2015 Photo of the Year Winner is...

Feb 25, 2016
by Pinkbike Staff  
Sean Lee's Winning Image for the 2015 Trek Photo of the Year Powered by SRAM:

Ten seconds after the shutter of my camera closed the sun dipped over the horizon and the last light of the day was gone. As featured in R evolution Magazine March 2015.

We gave you the top 32 images from 2015 and you've voted for the winner and ultimately the 2015 Photo of the Year, whom will be divvying up the $10,000 in CASH from our sponsors: Trek Bikes and SRAM.

Check out the voting page for all the results from each bracket.

The 5th annual Pinkbike Photo of the Year Contest is a wrap and Sean Lee will be joining the ranks of John Wellburn, Toby Cowley, Sterling Lorence and Christoph Laue in the PB Photo of the Year Hall of Fame.



How Did Photo Of The Year Work?

From thousands of nominated photos, 32 were selected to pit against each other in a college basketball bracket-like showdown. At that point it was up to you, the users, to vote on the match-ups. The photos with the most votes moved on to the next round. So 32 photos narrowed down to 16, then 8, 4, 2 until there was a single photo deemed the 2015 Trek Photo of the Year Powered by SRAM.



What all was at stake? $10,000 Cash

Sean Lee will receive a check for $5000
• Lee Trumpore will receive a check for $3000
• Christoph Laue and Simon Nieborak will each receive a check for $1000

Thanks to Trek Bikes and SRAM.


MENTIONS: @trek / @SramMedia / @Chamakazi / @general-lee / @Laue / @lunatyk




188 Comments

  • + 358
 now just waiting for that front page post to tell me i didn't win the trek, congrats on the photo Sean
  • + 154
 Should have the Remedy winner ready to announce early next week, thanks.
  • - 87
flag rc3kartusa (Feb 25, 2016 at 13:05) (Below Threshold)
 Is it possible to pick me please, thanks.
  • + 14
 but.. he was riding a specialized!? the PB community for some reason hates specialized.. how's that for a contradiction?
  • + 35
 @makripper I don't think many people would argue that they don't make great bikes. It's their politics that rub many the wrong way.
  • + 57
 @markripper f*ck! its a specialized????? how did I miss that? Pinkbike can I undo all my votes???



unless I won the Remedy then leave them like they are.
  • + 12
 I won't win the Trek Remedy, but my favorite photo won so I got that going on for me which is nice... @h82crash Yep. Spot on. I sell Specialized and I love their bike as much as I hate their marketing.
  • - 8
flag DragRider (Feb 25, 2016 at 13:35) (Below Threshold)
 Lee Trumpore is the real winner all my hart's broken Smile
  • + 7
 the idea that the PB community hates specialized is kind of a stretch, come on guys, stay away for that sort of assumptions
  • + 3
 Positive thoughts!
  • - 5
flag makripper (Feb 25, 2016 at 14:01) (Below Threshold)
 @fercho25 its funny and true. ps get better at reading.
  • + 8
 @makripper - he could be riding a wicked witch's broomstick and it would still be an awesome shot.
  • + 2
 @g-42 no, because then it would be on www.pinkbroomstick.com and I was laughing at the pb user community for their hate on specialized in general. It's like saying you hate fords. no one really cares.
  • + 8
 How can you guys tell it's a Specialized? I can barely tell that it's a bike!
  • - 14
flag Alias530 (Feb 25, 2016 at 18:11) (Below Threshold)
 Specialized bikes climb like shit compared to other designs (VPP/DW/DELTA/Maestro/etc) but they sure are nice on the downhill.
  • + 1
 @Alias530 I agree. My enduro doesn't climb as well as my previous dw link bikes...very close though...it is a lot more fun and stable on the downs though.
  • + 1
 well i remember a poll they did a while ago on what bran bike are you riding and Specialized was definitely the winner by a good bit....sooo.........ya!
  • - 7
flag Alias530 (Feb 26, 2016 at 6:14) (Below Threshold)
 Everyone neg repping me has clearly guzzled the big S kool-aid and never ridden anything else.
  • + 0
 @makripper - Specialized is the bestselling mtb company and PB is the most visited mtb site. Therefore, mathematically it's impossible that the PB community hates Specialized. However, there are a few very vocal critics that make sure they comment on every post.
  • + 2
 @Rubberelli - I don't want to be picky or anything but Specialized is not the best selling company. Trek and Giant are. But you are right that Specialized being 3rd means a lot of people here own a Specialized...
  • + 1
 @Alias530 As the owner of a VPP bike in addition to two Specialized bikes, having also owned two DW-link bikes and one Maestro bike, I can tell you with 100% certainty that Specialized bikes do not "climb like shit". Just because VPP and DW-link have less native pedal bob than FSR DOES NOT mean that they climb better. My Stumpjumper climbs every bit as well as my Tracer does and and far better than my Firebird did. Yes I have to have the shock in "climb" mode on the Stumpy and I can just leave it open on the Tracer, nonetheless the plusher nature of FSR means that I maintain traction better than either the VPP or DW-link bikes throughout the climb, which is far more important than having to work a little harder. That's even more telling when you consider that my Stumpy has a Fox CTD factory and my Tracer a DBairCS.
  • + 1
 @emeriska - I thought in mtb Spesh was #1, while Trek and Giant were #1 overall bike companies.
  • + 2
 It's not what you ride it's how you ride it!
  • + 2
 Nahhh giants #1 for sales and making money. They also make many other companies frames and bikes in their factory.
  • + 1
 @makripper - if Giant is actually #1 at making money, its because they charge $6k for an aluminum frame with X1 build LOL
  • + 1
 @Alias530 which is a good deal if thats what you are looking for. X1 isn't cheap. they also charge under 5k for carbon framed bikes with amazing builds.

