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Old     (bigdad)      Join Date: Apr 2002       01-02-2009, 9:27 AM Reply   
Good submissions by everyone involved. The clear cut winner was clearly Soulrider followed by Riley with Ryan Taylor a close third.

I hope they don't mind but I put their photos up.



Ryan Taylor
Old     (blake_hughes)      Join Date: May 2004       01-02-2009, 9:38 AM Reply   
Those are great shots... Congrats guys!

I was glad to see some liked my pic, too!
Old     (steezyshots)      Join Date: Feb 2008       01-02-2009, 9:46 AM Reply   
Ryan your shot was my fav for sure, I just wanted to give the love to the Wakeboard shots. I'm sure you have some sick stuff that would have dominated the contest from shooting with global warning!
Old     (wakedad33)      Join Date: Oct 2005       01-02-2009, 10:37 AM Reply   
Congrats to the winners, lots of good photos.

Blake I loved your shot, how could you not fall in love with that face
Old     (bigdad)      Join Date: Apr 2002       01-02-2009, 11:05 AM Reply   
I know it's not how I voted but I definitely can see the appeal with the ones that won. When I saw Soulrider's pic, it caught my attention and think it was well done. I just couldn't get over the crooked horizon, but I think that is just my own pet peeve. A quick fix in post would make it perfect. The same thing with Riley. I do think the tilt works with Ryan Taylor's photo. The tilt causes the rails to show nice diagonal lines in the photo. But it stands out to much for me for the other two. Nonetheless, really good stuff.

A couple of other photos stood out to me, but it was more behind the meaning of the photos.

Umali- I dig the concept but I dont think you pulled it off. I know you are an awesome photographer so I kind of wonder if you were holding back for some reason. Ive seen your stuff in the past and was blown away. So I kind of wonder if there was something else going on this year in your life.

RobVLX Photographically, you need to show more of the water in front of your child wakeboarding and think of putting her head along the upper third horizontal axis to create a focal point. But I liked it because for another reason, I have always imagined you to be like a Rob Zombie / Ted Nugent type character with your hardcore conservative views. But the photo changed my entire perspective and I imagined a proud dad on the boat watching his little girl getting up on a wakeboard for one of the first times. Sometimes emotion from a photo is better the quality of the photo.
Old     (wakedad33)      Join Date: Oct 2005       01-02-2009, 12:52 PM Reply   
Since were discussing, my photo (nose Press) was not the shot I was planning on posting but Alex talked me into it. This shot of Jimmy LaRiche was my 1st choice. Which one does everyone like better? I don't have photoshop so both images are right out of the camera. Thanks for your input.


Old     (dakid)      Join Date: Feb 2001       01-02-2009, 12:56 PM Reply   
imo, out of those 2, the nosepress shot is way better.
Old     (projectely4)      Join Date: Apr 2003       01-02-2009, 1:14 PM Reply   
their were alot of great shots with some unique angles this contest.

A.P. the tilted horizon in my shot bothered me a little as well and i tried fixing it it in post but then it caused the dock to be at a weird angle and i felt it was more important for the dock to be squared up.

i posted a full resolution shot on my website at
Old     (deltawake)      Join Date: Sep 2004       01-02-2009, 1:15 PM Reply   
I think a certain board company likes the first one, but I like the nose press
Old     (blake_hughes)      Join Date: May 2004       01-02-2009, 2:51 PM Reply   
Thanks! That's one of our mini-bulldogs... We've practically covered our whole house with pics of them. Here's the other... His name is Gus.
this pics was also one of my best for 2008

