2014 Photo of the Year Finals - Vote Now

Feb 26, 2015 at 9:56
by Pinkbike Staff  
We gave you the top 32 images from 2014 and you've voted for what 2 images have made it on to the finals round for the 2014 Photo of the Year. Now it's your turn to pick the winner that will be divvying up the $10,000 in CASH as well as $20,000 in prizing from our sponsors: Specialized Bikes and SRAM.

Check out the voting page

The 4th annual Pinkbike Photo of the Year Contest voting is underway. The winner will join John Wellburn, Toby Cowley and Sterling Lorence in the PB Photo of the Year Hall of Fame and they could walk away with $5,000 and a Specialized Enduro 27.5 kitted with a full SRAM groupo.

How Does it Work?

From thousands of nominated photos, 32 have been selected to pit against each other in a college basketball bracket-like showdown. At this point it is up to you, the users, to vote on the match ups. The photos with the most votes will move onto the next round. So 32 photos will narrow down to 16, then 8, 4, 2 until there is a single photo deemed the 2014 Specialized Photo of the Year Powered by SRAM.

Specialized 275 Enduro
  Who from the top 32 will be taking this beauty home: a Specialized Enduro 27.5 with full SRAM build kit.

Click to Vote

Christoph Laue
It s all about the moment in sport photography - Photo Christoph Laue

Go to Voting Page

Sterling Lorence
Matt Hunter enjoying bicycle riding.

Go to Voting Page

What's at stake? $10,000 Cash and $20,000+ in Prizing

Winner will receive a Specialized Enduro 27.5 complete with the newest SRAM kit and a check for $5000
• Runner-up will receive a check for $3000
• Other semi-finalists will each receive $1000

New for this year, a prize pack for nailing the voting:
The user that votes the closet to the correct bracket could win a SRAM X01 Drivetrain (crankset, cassette, chain, shifter, derailleur and an x-sync direct mount chain ring)
*if multiple users have the same voting brackets, then a random draw from the matching users will be drawn

Thanks to Specialized Bikes and SRAM.

Vote Here

2014 Photo of the Year Finalists - Christoph Laue VS Sterling Lorence

Mentions: @SramMedia @Specialized


  • 187 6
 Damn, PB'ers voting is way off.
  • 45 2
 Totally agreed.
  • 24 29
flag rewob (Feb 26, 2015 at 10:25) (Below Threshold)
 Disagree. Berm blasting is out this year.
  • 28 4
 A close up of Vinny T's backside or Hunter ripping a berm on what looks like flat ground. Don't get me wrong I really like both especially SL's but POY?
  • 52 4
 There great shots but probably my 2 least favorite.
  • 14 3
 Agreed, re do. There are some much better shots that didnt make it in
  • 6 1
 LOL, did not mean to start a shit storm, obv. my taste and some others in pics differs from the majority, as predicted Razz
  • 12 1
 After watching the Pinkbike video on, "How to get a roost shot," I have become completely dissillusioned with them.
  • 12 7
 i hope everyone votes for Laue's. yeah, the pic of matt hunter killing it is cool, but its not a good picture, he's just riding well. but if i know PB Sterling will win.
  • 6 3
 And what of Laue's picture is so good to be POY? I'm so disapointed from this contest this year, but at least Matt Hunter shot is incredible. What's not good in the photo? I've seen lot of better pictures last year, but not so many capturing something so sick. Laue's picture can't be best picture of the year in my opinion. It would be a shame imo.
  • 11 18
flag NotDannyHart (Feb 26, 2015 at 14:33) (Below Threshold)
 127% rigged by Obama Bin Laden
  • 3 0
 WAY OFF...... kinda sad too.....
  • 6 2
 I agree a lot of the voting has been crap but the train shots is one of my favorites. The timing is insane and it gives a really cool feel of following into a gnarly feature with your friends. Sterling's is good just because of the idea and execution... its going to produce many copycats. Should they be photo of the year? eh maybe.
  • 4 5
 Need a photography expert to chose poy instead of public vote
  • 8 5
 I'm you're expert. I see pictures of things all the time. You're welcome for my service.
  • 7 1

You're welcome for my inability to use the english language correctly.
  • 7 2
 I say it again...