www.giant-bicycles.com/en-ca/bikes/model/reign.advanced.1/24703/89691

Carbon reign advanced 1 for around 5K canadian. seems good to me!

top of the line reign alu for 5500 also seems sick.

www.giant-bicycles.com/en-ca/bikes/model/reign.1/24702/89692/#features
  • + 2
 X1 is cheap, it's basically 11spd X9. And compared to other bikes, $6k for alu/X1 is a LOT. Evil Following for example is $5k for carbon and X1.
  • + 1
 @uphilarious the rear triangle and the öhlins shock look like a 2013/2014 demo
  • + 0
 What other specs are on this following u speak of? Do they still supply them with a shit load of extra linkages? Yes. They break.
  • + 1
 Did you just seriously suggested that an aluminium giant is a Better bike than an evil the following, and that the evil breaks more easily?
  • + 1
 I've owned evils and gone through a shit load of links. Yup! Stupid fanboys.
  • + 1
 and that evil you mentioned is almost 7k alot different then than the 5k you mentioned @Alias530 LOL
evil-bikes.com/products/the-following
  • + 1
 So youve broken evilS the following in plural as in more than one and you havent broke a giant in singular?
  • + 1
 broken multiple evil linkages. Yup!!
  • + 1
 i broke 2 giant glory advanced frames too. They fixed the issue I had with the 2015 frames and it was all warrantied. @fercho25 building up tomorrow Big Grin
  • + 1
 What about evil bad warranty?

Good luck building the glory.
  • + 1
 yeah, it was pretty shitty. would take weeks to get new linkages. I could have been just unlucky. Thanks man. got a new vivid air for it too. its gunna rip!
  • + 1
 @Alias530 - Alright mate, you can believe what you want about Giant. You can like them or not, but their overall lineup is probably the best quality/price ration out there. They build bikes that are way less expensive than say Trek or Specialized or Cannondale (the 3 other biggest brand in the US). Like them or not, I don't give a flying f*ck. But you can't say Giant's bike are too expensive...
  • + 2
 X1 is cheap? For SRAM maybe. X1 is going to be squeezed out of the market now that we have XTR/XX1 at the high end, XT/GX for mid-range bikes, and 2x10 on entry level. There is no place for X1 because it's overpriced.

