Each image I considered was already picked as a “winner” by the local walk leaders…
…from nearly 1,000 walks all around the world. You just can’t imagine how hard it is to narrow it down to just 10 finalists and one Grand Prize winner, but that’s what I’ve done today, and I’m tickled to present to you this year’s finalists and Grand Prize, winners.

Note: If you want to learn more about the judging process, scroll to the bottom of this post, but since right now everybody just wants to know who won, here goes:

This year’s Top 10 Finalists (in no particular order):

By Tom Van Rozendaal (Apeldoorn, Nederland)
This is just so beautiful — it looks like a painting. The colors work so well together and that little drop of water on the left adds that little something that takes it over the top. Just lovely.

By Axel Marinkovic (Metropolitana, Chile)
Now, this is just a really cool shot! Such an interesting subject – great color – great texture – really great lighting –  and that one missing side of the glass is just so intriguing. I love shots that make me want to know more about the subject – where it was taken – why is he wearing those goggles in the first place? I love it!

By Ann Behnke (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada)
Hats off to their walk leader for picking such a wonderful route that it went past this waterfall, but once there, the photographer did a wonderful job with this shot. The composition is spot on, with a wonderful low perspective and interesting foreground color and just enough long exposure. Very nicely done – makes me want to go there.

By Rick Williams (Tucson, Arizona, USA)
It’s hard to get a great shot of a wild animal during a walk, but this is so sharp, clean and arresting. Even though the shot is very crisp, it has a softness and approachability about it that I love. Great shot!

By Jose Tan Jr. (Silay City, Philippines)
The color and composition are just spot on here. Having the two little girls for scale is really key, but the color of their outfits add to the scene as does their gesture. This is a really nicely composed shot from top to bottom. Nice work.

By Ruben Trindade (Sintra, Portugal)
This is one I kept coming back to again and again, and I’m not usually a fan of the “framed” effect, but the tones and lighting and color here are so strong that I couldn’t let it go. There’s a lot of depth to this photo, which is saying something for something so simple.

By Jens Franke (Munich, Germany)
This is just such an interesting photo – really a great eye on the photographer that captured this, and since it’s a monochrome shot, there’s no leaning on color – this is pre-composition and timing, and it makes me want to know more. Really nicely done.

 

 

 

By Andrew Newman (Lambeth, England)
I know they’re not breaking new ground here, and I know a lot of new photographers practice doing techniques like this, but this doesn’t look like “student art” – the placement of the tourists here is so “on” that it makes the picture. The black and white treatment fits the image perfectly and it’s a great example of this technique done right.

By Arash Soleymani (Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province, Iran)
How can you not love that face? I just want to hug her, and the overhead perspective is just so perfect. Now add in her wonderful sense of color, and you’ve got a shot that takes the smile on her face and puts it on yours. I really, really like it for so many reasons.

 

By Saul Addison (Brooklyn, New York, USA)
This is another one of those shots that I just couldn’t let go of. I love the post processing treatment – it so fits the mood of the shot, and I love that the riders look so joyful – not scared – not screaming – just happy. There’s a timeless quality to this shot that I really love and while normally that fence in the foreground would be distracting to me, in this particular shot, somehow I think it adds something special. Nicely done.

And the GRAND PRIZE WINNER is…

By Oscar Cuevas (Valparaíso, Chile)
There is something very special about this shot. The simplicity of it is just wonderful, but so many things had to come together to make this shot work. The expression on the subject’s face and the lighting on him is just too perfect. The fact that there’s just enough of a clear spot on the glass to share this moment, and the subtle colors, and perfect composition – wow. This is what it looks like when it all comes together. This is a shot I would hang on the wall, and my hearty congratulations to the photographer – just beautifully crafted from start to finish. Three cheers.

How I do the judging
I look at every single winning image from all the walks around the world. I do find that the great shots jump right out at you, and I make those as picks to go back and look at again. I was able to get down to 118 shots after going through all of them. That’s a big cut, but a very long way from 10 finalists and one winner.

I try not to be swayed simply because an image was taken in an exotic location or somewhere I’ve never been or never seen — I wanted to pick a photo, simple composition or not, easy to capture or not, post-processed brilliantly or not — that is simply special. Maybe it’s the right light, expression or mood, or story or a combination — I search for whatever that certain something is that makes me come back to it again and again — and  I want to give every image fair and open-minded consideration.

What makes this process harder is that these are already curated. Each image was already judged and chosen as a “winner” by the local walk leaders, from nearly 1,000 walks. Narrowing it down — it’s just so hard, and you second and third-guess your choices along the way because you want to give every image a fair shake.

You could easily make a case for hundreds of images to be chosen as finalists, but you only get to choose 10, and one Grand Prize winner, and you finally just have to make a choice. It is literally one of the hardest things I do each year, but also one of the most rewarding because I get to see so many great images during the process. I hope that gives you a little insight into my judging process.

Even though this round of judging is over …
We still have our People’s Choice Award coming on Friday and the Leader’s Competition winner, and I always list my ‘Honorable Mentions’ (images that are so good that even though they didn’t win a prize, still deserve recognition). So, while this is the official announcement of the Top-10 Finalists and the Grand Prize winner, the competition phase still has a few more components left.

Thanks to Canon USA and all our sponsors
Special thanks to our Premier Sponsor, Canon USA, (who gave us some amazing Canon prizes) and to Adobe Systems, Peachpit Press, Tamron, and B&H Photo — thanks for all your support this year and for offering such awesome prizes to our winners. We are very grateful.

Thanks to our Walk Leaders
It’s a lot of work, and a thankless job, so let me be the first to say “thanks.” We couldn’t do any of this without our volunteer walk leaders around the world, who do such a great job of creating the walk; working with the walkers, and making the whole thing happen on the local level, and that means a lot.

My personal thanks to our own Jeanne Jilleba, who did an amazing job of keeping the communication flowing (amid a number of unexpected technical glitches) all while managing walks in nearly 1,000 cities. It’s a very challenging job (and she took a lot of slings and arrows throughout), but handled it all like a pro. Thank you, Jeanne — we are all indebted for all your hard work and dedication to making the photo walk a success.

Lastly, thanks to all the talented photographers from around the world
who created such inspiring, creative, and beautiful work, and special thanks to those of you who contributed to the Springs of Hope Orphanage in Kenya — it means more than you know.

More to come as we reveal more winners on Friday.

Best,

-Scott

Related Post

About The Author

Scott is the President of KelbyOne, an online educational community for Photographers, Photoshop and Lightroom users. He's editor and publisher of Photoshop User Magazine, Conference Technical Chair for the Photoshop World Conference, and the author of a string of bestselling Photoshop, Lightroom, and photography books.

Close