What makes the Photo Of the Day different from other pictures?

Jan 6, 2009 at 21:07
by Mike Hermanovsky  
As a frequent Pinkbike user I have come to notice certain trends with the POD’s that are usually quite consistent. In this article I will discuss what I believe those trends are, and how when combined they can make for some quite spectacular photographs.

Read on and things will start to make some sense!Before continuing please read the following points…

Since my last article [L=https://www.pinkbike.com/news/mountain-biking-greatest-sport-2008.html?trk=n,17]“The Greatest Sport in the World[/L],” was not necessarily greeted with the most open of minds, I have prepared a little something to warn readers in advance.

This is NOT an essay, not even close to an attempt, so don’t be offended if my grammar is significantly sub-par of your own, if my sentences run on, or if my points aren’t sufficiently supported with citations and a reference list. This is not a history, medicinal, political, or scientific paper, I am not talking about wars, politics, health, diseases or anything really dangerous to be wrong about. I don’t write books for fun, I am not an author or photographer, I’m just a rider that notices things and chooses to write about them. So take my points with a relatively large grain of salt and understand that they are all OPINIONS, which means that they are neither right nor wrong. In the end it is your own opinion that matters, and if you get anything out of this I hope it would help you hone your own beliefs.




That being said I feel like I can start talking about what I planned to discuss. The POD is something that has been chosen every day on Pinkbike since its emergence in 2001. From The first POD to the most recent PODs there are many differences that I don’t feel I really need to discuss. However it is quite clear that the credentials that made pictures POD worthy 7 years ago are very different than those that make PODs today. To make more of a neutral argument I will do more asking questions than providing my own biased answers.

To start off, should the photographer, photo editor, rider, or trail builder be credited when a picture is classified as POD? I’m sure most people feel that asking, “Who gets the credit?” doesn’t really matter, but when you think about it there is always more to a picture than just pushing a button. A picture of an amazing rider doing an awesome super flip will never be awarded POD if it is a blurred shot, if the lighting is dark or dim, or if the camera angle isn’t suitable. I will not try to argue that there is 1 single person that is due the credit for a POD, but rather that it is a collective effort of the rider, photographer, editor and trail builder. After all if you take any of those four contributors out of the equation, the chance of a picture getting POD is greatly reduced.

So what is the ultimate purpose of a POD?
Is it intended to display superior riding skill?
Is it supposed to show advances in photographic and editing technology?
Is it intended to capture the ultimate essence of what it means to ride a bike?
Or is there no secret underlying purpose? (It’s just supposed to show some sick riding shots)

Asking questions like these can help us formulate our own ideas about what we would like to see in PODs. Personally I am a big fan of seeing the heart stopping big gaps and drops, and things that just seem humanly impossible. I would take those pictures any day over what I like to call “just good quality riding shots.” The photographs that we can classify as “just good riding shots” are the ones that are awarded POD primarily because of photographic and editing quality. However these are simply my opinions, which is why I made a quick list of qualities that most PODs have. In NO way is a POD restricted to only one of these qualities, often the best PODs score high in ALL categories.

1. Display of Spectacular Skill
2. Stunning Lighting and color
3. Unique/Epic background
4. Thrilling sequence shot
5. Good times with friends
6. Huckin' huge
7. Random



1. Display of spectacular skill
These are often my favorite PODs. Regardless of the quality of the photograph, these pictures are chosen to be POD because of their ability to display spectacular riding skill. These skills are often represented by pictures that display ideal form (as seen in the above picture), style, perfectly flat and sometimes inverted tables, backflips etc. The majority of PODs usually display amazing riding skill combined with good photographic quality. I chose the above POD to represent my idea of spectacular riding skill because it is not necessarily the greatest quality photo, but it DEFINITELY shows amazing riding skill, which in my opinion is the most important quality of PODs.


2. Stunning Lighting and Color
These photographs are characterized by often intense colors, unique flash placement and superior photograph clarity. They are always very aesthetically pleasing but don’t always have to display spectacular riding skill. I am NOT saying that they never show good riding skill, but rather a lack of riding talent can often be overshadowed by superior photograph quality. Thankfully the majority of PODs include Stunning lighting and color with a display of spectacular skill. However if you look in the comments posted on the photo used for this example, you will see that most people don’t like to see PODs that are chosen simply because of good lighting and color.


