Posts By Scott Kelby

Welcome to my “13th annual Holiday Gear Guide.”

To be listed here, the gifts have to be: (1) products that I use myself, and that I absolutely love, and now can’t live without (well, I could live without them, but I just wouldn’t want to); and (2) if a product makes the guide, it has to be one I’d recommend to a close friend without hesitation, especially if my friend was loose with money.

Also, to make things easy, we added direct links to all the products I picked so you don’t have to wonder if you’re getting the exact right one. (Note: Depending on the product, clicking on the links below will take you to the manufacturer’s website; if the product is available at B&H Photo or Amazon, then clicking on the link will take you to those websites.)

As is my sacred Gonzo tradition for more than a tenth of a century, I’m breaking things into three distinct categories:

  • Stocking Stuffers: But you can use these as actual holiday gifts if you’re not that crazy about the person.
  • Great Value Gear: Stuff that’s a really good deal for the money, and even though it’s not a lot of money, they’ll still totally dig it.
  • Cha-ching: Stuff you buy for the Berkshire CEO or Russian oligarch on your holiday gift list. This is the stuff that makes them burst into spontaneous tears of joy. Well, at least I would.

So, without further ado, I present to you my “13th Annual Gonzo Holiday Gift Guide of Love (of love?).”

STOCKING STUFFERS

 

Powerextra Dual Battery Charger for Canon, Nikon, and Sony DSLR Cameras

Erik Kuna turned me on to this puppy, and I have to say it’s awesome and has worked like a charm. It charges two regular-sized Canon, Nikon, or Sony camera batteries simultaneously; it connects to USB; it’s super small (since it charges the batteries upright rather than on their side) so it takes up less room in your camera bag; and it’s very lightweight. And not only that, each charger comes with two Powerextra replacement batteries (for the camera brands listed above and more)! I’ve used these batteries extensively, and I can’t tell one bit of difference between the brand name ones that cost 5x as much. The person you give this to will think you spent a bunch, so extra love points for you.

Price: It’s a ridiculous deal starting at around $27

Canon: $26.99 (link)

Nikon: $31.99 (link)

Sony: $55.99 (link)

 

New Think Tank Photo Emergency Rain Covers

These brand-new, very compact, lightweight rain covers are an amazing deal for the money. They fit easily in your camera bag but can be a lifesaver if you get caught out in the elements (or the photographer on your holiday list sometimes wants to shoot in inclement weather). They’ll super dig these new easy-to-use, quick-to-deploy covers from the same people who make the Hydrophobia line of professional-level rain covers.

Price: They come in two sizes

Medium (fits up to a 70–200mm lens): $39.75 (link)

Small (fits up to a 24–70mm lens): $34.75 (link)

 

Awesome Custom Business Cards for Photographers from MOO

Okay, there are two ways you can go on this one (gift card or Plan B), but MOO cards are a favorite with photographers around the world, mainly because they’ll let you print a different image on every card (or you can have the same image on all the cards, five images that repeat in a stack of 50—you get the idea). Anyway, if you can get hold of, say, 10 of their images at high-res, you could get them a set of 50 cards with their images on one side (you’d get 10 cards each of each image), and their contact info and stuff on the other side. You’ll be a superstar for getting either the gift card, or being sneaky and doing the work yourself. This is a can’t-miss stocking stuffer.

Price: 50 cards starting at $19.99 (link)

 

Rick Sammon’s Wonderful Book, The Route 66 Photo Road Trip: How to Eat, Stay, Play, and Shoot Like a Pro

This isn’t a tutorial book (though Rick does have a few tutorials in there); it’s a really fun road trip book where you can enjoy the images, Rick’s great stories, road trip tips, and the experience of getting your kicks on Route 66. It’s just a really awesome read and would make a wonderful stocking stuffer.

Price: $13.36 at Amazon (link)

 

Indigo Marble Protective Camera Wrap

I use one of these when I don’t want to take a camera bag with me, or I want to take a small camera bag just big enough for a lens or two. I fold it around my camera body and put it in my carry-on luggage. It comes in two sizes: 15″ and 19″ (I use the larger one).

Price: Starting at $50.78 (link)

 

Spider Camera Holster SpiderPro Hand Strap

I’ve never been a big fan of camera hand straps—until now. The SpiderPro Hand strap has a great design, is very secure, and most importantly—a comfortable feel in your hand. Plus, an extra five points because it just looks cool when you’re holding your camera with it on. The photographer on your list will dig it.

