taken by a professional photographer in the Gobi desert, but you could get a similar looking shot with a cheaper camera in a similar looking zone somewhere else in the world. It's not about the gear, it's about the shot and the moment. Also, shooting mountain bike photos professionally isn't as lucrative as some of you might think, with photographers constantly pouring their own personal money into travelling, upgrading gear and paying for their own expenses and health benefits, $7500 is a well-deserved bump for someone who takes the time to do what they love.

As far as the whole amateur vs. professional thing, I'm assuming the photos are being selected (by users themselves) by the content, quality and originality of the photo, not the name associated with it both in front or behind the lens. A good photo is a good photo, a bad photo is a bad photo. Both professional and amateurs can take both. If you're complaining about the access for "amateur" photographers to be recognized for their work, you're in the wrong place, a competition like this is exactly what you're petitioning for.
  • + 2
 Point. Well I'm not really referring to this contest specifically.. Just something that I've noticed about the homepage that I wanted to get off my chest.
  • + 1
 I somewhat agree, it would be nice to see ... how should I say... Less polished PODS and VODS on the frontpage in some form. Even if it was used for critique, it's something nice to give back the pinkbikers out there. Either that or have day in the week on the homepage dedicated to the average rider with videos and photos?
Sounds like a neat idea to me.
  • + 10
 "There are a lot of full time photographers that grind it out everyday and take amazing shots and just get by."

Karl nailed it. This is the truth... I think if most PB users actually knew how little brands and mags pay for photos they would be very surprised.. We do this because we love it.

That being said, a check for $7500 would be very nice!! Game on!!
  • + 3
 I'm not taking a crack at photographers Frown
I just thought it would be a nice idea to feature works from different skills levels for POD and VOD, tis all.
  • + 1
 Ya JustinOlson's right. Some of the well known photographers on this site or others don't make much money if any. That's a huge complaint I've heard from too many riders and photographers. Certain photos of riders or just the riders themselves are well known on a world level and bring in a lot of publicity and a lot of money to companies and get next to no money, if any. Some amazing POD's are from profesionals and some from complete unknowns! Once again that's something digital has also made possible. Either way the VODs PODs and POY are in one catagory and I think that makes it pretty interesting sometimes!
  • + 5
 I'm not a pro but I do have lots of money invested in gear, it's what I chose to do. I save my money, buy the lens I need. I've never made money(yet) off of my photos but I give it everything I have. I want to go head to head against the big boys, that's how you get noticed, they are just normal people like everyone else. They just work at it. If you want it bad enough you go for the throat. Next year I want in on the Deep Summer photo challenge.

And I'm not a rich momma's boy. None of my gear (photo or bike) is from anybody but my hard earned pocket.

Sorry about the rant.
  • + 1
 we are all artist,its in your eye and mind,just point shot and see's what comes out,it may take one shot or 1 billion,a pro may wait his life time and never get that white whale,but when he does where the lucky one's that get to see it an all,so just be happy and don't sweat the small things,that we cry about,ROLLING STONES,YOU CAN'T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT,but if you try some times you just mite find you get what you need oh ya. SO good luck 2 all you.
  • + 2
 As a 17 y/o self taught photographer with no job and saved for along time to buy my camera and lenses i don't usually even bother with such competitions due to what im up against. I agree with everything you said.
  • + 1
 Robc10- it's a shame you feel like that because age isn't necessarily against you. Ok so you haven't got the experience of some, but you've got a fresh perspective, motivation and hopefully not too many bad habits! I had a quick look at some of your shots and you should be stoked. I have enjoyed reading the comments above regarding Pro Vs Amateur- some very interesting points- but maybe a Youth section would be a good idea? It's easy to work out who goes into which category and it would give some of the up and coming talent the chance to show what they're capable of. Being young generally means less experience and arguably not so expensive equipment.
  • - 1
 Im not trying to be stubborn or come across as a moody person just i thought id put my perspective into the discussion, i put my work on here www.flickr.com/photos/robchad if anyone wants to take a look. Smile
  • + 1
 I do agree with the original comment here, but i also think it would be impossible to distinguish between pros and amateurs, but at the end of the day whatever camera you have if you take a sick photo it will be recognised.
  • + 2
 This is what i hate about pinkbike now, people neg prop your comment when you have just put your point to something. Pinkbike is going downhill, 2 years of usage and can easily see the decline with users.
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  • + 17
 Two of the greatest looking products on the market - an Altitude and XX1 so sick! not to mention $7500 ching ching!
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  • + 14
 This is going to be insane!
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  • + 5
 All you little girls complaining about "oh, all the pros, with all their wonderful gear, are just going to get richer, and win again....." On and on ad nauseum. Why don't you stop complaining and get out there and shoot. And then shoot more. And then shoot a LOT MORE! And then process, and then shoot more, and then look at others and see what they're doing.
These guys (and gals) are pros for a reason. BECAUSE THEY WORK THEIR ASSES OFF. And I can attest to that. It's not easy.
So, if your work sucks, get out there and work on it.
  • + 0
 Its not always that simple. They have a funding, a job. Those who try to get noticed very rarely even get a glimpse at due to there kit and not being able to get around. I hate to see those who say practice more and more. There is a limit before you see that you are going nowhere and then eventually give up, i've seen it happen on multiple occasions.
  • + 4
 I bought a camera in Jan. 2012 having no photo experience at all really. One camera, 2 lenses, lightroom4 for a total investment of $3200.