3. Unique/Epic Background
Much like category number 2 the unique/epic background photos are absolutely amazing to look at but often overshadow the necessity to have actual biking in PODs. Don’t get me wrong, the photographs that include amazing riding talent, wonderful photo quality, and an amazingly epic background are often the best PODs. However, I feel that despite how nice a picture may look it should at least have someone riding their bike in it. Backgrounds that can be included in this category are epic waterfalls, mountains, amazing looking trails, sunset shots, breathtaking views, and pictures where the sky is absolutely hypnotic. I love these pictures because they bring a unique ruggedness and adventure to the sport of mountain biking. The only thing I ask is that our sport be well represented by riding talent rather than good photography of scenery.


4. Thrilling sequence shot
The sequence shot is a very unique type of biking photo. It has the ability to display a movement in a way similar to that of a video, but all in one picture. The sequence photos that usually get POD are the ones that often show a rider hitting a huge gap or drop that make it seem as if the picture is telling a descriptive story from takeoff to landing. They are also used when a jump or drop is so large that simply taking one photograph would not provide a true essence for the size of the feature. Thrilling sequence PODs are the closest you can get to watching a video without pushing play.


5. Good times with friends
What’s better than seeing a picture of one person doing something cool on a bike? The only answer would be to see two or more people doing amazing things in the same picture. These POD’s are any photos that include 2 or more riders that were classified as PODs mainly because of the different riders included in the same shot. I am quite happy when “good times with friends” pictures are distinguished as PODs because it brings a sense of comradery to the sport of mountain biking, which at times may be thought of as an entirely individual sport. When you see pictures of two guys doing back flips in unison, or a dude nipping at his buddies heels on a DH course, or a huge train of riders like in the above POD, for some reason the word team comes into mind. Though my last article insisted that I was not a fan of team sports, I definitely support certain qualities of them. They have the ability to promote group cohesion, friendship, and positive social interactions. A lot of people wouldn’t call biking a team sport but its pictures like these that make us rethink what we call teams. For that reason I included the “good times with friends” pictures as a quality of some particular PODs.


6. Huckin Huge
The “Huckin Huge” title pretty much says it all for this category. These pictures include shots where a rider is hitting an 40+ foot road gap, a monstrous DJ double, or any picture where the sheer size of the height, gap, and drop is absolutely phenomenal. As I have already stated, the “huckin huge” pictures are always my favorite because they have the ability to make your palms sweat, heart pound in your ears, and give you feelings that are rarely replicated when sitting comfortably and staring at a computer screen. However I am sure that people have other opinions which vary from mine so I will leave it at that. The “Huckin Huge” picture is often very well received by the Pinkbike audience, simply because of the perceptive impossibility of the riding feat. Few people in the world can say that then have hit jumps so big that they have a good understanding of what skydiving would be like. Because of that, my favorite pictures will always be those that make my heart race, rather than those that would make me want to pick up a camera instead of a bike.


7. Random
This category includes all PODs that couldn’t really be classified in the other main categories. They often show gnarly crashes, bottom outs, faceplants, fire jumps, holiday related riding, riding with babies, or flat out funny situations. They don’t have to be good clarity photographs, their only requirement is that they display something entirely unique and special that is not normally considered in the usual realm of PODs. It’s impossible to accurately describe the random photos, although they are commonly pretty funny, shocking, and somewhat confusing. The random photos are a great little addition as PODs because they expose the reality of spontaneity in the sport of mountain biking.

To close I will re-ask some of the questions that I have already put forth…

What do you feel makes for a great POD?
Who should be credited for the POD? (Photographer, editor, rider, trail builder)
Is the POD intended to show advances in photographic and editing technology?
Should we be calling pictures PODs where riding is not the focal point of the photo?
Is it wrong to set up a shot to try and get a POD?
Is the POD intended to display superior riding skill?

