Final Round Voting Closed: Pinkbike Photo of the Year Contest

Feb 27, 2021
by Pinkbike Staff  

Well, here we are. Over 330,000 votes have been cast in the 10th annual Pinkbike Photo of the Year Contest presented by Jenson USA, and we're down to the final two. Who takes home the larger piece of the $10,000 in cash is up to you.

Below are the Round 4 matchups and who won each after the votes were cast. Once you see whether your favorites made it through, head on over to the voting page and cast your vote in the next round!

The winner will join John Wellburn, Toby Cowley, Sterling Lorence, Christoph Laue, Sean Lee, Steve Shannon, Robb Thompson, Richard Baybutt, and JB Liautard in the Pinkbike Photo of the Year Hall of Fame.

Match Up 1 - Winner: Jan Cadosch

Riding in front of the Matterhorn just after some snowfall at sunset
Jan Cadosch: 50.3%

Ross Bell: 49.7%

Match Up 2 - Winner: Mason Mashon

Mason Mashon: 56.8%

POY 2020 entry. Cody Kelley at Mt. Bachelor Oregon with a massive berm explosion while shooting for the release of the Fox Racing 2020 fall apparel line.
Trevor Lyden: 43.2%

What's at stake? $10,000 CASH!

Winner will receive a check for $5000
• Runner-up will receive a check for $3000
• Other semi-finalists will each receive $1000

In addition, this year we also have user prizing for voters courtesy of Jenson USA. Five lucky Pinkbike readers that vote for the Photo of the Year will win $200 Jenson USA gift cards.

Thank you Jenson USA.


How can I enter for a chance to win one of five $200 Jenson USA gift cards?

By simply voting as we progress to the eventual Photo of the Year winner, you will be entered for a chance to win. One entry per user per round goes into a random draw for the prize.


Author Info:
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Member since Jul 22, 2013
3,446 articles

  • 303 16
 What the hell just happened
  • 157 14
 dont even want to vote anymore
  • 144 71
 At least the one of Aggy is gnarly, I'm tired of beautiful scenery with some boomer rolling down a basic single track. the riding and composition/scenery should all be even and balanced
  • 63 32
 @pinegrove: Uhhh..Dario isn't a boomer. Sorry the photo isn't super sick enough for ya, brah.
  • 100 26
 @Grunk: The point is that the rider should be shown having talent, as much as the photographer too. Ask yourself, would that photo be amazing without the rider ? yes, the rider as a subject doesnt take enough of the composition to really matter. Obviously shooting in foreign epic high altitudes is gonna make for a good photo, where as taking a more familiar setting and shooting it in a creative way combined with visual appeal from the rider makes for a better photo.
  • 65 11
 @pinegrove: Agree so much. What's the point of this whole thing if the winner is someone rolling along in front of nice scenery? It's meant to be a mountainbiking photo, not a pretty landscape shot slightly obscured by someone on a bike
  • 26 38
flag Ktron (Feb 25, 2021 at 21:40) (Below Threshold)
 @ConnorP15: the best photos got through
  • 8 2
 Seriously! About half of the photos on the left side could beat out everything on the right side.
  • 61 31
 RARRRRR! The stupid masses always get it wrong!

“Only the intelligent, educated and sophisticated minority like me know what’s truly right! People are the worst!”

Whinge, whinge, whine, whine, cry, cry.
  • 25 8
 @Ktron: really? The point being made is that despite being amazing pics the point is that they are meant to be riding pics. Those pics could just be scenery pics with a bike photoshopped in and we wouldn’t know

That said calling the riders ‘boomers’ is a bit harsh. They are just riding their bikes in awesome places. In the end of the day it’s a vote so the best pic wins