Price: $65 (link)

 

Haida 10-Stop Slim PRO II Screw-On MC Neutral Density (ND) 3.0 Filter

I’ve been using Haida’s filter holder system for about two years now, and for the quality and price, I don’t think you can beat ’em, but if you’re an on-the-go travel photographer, you’ll probably find it more convenient to use a simple screw-on ND filter than using their bracket system. For my recent trip to Austria and Germany, I bought this Slim PROII (77mm to fit my lenses), and I was tickled at how well it works. Best thing about the Haida ND filters? They don’t mess with your image’s color. It’s a killer deal for $62.10, well, for the 77mm size. Your price may be lower for smaller-sized lenses, or higher for bigger lenses (but 77mm is probably as big a lens as the photographer on your list will have).

Price: $62.10 for the 77mm (link)

 

Platypod Ultra

This is the Platypod Ultra’s second year on the list, and while this thing was blowing up last year, this year it’s vying for the hottest photography accessory on the planet. It’s a tripod replacement (that doesn’t need legs), it’s super-lightweight (3.2 oz.), and fits in your pocket. You screw a small ballhead onto it, and it holds your camera steady as a rock so you can place it where tripods either aren’t allowed (which sadly is pretty much everywhere these days) or where they can’t fit. Everybody wants a Platypod Ultra.

Price: $59; Splurge a little and get them the bundle with the Multi Accessory Kit for $79 (it’s awesome) (link)


GREAT VALUE GEAR

 

 

Think Tank Photo Airport Roller Derby

I love this camera bag on a level that’s, well, unhealthy (let’s just leave it at that). Yes, it holds a ridiculous amount of stuff; there’s a pocket for everything (including your laptop and your iPad); a built-in cable lock so it doesn’t wander off; a tripod holder; and I could go on and on, but what’s ridiculously awesome is simply its four wheels. I can literally roll it through the airport using nothing but my pinky. If I push too hard, it rolls ahead of me. If the photographer on your gift list is tired of dragging a heavy rolling bag behind them, this one will glide right beside them. Get them this one; they’ll be your friend for life.

Price: $399.75 (link)

 

B&H Gift Card

This is always the perfect gift because B&H Photo is the greatest camera store in the world, and whatever the photographer on your gift list wants, B&H will have it in stock and ready to ship. They’re the magical unicorn of camera stores. Get your photographer a gift card from here, and they’ll follow you anywhere.

Price: Starting at $25 (link)

 

Westcott Rapid Box Switch Octa-L 48″ Softbox (Large)

If your giftee uses both flash and strobes, or they use different brands of strobes, they don’t have to keep switching softboxes every time they change lights. Westcott made a new set of softboxes that let you use the same softbox for flash or strobes, or different brands of strobes, by just changing the adapter at the end of the softbox. It’s really pretty brilliant (can’t believe somebody didn’t think of this before); but what makes this really awesome are the Rapid Boxes themselves. I love, love, love them (they’re so fast and easy to set up—like 60 seconds from start to finish), and I’ve been hooked on them since the first time I used one. This new “Switch” makes ’em that much better, and the price for such a nice big octa is hard to beat.

Price: $289.90 (link)

 

Gravity Backdrops

These beautifully hand-painted backdrops are turning the industry on its ear because they’re priced so far below their competitors, and their quality is spot-on. I have four of these now, and I’m using them so often, I don’t want to shoot on anything else. These are giving photographers access to a level of backdrops that were once out of reach for so many people; you can now buy these backdrops at around the same price we used to rent them just for the weekend. They’ll even custom-make whatever you want, without the crazy price. Can’t recommend these enough (and you’ll be a hero to the photographer on your gift list).

Price: Based on size, but figure around $350 or so (link)

 

WD 250GB My Passport Wireless SSD External Portable Drive with Built-In Wi-Fi

This one is for backing up your images on the road when you don’t have your laptop with you. You just plug your SD card right into the unit itself (it has its own built-in card reader) and it uploads your images (it does a smart upload, only uploading new photos that aren’t already on the drive). What’s nice is that once your images are on the drive, you can transfer ones you want to edit right to your phone or tablet using its built-in Wi-Fi (you don’t need an internet connection—it makes its own private network). It’s surprisingly easy to use, and a great solution for photographers who want a mobile editing and backup strategy for their DSLR or mirrorless images. I used mine on my last trip, and now it’s part of my workflow.

