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The inaugural edition of the Mark Gunter Photographer of the Year awards has been an overwhelming success in attracting some of the best cycling photographers and photos in the world, and also raising money for three charitable causes: Oesophageal cancer research (thanks to Tour de Cure, our donation recipient), young athlete assistance, and into an education trust for Mark and Leeanne’s son Lucas who is two years old.
Entries are closed and our judges Graham Watson, Kristof Ramon, and Jered & Ashley Gruber have gone through the difficult task of shortlisting their top 10 favourite photos from each of the three categories.
The judges will deliberate on the top three winners of each category in the coming days and winners will be announced next week on January 20, 2017.
Here are Jered and Ashley Gruber’s shortlists:
In this shortlisting stage I was looking for photos that stood out as being different. For scenic shots, my lifelong battle with bike riding addiction leads the way. If a picture makes me go: ‘I wish I were there’. I want to be IN that picture. That’s usually a great sign. Amazing light, mist, hail, snow, pouring rain – those things all seem to give me this feeling of wow. It might sound a little simplistic to say that, but I’d be lying if I said a picture taken early in the day with mist creeping through the forest and sun rays lasering through didn’t tick all of my happy boxes.
I gravitate to pictures that make me stop scrolling and just…stop. There were tons of amazing entries, but there was this amazing set of shots that took my hand away from the keyboard – just to appreciate a great shot. I wouldn’t say there was anything in particular that got me excited over and over, but I always gravitate towards pictures that give me a visceral reaction and make me pause. Those images are generally different in some way. There’s something that makes them stand out – whether it be a technical feature of the shot or light or weather or any number of a hundred things. They all have something that makes them stand out.
The process of narrowing down the shortlist felt educational. There were some shots that made me think – and then made me take a mental note, because there are elements in dozens of shots from this competition that I think are worth noting and can help us take better pictures in 2017. At the most basic level, I like looking at pictures, specifically, bike pictures. I love bikes and everything that goes with them, so having to go through hundreds of shots was fun. I love seeing other people’s passion for this sport in the pictures they take on normal rides out on their own or with some friends – those are my favorite pictures of all.
For race shots, again, the ‘different’ shots stand out to me the most. There’s one shot from Stage 4 of the Tour de France in Limoges. I remember standing somewhere in the mayhem of the finish line wishing I were anywhere but there, and the I see this shot where the photographer managed to get WAY high up to shoot the scene from this beautiful, high angle. I know that sometimes I take the easy way out in situations by looking for the high shot, but there’s something about those shots that always gets me. There’s this wild scene below with thousands of fans, 200 riders at full gas, and hundreds of anyone and everyone just beyond the finish line, waiting to engulf them seconds later. The high shot is peaceful. It’s removed and quiet in a scene that’s anything but.
Without further adieu, here are my top 10 photos from each category:
Smartphone / ActionCam Category
Final judging begins this weekend and winners of each category will be announced on Monday, January 20th, 2017.
Thank you to our generous sponsors for their prize donations including a dream trip to the Tour de France from BikeStyle Tours, a new Dura Ace Di2 groupset from Shimano, a beautiful Allez courtesy of Specialized, a set of custom Vaypor+ shoes thanks to Bont, and a sunglasses/helmet prize pack from Bolle, and a $500 gift certificate to the CyclingTips Emporium.