I practiced practiced practiced, went to local events, practiced more, did lots of reading and worked to educated myself, etc.... then I did more of that. It took me a long time to even begin to think that my photos were close to professional quality, but rather than make excuses for equipment I learned to work around my equipment's shortcomings, and studied other peoples photos to see what I could learn and develop my own taste and style.

From Jan. to now I have been involved in very high level events and have worked for some pretty big clients all due to hard work. You get noticed because of quality work, not because you have poor gear or some other lame excuse. My total investment in camera gear is less than the cost of one pro body dslr. The money I currently make from photography I reinvest into gear, travel, etc.

Every pro photographer here started the same way.... adding up hard work brick by brick rather than adding up excuse after excuse.

No amount of gear can replace a good eye, creativity, and hard work. I've only been shooting action for about 5 months and I am learning every single day I go out and shoot.

Cheers,
Dave
  • + 1
 Well said and props to you Dave. I wish you all the success you deserve bro, I know it ain't easy but it seems like you don't let frustrations keep you down. Most important thing I think you said is "No amount of gear can replace a good eye, creativity, and hard work." maybe a "good eye" being of the most importance.....some have it, some don't.......
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  • + 5
 Hells yeh time to shooting. I'm thinking the australian sun will make for some amazing shots.
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  • + 2
 This photo is never going to win any comp here on Pinkbike.But that doesnt matter so thanks to the rider and the people that have viewed it and liked it.so thats all that matters to me www.pinkbike.com/photo/8502978
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  • + 3
 Hey I have a blurry pic of me dropping a 2 foot curb. Where should I pick up my 25K ?????
  • + 1
 i wana see the 2foot curb
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  • + 1
 Anyone else notice that there were 118 pages of photos yesterday but now it's down to 97 pages of photos? I had a photo removed from nomination as well which was odd.
  • + 2
 Ineligable photos, Most likely due to the number of people that can't follow directions?

Example: PB said photos taken by the panel of judges where not elisgable yet there were a ton of their photos in the mix.
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  • + 1
 Check out my 6 Shot Panorama www.pinkbike.com/photo/8860106 I dont think anyone has really ever stitched 6 shots together like this before, but i could be wrong.
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  • + 1
 So do the photos need to be taken within the last year, or can older ones be used?
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  • + 1
 Well its time to go buy a camera...i want to beat out the pros and win some money ya for underdogs
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  • + 1
 last year all the selected finalist are horizontal framed pics... it would be the same also this year?
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  • + 1
 Thanks for doing this again Pink Bike.... I might need to download some pics to the site, it has been a while.
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  • + 2
 Really looking forward to this! Helps to get me out riding too!
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  • + 2
 All so worthy of being a desktop background!
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  • + 1
 This is going to be really good
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  • + 1
 stoked to see some awesome pictures!
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  • + 1
 well looks like you gotta buy your own demo this time around.
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  • + 1
 aawwww yeee gunna get some more desktop backgrounds
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  • + 1
 has it been a year already?
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  • + 1
 The time has come!!!
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  • + 1
 No pros. please!
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