Price: $191.99 for 250GB (link)

Note: There are 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB options but they’re priced too high—stick with this one.

 

A Fine Art or Xpozer Print from Bay Photo

Go with either Bay Photo’s Xpozer system (the same system we use in The Gallery at KelbyOne) or go ahead and get a Fine Art, mounted print. Either way, if you get a gift card for the photographer on your list, make the amount so they can get one of their images printed large, or if you’re giving one of your own prints as a gift, go large—you can’t go wrong. Prints have a real value, well beyond their cost, and the impact they have is remarkable. Want to give somebody a really memorable gift that’s more than just a product? This is it (and you can do it without breaking the bank).

Price:

24×36″ Print with Xpozer System: $99 (link)

24×36″ Fine Art Print w/Gatorfoam: $153.20 (link)


CHA-CHING

 

Tamron SP 15–30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Lens

I took this ultra-wide lens with me on my last trip and I was super impressed. It’s a killer lens at a killer price. Sharp, crisp, great Vibration Compensation (VC), and a big improvement over its already popular predecessor. Give this to someone you love (or somebody you want to love).

Price: $1,299

For Canon (link)

For Nikon (link)

 

DJI Mavic Air Fly More Combo

It’s so small, so portable, so easy to fly, and takes such great photos and videos. They’ll lose their mind when they unwrap this one. Everybody wants a drone, and this one is probably the best deal, dollar for dollar, feature for feature, and while there are other drone makers out there, everybody wants a DJI. After giving this as a gift, you won’t be able to get rid of them.

Price: $899.99 for the Fly More Combo (it’s what you want to get them); $699.99 for the DJI Mavic Air by itself  (link)

 

The weekender Camera Bag from compagnon

This is an absolutely beautifully crafted all-leather camera bag from Germany, and it’s really something to behold. It just screams luxury, and while it’s not inexpensive, it looks like it would cost a lot more than it does. What I love about it is that it’s large enough that you can use it for a weekend trip where your clothes and your camera are in the same bag. Very well designed; it’ll fit in the overhead, and the leather is just so luscious! Give it to somebody you really want to impress. Note: There’s a smaller version called “the little weekender” that’s small and less expensive, too.

Price: $675 (link)

 

Canon EOS R Mirrorless Camera Body

I had this camera for a full month, and really put it through its paces—from the American West to Rome to Hawaii to Austria—and I fell in love with it. When I had to return it to Canon, it broke my heart (and now I’m trying to get Canon to sell me that loaner). I don’t know what DSLR your Canon-shooting gift-lister has, but they’ll sure love this one (and there’s a lot to love!).

Price: $2,299 (link)

 

TACS Automatic Vintage Lens II Camera-Inspired Watch

This one is a little pricier, but it’s actually a great value for what you’re getting (and for the right person, it will be priceless). This camera-inspired watch is just brilliant. My daughter saw the beautiful wooden box the watch comes in sitting on my desk and couldn’t resist opening it. She saw the watch and said, “Oh my gosh, it looks like a camera.” The beautifully crafted timepiece is more gorgeous in real life than it appears in the pictures, and the back of the watch is almost as stunning as the front. Beautifully designed from top to bottom. It will put the biggest smile on your photographer’s face, and the presentation in the wooden box, coupled with the craftsmanship of the watch itself will make them think you spent a fortune.

Price: $550 (link)

 

Profoto B1 X 500 AirTTL Portable Off-Camera Flash

This is the latest version of a strobe that created its own genre of portable studio lights. It’s a battery-powered strobe without the power pack (the battery is built right in to the unit itself). The quality of Profoto lights is legendary, and once I started using Profoto gear, I totally got what all the fuss is about and why all the top pros are using their gear. If you give somebody this gift, they’ll follow you around like a puppy for the rest of your life, so be very choosy to whom you give this.

Price: $2,095 (link)

 

STUFF FROM US

My Latest Lightroom Books

I have two different books for two different levels of Lightroom users. If the photographers on your wish list are fairly new to Lightroom and want to learn it from the ground up, then get them my The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC Book for Digital Photographers. It’s the bestselling Lightroom book ever. If they’ve been using Lightroom for a while now and they want a reference they can go to quickly to find out how to do whatever it is they’re trying to do right now, then get them my How Do I Do That In Lightroom Classic? book. The first edition was reprinted seven times, and this is the latest edition based on the new version of Lightroom, so they’ll find it really helpful.