Specialized, Giant, and Trek are NOT expensive. They are the standard by which all others are judged. Note that the GOOD boutique brands (Intense, Pivot, SC, and the like) are just as expensive and in many cases even more so. YT is cheaper, yes. But then Chevys are cheaper than Cadillacs, VWs are cheaper than Audis...you get the picture.
  • - 2
 @makripper - you stupid shit, there's two builds. X01 is $6600, X1 is $5k. Carbon frame X1 for $5k or alu frame and X1 for $6k, HMMMMMMMMMMMMMM. Yeah, bad deal with the Giant.
  • + 2
 Or you could say broken frame X1 with nonexistent warranty support for $5k or long lasting frame with exceptional warranty support for $6k. I'd say bad deal with the Evil.

Evil is absolutely notorious for broken frames and long replacement times.
  • + 0
 With their old carbon manufacturer, yeah, but they changed to the same on Santa Cruz uses.

Pick another example if you want, there's tons of other carbon/X1 bikes cheaper than $6k. The Giant is just a shit deal for an alu frame with X1 at $6k. I that every other alu/X1 bike on the market is cheaper than $6k
  • + 1
 6k? I'm not seeing that. I'm seeing 5200 for the giant? It's also light and strong. Not sure why you hate alu so much?
  • + 1
 Maybe that was last year's price but 5200 for alu/x1 is still overpriced when you consider that with other brands you either get a better group our a carbon frame in that price range. And I don't hate alu, it just isn't as expensive as carbon. The same way I don't hate burgers, but I'm not going to pay filet mignon prices for it.
  • + 247
 we did it. we overcame the roost
  • + 49
 That actually really surprised me. As sick as the roost shot I'm tired of roost, maybe other people feel the same way?
  • + 23
 roost aint dead!!!
  • + 55
 Next year there should be a Norbs roost shot riding a 29+ Marzocchi equiped session. that would make for an interesting pinkbike year.
  • + 32
 Don't you mean Foxocchi?
  • + 4
 I'm with you on this! Real riding and some scenery FTW
  • + 4
 roost got robbed...
  • + 3
 Ya, 2015 was a real toss up between trends...roost vs sun
  • + 1
 As great as the roost is...this photo just has much more sweet candy for the eye.
  • + 3
 You mean boost?
  • + 2
 I agree, the other photo was better.
  • + 97
 Damn! It's a great picture, but the monument valley one should have won, at least in my opinion. You just cant beat a massive gap with great scenery.
  • + 103
 "People like Coldplay and voted for the Nazis. You can't trust people" - Super Hans
  • - 51
flag zorba73 (Feb 25, 2016 at 13:00) (Below Threshold)
 What's wrong with Nazis?
  • + 4
 My favorite was the afterglow shot just because the action was sick and the lighting was of course incredible. This shot, definitely satisfied this one. Its so clean, the timing with the sun, the trail venturing off into the distance leading you to see the mountains with the epic sunset light. Ahh this is an awesome photo.
  • - 17
flag Escaflowne (Feb 25, 2016 at 13:05) (Below Threshold)
 omg how stupid is this comment? idiot
  • + 20
 Internet, meet sarcasm. Sarcasm: Internet.
  • - 2
 Photos of great sceneries belong to Outdoor Photographer magazine, not to Pinkbike.
It was a tough job to pick a winner (48 : 52 result proves that) but I believe that the two photos that made it to the finals were really the best, considering the topic of the contest.
  • + 8
 ^what??? Great sceneries is part of what makes mountain biking amazing! it's called MOUNTAIN biking for a reason.
  • + 1
 I don't argue with that, I often take landscape photos when I ride (if you were never shredding a trail with a $5000 worth camera attached to your belt, you don't know what adrenaline is Big Grin ) but they're landscape photos, not sports photos. They're still great, bur from a completely different category.
  • + 0
 There wasn't a topic for the contest so saying that one or the other suits the topic is a bit odd, it was just a photo of the year competition. To say that a photo of someone riding their bike through amazing scenery doesn't belong on pinkbike is just a stupid comment to make really. Unless your comment is referring to photos with no bikes in, in which case your point is irrelevant because every photo in this competition has one.
  • + 0
 "every photo in this competition has one"

