LAST DAY TO VOTE: Specialized Photo of the Year Powered by SRAM - Five Minutes with the Finalists

Nov 27, 2013
by Rachelle Frazer Boobar  
So, we're down to the final two. If you haven't made up your mind yet on who to vote for, Pinkbike asked Reuben and Sterling a few questions that might help you make your decision.

Reuben Krabbe
Wade Simmons riding with style and confidence on a greasy day on sumas

So Reuben, how stoked are you right now on making it to the 2013 finals of Specialized Bicycles Photo of the Year Powered by SRAM?

Krabbe: Pretty happy, however it's a roll of the dice to try to predict any of these competitions. I've tried to hold off with excitement about the possibility of it, but now that it's finals, it's very cool to see.

So what is the story behind your photo? Are there any interesting tid bits from the shoot you can share with us?

Krabbe: We were in the Fraser Valley shooting for the Pinkbike piece 'Rule of Thirds' With Joe Schwartz, Stephen Matthews, Sarah Leishman and Wade Simmons. The trail we were riding is on Sumas mountain in Abbotsford. A real trail, fully legal and accessible (somewhat a rare thing for lots of famous photographs.)

I love shooting in foggy weather. It simplifies forests into isolated shapes, and adds so much mood to the space. We got a ton of great shots in only an hour or two of shooting. Even a second POD of Stephen. Stephen and Wade both his this drop, and I got a shot of each of them. So Stephen jokingly holds it against me that his photo isn't in the competition right now.

When you took this photo, did you think "Banger! This one's got Pinkbike Photo of the Year finalist written all over it!"?

Krabbe: To be honest I thought the photo was good when I shot it, however, since we were mid trip I was concerned in getting quite a few good shots. So we kept moving and shot throughout the rest of the day.

Photo of the year is a funny competition. You don't really have control over the photos that are entered. Since both nominations and the inclusion of a shot in the POY top 32 bracket are out of your hands. For 2011 I liked the photo, however I wasn't expecting to see that shot included in the competition. Regarding which shots get further, to me it's really interesting to see which photos are appreciated by the PB demographic. Personally my favorite shot this year still is Paris Gore's. It may not be something you hang on your wall, or instantly creates an impulse for a need to shred. But to me, there are so many interesting photographic elements to the shot. It plays off the invention of motion pictures, with consecutive frames of an action sequence. While still being a single photo conveying action, a story, and a sport. Maybe I'm just getting a little to academic about imagery, but it's an incredible shot.

Woah, I just got way off track. I love seeing which shots are appreciated by the masses, and a good part of how many rounds you may win is dictated by the draw and which photo you are up against.

You made it into Photo of the Year in 2011 but only made it to the second round. How does it feel coming this far in 2013 and being in the finals with Sterling?

Krabbe: When friends told me last night that my shot made finals I posted right away about how cool it is to be in the finals with Sterl. Before I shot pictures I always appreciated Sterling's photography. Especially because his photos have been around as long as the genesis of freeride mountain biking. His aesthetic is intrinsic in the way any photographer shoots because his photos have been a main documenting force of The Shore, Kamloops, Whistler, and The Collective/Anthill's movies. And, the fact my photo is a shot of Wade, who works almost weekly with Sterling just adds to the hilarity.

$7,500. Trip to Disneyland and a new helmet or open a savings account?

Krabbe: $7,500... and new helmet eh? Getting called out for my roached out old gear.... Yea I could use a better brain bucket. So yes, a new helmet, get my sandy dirty lenses cleaned up, pay rent, and probably celebrate a bit with friends.

Any words of encouragement for upcoming photographers and Photo of the Year hopefuls?

Krabbe: For up and coming photographers, copy and imitate the photos you see here. Dissecting and re-creating photos will teach you a huge amount. But, don't call a clone your own work, unless it has enough of your flavor and re-invention. Then, be as weird as you can be, a photographer's style is a reflection of their own character, so maintain interests in different things, draw influences from other sources. Some of my best ideas are inspired by fashion photography, or astronomy, or music.

Anything else you would like to add?

Krabbe: I want to thank the Fraser Valley for hosting us and showing us the trails. Kevin Koopmans, who is on the board of the FVMBA was hanging out with us when we grabbed this shot. He builds trail and shares the sport with people creating community, sustainable growth, and obviously great trails. Wade, for hitting the drop a second time 'Really Reuben? Can't you get the shot the first time.' And all of the photographers in the competition, whose images inspire in one way or another.

Thanks Reuben and good luck!

Go to Voting Page

Sterling Lorence
Thomas Vanderham drifts through a berm in the Kamloops Bike Ranch BC.

So Sterling, can you tell us the story behind this photo? Any interesting tales from the shoot that you can share with us?