Price:

The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC Book for Digital Photographers: $33.99 (link)

How Do I Do That In Lightroom Classic?: $13.99 (link)

 

Photoshop World Conference 2019 Gift Certificate

Want to blow their minds and give them an experience they’ll be talking about for years? Give the photographer on your gift list a Full Conference Pass to the three-day Photoshop World Conference 2019, early next summer in Orlando, Florida, or late summer in Las Vegas at the Mirage in Las Vegas. Get the pass now and get the Early-Bird special, and they’ll save an extra $100 if they’re a KelbyOne Pro member. You’ll make a true friend for life—maybe longer.

Price: Early-Bird KelbyOne Pro Member: $599 (link)

 

A One-Year KelbyOne Pro Membership

You’ve heard again and again (or maybe you’re already a member and you know firsthand) about all the incredible online courses, the magazines, the online community, the Webcasts, and the discounts, and now you can share all that with a photographer you super dig. It’s only $199 for a full year, with full access to everything! They’ll devote the rest of their natural life to letting you know how thoughtful, caring, and generous you were to change their life in such a meaningful way. Okay, that’s perhaps a best-case scenario, but I will tell you that I think they’ll love you (and so will I).

Price: $199 (link)

A One-Year KelbyOne Plus Membership

If they love online training, we have a special membership level that just focuses on the online classes themselves, and it goes for just $9.99 a month. Give ’em a 12-month membership and they’ll love you all year.

Price: $9.99/month (link)


Well, there ya have it folks. Remember, it’s not how many gifts you get. It’s about how many gifts you get me! ;-)

Happy Holidays!

-Scott

marine1

Today is Veterans Day in the US, and I wanted to take a moment to honor and thank the men and women who have served in our country’s military, and who fought to defend the very freedoms we enjoy each day.

America owes you a debt of gratitude for your service and sacrifice, and I just wanted to join in…

Here’s wishing you all a great week. :)

Best,

-Scott

The Walk Leader competition is always one of the hardest to judge
This year, especially so. There are so many great entries from so many talented leaders, and it made my job as tough as ever. Maybe the hardest yet.

Although there’s only one winner, I felt there were some images that were so good that even though they didn’t win a prize, they still deserved to be recognized, so I’m displaying my “Honorable Mentions” first, then we’ll reveal our winner.

I present our 10 Walk Leader Competition Honorable Mentions (in no particular order):

Leader / Photographer: Pat Byme
Photo Walk: Meath, Ireland

Leader / Photographer: Cromwell
Photo Walk: Lapu City, Cebu, Phillipines

Leader / Photographer: Shea Williams
Photo Walk: Cordova, Tennessee

Leader / Photographer: Ramin Rah
Photo Walk: Jahrom, Fars, Iran

Leader / Photographer: Don Reid 
Photo Walk: Lohja, Finland

Leader / Photographer: Olan Valenzuela
Photo Walk: Shenzhen City, Guangdong, China

 

Leader / Photographer: Fatemeh Mardani
Photo Walk: Mashad, Iran

Leader / Photographer: Judith Barat
Photo Walk: Santa Barbara, California, USA

Leader / Photographer: Zarhang
Photo Walk: Shiraz, Iran

Leader / Photographer: Leesa Oliver
Photo Walk: Sulphur Springs, Texas, USA


Now, presenting the 2018 Official Walk Leader Competition Winner:

Leader / Photographer: Libin KP
Photo Walk: Muscat, Oman

My Comments: This image is really compelling. I love the light — the color shadows on the floor; the angle of the composition, and the post-processing. It all just comes together to create a really beautiful image — one that makes you want to see that wall of color for yourself. Really nicely done, beautifully composed, and just an awesome shot all the way around.

As Walk Leader Competition Winner, KP will receive a Canon EOS M5 Mirrorless Camera, with an EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Kit; a Canon Pixma Pro 10 Printer; a $250 B&H Photo Gift Card; a ThinkTank Photo StreetWalker Harddrive Backpack; a $100 Westcott Gift Certificate; a Platypod Ultra with Multi Accessory Kit; 1 full year of the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan; and 1 full year of KelbyOne Pro membership for winning this year’s Leader Competition.