When I think of the Photo Of the Day, I think of a picture that has the ability to inspire someone to go ride their bike. My list of POD qualities is simply just a list of things I have noticed about the PODs over the years. MY definition of a POD is “any outstanding riding photo that is chosen daily by the Pinkbike website, which captures the essence of what it means to ride bikes.” If that one doesn’t work for you then feel free to make your own or you can stick with the easy definition, “they’re just great riding pictures.” Personally, I like to form my own opinion, so I leave you with a photo of my friend Matt Macduff that I feel should be a POD sometime soon…


-hermo44.pinkbike.com/


76 Comments

  • + 41
 I think the real question is "how are the pods chosen" and more importantly "what can we do to replace the shitty ones" when they appear
  • + 20
 Nice article man - i really enjoyed hearing what PODs should be put into a structured piece of writing. Thanks
  • + 9
 Yeah. How are they chosen?
  • + 6
 moderators
  • + 10
 also people always complain that the rider is pro... but isent the picture more about well... the picture? who cares if the rider is pro...
  • + 8
 You seemed to have missed the 'just plain shit' category from your write up!
  • + 0
 ^^^ indeed . Quite a few don't fit the categories you mentioned lol Well done though, I agree, good little piece of writing. Smile

PS Where's your bibliography??!!!! hahah j/k
  • + 1
 very nice article! you summed it perfecteley up! sometimes I and my photographer put in so much effort to get a POD, and it is really nice when you see that someone recognizes all the work, effort and passion for this. Thanks for writing that article...
  • + 0
 They are chosen by Karl, Radek, etc, the higher-ups at the suggestion of users/mods
  • - 1
 way better article that your last one man...great job
  • - 1
 that pic deserves be POD www.pinkbike.com/photo/1963186
  • + 1
 Just to clear it up. Mods don't choose pictures. There's threads on the forums to suggest POD pictures, and users are free to add to it. In the end, the Admin decides if it's worthy or not. WetBeef hit the nail on the head.
  • + 0
 we forgot a category : pinkbike affiliates. even if a picture is good, but not POD material, but the photo displays a pinkbike rider ir pinkbike associate it will get a pod
  • + 24
 How are then chosen? One of the ways Pinkbike software works is by collecting stats on what users are faving, and how often photos are being viewed. Generally, if photos are popular, they are pretty good POD candidates.
There is a link in the footer of pinkbike under the Cool Features heading, Pinkbike Daily. This shows off the most popular photos in different regions of the world for everyday. You can also go back in history and see that photos were popular when.
  • - 2
 There are a lot of goood photos out there, with hundreds of views, that frequently get overlooked and outpicked for a photo with none of the qualities described in the article. You cant say all pods are chosen on thoses grounds because there are some straight shit pods out there. Plus wheres the "sezeki category"?
  • + 13
 i love how you addressed your grammar usage and made understood this is not about being graded on how its written but what its being written about.

also very well analyzed... ive always wondered myself. glad to see ur friends pic made it up! Leverage? lol
  • + 14
 Read the whole thing to man Razz
You seem pretty switched on about the whole thing Razz

I like Big Grin
  • + 10
 Good article man. I think you addressed some key points but, you missed a couple things I think.

It is straight up bike porn, you can have your opinions about what the POD is, or what it should be. Just enjoy the ride, kick back and remember how it felt to learn that trick, or how it felt when you sent that jump, maybe when you cased it, and how about when you conquered that line you were scared out your knickers of. That's why I don't have many pictures, I couldn't be bothered with stopping or having any of my friends to stop to grab a photo of us riding. Its all up stairs, it will be for life, I have met the best people riding my bike.

Those who love our sport love it allot. The POD gives people who are passionate about riding (and people who are inept) a place to converse about our sport. Every morning I get into work grab a hot cup of coffee or tea, grab someones computer and look at the POD. Just seeing a rider throwing down in general, or anything to do with biking as a matter of fact reminds me why I work hard all day, so I can have another awesome riding season with my buds. Sure there could be criteria to what a POD should be, what about just being able to see another person riding their bike because they feel as free as you do, to keep you going when you can't ride. -Freeride is what you make it.

There is allot of arguing that takes place, but this is the internet and that will never change. Basically it boils down to an educated opinion differing with an uneducated opinion, and the lack of will to realistically discuss the indifference. Everyone resorts to putting people down, I'm not saying I haven't done it, what can I say? Stupid people make me angry... I think everyone should just try to get along on pod's, lets make it a friendly website instead of a dump for people to argue and banter constantly.