Laue's photo has the best composition....
- framing the subject(a frame with in a frame)
- leading lines(the track and the flow of the riders, it leads your eyes to the main subject)
- three subjects(from street photography rule)
- good foreground/subject/background(basic composition rule)
  • 3 12
flag simple-ass-rider (Feb 26, 2015 at 23:42) (Below Threshold)
 c'mon man. ..Laue's is just a lucky shot thanks to the fast shutter speed!! no idea behind, no good light, no great backgroud just a shot of a train during the competition.. probably he was hoping for a single rider and cursed to the other 2.. or do you think he ask to those 3 riders to make it more and more to reach this 'perfect' composition??? ..and all the framing, leading lines and all your mentions looks cheesy to me... POY?? lame
  • 4 1
 I feel like PB'ers have voted for the coolest action shots... But not necessarily the most amazing shot from a photographic point of view. These aren't the two I would have picked either. Although, Ugez does have a few good points about why Laue's is better of the two we are left with.
  • 1 0
 Didn't sterling Lorene win last year?
  • 6 0
 All you folks who reckon you're photgraphy guru's, wether you are or not, exactly where does it state in the competition guidlines that one should vote based soley on the technique used in getting the shot?

It's a photography competition sure, and absolutely the style, composition and knowledge of how to use expensive kit makes a great photo happen. But the voting is up to the mountain bike public, who now doubt vote on what gets them stoked. That's enough isn't it? It's Pinkbike not entry to the Tate?!