Maybe next year have a rule ‘bike must occupy at least 2% of the shot
  • 37 1
  • 14 0
 I think there are multiple valid standards for judging the photos, and "MTB Photo of the Year" is general enough that I think it's reasonable to take in composition, beauty, and radness into account. This stage is always a bit wild because all the photos from the semi-finals could reasonably win, though each is spectacular for different reasons. I would push back that Jan's photo is just as good without the rider, though. For me, the combination of a composition which helps emphasize the movement of the rider and the mist filling the valley really create a feeling of adventure, and chasing that feeling is a big part of the reason I like to ride. Without the rider, this shot would be just as vibrant, but pretty awkwardly composed and far less impactful. I don't mean to imply that there's a right interpretation to any of these photos, or that other people should feel the same about it, just that there may be things in any of these that someone else feels strongly about that we may not see
  • 8 0
 @rudymedea: this "rule" that the bike has to be more central to the photo is arbitrary as well. And the rider is a central point in the composition, without it it is a pretty landscape yes but nothing else. If people like it more then let it be, just as the roost shot meme a few years ago.
I dislike the tournament style much more, where by voting you are forced to eliminate great shots which are "better" than some of the finalists. Points based and have a ranking at the end would be much more fair imho.
  • 20 8
 Yeah Ross Bells photo should have won
  • 32 10
  • 17 3
 Americans fussing about votes again? Ouch. JK.
  • 4 3
 @Linc: the Bend Grove photo was objectively a better photo. Forget rider skill. It was simply a better photo.
  • 2 3
 For a mtn bike photo, I like when you can see the expression on the rider's face and it tells a story.
Jan's photo would have been even better if there was a group of riders (or even implied group of riders) racing uphill towards the sun, and the lead rider is facing the camera and looking back to following riders (in the scene or not) while making a hand motion that implies "hurry up, or you will miss it!"

Anyway, the Mason one was my favourite from the beginning. Plus it couldn't done by staging or suspending a mannequin
  • 3 0
 I don’t have a problem with the one from Zermatt. At least you can see the rider in it. There were a couple where the rider was just a speck on the landscape. Those didn’t do it for me. But I like this one. I also like the Kamloops one. Something about it speaks to me.
  • 13 1
 Based off these comments it’s almost as though photography is some sort of art form, art being subjective. As though different images will appeal to different people. An art form being subjective... who would’ve thought...
  • 4 0
 @brycepiwek: Silence you! The PB arbiters of what is 'good' and 'bad' MTB photography have spoken! What has the world become if a person can't get on the internet and hold up their opinion as fact?! /s
  • 9 3
 Ross Bell should have beat both of these hands down - riding style and skill, dirt flying, colours, perspective, just mobbing through the forest... Jan's has an amazing background, but not much else and Mason's is just too boring for me, just seems dull - pretty simple shot in my opinion.