Out the 2 pics your posted, I like the nosepress better than the other... But they're great shots (especially without PS touch-ups.)
Old     (goinbigg17)      Join Date: Jul 2002       01-02-2009, 4:43 PM Reply   
Randy, I agree with Joe on the nosepress being better. The first one doesn't have enough background to it imo.
Old     (wakedad33)      Join Date: Oct 2005       01-02-2009, 5:01 PM Reply   
Thanks for the input guys, I guess my son was right after all. I hate it when that happens
Old     (redv215)      Join Date: Mar 2005       01-03-2009, 12:38 PM Reply   
All the shots were awesome. Congrats to the winners. I am difinitely inspired to up my game for next year. Cant wait to see everyone's stuff thorough out the year.
Old     (Walt)      Join Date: Jan 2003       01-04-2009, 10:58 AM Reply   
Nice shots everyone and congrats to the winners.
Old     (joshturner)      Join Date: Jun 2007       01-04-2009, 3:26 PM Reply   
I find it interesting that the wake, skate, surf and snow industries are pretty much the only places that deny every "rule" of sport photography aside from capturing peak action. look at most other sport photography football, basketball, hockey ect, and everything is very tightly cropped with facial expresions being the main draw 90% of the time. Another huge faux pas that didnt seem to bother anyone voting is that any other sport photography will not publish ass and back shots, yet all three winners in our little contest were A&B shots with the half way exception of riley's photo where we get some expression over the shoulder. so it gets me wondering...
Is it that most of the people voting are amatuers and dont know strong photos, or maybe its politics and we just voted for the most popular on WW. we did see people posting things like "my money is on ryan" etc.
but honestly i dont think it is any of these things...
I think that there are aspects of the sport that have transferred over to the photography. We constantly see the ongoing disputes between people arguing over technical prowess vs. style (visual aesthetic). for some people they couldn't give two dog turds about what Phillip Soven can do in a contest because, as they argue, he can't hold a flame to lyman in regards to style.
we start to see this transferring over to the photography. When was the last time we seen an NFL photo that was framed to have a bright orange sunset in it?? or some creative off camera lighting?? yes there are guys in the indoor stadiums that use lighting setups, but this is not used as a means of adding a creative style to the photos.
it is interesting that the sports that have a visual aesthetic to the athletics of it also have the visual aethetic in the photography and video work.
although for myself i am more drawn to the photos that have a face in them, I can't say that I am not keen to applaud these photos as decent work.

soulriders photo has strong vibrant colors, good peak action and good contrast, but if you send this across a news photo editors desk i can almost guarantee it will not be published.

i think what i am getting at is that it is refreshing to see that in the boardsports communitee we have come in to own own and develpoed our own distinct style of sport photography and can break away from the standard rules that bind typical news-based sport photos.

good work everyone.
Old     (dcervenka)      Join Date: Sep 2002       01-05-2009, 1:13 PM Reply   
hmmmm, I have to agree with Joshua on this one, but at the same time there were not that many entries.

I didn't see any entries from Walt or Joe (the Flag one does not count..), Scott I know you have some siCk ones in your back pocket! Riley same for you (btw - nice micro-bikini shot on your website.) And I'm wondering if Ryan was too busy snowboarding because that definitely was *not* his best pic from 2008.. I guess we'll have to wait until the pics are released in the mags to see those. ;-)

A&B shots are cool with me as long as they're in REEF ads or a bikini gallery.

As long as you're trying something different (angles/comps/lighting), your shots are in focus, and you're pushing to learn/develop new skills then you're OK in my book.
Old    kc700            01-05-2009, 2:55 PM Reply   
I actually wrote that..."my money is on ryan". I said that before the contest even began, simply due to the fact that I have seen a great deal of his photos the majority of which are great. So going into the competition my money was on him since I happen to have liked his past frames. I actually didnt give him my top vote but he was in the top three.

Josh, you are certainly right that the action sports community does not abide by the usual standards of sports photography. I think this is great. New and different ways of seeing and shooting things are essential to the progression of photography in any regard.

As far as the voting goes, I think everyone voted for what they personally liked out of the entries (which were limited). I second daves comment of the submissions not being the best some of those guys have to offer. Im sure their own favorite photos are reserved for the proper usage. Not a web forum.

The beauty of any art form whether it be photography, film, music etc... is the subjective nature of its appreciation. Each person is going to see something different. Each person is going to like something different. Thats why voting on any sort of art is IMO somewhat trivial. Even as high up as the Pulitzer or the Academy awards, its still a decision based on peoples opinions. (granted they are insanely informed opinions, they are still just opinions.)

If you create something that you appreciate and are proud of then thats what its truly all about. From pro photogs and filmmakers to 5 yr olds drawing in their kindergarten classes, its all the same really. People with a desire to create things, doing just that.

