Round 1 Voting Closed: 2020 Pinkbike Photo of the Year Contest

Feb 10, 2021 at 12:27
by Pinkbike Staff  

The 10th annual Pinkbike Photo of the Year Contest presented by Jenson USA is underway. 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. After all your nomination votes and a lot of spirited debate, the nominees have been narrowed down to 32 and we are ready to get started. Without further ado, here are the photos vying for the $10,000 in CASH.

How Does it Work?

From thousands of nominated photos, 32 have been selected to be pitted against one 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 on to the next round. So 32 photos will narrow down to 16, then 8, 4, 2 until there is a single photo deemed the winner.




The 32 Finalists




Mark Mackay

Peak of 2020




Nathan Hughes

Aosta overnight hut adventure with Olly Wilkins and Kathi Kuypers




Dan Milner

Climbing above the valley floor after a morning of rain.




Jan Cadosch

Riding in front of the Matterhorn just after some snowfall at sunset




Tom McNally

Finding unridden lines deep in a working slate mine in The Lake District.




Cameron Mackenzie

Blenki under the cover of darkness still doing what he does best.




Roo Fowler

Shortly before Covid hit I went out to the Sahara desert with Olly and Ben to answer that childhood question we ve always asked ourselves. What would it be like to ride down massive sand dunes




Jacob Gibbins

From a focus bikes trip to Madeira




Tom Bowell

One of those moments where everything comes together. The location the light and of course the riding The sun broke through the clouds and created these rays perfectly over the hip at the top of the Darkfest line but it only lasted for maybe 5 minutes. Just enough time for Brendog to make his way down and boost the hip with effortless style




Toby Cowley





JB Liautard





Dave Smith





Ross Bell





Justin Olsen





John Entwistle





James Vincent





Christoph Breiner





Emrik Jansson

Janne Tj rnstr m riding in re Bike Park. Sweden.



Colin Meagher

Nikki Rohan pedaling Strawberry Ridge at sunset in the Gifford Pinchot national forest.




Dave Trumpore

Brooks Curran - Vermont




Harookz

Matt Hunter Matty Miles - Kamloops BC - The Perfect Lap - Landmark Trailworks - Specialized Stumpjumper EVO




Jay French

Billy wallride table in the dark wearing a reflective tracksuit lit with a head torch during a long exposure image. Single flash burst. Shot with the Ilabb tracksuit for Ilabb.




Trevor Lyden

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.




Henry Jaine





Friedrich Simon Kugi





Luke Jarmey

Edge of the world flatearthsociety




Skye Schillhammer

2020 POY entry. Shot by Skye Schillhammer while on location shooting Jaxson for Transition Bikes.




Ian Collins





Mason Mashon





Calvin Huth

Cotton Mandy Skies




Christophe Laue






Sterling Lorence

Jackson Goldstone in Squamish BC





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 a $200 Jenson USA gift card.

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 prizes so keep coming back to vote each round!


For full contest rules and regulations, click here.