We all need to lighten up and enjoy what PINKBIKE provides a steady supply of......Bike Porn.
  • + 7
 Exactly!
People out there need to lighten up a whole lot. All I ever seem to see is people commenting on POD's as if the quality will never be up to the stringent standards of the most discriminating 12 year old. But what can I expect when they are the majority who usually write "does not deserve POD". I don't even bother to read comments anymore because I know that's all I'll see.

It just burns me up when I see junk like that written as if the candy isn't sweet enough or the steak isn't thick enough. Get real man!

If your pictures are better start up your own website. If it were up to me, (and its definitely not!) I would give no place for people to place comments on photos. Photos seem to turn into arenas of discussion, argument and bitching. Sometimes its good, but often people don't appreciate the fact that is all free and they need to chill and enjoy a picture, good or not.
  • + 3
 ^^^ "...stringent standards of the most discriminating 12 year old." That's hilarious! Sweet.
  • + 0
 All I can say is YEP.
  • + 3
 Likely 99% of people who complain about the POD have nothing to offer in terms of pictures that are any better. Secondly, ANY POD that shows progression of skills and especially focuses on female riders is worthy. Not everybody needs to be doing a 180 on their little hardtail/slopestyle bike to be worthy. In my mind ANY PICTURE that inspires a NEW RIDER is worthy ... Personally backflips don't inpire me to ride .. a motivational picture can be many things ... not just stunts and slopestyle tricks (BORING after the 100th time) ... just my opinion :-)
  • + 1
 Totally agree Vokes. We see the same dirt jumping photos day after day. Not that they aren't cool, but as a rookie, I used to be kind of intimidated by all the huge hucking pictures. I think there should be more of an effort to display different parts of the sport.
  • + 3
 PODs are chosen for a number of reasons I should imagine. I'll attempt to address some of the things you've covered though:

Lots of things make a good photo when it comes to riding shots, there are no hard and fast rules and there are no guarenteed ways to make some impressive riding look good or some impressive camera work make for some good riding in photos.

Personally I think that when all these variables come together in a unique and well defined way then you get into the realms of photos that *should* be POD. Ones that combine great riding, in a great location with some great photography.

Great riding photography is all about capturing the rider in a very clear and easy to see manner that shows not only what the rider is doing, but where and how. It's all good and well having a perfectly crisp, sharp colourful shout of a rider doing a a flipwhip on a perfect cloudless sky background... But if you can't see where it is or what they're doing it on then forget it. This holds up well for the vast majority of PODs.

As for colour, forget that... Contrast is key. There've been many black and white PODs in the past and trust me when I say that contrast draws the eye more than colour. Look for shots where the rider is offset thanks to a clean empty background such as the sky, or backlit from flashes to give them a bright edge that offsets them from a gloomy forest.

Photographers own the copyright to their photos automatically. They should credit the rider in the image description though, i ALWAYS do this. If riders submit photos then they should include the photographers copyright notification in the image description. No two ways about it.

Sequence shots are boring. Sorry, but they are. They're subject to opinion, and while some people might find them great others like me just don't. So that's not a factor when it comes to chosing PODs.

Displaying the pinnacle of MTB skill is another key one for chosing PODs I'd guess. Although once again you have to have some element of decent photography to capture and display this in a clear and understandable way as I've already mentioned above.