Don't be snooty, vote for what you think is best, what gets you amped to be a mountain biker and a person tht's appreciates the effort it takes to take a decent photo.
  • 1 1
 I'm sorry I wasn't meant to troll Frown
  • 4 2
 @NotDannyhart... Never apologize on Pinkbike. None of us deserve that. Also, I didn't really get your Obama joke, but seriously f*ck that guy.
  • 2 1
 @Session603 Honestly it was a bit of a piss take against the complainers, mixed with Waki style nonsensical rambling
  • 74 10
 To be honest neither of these would be my personal pick for picture of the year, maybe Christoph Laue second but Robb and troy brosnan is just such an amazing picture.
  • 13 0
 I love the timing of laue's but I have to agree, the shot of Brosnan was sweet. And I do feel disapointed that all the landscape ones were voted out quite early. Still two amazing photos though, both demonstrating incredible skill, on the bike and behind the lense.
  • 3 4
 Brosnan photo was cool but let's be honest, its nothing special now-a-days. You see many quality/sick shots of someone ripping steep/technical trails on loose dirt among pretty flowers multiple times a year. The cropping of the photo is strange and it makes it look it'd be best as a poster for many kids to hang on the wall but not the best MTB photo of the entire year.
  • 45 1
 Picture of the year final?????? These are good but... There was much more deserving photos in the early rounds.
  • 47 12
 In my opinion this Sterling's photo doesnt worth to be in the final. Sterling is an awesome photographer (props) but the color in this case seems so wached out. You are all voting on this one for the action but this contest isnt all about that.
  • 18 7
 It's not washed out. It's just natural colour, rather than the overprocessed style that has somehow become fashionable lately.
  • 30 4
 the reason why i dislike this photo so much is because the action is verrrry deceiving IMO. its a wall ride with a mound of dirt in the middle to appear to make a "cool" bar scrape shot. i dont like shots where the goal of the day is to get a shot. ex - build a "sweet berm" and throw some sweet roost and session that spot over and over and over until you get the shot you want. this isnt how most people mountain bike - thus i dont think it captures our sport in a true way. its a custom built feature for a designer shot. not my style.
  • 5 8
 So, following that logic the custom built feature for Laues' photo is out too then?
  • 6 0
 @ccolagio -- That's not how people mountain bike, but that is how photographers photograph. Every single shot in this contest was most likely set up in some way. Even if they were taken at a race or some other event, a photographer went out early, set up a spot framed a setting and then shot rider after rider in hopes of coming up with something good. None of these happened by accident.
  • 5 0
 hitting a hip/jump in the middle of a trail is A LOT different to me than sessioning a berm over and over to get a desired amount of roost or bar drag. normally, berms are built for a purpose - to carry speed through a corner. THAT feature was built that way specifically for that photo.
  • 2 1
 Maybe or maybe not. There's an awful lot of grass on it to have been freshly built for that shot. It seems to suggest that it was there for a while. I could be wrong.
  • 5 0
 @TheR - oh yes. there is no arguing against that. i mean, even Laue's photo is ALL about perfect timing. i highly doubt that was a serendipitous photo. and i love BMX photography...so yeah. but there were plenty of photos that got eliminated that gave me that warm fuzzy feeling of - this is mtb. the berm shot doesnt for me. i much more appreciate Laue's photo because it just seems like a group of close friends, hitting a feature all close together to get a great shot. having a good day on their bikes. and having same damn good fun! thats mtb to me. the berm shot - just feels too mechanical - too staged - too commercial for me. but - all my opinions of course.
  • 2 0
 OK ccolagio -- I get you now. I voted for each photo in every round. That's the exact reason I like the Laue photo, too. It does have that feel to it.
  • 2 0
 Pretty sure Brad Stuart built is as a public trail feature.
  • 32 5
 Both the finalists should've lost in the semifinals. The ones that lost in the semifinals should be the finalists.
  • 2 5
 It was very close, just look at those percentages
  • 19 2
 LAUE for the win! The way that Brendog is framed inside his arm is a once in a lifetime thing. Star studded lineup in one pic, crystal clear image, layed out so flat, it/s been my wallpaper since I first saw it and it deserves the win!
  • 4 4
 I take the other perspective, once that shot was framed Laue just had to shoot bursts as the riders hit it over and over until the timing was perfect, adjusting the spacing and timing of riders each time until it clicked. Sterling's photo isn't vastly different re: timing, but took a lot of technical lighting skill as well and it happens to also be capturing some incredible bike riding skills at the same time… so it gets my vote.
  • 1 0
 /\ mate you're dreaming. To get that exact timing in Laue's shot, near impossible to recreate, it's near perfect, look how close brendog's rear tire is to that tree without actually overlapping it...with so much going on, nothing is out of place, its EPIC!
  • 1 1
 unfortunately, i just think of a digital camera taking a thousand shots per second, and one coming out with good framing. for me, the only thing that could have made the sean lee photo better, would be if you could only see his front wheel. that's an unbiased opinion by the way
  • 11 1
 So it's all about the action and not so much about photography again. Oh well. No disrespect to the finalists, but photographry-wise there there were better pictures to chose from.
  • 1 2
 Not agree with you any more...
  • 1 2
 I can respect what you are saying Darren, but the great thing about these two photos is they showcase both talented photographers and riders. I personally liked many of the landscape shots though, Ale di Lullo's shot was amazing.
  • 14 2
 Who the hell is voting for this crap.
  • 8 0
 Both shots are amazing, but I have mixed feelings about a photo that was commissioned for commercial use in this competition. If the Hunter shot was not used in an advertisement, I would have supported this contest. I'm out. Congrats to both talented photographers.
  • 13 4
 Christoph Laue, it's the better photograph personally but props to both!
  • 6 0
 Still wonder how that picture of Chris limbo-ing under that tree isn't there...
And either of the two images with the light trails...
Haaaaa... :/ *votes anyway because why not*
  • 8 0
 Sam Needham photo of Akrigg is the winner for me. Epic light coming through the trees and Akrigg riding like only he can. POY!!
  • 6 0
 yup , that one deserved it
  • 3 0
 Absolutely. @SamNeedham is the winner in my book.
  • 9 0
 How do i vote for neither?
  • 13 8
 Judging the images on technical merit alone Sterling's photo is WAY more challenging to achieve.