153 Comments

  • 160 1
 Wow what a collection of amazing photos and views. Wish Tinder would have that selection......
  • 18 0
 these photos make me want to mountain bike.
  • 39 1
 So you like em bushy then.
  • 1 0
 haha!
  • 10 0
 @bike-lair: Nonsense, true mountain biking is on the internet.
  • 6 0
 come to Eastern Europe Wink
  • 86 1
 apologies if just me, but I find it annoying when two photos of similar theme go head to head - when they are both better than a lot of the rest, takes one out; when they are both not as good as the rest, taking a spot. Again, just like my opinion, man...
  • 3 1
 I did wonder the same when going through them, but I guess the reason may be so that two similar images don't come up against each other further on/in the final. Meaning it'll only be this first round where two similar images come up against each other. I could be wrong though...haha
  • 5 0
 Yeah, I would agree that its a legit complaint on the format of this contest. Could possibly format it to have "better" future matchup as the voting progresses.
  • 19 1
 Agreed. First round should just consist of voting for the top 16, then put them head to head "bracket style" with top vote getters getting the number 1 seed... 1 vs 16, 2 vs 15 etc. etc.
  • 4 1
 At first I thought the same thing as you. But then I thought that this set-up devalues taking/submitting the same shot as someone else because you immediately run the risk of being eliminated...and thus, originality is favoured (which I reckon is good for a photography contest)
  • 2 0
 I know for the past two years at least- a significant number of people question if the “winner” was really the best pic because of this dubious format.
  • 5 2
 I agree. While I love watching a good big mountain or slopestyle competition, a photo of it doesn't hold my interest.
Essentially, what I personally want is a beautiful landscape shot with some bikes in. The sort of thing to be a desktop background or even a wall poster.
I've had to vote against half of those type of photos, while I've been made to vote for some photos that are a bit meh contentwise (although all 32 have excellent photography skills).
I think random is the only way to do it. No tournament brackets - round of 32 sort them randomly into 16 head to heads. Next round sort them randomly into 16 head to heads and so on.
  • 2 0
 Agreed! Two of my favs (Harookz vs Jay) were set up against each other, those were both finalworthy in my mind!
  • 20 0
 It is indeed an interesting and unique route that PB have gone down. They used to run completely different styles of shots against each other in round 1 and then people complained that they didnt know how to vote as the shots were "too different" (eg, close up roost vs backcountry little rider) - thats what we now get in later rounds.
Interestingly, while we photographers might submit a few shots to the comp, with the hope that one will make the 32 cut, it's not necessarily the photographers own fave that makes the 32: thats upto the Pinkbike staff, and yes, they're selected to make the head-to head easier to judge.
It's Pinkbike's prerogative - It's their comp.
But then photographers can have personal attachment to certain shots, from knowing what went into getting them that can affect a photographers personal fave, that are irrelevant in the comp. Or the opposite. A couple of years ago I reached the semi finals with a shot I didnt even enter. Certainly if PB dropped the like-for-like pairing format, then photographers would feel confident about just entering one, single 'best' shot from the year... but it is how it is. If we land in the 32 its great place to be, whatever the outcome.
  • 2 2
 @SirWonky: the format should always end with the most popular photo in first place. It's only the order of runners up that is messed up
  • 77 4
 Christophe Laue's photo is crazy
  • 6 3
 Dew are right, it sure is.
  • 1 0
 I wonder if it was intentional, or a happy accident? Fly vision
  • 5 1
 I hope he has a chance, it’s a sweet shot!
  • 11 1
 Took me a second to figure out what was going on. But when I did -- that was cool.
  • 2 0
 Dang! Had to go back and zoom in.
  • 4 0
 Christophe Laue's photo is upside-down!
  • 1 1
 @SJP: That is because he is shooting through a mirror
  • 4 0
 In 2014 Bruno Long had a Bike Mag cover in a similar style, with raindrops in a spider's web. That was a crazy shot as well.
  • 5 4
 Just take a piece of glass spray it with water. Put a picture upside down behind the glass at desired distance to fit the whole shot in the droplets. It's a pretty easy trick really.
  • 1 0
 I didn't see the image in the droplets when I was scrolling through the other day. Seeing it on my desktop now makes me want to change my vote.
  • 37 3
 laue's water droplets photo is insane, this is going to be a hard POY
  • 94 3
 Creative for sure. I don't actually like it as a picture though if I'm honest.
  • 18 1
 @el-nombre: at first i picked the other picture, then i really looked at laue's and it's art. the little rider is so crystal clear in those droplets it's amazing. photography for me is making someone look twice and think, how did they do that? that is the picture that is exactly that for me. ALTHOUGH, i don't know if it's a POY for mountain biking compared to some of the others.
  • 10 0
 I'm tired of the POY looking the same, I'd have no problem with this one getting it.
  • 8 0
 @crysvb: unfortunately, a lot of people like me are on going to be voting on their phones and not notice how awesome the photo is. I'm glad I read your comment otherwise I would have missed that gem of a shot!
  • 3 0
 @hcaz: Yes I was also wondering how the type of device used to view the photos would impact how people vote. Don't let the phone party Steal the Vote!
  • 2 0
 @hcaz: same here, I looked first on my phone, then used my computer, then read the comments before I realized something was going on and to zoom in. That photo is super creative or lucky.
  • 3 0
 If you like Laue’s droplets check out today’s post JB Liautard’s instagram.
  • 2 0
 If looking on your phone, zoom in!
  • 1 0
 Incredible pic on a 36" monitor, maybe not so good on a small IPhone.
  • 2 0
 Spray Rain-X on a windshield or a piece of glass to make the water droplets big. Then focus on the droplet with a macro lens. Then get the timing right Smile
  • 2 0
 It’s a photo of a photo
  • 27 1
 Every year: horrible format. Always weaker pictures making it too far and othet amazing ones leaving too soon. Each round should be voting for the best "half" of the entries. Rant over. Amazing images!!!
  • 10 1
 Actually, I don’t see the problem. The best picture wins.