Hats off to the winners.
Old     (steezyshots)      Join Date: Feb 2008       01-05-2009, 3:00 PM Reply   
My best is by far half naked chicks, but those usually get deleted pretty quick around here...
Old    kc700            01-05-2009, 3:35 PM Reply   
Your website has enough to keep us happy riley....and to second dave once more....the macro bikini shot certainly pushed the progression of bikini photography in a great direction. Well done good sir.
Old     (steezyshots)      Join Date: Feb 2008       01-05-2009, 3:43 PM Reply   
haha! Thanks! Always trying to push the envelope!
Old     (dcervenka)      Join Date: Sep 2002       01-05-2009, 3:48 PM Reply   
Let us know when you release your full chicka portfolio on
Old     (dakid)      Join Date: Feb 2001       01-05-2009, 5:59 PM Reply   
haha! dpc disqualified my pic! w00t
Old     (steezyshots)      Join Date: Feb 2008       01-05-2009, 6:16 PM Reply   
HAHA! I will Dave you'll be the first to know. Get me some DPC stickers and I'll have someone use them as a bra
Old     (dcervenka)      Join Date: Sep 2002       01-05-2009, 7:12 PM Reply   
Joe - yes.

Banger - No probelmo! Shot me an email with your addy (my phone is out of commission right now) and I'll send you some DPC and GlobalWarning sticks of all sizes.. ;-)
Old     (wakesurf12)      Join Date: Jun 2003       01-08-2009, 7:40 PM Reply   
Cervenka was right. I was too busy snowboarding! haha! Just got back from a trip to Vail in which we got a fresh 2-3 feet over night. Definitely an epic day.

But after reading Joshua's comments I am going to throw in my 2 cents. Yes, having a "face shot" in sports is usually an ideal. But in sports like wake skate and snow this tends to not be the issue. The reason being is that for sports like these the trick is more important than the concentration of the athlete. A lot of the time certain tricks can "only" be shot certain ways. One of which being the nose press. It almost always looks better from the back because you can see how monster the press is (using Randy's as an example.) Tricks also tend to distinguish the lens choice in the photo. Most of the time you not only want to see WHAT trick they are doing but WHERE they are doing it. Take off, landing, and height from the ground are almost always factors in action sports photography and in namely one of the reasons why our sports tend to use wider lenses over telephoto. (mad props to soulrider for using an ultrawide instead of a fishyey) Most of the images are unique events that don't happen more than once (or super often) so getting the setting in the photo is really important. Sports such as football, hockey or baseball are usually shot really close and cropped because we all know those sports so well that we can envision the action within the bigger picture. We all know what a baseball diamond looks like so we know a play at home when we see it in a photo. Often times we also observe these sports from afar on our televisions or stadiums so the ability to see the action up close is definitely something that is responded to well in sports photography.

Another reason telephotos are used in these sports is that the photographers CANNOT get close to the action. They also don't interact with the athlete like action sports photographers so they can't "set up" the shot. This is also a reason why action sports photographers are ABLE to use strobes. I am sure many photographers would love to use them in "regular" sports but since they are so unpredictable it is impossible to do so. And in the situations that they do they have to "flood" the entire arena to make sure they can get enough coverage.

Also, one other comment was being thrown around and that was the horizon line issues that some people were having. Again, like a lot of the "rules" that I stated above the horizon line is often best suited when it is level. But there are certain situations where it works. I hate to use my own photo as an example but when I shot it I shot the horizon line off on purpose. The reasoning behind doing so was to use the eyelines from the corners into the action of the photo. When a person views an image their eye often starts at the top left of the image and looks down horizontally until it hits an intersecting line and follows that around the image. I would go deeper into this but it would require another couple paragraphs that I don't feel like typing at the moment. For better reference to this topic visit your local library and check out the old painters of the renaissance.

I also want to make sure that people don't think I am trying to justify why my photo is better than anyone else I just want to remind people that there are "rules" to photography and like all rules they are meant to be broken. The only thing is that you must know the rules before you can break them and make sure you are doing them for valid reasons. Just like a good grab in wakeboarding... sometimes you just gotta grab tindy.
Old     (cable_rocker)      Join Date: Nov 2004       01-09-2009, 3:35 AM Reply   

a butshoot is also in actions sports a absolute no go! no one want so see a the ass from a strange guy. the nose press picture is not a good example, cause it will look much better from the other side.

i also want to have the boat and the rail complete in the picture and the rider not in the middle. thats the reason for my why i think this is only snapshot, cause i dont see a image formation here.

your picture is also a not a good sample for me, due to the fact that you use a fish with this handrail, which make them look very strange. a fish a straiglt lines, is always not good! also the horizont is not inline, you can see the flash in the image, than a guy sitting useless there and the rail is not complett in the pictures. also the light setup could be better.

this all together makes the picture very turbulent.

but this is only my oppinion and i hope this rev9iew comes not to rude and my english makes it half way understandable what i wnt to say.
Old     (Walt)      Join Date: Jan 2003       01-09-2009, 8:16 AM Reply   
I agree with Ryan that some tricks can be challenging to shoot and capture well without being a ass shot but that doesn't always mean it can't be done. I'd choose a nose press from the front any day over a shot from the back. Overall it will be a better photo from the front. IMO the only time a shot from the back is cool is if the foreground/background is so interesting that it gets a pass.