Congratulations to all the Photo Walk Leaders Competition honorable Mentions and our Winner!

This would wrap up this year’s Worldwide Photo Walk, but we’re well short of our goal for raising money for the orphanage, so we’re going to talk about that a little more next week and see if we can’t get some last-minute donations to help the orphanage. :)

All my best,

-Scott

Last Friday I announced the Grand Prize Winner and then prize-winning finalists from this year’s Worldwide Photo Walk, but there are some other images that, while they didn’t wind up winning a prize, were still so good that I thought they needed some special recognition, so I wanted to share some of these images in an “Honorable Mentions” post here to celebrate these images which are so good they deserve to be recognized.

Note: You could make a case for any of these to have been chosen as a finalist (in fact, all of these images were in the running and on my short list at one point which gives you an idea of how hard it is making the final decisions. There are just so many wonderful images again this year).

Congratulations to all these photographers below who created such wonderful images; all within a short time span, in a location they didn’t choose, at a time they didn’t choose, on a route they didn’t choose, while navigating their way through a group of other photographers in the same location. That’s a tough thing a do, and another reason why these images taken during the walk are officially receiving an Honorable Mention:

Warrington, Whitesbog Village, USA
Photo By: Ashwin Chathuruthy
My Comment: This is so serene, but beyond that — the color is just spot on. The warm tones, with the red paddles, and the nice post processing — they all come together in this shot. 

Singapore
Photo By: Liew-Tong-Leng
My Comment: I love the expression (of course), but the fact that they’re on that floor creates a scene that would be home in the movies (even an animated one). Just lovely. 

Philippines
Photo By: Justin Ambrosio
My Comment: When your photo walk is very early in the morning, you get the opportunity for beautiful skies, and then you put a clear subject (very necessary for a silhouette) and you come away with a really nice shot. 

Fasa, Iran
Photo By: Mehdi Kazemi Boomeh
My Comment: I love the composition here, with the children way off to the side, but the ball in mid-air is the icing on the top of this wonderful shot. Nicely done (and a great eye for composition).

Shahid Zangeneh, Iran
Photo By: Reza Zangeneh
My Comment: I know — we’ve seen this type of shot each year in the Photo Walk, but there’s a reason we keep seeing these types of shots — they’re interesting. Nice black and white conversion here, too.

Worcester, USA
Photo By: Ben Woodbury
My Comment: This was one of my favorites and just narrowly missed making the finals. It’s tough to make a still life like this intriguing, but there’s just something about this one. The texture, the color, that still swatch of yellow on the bucket. The color just all works so well here. I love it!

Hyattsville, Maryland, USA
Photo By: Will Taylor
My Comment: I love the symmetry of this image and the post-processing helps pull it over the top. Nice.

Mashhad, Iran
Photo By: Mehran Kariman
My Comment: This is some nice timing, and if only for a moment, it still creates the illusion that those are real shadows. Good eye and I imagine it looks a bit of patience and timing, too. 

Columbus, Ohio, USA
Photo By: Andrew Kimmel
My Comment: Great perspective, nice light, and nice post. Just nice. 

Seattle, Washington, USA
Photo By: Lindsay Umrysh
My Comments: It is really, really, challenging to make a fresh shot of a landmark that’s been “shot to death” but this photographer did it.  

Angono, Rizal, Philippines
Photo By: Kyle Francisco
My Comments: What a joyful shot (and the black and white treatment looks very appropriate here, too). 

Qum, Iran
Photo By: Pedrammosavi
My Comments: This is one of the most intriguing shots of the day — look at the different looks on the faces of the men here. It’s a documentary shot taken during a photo walk. wow. 

Cairo, Egypt
Photo By: Ahmed Abdelkader
My Comments: This one just puts a smile on your face. :)

Cebu City, Philippines
Photo By: Neil Caipang
My Comments: Great light and a great point of view through the vehicle. The black and white works so well here.  

Skrzyszów, Poland
Photo By: Damian Szewczyk
My Comments: She looks so determined. So purposeful. The black and white works so well. It’s cute or creepy, not sure which, but I do know this –  it belongs in this group. 

Seattle, Washington, USA
Photo By: Janet Conrad
My Comments: Great color, texture, and post-processing. I’m not generally a fan of the “rust” craze, but I sure do like this shot. 

Depto, Chile
Photo By: Natalia Cea
My Comments: The light really makes this one. Cool shot. 