There might be a picture here and there, that would have made it to the second round against easier competition, but gets eliminated in the first, because it is pitted against a top shot - but so what?
  • 2 1
 @FuzzyL: this is some serious logic that most of us don't live with. Kudos
  • 3 0
 @FuzzyL: Best wins, yes, but what about the other three prizes? If the grouping pitted the four best photos against each other in the first two rounds, only one of them makes it to the semi-finals. The other three in the semis come from weaker groups (and could/would have been knocked out by those that were eliminated earlier than they deserved).
  • 2 2
 @azureblue: It’s like every other elimination format... Football World Cup, etc...

Yes, theoretically the second best photo could be eliminated in round 1. But I didn’t see a picture take a price here in the last few years that didn’t fully deserve it.
  • 25 1
 also, ross bell has a BANGER
  • 6 1
 That's my top choice.
  • 4 0
 yah, the energy in it is awesome!
  • 3 0
 Yes, his shot jumped out at me as the front runner.
  • 4 0
 100%, one of the few pics that the bike is relevant & central to. also steeze. had a hard time telling the others apart.
  • 1 0
 100%, can't stop looking at that
  • 16 2
 Too bad Scott Meager and Trumpore are going against each other in the first round, I could see both of those shots in the final rounds. Luck of the draw aside, what an amazing bunch of images. Makes me want to grab my bike and go ride.
  • 10 0
 odd, neither of those stood out to me. I guess that why we all get to vote. so many amazing choices.
  • 1 0
 As an update both those have now been eliminated.
  • 14 0
 Unreal! Beyond stoked to be included in this list, even 'just' to get through to the final 32 is mindblowing to me haha. Good luck to everyone involved!
  • 3 0
 Great photo Tom
  • 1 0
 @peytodog: Thank you dude!
  • 10 1
 I'm really not a fan of the photos with posed lighting behind the riders. I think working with natural light is so much more beautiful. Some really great shots in here!
  • 6 0
 Sick photos for sure, but a lot of the usual names as every year... I bet there would be more fresh faces if the audience had the final say on the nominations as opposed to the editors. That's not to take away from the big gun photogs' talent, they're household names for a reason. Just that it would be interesting to mix it up.
  • 7 2
 There's a reason it's the "usual names".... it's because those guys are the best MTB photographers on earth.
  • 5 0
 I don't know if any of the photographers put more or less effort in than any other year, but it seems more backcountry-ish this year. As years go by I appreciate photos of the type of riding I still have a hope of making happen, so high-fives to everyone who hiked their gear farther past the beaten path for some of these.

"Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" is going to be a polarizing one, can't wait.
  • 4 1
 Pandemic made for a year with no events. Bike parks were closed or restricted. Creativity was clearly through the roof as a result. It's awesome.
  • 1 0
 @entwistlephoto: So ridiculous that I didn't think of the Covid Factor. Sigh.
  • 6 0
 All of them. All of them are the best.

Can we do double elimination? Some of these could probably go 1-2 if they weren't pitted against each other.
  • 4 0
 Can we please get a way to download high res versions of these photos? So many amazing shots by photographers who could make a bundle off their work being featured if there was some kind of download link where we could pay a small fee for a high res image. Obviously no usage rights but for personal use only would be pretty rad and a great way for the finalists to make some money win or lose.
  • 2 0
 www.pinkbike.com/forum/listcomments/?threadid=129420

Agreed about kicking into some of these guys as their photos are fantastic. Lots of them have their own websites and Instagram pages with great work.
  • 3 0
 @brianpark As much as I love these shots and respect all the photographers who submitted this year, I found the previous step of the competition - nominations, useless. Having a format that requires two photos to match the script ruins it for me, fun to discover the criteria by the end of picking rather than informing upfront ????‍♂️ good luck to all photo squids, stay radical
  • 6 0
 Pretty incredible offerings this year, tough to choose.
  • 3 0
 So many good ones, some are great pieces of photography, some are really creative and some just make mountain biking look rad... I pick the ones that make mountain biking look rad.
  • 5 0
 ...and here I am coursing on the resolution of these photos.! 4K display isn't Pinkbike friendly.
  • 5 0
 JB Liautard and James Vincent's pics are a little too similar to previous winners. Loving Jan Cadosch's photo most.
  • 4 2
 All amazing shots, but IMO the hierarchy in almost all of the photos presents itself as a landscape shot foremost and then with a mountain biker in there somewhere, Pretty easy(for a photographer Smile to get a banger shot with a beautiful background and the right lighting.