Indeed, only in some photos they're pretty damn difficult to find unless you know you should look for them...
(I think if the contest takes place on Pinkbike, the topic is quite obvious even without being explicitly stated.)
  • + 67
 No other photo in the comp captured the 'why we ride' factor as well as this one did. If anyone ever asks you that, show them this photo! Well done Sean.
  • + 10
 Yeah man that's exactly what won my vote.
  • + 2
 Looking at it just reminded me that it's sunny outside and there's some serious hero dirt waiting to be shredded only a couple miles from my house - time to go ride!
  • + 4
 The same reason I voted for it. Just captures the whole feeling of being out on your bike on a decent trail that anyone could ride and having fun in nature. No massive gaps/tricks/death defying moves to wow you, just you and your machine. Something we can all aspire to on every ride.
  • + 26
 I actually don't get this pic, you can't see the bike and can barely see the trail, the background is distorted by the annoying fish-eye that slants the mountains off on the left but is horizontal on the right. the sunlight detracts from the focal point of the shot, half the picture is nearly black and the riding isn't even that amazing.... no discredit to the photographer, I just don't understand why everyone loves the picture.... but then I take photos with a phone so what do I know...
  • + 8
 Yeah man, I'm not a fan either. It was in like the bottom 5 of all the shots for me.
  • - 8
flag meesterover (Feb 25, 2016 at 20:06) (Below Threshold)
 And clearly color enhanced with Photoshop. Definitely not my favorite out of the 32, but then again somehow Obama was elected again (only accounting for the votes coming from the States with that statement).
  • + 5
 I'm with you on that. Is it a gorgeous image? Yup. But when I look at it I don't feel anything. It doesn't "tell" me anything and doesn't inspire me to get out and ride. If i was walking in a museum with these two right next to each other I would gravitate to [Lee Trumpore's] roost picture. Congrats anyways to all of the contestants
  • + 0
 For me it was the 2nd best photo of the contest (my favourite was the one that finished second), you need to be either really lucky or really patient to take a photo of a fast moving bicycle and get the sun exactly between the rider's legs.
  • + 1
 @Extremmist I'd say that timing-wise, the Valparaiso window shot was even trickier (and I liked it more overall), but timing alone doesn't make a good photo.
  • + 0
 A photo doesn't need to be perfect to win. For me, it needs to nail a feeling first and foremost.

As the poster above you said

"No other photo in the comp captured the 'why we ride' factor as well as this one did. If anyone ever asks you that, show them this photo! Well done Sean." - @holdogs

Nailed it.
  • + 3
 @ sup3rc0w Really? I'd kinda expect a *photo of the year* to be pretty close to perfect in all aspects. It's not a feeling of the year competitionSmile
  • + 0
 hah, and here come the neg prop douches.
  • + 1
 @Pedro404 It was, but personally I always prefer nature over city and also the light and colours were more interesting in the winning photo.
  • + 15
 Congrats, Sean. Ignore all the 'Imma let you finish' comments. No one got robbed, no one else 'shoulda won' we got voted out, simple as that. Put that extra $2000 to good use, get that camera fixed, and hopefully we'll see you at some races in Europe this summer. Cheers.
  • + 1
 Respect man Smile
  • - 1
 You should Ave went all PSP on here. Get insane and post gibberish conspiracy theories about how you were robbed.

I need a laugh...not this buddy, buddy feel good stuff.

I kept wanting to vote for both, but that dust bomb was juat so uniquely awesome plus seeing the filming of it, I had to vote for Trumpore. Juat an epic shot and what must have been a ruined camera kit after.


@brule, Maybe next year, each photo entry should have its back story and a 2:30 length video clip. A blend of the "photo epics" and "banger 1 shot".
  • + 17
 At least it wasnt the roost shot!
  • + 15
 52% to 48% damn that was close.
  • + 5
 Exactly my thoughts! Both are winners, for me! Congrats, guys!
  • + 7
 Even though I voted for Trumpore's image.... I am actually stoked that Sean Lee won... after reading yesterdays "5 minutes with the finalists" i realised that Sean was using semi-pro equipment while also fighting with the light thanks to an issue with a broken dial on his 7D. Whereas most of the previous winners and finialists where using professional rigs like 1D's etc!