Muscat, Oman
Photo By: Rajesh Kumar
My Comments: I love the color, the scale with our subject way down the hallway, and the overall composition, showing so much of the top of the image. 

Innsbruck, Austria
Photo By: Fernando Santos
My Comments: This was taken during the photo walk I hosted in Innsbruck, and I can tell you, I sure didn’t see this shot. Well done. 

Shiraz, Iran
Photo By: Zahra Dashtbashi
My Comments: What a great subject, and what great timing. The gesture takes it over the top. Really nicely done. 

Panchkula, India
Photo By: Viraj Mehta
My Comments: Come on…this is awesome!

Orlando, Florida USA
Photo By: Russ Weiderhold
My Comments: Her pose is just so right for this background. I like the post, too. Just a cool shot.  

Cerdanyola del Vallès, Spain
Photo By: Alfons Trigas
My Comments: This one looks like it was taken on a movie set. I love shots where you want to know the rest of the story and this is certainly one of those. Very cinematic. 

London, United Kingdom
Photo By: Andrew Newman
My Comments: This is such a clean shot — I love the ultra-wide composition and simplicity of it all. It looks like a commercial shot. Well done.

Pickering, Canada
Photo By: Geoffrey Inniss
My Comments: This isn’t an easy shot to get during a photo walk, but he nailed it. 

Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA
Photo By: Cindy Gaab
My Comments: I really enjoy shots where the subject is color, and you could say this one qualifies, but the patterns and symmetry help make this an even more interesting shot. 

Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA
Photo By: David Rizzico
My Comments: Blurry shots are tough to make look good because most of them look like an accident. This one doesn’t — it looks very intentional and very good. Nice job!

Well done!
My hearty congratulations to all these photographers on creating such wonderful images that they deserved special recognition here on the blog. We still have the winner of our Leaders Competition (lots of great shots — another tough one to judge)  to go. It’s such a treat getting to enjoy so many great images!

Hope you all have an awesome Monday!

All my best,

-Scott

The judging part keeps getting harder
Imagine trying to pick one winner…from nearly 1,000 walks all around the world, and every image you’re looking at has already won a contest just to be considered — each image is the winning image from a local photo walk. It’s so challenging and frustrating to narrow it down to just 10 finalists and one Grand Prize winner. There are so many images that deserve to be in this list, but narrowing things down is what I have to do today, and I’m delighted to present to you this year’s 10 finalists and our 2018 Grand Prize winner.

Note: If you want to learn more about the judging process, and how I came down to picking these images, scroll to the bottom of this post. 

Here are this year’s Top 10 Finalists (in no particular order):

By Janos Leo Andanar (Dapa, Philippines)
There is such joy in this image. Some of the children are aware of the photographer, but none of them are posing, and the backlighting is awesome, and the color is vibrant without being over the top — it just all came together for this shot. The photographer probably took dozens of shots of this scene, but the timing and position of the kids on top makes it a really special frame. Very well done.

By Marco Van Apeldoorn (Haarlem, The Netherlands)
It’s tough to make a really captivating shot of reflections on a car, but this photographer pulled it off big time! Great color and composition, and a really intriguing image. This would make a great desktop background image.

By Elousagun (Candon, Philippines)
This is just such a cool shot, and the outfit our subject is wearing just fits so perfectly into this scene. I loved it the moment I saw it. If I had taken this image, I already know what I would title it. “Top shelf!” Such a cool shot.

By Prapoport (São Paulo, Brazil)
This one should be used in college courses on composition. The placement of the subject in the frame, and the colors surrounding our subject, and the arrows on the ground and above our subject, and the way the buildings are leaning in from the fisheye lens — this is really a special image. Great, great eye!

By Alfie Narisma (Doha, Qatar – Pinoy Shooters Club)
This is just a really intriguing shot, and I’m not usually drawn to photos of people taking photos, but in this case, it just works. Also, I’m usually not of fan of the flat-looking post-processing that’s going on here, but it so perfectly suits the shot — it really helped take an interesting image and move it up a big notch.

By Jing Esteban (Downtown Boise, Idaho, USA)
How beautiful is this? The light, the colorful, the movement — it all comes together in this gorgeous shot. Very nicely done!