I like seeing the mountain biker in the frame take more importance over the landscape. so anyways really feeling the energy in the Ross Bell shot and the creativity of Christophe Laue.
  • 5 1
 Well, I'm sure you already know all this, but photography is all about story telling. The photo that emerges is the story the photographer wanted or decided to tell, whether thats MTB shot or a reportage of a war scene. Yes, it is 'pretty easy' to get a great shot if you have a banger of a landscape on hand, but how the photographer frames that shot has a lot to play in how its received - ie, how its been framed, cropping out distracting elements, or choosing which elements to include and emphasise the emotion you want from the shot, deciding on long or wide lens and what each would sacrifice or reinforce, colour or B&W - these all change the feel of elements that build the final outcome. It's a lot to decide on at that moment you set up the shot - or maybe thats just me because I have a small brain.
Mountainbiking is such a huge genre now, that one audience's cover can be another persons B-roll. It is what it is.
  • 2 1
 @DanMilner: well said.
  • 2 1
 @DanMilner: yessir I get it the whole story telling thing. my beef is with the framing and hierarchy or the photos....Can still tell a bitchin' story, but put the rider at the forefront and keep the landscape on the peripheral. much harder to do IMO.

I wouldn't normally raise an eyebrow to it, but the fact that so many of the photos in this competition are using the same formula..."landscape with a rider in there somewhere" comes across as unoriginal not matter how beautiful and dramatic the landscape/lighting is. Guess id just like to see a bit more variety in the compositions.

end of the day...totally a personal preference thing, and everyone should tell their story how they want, just like geeking out a little bit trying to offer a different perspective -no pun intended haha.

Flame on, critics suck, I suck.....still all amazing photos though. good luck.
  • 3 0
 Picking one from this lot is going to involve a lot of angst. There's so much joy and creativity and skill on display...and that's only behind the camera!
  • 5 0
 I can't wait to be disappointed in a couple weeks
  • 3 0
 That Calvin Huth ,in the clouds looks like a demon with eyes looking at the camera and sticking is tongue out (or maybe it’s just my vision),congrats to all
  • 6 2
 Jay french just pissed all over this competition. Calling his the winner now
  • 3 0
 some amazing photos in there... also some amazing photo editing skills. Ian Collins photo just looks raw and real. I'm digging that one.
  • 1 0
 Thanks! Much appreciated.
  • 3 0
 Mark Mackay for the win, such a beauty of a human. Take a peek at how his photo came to be - www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTwo-MJPCIU
  • 2 0
 I found my voting was slightly biased towards local shots/photographers. Would you guys consider taking the location off the voting page? I can’t imagine I’m the only one with this bias
  • 3 0
 A very male dominated field. Haven‘t checked all names and photographer profiles but am I right that there‘s no entry from a female photographer?
  • 2 0
 Absolutely blown away to have made the cut, there are some incredible images in this comp. Even if I don’t make it to the next round I’ll be happy to have made it this far!
  • 4 0
 Lot's of great photos here!
  • 4 0
 Some awesome work here! Great work to all who made the cut.
  • 4 0
 Wow spectacular photos! Way better than last year's.
  • 4 0
 Some tough choices in the voting.
  • 2 0
 There's so many bangers there. But the first one, for some reason feels like the best (to me). So many amazing, and beautiful photos. Damn Big Grin \m/
  • 4 0
 Woah. What an honour to be in the mix. This is an insane lineup of images.
  • 4 0
 Silhouette of rider in a bright spotlight is the new roost.
  • 1 1
 Here's my take. Liautard gold simply amazing shot! RB is close second, tells a bad ass story gets me pumped maybe gold too. The scrub is nasty, but less than meh pic. Third is obviously Lyden backlit roost, because it's a roost!
  • 3 0
 Amazing set of photographs from ALL of the photographers, this is going to be a tough one to vote on.
  • 3 0
 James Vincent's for the win. Amazing ???????? @jimijazz
  • 3 0
 inspiration right here! big respect to all of you guys!
  • 3 0
 Luke Jarmey, Banger shot that!!!
  • 2 0
 Cheers Graham! Samoens has some cool spots eh!
  • 1 0
 +1
I want to be there,now
  • 3 0
 Hard to choose, they're all sooo good!
  • 2 0
 Photos of the only two types of biking: adventure and enduro. Just the way I like em
  • 3 0
 Sterling Lorence gets me stoked every time.
  • 2 0
 best photos are always against each other in the first round, wtf, every year
  • 3 0
 Either, Jay French or Ian Collins to take the win. Bet you a bike.
  • 1 0
 Thanks! Jay’s shot is super sick. Personally I think Toby and Calvin have the best shots.
  • 3 1
 You shouldn't be allowed to vote if you are only viewing these pics from a cell phone screen. Desktop or nothing
  • 2 1
 Amazing set of photos as always, but just a touch too much "blurry foreground crap" in many of these for my liking (not that I can take a good picture to save my life)
  • 1 0
 I had the same feeling
  • 2 0
 Congrats to everyone who got selected! The level of photog is insane. Hard to pick a winner
  • 3 0
 Sterling always comes in with bangers. This was no exception
  • 3 0
 Do yourselves a favour. Dont view these in phone. See em big
  • 1 0
 So many ridiculous photos. But that one by Jan Cadosch seized me immediately. The saturation may be worked a bit, but damn.... I kept going back to look at it.
  • 3 0
 Not a bad picture in the bunch. They all win in my books.
  • 1 0
 A chance at winning a $200 Jenson gift card ? Let’s hope another company is filling the order because if it’s Jenson you may never see it.
  • 1 0
 The Nathan Hughes photo is possibly the winner for me.There are a few that are a very close second.
  • 2 0
 That was the hardest thing I've done all day.
  • 2 1
 No one?