BUT it is all subjective... as is life Rolleyes
  • 1 2
 @alex-morales: Waah didn't get your way waah
  • 1 2
 @pinegrove: Says the zoomer from mom's basement.
  • 8 0
 @Tader16: to say Mason’s shot is pretty simple is a pretty ludicrous statement. You may not like it, which is cool, but to get the composition and the lighting spot on takes real thought and skill. Then there’s the smaller details some people may not even notice, like the line of the cloud matching up to the line of the chute...I’d be surprised if that hadn’t been done on purpose
  • 2 2
 Agreed. You can't even see the riders head in the Cadosh shot. Dudes just noodling around a boring corner. Its so boring. Compare that to kade getting supper pitted in that corner... Jeesh.
  • 1 0
 @Deep-Friar: You can't see the whole bike in the one it beat either.
  • 7 2
 HOW THE ...... ... ..... DID ROSS BELL LOSE THAT?!?!?!?!?! Really Mad Madder Evil Eek Cry
  • 2 0
 @pinegrove: Anyone born before 1990 is a boomer to the Gen Z crowd. Systemic Boomerism>?
  • 1 0
 @pinegrove: How is that the point of a photo contest? I guess I didnt read the rules
  • 229 19
 Ross Bell got robbed!!
  • 51 10
 Oh my god no way Ross Bell lost that
  • 22 61
flag friendlyfoe (Feb 25, 2021 at 18:40) (Below Threshold)
 It's a great shot but not that unique. Just someone sending it in the woods. Maybe I'm desensitized because just about everywhere you go on the coast of BC is that beautiful.
  • 17 5
 @friendlyfoe: not everyone can ride like that
  • 41 6
 @friendlyfoe: versus someone riding a fire road with a pretty background?
  • 32 4
 I look at Jan Cadosch's, I think, those mountains look pretty amazing, I then see ross bells, the color contrast the steezy turndown everything just looks awesome and it's all about the mountain bike
  • 9 1
 Maybe I am weird, but once I saw the railway line (or whatever it is) in the Zermatt scene, it lost appeal to me. Thought Bell's photo would easily win the whole thing.
  • 14 4
 I certainly had that photo pegged as #1 from the beginning. Agree with what a lot of people are saying - it's must have a certain riding element than just a candid postcard shot with a person on a bike. Truth is the annual POY contest is a measure of the PB audience and a reminder that the majority of the people out there are average riders with no real appreciation for good riding because they never see it in person to truly grasp how fast and gnarly good men and women really are. That being said I was hoping a Ross vs Mason final since both photos from the start seemed like title contenders to me since the encompass the complete mountain bike image. Scenery, quality, and skillset of the rider.
  • 11 3
 @swellhunter: it has nothing to do with appreciation of skill. This is a photo contest, not a riding contest. There are races and competitions all year for riders. Composition and exposure matter more than roost.
  • 8 5
  • 4 1
 I know it may not seem much but you're a winner to me Ross.
  • 1 0
 Came here to say this. The amount of energy captured in that shot is insane, from the explosion of spring growth to the momentum and focus of the rider. Amazing photo.
  • 123 9
 BOOOO. Ross got robbed. Rider looks awkward in Jan's shot. Great landscape shot, but you can take the rider out and it is still a great shot. Ross's picture captures a feeling and the essence of the shot is mountain biking. That to me is what makes it the winner.
  • 20 6
 Agree, I like the depth and composition of Ross’ photo.. the rider in jan’s looks like he is going to miss the corner
  • 10 0
 @slickwilly1: doesn't look like a fun corner to miss...
  • 3 0
 Didn't he lose out with the splash picture in a previous year..?
  • 1 1
 @Dropthedebt: that was the year of the splash.
This is the year of the cloud!
  • 59 3
 A roosting picture lost? Wow didn’t see that coming. All great pictures though. Thought Ross had it in the bag with that stunner of a picture.
  • 3 1
 thank fucking god
  • 52 5
 Dangit I was feeling Ross Bells photo from the start. It was 2020 riding in a nutshell. Out in the woods near yourself having a propper rip. Thats all most people had acess to this past year. That photo just captured that perfectly for me. A shot of someones epic holiday in the alps is just taking the piss outa everyone that couldn't.
  • 61 21
 Not even worth voting at this point. Trevor Lyden vs. Ross Bell should have been the final
  • 4 4
 Agreed with you. POY for me need light, composition .. and good riding. This guy cornering like a newbie .. And the roost shot is fantastic, even if people are tired of them disappointing
  • 7 4
 Both finalist pictures have 50% sky in them...
  • 4 4
 @colincolin: Yup. Landscape photography for the win nowadays.
  • 4 3
 no simp roost shot deserves to be in the final
  • 2 0
 @colincolin: Pink Bike, how about Pink Sunsets
  • 34 8
 Ross Woz Robbed
  • 24 2
 breaking: people who complained that a roost shot was gonna win are now frantically searching for other things to complain about
  • 22 2
 My two cents:

Mountain biking means different things to different people. I can't "send it", and think about where I could ride as opposed to how I could ride.

For the loud voices getting lots of upvotes for proclaiming "X" got robbed while overtly or subtly putting down the other photographers, the fact remains that more people voted for the photo you don't like. Reconcile that how you will, and maybe don't be a dick about the other photos.

I would agree that a ranked voting system might provide the nuance in choice that a lot of people (me included) might be looking for. If @Pinkbikestaff can wrangle that technology it would be worth exploring.
  • 5 1
 I'm really not getting the hate. I don't get the enthusiasm for the picture by Ross but my feeling is that his shot is everyday riding to me. I ride in the woods, I ride in the wet. Sure the rider is putting down style that I never could while Jans picture is pure breath taking fantasy. I want to be there.
  • 2 0
 Agreed, a ranked voting system would be so much better than K.O.
  • 21 1
 This is just a bit silly now, isn't it?
  • 19 1
 Smile to be fair they are all great shots
  • 2 1
 Yes they are, no garbage shots in that mix.