By Debora Suterko (Claremont, California, USA)
This is such a peaceful, beautiful, timeless image. So simple — yet it makes you want to not only see what’s inside, it makes you want to be inside, with its art on the easel and fresh flowers in your foreground. Beautiful light, very nicely post-processed. Great capture all around.

 

By Susan Chapel (Belcrum Breda, The Netherlands)
I know this “person standing there looking at art” has been done many times before, but I think this one is particularly intriguing for a number of reasons. I love how our subject shows the sheer scale of the image, and I love that it’s a woman looking at these images because it really makes you wonder what she’s thinking about them. Compositionally, not only is she in the perfect position, but the way her blond hair pops on that dark background immediately draws you to her. There’s more going on here than you see at first glace. Top job.

By Jer-Sandel (Bulacan, Philippines)
Of course, the color is amazing, and for a silhouette to really work, you have to immediately be able to identify what the shapes are, and you certainly do here, but the gesture of the little boy on the left — that takes it over the top. Such a great photo.

 

By ValeriaBD (Copenhagen, Denmark)
I kept looking at this image again and again, and I kept coming back to it. The reflections are just so amazing here — this photographer has a really great eye for composition, balance, and for taking something simple and making it really captivating.

And the GRAND PRIZE WINNER is…

Who wins all the stuff below, and more…

Is this image:

By Omar Shebl (Alexandria, Egypt)
There is just so much going on in this simple shot. A living legend of photography, Jay Maisel says it in his seminal book “Light, Gesture, and Color” and this shot has it all. The light is so appropriate without calling attention to itself. The color tones, from the color of their skin to the dominos to the board to the table to the floor — they’re almost too perfect, and both player’s gestures are so opposite of each other that it gives you a hint as to each players personality. Add a wonderful shooting perspective and you feel like you’re right there in the middle of all it. This was an instant stand-out to me, and I knew from the start the photographer had captured something very special. I love it.

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 106 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 Leader’s Competition winner coming next week 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 again this year of keeping the communication flowing, working with the leaders and managing walks in nearly 1,000 locations all over the globe. It’s a very challenging job, but she does it like a boss and I’m very proud of the job she does (even better this year than next). 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 next week.

All my best,

-Scott

This is our third year with a “Video shot during the photo walk” category, and Canon USA (our awesome sponsor) has once again come up with an amazing package for the winner of this category. The Video Category winner receives:

The Canon Video Creator Kit (seen above). The kit includes a Canon EOS 80D Body; a Canon 18-135mm lens;Canon Power Zoom Adapter; RODE VideoMic Go; a 32G SD Card, and all the other goodies (battery, charger, strap, etc.).

High-five to our friend Rob Altman of Canon USA for his vision and support for our video category — Canon has been our main sponsor for a number of years now, and they are an absolutely AWESOME sponsor. Big thanks to everyone at Canon USA who helps make this annual event happen.

OK, let’s get right to it — we’ll start with the winner, and then I’m going to share a few other videos that, while they didn’t win any prizes, I thought they deserved an honorable mention.

AND THE WINNER IS…

Winner: Three Blind Men & an Elephant Productions
Photo Walk: New York City Highline

NOTE: I think they did a wonderful job of capturing the spirit of a Photo Walk. Very well done! :)

And now for our Honorable Mentions
(other videos that while they aren’t prize winners, still deserve some recognition):

Honorable Mention (and best documentary): Hesham
Photo Walk: El-Darb El-Ahmar, Cairo, Egypt

Honorable Mention: Roberto Pisco
Photo Walk: Innsbruck, Austria

Honorable Mention (and best cinematography): @chknss
Photo Walk: San Antonio, Chile

Honorable Mention: Ronan Colin
Photo Walk: Miami, Florida USA

Honorable Mention: Jerus Oritz
Photo Walk: Bantayan, Philippines 

Honorable Mention: CJ Estrada
Photo Walk: Cebu City, Philippines 

Honorable Mention: Beth Meckly
Photo Walk: Jacksonville, Florida USA

Honorable Mention: Avishek Das
Photo Walk: Calcutta, India

Honorable Mention: Avishek Das
Photo Walk: Albay, Philippines

Thanks for letting me share all of these with you; congrats once again to our prize winner Stefan, and a big, big thanks to the 2017 Worldwide Photo Walk Official Sponsor, Canon USA, for making this video category a reality. :)

Check back Friday Morning for the big reveal of the Grand Prize Winner and Top 10 Finalist!

All my best,

-Scott

 

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