Read the article:
www.pinkbike.com/news/photo-of-the-year-2015-five-minutes-with-the-finalists.html

Well done Sean... And well done Lee Trumpore!! Both your images truly made me want to go out and ride!!
  • + 6
 It's hard to choose a winner out of all of those awesome shots! Congrats to the winner!
  • + 6
 It appears the winning formula for POY is a little sunshine between the legs.
  • + 2
 This Picture was my personal favorit. it embodies all that mountainbiking means to me. Heading of into the distance, an epic trail ahead and a sense of freedom. But congrats to all photographers that made it into the top 32. The all looked great !!!
  • + 4
 Definitely the winner out of the final two but I really think there were a good few photos that could have beaten it. Momentum valley being the BEST!
  • + 2
 *monument
  • + 5
 I still don't really care for this shot. Even the photo of the day today is better lol
  • + 4
 Fantastic shot and fantastic finale to the competition! Congratulations Sean, totally deserved it.
  • + 5
 Soooo... Who wins the Remedy 9.9?
  • + 15
 Not me and probably neither do you :'(
  • + 9
 Yup I know... after countless contests, raffles, lotteries, give aways, etc, the only thing I have ever won in my entire life was an orange candle (true story!)

:-(
  • + 0
 Should have the Remedy winner ready to announce early next week, thanks.
  • + 8
 Some bloke who signed up a week ago no doubt...
  • + 11
 @steelpolish I wasn't aware that Orange made a model called Candle, what kind of a bike is it?
  • + 10
 i find it interesting that the winner of the contest who worked their ass off to get a killer mtb photo gets a prize of $5k. then one of us voters, who's only prerequisite was to exist at our keyboards, complain, fart then vote for these photos and get a chance to win a mtb bike package that's probably way more than $5k...are we spoiled rotten or what?
  • + 1
 yes we are spoiled
  • + 1
 Winner will be one of the names on a list of new accounts created 3 days ago. Such is life. Hahaha
  • + 3
 Serious question now, does Mr Lee sell prints? Because I want that on the wall in my house.
  • + 4
 Congrats! Well deserved. Great pic. Makes me wanna go ride.
  • + 5
 Yay????
  • + 5
 Well played sir !!!!!!!!
  • + 1
 Nice photo sure, but it's not the one I chose, so... This is horrible, I am through with PB, the contest is rigged toward advertisers, yada yada yada...create more controversy.
  • + 1
 My favourite shots in this contest were this shot and the monument valley shot, been voting for them since the start. Glad this one won, it's an incredible photo. Well deserving of POY.
  • + 1
 The photographer's #dualslalom brought to you by #pinkbike.

Congratulations to the winner. This photo has been my desktop wallpaper for the last month or so. Simply breathtaking.
  • + 5
 Bockers
  • + 2
 I still think Michal Cerveny's photo was the best. Too bad it was eliminated in the second round.
  • + 1
 This picture really does grow on you, and it does make you want to ride, like others have commented. Congrats to the winner!
  • + 2
 I proved that this would win yesterday with the average of the win percents of all the other rounds and won $ in a bet.
  • + 2
 Congrats to all of the contestants. I liked a lot of the photos i saw, keep up the good work
  • + 4
 congratulations Smile
  • + 4
 Yippee Skippy
  • + 3
 No comments!!! That's the one I wanted out the last two
  • + 3
 I only picked this one because it wasn't the other one.
  • + 1
 Congrats for a deserving image. But I prefer the Livigno photo from the semi final. If only the Suzuki branding didn't mess it up a bit.
  • + 1
 Fantastic shot and congratulations on the win against some stiff competition.
  • + 1
 anyway to get this in a resolution a bit higher than 1600x1067? Congrats Sean!
  • + 1
 Congrats man. An absolute fluke - but one beauty of a shot. The essence of mountainbiking.
  • + 1
 So - I know this is slightly off topic, but where is this trail? I want to go to there.
  • + 2
 Rude Rock-Queenstown.built by Queenstown MTB club
  • + 2
 photo of the year with headless rider
  • + 2
 awesome shot, has me frothing to ride
  • + 1
 The ray of light emitting from the crotchal region really reminds me of this:

www.pinkbike.com/video/409609
  • + 2
 Nice pic but NOT the pic of the year.
  • - 2
 So sad, the two final pictures didn't show any airtime, just look good. I'll fav the photos from Fest, Nine Knights, or anything similar. However, comosition is great, and photo is awesome too- but not awesome enough, to be the POTY. Sad, sad, sad.
  • - 2
 I mean, composition.
In semi-finals, there were two photos, that show an awesome air, with an awesome rider. And in the end, the enduro-trail picture is a winner (ofc photo is great, but... it didn't show awesomeness of mountain biking IMO). Yes, sunset (sunshine) shot, refined colours and second plane, but there is no action at all. I'm gonna go back year earlier.
Enduro trend is visible everywhere now, but it is not interesting on photos (think of a guy, doing the 36 off the cliff in the same scenario, with a sun between his legs).
Im just... dissapointed. Two semi-finals pictures was unbelievable, but they didn't make their way up the contest, being definately better, than the winner- because there is huge air, and so much action... sad, sad.
  • + 2
 He's literally inches away from capturing a "golden globe" picture...
  • + 1
 it looks like a nude picture on the interwebs where they block out the whoohaa with a flash.
  • + 1
 This is outrageous. I demand a recount. #Floridaelection2000
  • + 1
 Phew that was close. A guy riding into a pile of dirt almost won
  • + 2
 Who won
  • + 2
 Did I win?
  • + 1
 OK great picture but... WhAt ThE FUk is that elbow?!??!?!?!?!?!??!?
  • + 1
 the similar thing with last year winner: taken from behind...

trend?
  • + 1
 Great shots all around this year.
  • + 1
 Congrats to winner , greetings from Mexico
I voted to this Photo Smile
  • + 1
 Unbelieveable shot. Completely deserving of the win.
  • + 1
 awesome! i voted for that amazing photo
  • + 0
 Disappointed Frown The other one was way better...
No offence, this one is also nice, but the other one's better
  • + 1
 Pinkbike please hire a proofreader. This post was cringeworthy.
  • + 1
 The headless hunchback takes the win!
  • + 1
 Congrats Sean! Gorgeous image.
  • + 1
 Congrats on the winning image. I want to ride that trail.
  • + 2
 Well done Sean!
  • + 1
 Who won the bike?
Plus beautiful photo!
  • + 1
 We should have the Remedy winner ready to announce early next week, thanks.
  • + 1
 @Brule

you just had to milk a little more suspense out of this prize !
  • + 1
 The Ohlins shock is shining so bright!
  • + 1
 The sun always shines on Sean Lee.
  • + 0
 Slight whiff of 'I told you so smugness on here'.jolly well done to the winner though.
  • + 1
 Absolutely love this photo, glad it won. Well done
  • + 1
 Thats a fair price for second and the two third places!
  • + 1
 What!? Headless rider win? Damn!
  • + 2
 shittin sunshine
  • + 2
 congrats, man
  • + 2
 Wooohoo, congrats!
  • + 1
 Great shot it's the true winner
  • + 1
 YES, congrats man ! !
  • + 1
 oh seriously
  • + 1
 Congrats Smile Great photo
  • + 1
 Congrats!!!
  • + 1
 congrats boys!
  • + 1
 Best pic for sure....
  • + 1
 And with air, of course!
  • + 1
 Awesome Photo! Congrats!
  • + 1
 Well deserved Sean Lee
  • + 1
 well deserved Sean!
  • + 1
 Congrats bro u earned it
  • + 1
 great photo!
  • + 1
 yeiowwwwww well done sl
  • + 1
 Yaaaaa boy congrats!!!
  • - 2
 48% to 52%...? That's way too close for how much better the Sean Lee photo is than a roost picture..
  • - 2
 hahahahah we still won
  • - 3
 Lee Trumpore got robbed Frown
  • + 14
 I fail to see how I got robbed. Last I checked I lost fairly in a close vote, I'm not bothered by that, I'm not sure why anyone else should be either. Well done Sean, congrats!
  • + 3
 Legend Lee! True sportsmanship (or cameramanship) if I do say so myself. Quality shot.
  • + 2
 2 Thumbs up for you @general-lee for awesome sportsmanship, both pics are amazing and worthy IMHO.
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