My favorite shot is gonna win Smile

... and no, I’m not a boomer, I’m even older than that Wink
  • 16 2
 I agree with Ginepiece, beautiful landscape but awkward rider position, Ross pulls the explosive unpredictable joy of mtb out of that shot, empyreal forest with no visible track, I want to be both places but I want it to feel like Bell's pic. Congrats to the finalists though!
  • 15 2
 I don't really know why some people are so surprised about Ross Bell's photo getting knocked. Sure it beats the landscape photo it terms of dynamics, but it's the sort of shot that we've all seen hundreds of times on PB before. Jan's phot would have been even better had the rider been looking a bit more dynamic, but at least the shot as a whole still has a bit of the wow factor. I see Bell's photo and think 'neat' and then fairly promptly forget about it. There's just a bit more to Jan's shot.
  • 16 2
 Sad they are both landscape focussed shots. Hoping there would be a nice blend of good landscape and stylish riding, that would be a winner.
  • 12 19
flag ocnlogan (Feb 25, 2021 at 18:07) (Below Threshold)
 IMO Rosses photo struggled due the landscape/setting.

It was a good action shot, but the setting wasn’t as photogenic as many of the others.

Masons shot at least has some action, even if it’s from farther away. So I’m rooting for that one personally.
  • 15 4
 mason needs to win now, how can a mountain biking photo with a bridge in the mid ground win? wtf.

i thought right from the start that it would be an insanely close battle between ross and trevor, how are they both out?
  • 11 3
 Pinkbike this voting scheme doesnt work. make a new one based on allowing users to choose there top N number of images (for exmple top 5 in first round, top 3 in second, top 2 in third an top one in 4th). images then accumulate points each round based on how they got ranked.. if an image is greater than a threshold it goes to the next round.
This would result in avoiding the need to compare "Similar" images which is bullshit.
  • 9 1
 Kamloopz - the soul of freeride and therefore the sentimental choice of PB readershipz.
  • 9 0
 That roosty cliff chute is bigly sick.
  • 6 1
 Jan Cadosch: 50.3% vs. Ross Bell: 49.7%
Pretty much reflects the PB community.
1% of us was probably out riding and only checks in here every other Monday.
Since it's the POY contest and we're in no hurry, would there be a benefit in leaving bigger time gaps between rounds? @sarahmoore
  • 1 0
 Indeed, i didn‘t notice poy was on til this last round ^^ ross bell would habe been my favorite
  • 1 0
 Also would be great to make it top article for its duration, i check in here more than once a week, but i rarely scroll down very far
  • 5 1
 Masons shot is all sorts of awesome. The way light and shadow interact in that one is bang on, but I think I prefer Lydens. The other photo left is just a landscape photo that happens to have a biker in it. That being said, Ross got robbed.
  • 4 0
 The Zermatt shot is surreal and gorgeous for sure... but would make a sweet wallpaper with OR without the rider. The rider is also clearly on a road which automatically makes it just kinda meh. As for the other...Aggy MAKES that shot. The lighting is stellar. Classic line. Downvote away lol
  • 4 1
 The only downside to these competitions is that for the top pics, they have to endure the sneering comments of everyone that disagrees, for whatever reasons. 'Composition is terrible/the rider has no talent/it's a roost/this is boring/mtb is about place/mtb is about risk/mtb is about free-riding/mtb isn't about bike parks!'

If you won or came close to winning one of these, it's because people liked your photo more than others and it resonated with them for various reasons. Ignore the haters and enjoy your win–congrats!
  • 4 1
 Damn things have changed. My grandma could ride a bike on flat ground and it would get photo of the year if there was scenic mountains in the background. Hope Aggy's shot wins, actually doing something cool. Knowing the democratic on this site though the travel brochure pic will win.
  • 3 0
 Aesthetically Jan's shot is amazing, but what kills it for me like others have said is the lack of involvement the rider has with the landscape. If the rider had been railing that corner I don't think nearly as many people would be complaining. From a tech perspective they're both great shots so they're both winners in that sense.
  • 7 1
 the roost shot didn't make it, there is a fucking god!!!
  • 2 0
 When do they March Madness (Photabulous February?) this into a contest where anyone who picked the winner all the way through wins a billion dollars?