It's a lit shot....with foreground and background rim lighting. To place the strobes correctly, compose the shot well, perfectly freeze the action (which means he was likely shooting above the standard DSLR strobe sync speed of 1/250th of a second and using pro level lighting) and underexpose the background on a sunny day takes more technical photography chops and more planning and effort than any of the other submissions.

That is why it should be the winner IMHO.
  • 3 6
 totally agree.
  • 4 7
 Hey hey! A guy who actually knows about photography in this forum making an intelligent comment. This is a damn good photo, both technically and the moment it captures.
  • 4 5
 Yeah, exactly what Dustfarter said. Hypersync with portable strobes is a more advanced job and takes more skill.
  • 1 3
 And if this was a photography forum i'm sure it would win. But i don't know anything about strobes or what went into taking the picture, and voted for the one that i enjoyed looking at the most. It wasn't Sterling's btw.
  • 2 4
 @Dustfarter...I dont kow much about strobes yet..but under exposing the background just need an ND filter, and freezing the action doesn't need to be at 1/1000, you can even freeze action under 1/100 using any flash. anyone can replicate this shot. Smile
  • 4 1
 @ugez You may not know much about ND filters either Smile
  • 7 0
 Not impressed. Well, yes with the individual photos, all are worthy of recognition. But I believe these two finalists didnt make it past my first round vote!
  • 8 4
 From the start I knew the Matt Hunter or "Sterling" photo would win. Why? Because look at the sponsor of this! I'm not saying the sterling photo is bad, because it is not. It's just not on par with a lot of these photos! Come on!!
  • 2 0
 It also had a back story where people were doubting it was real and PB ran an article showing how the pic was taken so I guess people feel more familiar with the pic which probably helps a lot. I think most of the pics where great, just not how I personally thought this would play out.
  • 5 0
 Did the opposite for me. I'm bored of it now after it's been plastered over the site for so long. Also it just seems more like something you'd see in a fashion shoot that just happens to have biking in it rather than an out and out riding photo. It was the same issue I had with last years winner.
  • 4 1
 only people to blame are the voters... PB sponsors have no control over this.
  • 3 0
 Yah kind of thought some of the early match ups pitted photos that may have made it farther without pairing. I like to just vote for it why the bracket format?
I voted for the Brendan shot and don't get how the berm shot made the finals. But, prob would have picked a different one from these two. I liked the dark green
shot with the light coming through and rider passing under low tree the best.
  • 1 0
 I agree the shot by Sam Needham was my favorite of the bunch. But I also loved the Aspect Media shot and Tim Koerber's entries, both of those just made me want to go and ride my bike right now, sadly neither of them depicted much action so they went out pretty quick.
  • 3 0
 I think both are very good photos in own respect... But not top two in my mind. Don't get me wrong. Not bashing. I can imagine all the elements required to arrange and fall into place - but honestly don't think I voted for either one of these the entire "tournament". I guess I was way off.
Congratulations to ALL 32 selected. Really is remarkable considering the gazzilion photos we see every day. To finalists, good luck. Hardly fair for me to vote for either as I didn't support you all along (and a vote from me is bad luck apparently). So good luck.
  • 6 0
 Feel a little let down.. Thought Troy's was going to win.
  • 5 2
 From a purely technical point of view, Sterling has got this in the bag. The amount of skill it takes to set up strobes properly IMO outweighs the albeit clever (not lucky, surely?!) composition in Christoph's shot.
  • 2 0
 The Sterling Lorence one to me just looks very studio. It doesn't look natural the way that he lit that one, like they used a green screen. So many good shots of his and thats the one of his that made it to the finals? Laue's is really just once in a lifetime timing and that is too cool.
  • 3 0
 Sorry but in my opinion neither of these photos are worthy of poy, there where tons of brilliant photos all knocked out in the first few rounds. competition is not based on photo merit but popularity.
  • 2 0
 The PB POV contest is a bit like getting my local Sudoku Club to award the Fields Medal.


