Picking just 10 finalists and one grand prize winner from more than 1,100 images is a tougher job than it sounds. Remember, each of the shots that I’m looking at have already been chosen as the “best shot” from each local walk around the world (that pick is made by each walk local walk leader). So, all I’m looking at is good shot after good shot — the cream of the crop — so at the end of the day what it really comes down to is which ones are my favorites — which ones would I hang on my own walls.

What makes it even tougher is that the scenes and subjects taken by walk photographers are so varied — there’s everything from landscapes to seascapes, cityscapes to children, architecture to still life and about everything in-between. But I’m not complaining — it’s really been fascinating and fun looking through so many amazing images from every corner of the globe. It’s a job I take seriously, but at the same time, it really is a treat.

I was up all night and at it again yesterday morning just narrowing the field down again and again and again. I finally got it down to 84 images I really, really liked but then I had to go over those again and again until I could finally get down to just these 11 images. Whew!!!!

I’m Posting Honorable Mentions Tomorrow
On Tuesday I’ll be posting some of the images that made up that first round of 84 — shots that didn’t win a prize, but were so good that I thought they should get a special mention nevertheless. Tomorrow I’ll also post a link to the “People Choice” page where you can vote for your favorite image to win the “People Choice Award.” 

OK, I won’t keep you waiting any longer; let’s get to the winners and we’ll talk in a few moments.

Here are the 10 finalists (in no particular order):

By Klienne Eco (Binmaley, ILocos Philippines Photo Walk)
This shot caught my attention right away — not just because of the fantastic colors and the bright burst of yellow setting sun — it’s the story that this image just hints of. It has a real cinematic look, almost like you’re looking at a set from the movie “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” and just want to know where this is, what that bus is all about (if it’s a bus at all), and was this taken after the “gas wars.” Very compelling. Note: To really appreciate this image, you have to click on it and see the larger version.

 

By Pranab Banerjee (Logan, Utah USA Photo Walk)
This has such an illustrated look, and I love that. The colors are wonderful, especially against that black background, but I think the thing that puts this image over the top is the post processing. Really nicely done. Not too much — it’s just right.

By Eds Euqui (Doha Ad Dawhah, Qatar Photo Walk)
I love the juxtaposition of old and new and it first look I figured it was Hong Kong, but then I didn’t recognize the buildings and the more I looked at it, the more I liked it (look at the buildings on the far right of the frame, you get a hint that it’s not in Asia). Great colors and composition, too!

By Mohammadmehdi Azarnoush (Isfahan, Esfahan, Iran Photo Walk)
What a wonderful, overhead view of a market. I love the colors, the post processing, the angle, and it just makes we want to be down there shopping myself. Very well done and clever framing as well. Nicely done.

By Allilie Carcasona (Butuan City, Caraga, Phillipines Photo Walk)
I love long exposure shots; make ‘em black and white and I love ‘em even more, and the starkness and simplicity of this shot really stood out to me. It’s moody, great composition and use of leading lines and just a very well put-together shot.

By Ken Bair (Elkhart, Indiana USA Photo Walk)
I klove how this froze a moment in time that seems so matter-of-fact at first glance, but there’s a lot more going on here that you see at first glance. First, look at the colors (or lack there of). The white walls, the bright bare florescent lights the white floor, and most everything else is black. It’s almost a monochrome shot but for these little things of color — the blue coverup, the washed out image on the TV; the barber’s jeans, the wooden stool. It all makes for an interesting shot in the midst of something very ordinary. I dig it.

By Ben Freer (Winchester, United Kingdom Photo Walk)
I kept coming back to this image. The shallow depth of field is wonderful and the expressions on the people’s faces on the left versus the right is just very compelling. I really want to know what’s going on here, and I love the atmosphere and snow (rain?) that has pulled them all together under this archway. It’s simple, yet powerful. Very nice.

By Everts Aliredjo (Paramaribo, Par’bo Suriname Photo Walk)
What a wonderful portrait — just a straight up great face, great expression, great composition and appropriate post processing. The whole image just works and makes you feel you know a little about the subject, whose eyes have a real peace about them and kindness. Nice job!

By Mhellan Narciso (Kawit, Calabarzon, Phillipines Photo Walk)
There is a joy to this image that makes you smile right away, but once you get past the wonderful smiles of the children, you realize, this is a really well-composed shot with great color, energy, and post processing. I also love the way the pole cut diagonally right across the image. Very clever composition .

 

By Johan Conradson (Oslo, Oslo Norway Photo Walk)
Two things really make this image for me: The movement (courtesy of the slow shutter speed) and the way the colors work so beautifully together. I love the way the bottom of the photo just kind of blurs into nothingness — is she on the street, in a mall, on concrete, in a snow drift — it begs more questions than it answers and I love it.

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AND THE GRAND PRIZE WINNING IMAGE IS:

By Lars Anshelm (Lunde, Skane Lan Sverige [Sweden] Photo Walk)
This is my all-around favorite, and Grand Prize winner, because I simply fell in love with it. I could point to how the texture, color. lighting and composition are just absolutely spot on, but what I love is that I want to know more about this image. I want to see what’s behind that door, and what’s in the backpack on the ground, and who the woman is (she’s a total mystery obscured by the umbrella) and what she’d doing there in the first place.The shot is moody and interesting, and I love the way the backpack on her shoulder stands out among all the muted colors. I could make a great case for any of these finalists to have been the Grand Prize Winner, but for some reason I just kept coming back to this one. Also, the post-processing is just right. I love, love, love this shot and wish I had taken it. My congratulations to Lars for capturing this gem.

Thanks Everybody!!
A special thanks to all our sponsors for their gracious support and prizes; to our Walk Leaders who did such an outstanding job once again of giving of their time and talents to make their local walks happen, and to the wonderful photographers from around the world who created such inspiring, creative, and beautiful work.

NOTE: Don’t forget: Although this phase is over, we still have the People’s Choice Award to pick, and a special competition for your Walk Leaders and tomorrow I’m posting a series of other images that, while they didn’t win a prize, are so good that I felt that needed special recognition. So check back tomorrow to see some other amazing shots from my Fifth Annual World Wide Photo Walk.

Have a great weekend everybody, and congrats to this years winners!