Or at least a hat.

I wouldn’t have won the hat.
  • 9 4
 This is what happens when you post too much XC content, Pinkbike
  • 3 2
 Damn dude, did not see this being the outcome. The voting has been all over the place this year and without any clear route it’d seem. One thing it has clarified though, is that people will always find something to complain about haha! There were a good few ‘mix of landscape and stylish riding’ shots (which seems to be the desired combination) in the comp, but were voted out to those other shots people complain about. I can only assume there were a lot of one time voters each round.
I do also feel this years comp has only highlighted further that the whole format needs a re-fresh though, there’s a reason you don’t find many/if any other legit photo competitions judged this way. I understand the marketing side of it, but it really doesn’t lend itself to a photo comp..

All that said, take nothing away from the shots that have made it, they’re there for a reason! So good luck to both!
  • 3 0
 For the four photos above - the one of Mason makes me wanna go ride there! Wonderful! And as I prefer to go downhill I like the vertical format!!!
  • 7 1
 we want Ross
  • 4 3
 Ooh, match-up 1 was sooooo tight.
Wrong decision in both match-ups, to my mind.
Can see why the Swiss pic won out, even though I voted for Ross Bell's offering. I'm struggling to "get" the other finalist though.
Seems like a great action shot, but possibly in need of cropping because of all the redundant, uninteresting foreground and background in the lower half of the frame.
  • 4 1
 Other finalist photo totally captures the look and feel of high desert, Intermountain west. I dig it.
  • 4 2
 Man that’s such a bummer. As much as the beautiful scenery shots are nice, I want the majority of the focus and composition to be focused on the rider. What a let down that Ross got bumped...
  • 3 0
 must feel good to work hard on a shot you're really proud of.... and then read these comments. pretty pathetic from the lot of you commentators, do better.
  • 2 0
 I spent a week with Mason Mashon when he was doing an mountain bike/surf episode for a Canadian TV series in Baja Mexico. Super cool guy and big mountain biker. Hope you win Mason!
  • 8 4
 Zermatt, Switzerland ftw!
  • 2 2
 My wife liked the picture where you can set the biker AND the scenery.

She also considered which one of the places she’d rather visit.

Pictures are a moment in time, captured for viewing “out of time”.

So yeah, seeing a biker drop into a steep slit is cool, but who would t want to high up on a mountain overlooking that scenery while riding?

The steazey shots are better viewed in person and in video, better format a fork action shots.
  • 6 3
 First a motorized XC bike, now this?
  • 4 0
 This thing is rigged!
  • 9 8
 I knew it wouldn't but Ross Bell's shot should've came out on top. Too many pretend mountain bikers swayed by a pretty landscape.
  • 1 2
 What I like about RB's pic. To any non rider, they would assume the rider is crashing but we all know what an example of rider skill is being captured. And yeah there's some sweet landscape captures in the mix but, It's a riding photo comp an this, is expert riding! expertly captured! an also yeah beautifully framed in the enviroment
  • 5 2
 Ross bell had an easy win, RECOUNT pinkbike
  • 7 0
 We just need you to find 11,000 votes.
  • 1 0
 Nobody is ever happy with the results when voting takes place... Go figure. tup
  • 4 2
 thank FK the roost shot is out tho
  • 4 5
 I'm still over here trying to figure out how Mashon's took out Schillhammer's photo. Of these four, have to go with Ross Bell all day. Oh well, certainly not the first time I've fallen outside the majority.
  • 4 2
 Didn't we see enough Matterhorn shots from last years EWS?
  • 4 2
 And most of those were better than this one.
  • 1 1
 @stevemokan: indeed
  • 3 5
 Nah, not even gonna vote as I don't think either of those should be in the final pairing. Bad photos? No way; they are both great but they are definitely not better 'Pinkbike photo of the year' pictures than the other two.