So in conclusion, I'm saying there are no defined rules when it comes to riding photos and PODs... Just like the rest of photography. But when the best of the best come together in a unique way, thats when something special is created. Then it's just down to whoever chooses the PODs to make their minds up and for everyone else to enjoy them. And if you don't like something thats been chosen, you don't have to whinge about it of comment badly... It spoils everyone elses enjoyment of these fine collectives of the endless pursuit of riding perfection.
  • + 2
 Thanks for writing a book.....sheesh.
  • - 3
 haha
  • + 2
 i agree with your comments about color,i'm a BIG fan of black an white photography.It seems so much more striking to me an can be a good technique when shooting in low light levels like an indoor skatepark or deep in a dark damp forest!I've been on pinkbike for around 6month and dont think i've ever seen a b&w POD?
  • + 1
 Eight years of POD means nearly 3000 photos. I think, no matter what your taste, there are some photos in there for you. You can't expect to love every POD every day. If you don't like today's, just wait until tomorrow. I may not like today's POD, but I love that POD exists. Its like a little present every day. Sometimes its another pair of socks, sometimes its a set of gold ano Fly Bikes Ruben Alcantara pedals. Oh yeah!
  • + 1
 When it all comes down to it, the people choose the POD. Pinkbike is driven by its viewers, and if a photo or video draws enough attention, then it can't be ignored. When a mass amount of people start viewing and faving it over a short period of time, I think it becomes obvious that it is worthy and among the best. Majority rules.
  • + 0
 not always in a short time, there have been POD that were discovered long time after they had been uploaded, for example the gap jump which was POD on new year's day, or even 2 of my pics which became POD...
  • + 1
 personally i prefer the 'skill' PODs and the ones that display great photography. skill does fine on it's own with a shitty photo, but i also think that just cause it's a good picture doesnt mean it should be POD. there's a whole bunch of really great shots, but i'm really not a big fan of the random riding shots like shown in this article for the "stunning lighting and color" section.
in general i agree with most of these types, but for me at least, the big thing is skill, whether it be a sequence, big air, whatever, i hate POD's with mediocre riding. there are some exceptions.
www.pinkbike.com/photo/2028977
  • + 0
 I can definitely appreciate a good sequence shot. tells a cool story usually but a hilarious random is always nice.
  • + 1
 I think for the most part its about the riders skill level being displayed in the picture. But that said, i dont want to be looking at terrible quality photos of awesome riding. When a POD is amazing from a photographic and editorial PoV, it makes the riding seem that much more real. Thats the kind of photo that gets me pumped to ride.
  • + 1
 Impressive, although it was not an essay, it demonstrated an intellectual side of us mountain bikers. Simple, insightful information that had me reflecting about pinkbike trends.
  • + 0
 Good article. I would like to see an article like this but on what makes a video VOD. Mastering making good videos would be something I would like to learn, like what views to use, and ratios like trail to stunts, biking to non-biking footage, etc.
  • + 0
 POD is a total random crapshoot. Ive seen photos with blown out highlights, out of focus, badly composed, unoriginal, sucky colour balance...as POD. Its simply what people like. Both of them suck but people voted for W and bought millions of New Kids On The Block cd's. Our collective conscious has no taste nor discernable thought pattern.
  • + 0
 I don't think there are stats like that available. I know I am considered a cyclist, I don't strictly categorize myself to any genre of biking. I own a DJ'er, XC, freeride, and road bike. I thought DH was gaining momentum, I could be wrong though...
  • + 0
 im pretty sure it is, i know at least in ontario we have been getting increasing attendance at races every year. But that doesnt include people who just ride dh for fun... i think that number may be going down
  • + 0
 I could see the weekend warrior stat falling. You just don't need a full out DH rig to freeride anymore. Unless your progressing the sport beyond the limits, a 6"-7" travel frame these days is good for any hardcore freerider. If your racing, then yeah, your need a nine inch hog to go fast.
  • + 0
 nice article. i decided id answer your questions in my own opinion.

What do you feel makes for a great POD? an amazing photo with ANY riding in it, it doesnt need to be crazy or super skillful riding, POD stands for Picture Of The Day, doesnt mention how the riding has to be.

Who should be credited for the POD? (Photographer, editor, rider, trail builder) The photographer and rider should really be the only people needed to credit in any great POD. theres no need to credit the trail builder really. i mean its great they build amazing stuff to ride but they had no input in the production of the photograph.

Is the POD intended to show advances in photographic and editing technology? No. Any truly great photo shouldnt need much if not any editing at all. i know most professional photographers do a bit of editing in their pics to make the perfect but some people just go over the top.

Should we be calling pictures PODs where riding is not the focal point of the photo? Yes. it's not all about the riding, it is Picture of The Day. as long as there is riding in the photo it is worthy of POD. it's definately a bonus when the picture is amazing with some great riding included though.