"Not enough __________ this year. Last year was better. __________ photo was insane!"
  • 1 0
 They are all fantastic!. Loved seeing the Matterhorn in the background. What an icon!
  • 3 2
 There's plenty of great shots here, but it'd be great to see folks rally around Colin and get him the W and some cash.
  • 3 1
 Also, I'll stick my neck out first:

__________ got robbed!
  • 3 0
 holy shit
  • 1 0
 Are these all new? I swear a few of these were in last year's contest as well
  • 3 0
 There some tough choices
  • 3 0
 Jan Cadosch - FTW!
  • 2 0
 Jesus! They’re all keepers.
  • 1 0
 If there is a “photo fail of the year” contest, I have the skills to enter.
  • 1 0
 lots of good landscape pics, not a lot of biking... Ross Bell FTW, but Sterling showing why he's the GOAT.
  • 2 0
 Great photos as usual! Makes it hard to decide !
  • 1 0
 where's the picture with the rock climber?. Thought that would be an option for sure.
  • 1 0
 is there a way to get these in full resolution?
  • 8 0
 Buy them from the photographer
  • 3 1
 Clint Trahan got robbed.
  • 1 0
 So many good photos. Also so many from BC!
  • 2 0
 Heavy Hitters
  • 1 1
 Where's the bike? Wheres the bike? Wheres the.... OH there it is!
An
Not enough B&W
  • 1 0
 i'm going with Mark McKay, the first photo .
  • 2 0
 Ross bell scrub
  • 1 0
 John Entwistle!! Shout out to The Who.
  • 1 1
 only the pic by Laue is outstanding in my eyes. The rest was already seen before and will be seen 1000 times in the future.
  • 1 3
 I'm quite bored. Is this photo competition about landscape or about biking?? There's really just a few to choose from. Harooks is nice, Chris Laue is funny.
  • 1 2
 Didn’t they used to give the photographer credit?
  • 2 0
 No, cash.
  • 6 9
 C'mon PB...

Where are the women?

Doenst pass the smell test...
  • 8 0
 Colin Meagher's photo is of me and I'm a female. Of course he is my husband so I am biased, but I always respect the fact that he tries really hard to shoot women even though it never paid the bills quite the same as the steezy pro men.
  • 1 0
 @nkrohan: leaders lead.
  • 3 1
 Smells like a male dominated industry. Apparently as a female you have to date your way into it.
  • 3 1
 @chrisclarkwhistler1: The industry could definitely go a long way to embracing some diversity of voices and content creators to be more reflective of our community.
  • 2 1
 My thought as well, super disappointing to see only one female rider and no female photographers.
  • 1 0
 @nkrohan: it's a rad pic that.
  • 1 4
 Trumpore for the win!
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