Lorence: As much as time allows, Thomas Vanderham and I enjoy collaborating on photo project shoots like what created this image. The two of us always attempt to push the boundaries of the sport and photography when we work on shots. It's what makes it really fun and inspiring for us. For all the types of shots we have tried, we had never really worked on a roost/drift image and it was the inspiration we went into a Kamloops shoot with. Within the day, we had found the natural spot where drifts happen in the Kamloops Bike Ranch and as we tested a few angles, compositions and drifts and saw what the dust was doing on that summer day... we soon realized by looking at my 'dummy' shots that we had ultra nug potential building.

I wanted to add the element of the strobed lighting to truly play up the shapes and different patterns that was flushing in the dust smoke all around Thomas and also show all the micro details that are less easy to express and expose if we were simply using the sun. Once the lights were doing what i wanted, it was Thomas that brought the rest to the table and it was crazy watching him drift through this berm with both feet on, get fully loose through the turn and explode out the end of the berm railing out the trail. Insane style and control and steez.... and that is why I wanted to stay nice and tight on this composition to try and bring it to life as much as possible. That is where I truly feel lucky to have Thomas to work with. It takes a special skill set to shred like he does and it certainly elevates my photos to another level.

When you took this photo, did you know it was destined to be a Pinkbike Photo of the Year finalist and why?

Lorence: When Thomas and I work on images like this, we don't really think about the images destiny right away, more-so, we study into the image that we are working on and collectively decide whether or not we have done the most possible to make the image as stoking as possible. Once we've gotten to that state, we chill and have a beer to celebrate that we have something that people are going to be stoked to see. The Photo of the Year process is an exciting way to get feedback for an image like this, for you generally don't get many opportunities to have images make it through rankings like this, so it makes it extra special to know how much the viewers like you all enjoyed this shot. Thank you!

You've been a judge in the past for Photo of the Year, how does it feel to be a part of the competition for the first time and to have made it to the finals with Reuben?

Lorence: As a judge, I quickly noticed that this contest was housing some of the best photography in the industry so it inspired me to get involved. As i mentioned above, it is really cool getting the feedback through the voting/ranking process in a contest like this. I enjoy reviewing which images move along and which images can't seem to grab enough attention from the voter. Certainly, the Pinkbike community are a discerning bunch and it is clear that top photographers are wanting to have images expressed here.

We see many photographers come and go, it is the nature of this beast. Reuben's work has been a standout since his first works showed up so it is no surprise to me to be directly competing with him in this contest and in the industry. He is here to stay. It has been great to see this competition grow into what it is. We have few outlets in action sports to truly celebrate and display all of our favorite works so it is great to see this contest grow into this. In the end, the photo is what has to speak the loudest, so i don't think a contest like this should be ever closed to certain categories...if you have a banger, you want it to win up against the other top images from around the world. A photograph itself is never categorized as 'amateur' or 'pro', it simply is expressing well or isn't.

$7,500 - Trip to Disneyland with the family or a healthy deposit into the savings account?

Lorence: This image was born out of the talents of Thomas Vanderham, so certainly investing it towards future projects together, and yes, I have been getting the 'Disneyland' vibe constantly from my little ones... so that would be timely!

Any words of encouragement for upcoming photographers and Photo of the Year hopefuls?

Lorence: Keep shooting as much as you possibly can and always be your own toughest editor. Let the most epic images that you are inspired by be just the launch pad of your own work. If you work hard at that, your images will rise through the ranks fast.

Anything else you would like to add?

Lorence: High 5 to all the other photographers and riders that are constantly pushing the boundaries of riding, locations, and the art of photography. To the gang at Pinkbike for being so stoked on mountain biking and creating this amazing online media source, community and its opportunities. And an added shout out to Thomas Vanderham whom always lets us take it to 11 on the dial and the town of Kamloops for being magical.

Thanks Sterling and good luck!

Go to Voting Page

What's at stake? $10,000 Cash and a 2014 Specialized Demo with full SRAM components
Winner - $7500 + Bike
Runner Up - $2500

Thanks to Specialized Bikes and SRAM.