Is it wrong to set up a shot to try and get a POD? No. how else would we get such amazing pictures on this website? if there was no one trying then the site would likely be full of out of focus, dark and shit photos with completely useless riding in them.

Is the POD intended to display superior riding skill? No, any great POD should just be an epic shot with any kind of riding in it that makes you want to get out and ride.
  • + 0
 Not to mention, it is the coolest feeling when you log on and happen to find your photo as POD. I still remember the day, probably been about 5 years now...long live Pinkbike. As for VOD, I've yet to accomplish that feat...someday!
  • + 2
 WHO CARES!!!!!!! People need to chill and not take everything so seriously!!!!!!!
  • - 1
 I don't think you had to explain anything but you did it well, thanks.
Does anyone know the % breakdown of the numbers of bicycle riders in the different categories: Road - Cycle cross - BMX - Mtn – Commuter?
Also in the mountain bike group the % breakdown of DH – XC – Super D – Marathon – FR – DJ – 4X/DS?
Reason for asking is that, I was told that the large DH bikes are dying out because of the specialization, cost, lack of venues, lack of dealers willing to carry them and the small % of the overall bike industry that actually ride these big bikes.
Thanks for the help.
  • + 3
 Great article - I fully agree!
  • + 0
 Hey, props on the article i enjoyed reading it. I think, for your next article, if you post pictures, post them under your heading though, not above. Keep up the good work, hope to see more soon.
  • + 0
 well done. the PODs are shots i enjoy looking at every day. but like you stated, they should be rlly about the essence of biking. its great to see those jaw-dropping pics. and not just any other day on the trail.
  • + 0
 to the people who want more XC pod's. you should take better pics. i just looked through them and the majority weren't even of people riding.
  • + 0
 GOOD JOB! great article,can only hope people will read it then stop slating someone elses work
"this POD is gay"
"why is this POD?"
I hate reading comments like those
  • + 0
 thats awesome this will help people take better photos so one day theirs can be pod too
  • + 0
 Good article! Might seem that you are doing some PhD in photography or starting some consultancy business Wink
  • + 0
 I'm with DHstinkySPOT : how are they chosen , that's what's everybody's wondering
  • + 0
 I think when a POD is chosen, everybody should vote yes or no if its a good photo. that would be sick
  • + 0
 i think the builder should be also credited because i built the jump in the first picture =)
  • + 0
 thats why i asked the question. No matter what POD you look at there is usually a rider riding some sort of jump, drop, or trail that was once built by another innovative and hard working rider. Without their contribution there would be no POD
  • + 1
 great improvement on previous article, good job
  • + 0
 Great, just what the world needs another lawyer. He had to post a disclaimers to his option.
  • + 2
 its just because some people take personal opinions a little too seriously
  • + 0
 Yeah it like opinions become facts... When in fact they are wrong.
  • + 0
 Yeah that's what I meant. Like you said, to much philosophy.
  • + 17
 well i wouldnt necessarily call any opinions wrong. Pretty much all opinions are right from the perspective of the person that holds them. It's only when you compare them to other opinions that they can be considered simply different, yet not incorrect. That in itself is too deep of a philosophical debate to get into here though
  • + 2
 Sorry, I didn't mean that people's opinions are wrong, I meant to say. The facts in which their opinions are based upon are wrong. Someones opinion is never wrong, however, you should respect others opinions. I'm done.
  • + 1
 this article is good for pinkbike in so many ways.
  • + 0
 Yeah I love getting P.O.D's !!
  • + 0
 Nice rundown - WAAAAY better than your last article, and I do understand that it was opinion
  • + 0
 haha thanks, I'm improving with experience thats all i can say lol
  • + 0
 thats a whole other discussion
  • + 0
 good article, again. thanks for clearing that up
  • + 0
 they need to start choosing some more bmx pictures
  • + 1
 great article man..
  • - 3
 good article dude personally i really hate the pods that are only based on awesome lighting or camera angle etc..... i think pod should be based on skill this is a biking website not a camera angle/lighting website...
  • + 0
 oughh gud sliding tire
  • - 1
 yeah...i have nothing to add Smile
  • - 1
 nice man, i read the whole thing
  • + 0
 ...what about VODs
  • - 2
 i think the best pics are the ones that show long sequences

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