Well done to all the entrants who didn't make it this far; there are many out here who may have preferred to see others in the final. Maybe next time eh.
  • 2 0
 These are the two best photos in the competition. They deserve to be here. Lots of other good photographs that I feel lucky to have shared on this site, but these are the best mtn bike photos. I hope laue wins because I really enjoy looking at that photo. The timing is ridiculous and the content has me reflect on the good times riding with friends. Hunters photo is doing a good job capturing something amazing, but it does not resonate with me in any way because it seems so unbelievable that he could pull it off.
  • 5 4
 Wow. I have been complaining about the contest being set up for Sterling (a PB employee) to win, but seing this final round makes me think about it. How chris' pic has done against the others on the percentages. I think hes got good possibilities to take it.
  • 5 3
 PB employee shouldn't be even in the contest. Its a PB contest employee shouldn't be able to enter or win.
  • 6 2
 Sterling is a PB contributor, not an employee.
  • 2 1
 Contributor, employee. The name doesnt matter, but it is a fact he's got closer ties to PB than any of the other snappers. Plus he won last year. Dont get me wrong... i love his photography and I cheered for him last year. Just trying to put some objective points out there to discuss.
  • 14 1
 Myself and at least 5 others in the top 16 are all contributors to PB through the year. We are not employees, and have no special privilege. Lots of PB's regular contributors didn't have shots in the contest at all so it's no conspiracy or smoke and mirrors.
  • 3 0
 Fair enough...Beer

End of discussion???
  • 1 0
 My mistake sorry I just see Sterling's photo's on PB so much I thought he was employed by them.
  • 2 1
 Photography is art, and just like the movies... is purely subjective not every one is gonna be happy. Personally I think Stirling is a great technical shooter, but most of the time he's magazine perfect. He should relax once in while, which is why I really like Laue's style... it's just real life drama. Anyway I still voted for the bar scrub, hope he shares some prize money Smile
  • 1 0
 Laue's shot is one of two that I wanted to win POY, the other was in the semi final against Laue's. For me, I see Laue's and its the photo that impresses me. When I look at Laurence's, I'm impressed by the riding that hunter is doing. Since we're talking POY, I went with the photo I think is more pleasing TO ME. I think there are just so many things about Laue's photo that I love. The contrast between the vibrance and sharpness of the center compared to the soft and muted background or the out of focus rider in the foreground. The framing is awesome on two levels. First there's the guy that went off the jump, the guy about to go off the jump and then the guy getting ready to start that sequence. Second the framing through the arms of the guy in the air is awesome all by itself.
  • 2 1
 Laue's = fun, Lorence's = work... and too commercialized... err specialized? Although the first one makes me think I have tunnel vision, hurts my eyes.
I was browsing the ones that got eliminated and a lot of them made me say wow. These two made me say wow too, but like... wow, seriously? LOL
  • 2 1
 Too bad we can't plus/minus pics. Good photos, but certainly not the best in the contest.

It should tell you something when the photographers who got picked for the contest indicate as much. Heck, they're saying so themselves and not even about their own pics.