Solriders shot is cool but think about how great it would of been if the rider was coming from the other direction and his face was in the shot. That brings me to another point. (horizons) The only time they are ok IMHO is if by design or shooting from a tube etc. If your shooting from a stable platform this should be taken care of while composing the photo.

Arms across the face are NO BUENO too IMO.

I also noticed a few shots in the contest that were shot way to tight. You should shoot wide enough to tell the whole story. For example the whole wake should be in the photo on a wake jump shot. This should be done so there's perspective and it's part of the action/story that your trying to capture.

I'm finding that the more I learn about sports photography the harder it gets to get a keeper.

I sent a link to this thread to a few pro photographers. Maybe they can add a few things.
Old     (garrett_cortese)      Join Date: Mar 2003       01-09-2009, 9:17 AM Reply   
Walt asked me to throw my 2 into the mix, so here goes...

Good photography, like many things, is subjective. Some might like nose press shots from behind, others might like it from the front. In the end, it's up to the viewer/reader. Some might like tight action shots, others might like a little more perspective. Some might like the look of a fisheye, others might be thrown off by the distortion. It's a matter of opinion.

Yes there are some basic rules/principles that apply to "good" photography (composition, rule of thirds, leading lines, clean backgrounds, etc). But as Ryan said, rules are meant to be broken. I'd go so far as to say break them all. If you're always shooting based on the idea that "with this trick I need to shoot with this lens from this angle" then you're never going to progress visually as a photographer. It's when you start thinking, "Okay, I've shot this situation this way before, how can I shoot it completely different and still make a unique, visually compelling image?"

To me, photography isn't just about "getting the shot," it's more about making a unique shot that's a little different than others. Yeah you might miss a few when trying something new, but at least you're trying. Just like a rider learning a new trick, you're probably not going to get it just the way you want the first couple times you try it, but the more you do it the more you figure out and then eventually you'll get one that is exactly what you envisioned.

As far as the face vs. no face, I'd agree with Ryan, as well. In action sports it's more about the trick than the rider's face. As humans, though, we tend to relate to and identify more with a photo that shows a face, but as wakeboarders I think we understand when a photo is more about the trick and the visual creativity of the photo than just seeing the rider's face. So yes, a wakeboarding shot with a face might have a little more impact to us as people, but it's not necessary to making a wakeboarding photo "good."

A visually strong/compelling/creative photograph will speak for itself, no matter what the subject or situation (or camera, or lens, or distance, etc).

In the end, though, it is subjective. There is no right or wrong. There are just more opinions. And you've just read some of mine.

Happy shooting,
Old     (solo)      Join Date: Oct 2001       01-09-2009, 10:27 AM Reply   
Hence, the no face cover shot on this months issue of Alliance! Garretts got a good point. Creating visually stimulating images in our sport can be difficult. You can only take so many tube or chase shots of the same trick. Rules are meant to be broken but help develop a strong foundation for understanding the fundamentals.

Personally I like soulriders shot. Not a lot of entries though.
Old     (bigdad)      Join Date: Apr 2002       01-09-2009, 2:39 PM Reply   
Ryan's crooked horizon is not a factor for me. It is obvious it was intentional and I think it works. What bothered me was what Pat P stated earlier. Flash glare off the rail and a random person in the background. Even the shadow of the snowboarder to the right all add up to what looks like a "busy" photo to me. Crooked horizon's bother me when they are just slightly off and were not intentional.

As for rules made to be broken. Sometimes that can be a cop out. If the photo works by breaking a "rule" great. But if you have basic photographic errors (horizon's, blur, busy backgrounds, etc.) to say I was trying to break the rules is a weak argument when it is obvious the photo would be stronger by following the rules as stated above.
Old     (steezyshots)      Join Date: Feb 2008       01-09-2009, 2:51 PM Reply   
for the record I know my photo has a crooked horizon I just didn't care enough to fix it before I posted it. Sorry guys.


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