Vote Here


  • 69 2
 Vanderham is definitely going to need a good lawyer for murdering that berm
  • 23 1
 that's some pretty condemning evidence right there, not sure the jury's gonna hold up on this one
  • 16 1
 I would like to investige at the scene of crime...
  • 3 0
 wouldn't we all...
  • 38 2
 Reuben Krabbe photo just capture what to me is the essence of mountain biking. It's got a majestic feel to it, almost as if he just slayed some dragons and took of in triumph down the trail... Good luck to both, each photo is a deserving winner!
  • 7 1
 Reuben Krabbe captured the essence of what mountain biking is, should be, and is imagined to be. it is the quintessential mountain bike photo - rider and that which is ridden. dialogue between man and mountain. Not dominance over his surroundings - 'shredding' 'tearing up' 'ripping' - but rather interaction.
Moreover, the idea of the shot is quintessential to mountain bike photography. Friends out for a ride, found a cool feature, took a picture of it, moved on. This idea speaks to every single one of us. How many memories of these epic days and great time with friends do we all have? Countless.
I admit to the technical mastery of Sterling's image, but it really was just that - an image. Reuben has produced a true photograph - the emotion, soul, idea, and memory of mountain biking.
  • 10 5
 I do think that Sterling's photo is visually awesome. However, I have a problem with the whole berm busting roost thing. This type of riding is acceptable only in very limited situations. i.e. NOT on a public trail or the one doing the busting BUILT the berm. Now it maybe that this photo fits one of these acceptable situations, but it sets a BAD example for other riders and it encourages this behavior where it shouldn't happen. I have seen an increase in this type of photo and riding in PB this year and as a trail builder it is disturbing!
  • 3 1
 Agreed. Fortunately the photo was in a Kamloops purpose built bike park. There's a ton of this type of riding style displayed on PB throughout the years. We can say all we want but the people who think that is acceptable behaviour will not listen I'm afraid.
  • 1 0
 MTBhammer - No one can and thus should attempt to save us from ourselves.
  • 7 0
 this wasn't 'berm busting'. one needs to have ridden in Kamloops to experience how dusty the trails can be in 40C heat. It gets so dusty that you simply have smoke trailing you down the trail. Piles of dust are all over the sides of the trail and if you drift a bit, you make the place look like it is exploding. Zero impact to the back, sides or base of this berm were made.
  • 2 0
 ^^^ Listen to the man!! Sterl knows a thing or two about creating authentic and iconic photographs.
  • 1 0
 Thanks Sterling. It is good to know that a berm was not sacrificed for your photo and I have seen enough photos and vids from Kamloops to know how dusty it gets there. However, it still should be said that all the kiddies should not go and attempt this at home. BTW I do like the photoSmile
  • 6 2
 I wonder if there will be a time when amateur will win this contest. Don't get me wrong these photos are awesome but I really would like to see photos of someone else other then the pros with the same prizes.
  • 4 0
 Bro, the best pics win, im sure a amateur can win but the chances of a pro are much higher..
  • 1 0
 Wait,did I hear that right? Reuben took that photo while on a paid assignment for the very website that is hosting the photo contest?

And to answer your question @EnduroriderPL in case Sterl didn't do so already in the above article, an amateur won last year so it has nothing to do with pro vs am.
  • 1 0
 @VTSkier09 I think that amateur was pretty high last year but I'm pretty sure he didn't win. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
  • 7 1
 Does anyone else see a "dark horse" in the Sterling Lorence photo?
  • 10 1
  • 6 0
 I can see a reindeer with one antler
  • 5 0
 I see a cat
  • 2 0
 It was a tough choice this year. Two well executed images. Two really great photos that stand well on their own. However, head to head, I have to say Krabbe's misses the mark by the tiniest of margins. He definitely hits the elements of mtb. But the rider is lost in the scene compared to Lorence's image. And it's that, for me, that gives the nod to Sterling Lorence.
  • 11 7
 Both photos are killer, but Sterlings just has so much attitude, it makes me want to drop everything and ride right now!
  • 1 0
 My only issue with Reuben's shot is it has the same look and feel as the winner from last year. I don't know if that should go against it or not. Both images are awesome...this might come down to if you like Vanderham and Lorence better or Simmons and Krabbe better and I don't mean in these photos...I mean the people.
  • 1 0
 Thomas is a bad ass and probably kick up that explosion from nothing. But I'm sick of trail fluffer shoots and videos. Reuben might need the money to go see a doc for the fern burn he most have got while taking this rad shoot. FTD's are no joke.
  • 5 0
 Fight to the death!
  • 1 0
 Wade vs Vanderham Been watching both guys for the past decade, I hold nearly an equal amount of respect for each rider. But Wade is the godfather of freeride, that wade simmons steeze just can't be beaten!
  • 3 0
 I haven't made up my mind, I'm getting both ...
  • 1 1
 Both of these finalists present stellar shots. but I still think Paris Gore should have at least been in the finals for his creative angle, use of natural light and impeccable timing to get this shot.
  • 2 0
  • 5 2
 Voted for Reuben. He definitely needs a new helmet. Smile
  • 1 0
 both so good. damn you for making me choose! but gotta go for reuben's shot; sterl's still my all-time favorite mtb photographer, though
  • 2 1
 Not enough Photographers Vote on this, which unfortunately allows decent photos to knock out the Exceptional ones in my opinion...
  • 2 0
 Ugh this to tough to decide! Both shots deserve the top spot!
  • 3 1
 Maybe Reuben should donate the Demo to Sterl, for runner up.
  • 1 0
 Dave Trumpore's photo was the winner-to me!
  • 1 0
 I agree with gpwolf
  • 1 0
 Simmons and Vanderham up against each other!
  • 1 0
 I know. PB is just driving a wedge threw Rocky Mountain bikes. Awesome, means to new bikes companies, ehhh?
  • 2 2
 Whenever I see see a photo I love get eliminated:
  • 1 0
 Easy choice for me between the two--unlike last year.
  • 1 0
 Sterling will win again... easy run!
  • 1 0
 Sterling Lorence
  • 1 0
  • 2 3
 I vote for Lorence.

Its just me or the pics of last year was much better?
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