I'm naturally torn towards Ross Bell's effort as it is shot local to me, and I love the way the colours pop in what looks like a typically warm, wet Welsh summer. Awesome style too from the rider.

Trevor Lyden's effort though is stunning. The skill it takes to make the bike's frame and decals stand out against that backdrop of light is staggering. It is also clear that the rider is pinned.

Ross Bell for the win for me.
  • 2 0
 do we vote for who we want to win or loose?
  • 2 1
 Ranking the exercise in futility. Every shot in the contest has something nice to offer.
  • 3 1
 So many people voting a flag...
  • 3 0
 I thought we voted for the best photograph..?
  • 2 0
 Ross Bell my fav from the start.
  • 3 1
  • 2 1
 I don’t even like the Kamloops shot but I hate the headless scenery rider shot even more >: (
  • 3 0
 Stop the Steal #RossBell
  • 1 0
 cool, no roost photo, no berm smashing photo, no all those "sick shred photo" in the finals
  • 2 0
 My disappointment is immeasurable and my day is ruined
  • 4 3
 This election was stolen.
  • 2 1
 Portrait because, mobile. Also, a little roost.
  • 9 12
 The two photos left kind of perfectly describe the mtb audience nowadays: people who mtn bike (aka trail clones insta-worthy lifestyle shot ***not discounting the riders skill in this shot***) vs mtn bikers (people who shred)
  • 3 5
 Hey PB Team, u run this thang, right? So what if, and I am just saying what if, everybody of your team votes 100 times for the Ross pic to tip the scale? You can make it look like an IT bug. Please.
  • 5 6
 How is Masons shot in the final? Its portrait for starters, cant even use as a desktop background and it is full of fake light. Ross totally got robbed
  • 1 0
 In the words of every Franconian: bassd scho.
  • 1 0
 wow, people sure do love their calendar porn...
  • 1 0
 Kamloops/Mason shot was my favourite all along.
  • 1 0
 Waterfall was the most interesting photo, I think.
  • 36 39
 Thanks for the support y’all! Even though it was a roost shot im still pretty bummed to miss out on the finals. Go vote for Jan now! A far superior image than the free riding.
  • 8 6
 Don’t know why people are downvoting this. Your photo was incredible, congrats on making it so far! Pulling for Jan’s shot
  • 2 3
Totally agree with you mate
  • 1 2
 It would have been a worthy winner and was one of the more "complete" finalists, IMO.
In that it has great composition, interesting lighting, exciting riding... and a water bottle (which we know is de rigeur on these days).
  • 6 1
 Jan's shot is great, as a scenery shot, but it's not an exciting or interesting MTB shot. I think the shot would be just as good or even better without the parked rider. But that's just my opinion, and opinions are like assholes. Haha.
  • 1 0
 @genemk: the rider adds a subject to the photo, it takes it from a good shot to a great shot. imo at least
  • 1 0
 @genemk: they just get bigger with time ?! Hah
  • 5 4
 Pulling for Mason!
  • 5 1
 Would have been a tough decision if Ross had lost, but now it's easy. Sorry Matterhorn.
  • 2 0
  • 2 1
 Downvoted by mistake! I wanted that shot to win all along.
  • 4 5
 i could take a better shot of mountains. there might even be a mountain biker in it. somewhere
  • 16 16
 Boomers voting for landscapes....Ross Bell was robbed.
  • 4 1
 Apparently boomers also rule Pinkbike Wink
  • 2 3
 Yeah this seriously went wrong somewhere for these to be the final two... but then I didn't vote so I can't complain!
  • 3 4
 Surprised on the final two here. Feels more like a pinkbike editing competition.
  • 1 0
 Ross Bell got robbed
  • 7 7
 Fake news
  • 9 10
 dogshit contest as always
  • 2 3
 Not a boomer, but I cant vote for portrait.
  • 4 5
  • 3 6
 Nice landscape pics are commericial mainstream and most people go along with mainstream
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