Ugly. Maybe next year @Pinkbike should switch the format to a "popularity" vote for the year and then have a professionally judged contest with the judges being:

Fraser Briton
Sterling Lorence
Sven Martin
Paris Gore
Gary Perkins
Ian Collins

And add two celebrity judges who have worked on the opposite side of the lens. Guys like Vanderham, Steve Peat, etc.
  • 7 3
 I quit… This is adding unnecessary stress to my life.
  • 5 1
 I'm going to sit out this round.
  • 1 0
 What do you mean? It's DH vs Enduro!!! VOTE DAMMIT!!!
  • 4 0
 Very good photos - Yes. Best photos of the year - Not so sure
  • 1 0
 Just checked out the voting page, and it's clear that action won over landscape if you take a look at the rounds. In round 2 hunter won over Danny mac, so not just about the names.
  • 1 1
 Whats wrong with the landscape in Matt's berm shot?
  • 4 0
 How sean lees photo didn't get into the final is beyond me.
  • 1 0
 I know sterling is going to take it, and he probably deserves it. But I love that shot from Christoph Laue. Maybe because it hasnt been on every MTB feed for the last 6 months continually. The photo is amazing
  • 1 0
 If i'm looking for rider talent, i'll choose Sterling's photo. But we're looking for photography skill, such as the absolute perfect timing of the other picture. Both photos are amazing though.
  • 6 3
 Why do they make this so hard on us!!
  • 12 15
 Defintely! Since all the good photos are out of the game, it's getting more and more difficult to decide, which one of the two remaining is less interesting.
  • 13 2
 You said 'hard on'! Tee hee hee.
  • 1 1
 I thought this final two was obvious. This vote is going to be the toughest.
  • 3 2
 Laue's photo has been my desktop background for a while, but I have a poster of Lorence's photo on my wall. Toughest decision yet!
  • 6 2
 I'm not even gonna vote
  • 4 2
 Sterling's photo doesn't speak to me. I've voted for Christoph's since the first round, though.
  • 5 2
 What a bunch of haters. Both these shots are excellent.
  • 4 1
 Every shot in this contest was amazing.
  • 3 2
 So much pb hate! These two photographs are amazing. Just because you prefer on of the other photos doesn't make these two finalists anything less than.. extremely impressive!
  • 1 0
 ^^^ THIS!!
Thankfully, the winner is the photo selected by the most votes, not the person with the most whingey comments.
  • 2 1
 Can't believe the Sean Lee spot didn't make it. .. sweetest photo I have seen in a long time. It's now my wallpaper on the phone and work computer.
  • 1 1
 Is the bar drag photo (sterling lorence) one frame of the video they shot? Or, did he take stills at the same time from the same angle?
  • 2 1
 I'd be impressed If these were taken by amateur photographers on the fly with a pocked cam.
  • 1 0
 I can't vote... what do i have to do? the webpage just wont respond
  • 5 6
 This is a particularly difficult decision for me as these are my two favourite pics of the entire competition! Both completely brilliant in their own rights!
  • 4 4
 I, too, have voted for these shots the whole way, and predicted them to be in the finals two rounds ago. Let the haters hate!
  • 3 4
 Too right mate!
  • 1 0
 Give me all the neg props you want, Phillistines, but the fact remains I called it in the comments two rounds ago, and the majority of voters obviously agree.
  • 3 5
  • 1 0
 Christoph Laue! idea, moment, place, POY!!!
  • 1 0
 It's a paradox if Sterling wins an Enduro 27,9 with a 29 inch :-D !
  • 5 5
 Chris laue to 100000000000%
  • 4 4
 Chris laues Shot wasnt Even pod,so sick it is in the finals
  • 2 3
 Well, if we consider what we all have in our country like government its to easy to understand this 2 pics as finalist.
  • 2 4
 for a 20,000 prize, I'm sure that many fake accounts have been made in order to vote in their favor. These are cool pictures but i also don't think they were the best ones.
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 rob should have taken it
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 Christopher Laue won
  • 2 3
 its pinkBIKE not pinkCAMERA shutter dicks
  • 2 3
  • 1 3
 I have a feeling the Spesh shot will win. Quinky dink I think not.
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