THE FINALISTS AND WINNERS
The judges have had the tough task of sorting through the near 4,000 photographs you tagged #CanonFirsts. Since the competition closed a few days ago, the editors of the biggest action, outdoor, and adventure publications have been locked away, deliberating and cogitating about who the two lucky winners of the two fantastic prizes on offer should be.
There have been tantrums, arguments, and sleepless nights here at Factory Media Towers but, at last, we’ve whittled our favourites down to eleven (representing all of the areas Factory Media cover). But, of course, only the top two places will walk away with a whole heap of new camera gear, courtesy of Canon.
So without further ado, and in time-honoured reverse order, here are your #CanonFirst finalists and two winners.
(In no particular order, other than the final two)
11) BMX TALK
Traditionally, BMX Racing is a series of races consisting of 8 riders battling away, banging both bars and elbows trying to get to that number one spot. The adrenalin, the speed, the rush, and the thrill of getting across the finish line first ahead of your competitors is second to none. But every now and again, the thought of being out on the track doing your own thing on a purely solo mission is great (and much needed). The only competition being yourself and the only winner being the feeling of going fast and sending big jumps.
Blue skies, a fresh track and me, myself and I.
We had more images to chose from than any other title, so narrowing it down was no easy task. However, this climbing shot from Claire Clifton really stood out. Not only is it technically a beautifully composted photo – the climber sits beautifully in that golden ratio, framed perfectly be the rock above and the mountain below – but, like all good photographs it makes you ask questions; Where have they been? Where are they going? What’s captures the climbers attention beneath? Yet, at the same time, it gives you context and a story, all captured in a single shot.
James Renhard – Mpora Editorial Team
A big vista but not in the way you’d expect from a mountain bike shot. The disused Blackpool Pit quarry is an industrial scar, far from the usual high mountains and woods of mountain bike photography. It’s great to see action sports transported to new and unusual environments and Jake Varker has one a great job of capturing it.
The contrast of light and dark splits the photo in two and draws attention to the silhouetted rider. It’s a big, burly line with no clear run out, fair play to Mawgan Pownall for committing!
James Smurthwaite – Dirt Editor
8) Total Womens Cycling
This epitomises what cycling means to us, and what it can bring to anyone. The sense of adventure starts when you take the first few pedal spins from your doorstep, then, from there, the adventure never ends. The humble bike can take you around the world, both metaphorically and physically, and by the looks of it, Catherine has let it do just that. I want to be transported into this image, to see what’s around that corner.
Total Women’s Cycling
7) Outdoors Magic
We’re all used to those shots of the Northern Lights over Iceland, Norway or Sweden, but North Wales? You don’t see that very often. In one shot, Grant has managed to capture just how incredible Snowdonia is for its night skies – showing exactly why it was designated as an International Dark Sky Reserve in recent years. It’s clear Grant worked for this shot as well, in both a technical sense and in a physical one. Getting up to where he took it, on the tops of the Glyderau, is no walk in the park, that’s for sure.
Will Renwick – Outdoors Magic Editor
6) Road Cycling UK
While we may all dream of conquering sun-drenched mountain passes, this shot by Tobias King captures the flip-side and what is ultimately the reality for UK cyclists for much of the year. Tobias has captured the dedication of the rider perfectly against the backdrop of a stormy sky that looks set to burst at any moment. Despite the leaden sky, there’s a tranquility to the shot, too – a lone rider happily ticking off the miles, despite Mother Nature saying otherwise. Chapeau, Tobias!
George Scott – Road Cycling UK Editor
There are few experiences in surfing as blissful as sitting in the line up on a summer night, in front of the setting sun. This dreamy shot transports you right into that moment of calm. The soft pink light reflects off the water’s surface, making it seem as though it could continue endlessly into the sky, while a single streak of light across the waves draws your eye towards the anonymous local surfers in the horizon. You feel as though you could paddle out into the frame and towards those silhouettes, to join their moment of tranquility.
Lou Boyd – Cooler Lifestyle
4) Sidewalk & Kingpin
First off, look at the shapes in this one! Body position, the arms, and the tip toe control on the front foot – banging. And it absolutely sums up the potential treachery in that old ledge mainstay the backlip. Spot-wise Josh is onto a winner here too – if there’s one constant in skate photography (as far as spots, architecture, and backdrops go at least) it’s circles. Black and white too – extra points: gives the sky a sense of foreboding (probably justified as it no doubt pissed down five minutes later) along with the contrast on the stone making the scene look like it could be anywhere from ancient Athens to Newcastle. Finally, you can’t front on a backside lipslide – especially not if it’s gapped out to like this – and it’s in The Toon.
Ben Powell – Sidewalk Editor
3) Ride UK BMX
This photo is immediately striking. An amazing spot, solid riding, great composition. Kelvin Waterman is an excellent rider and lives for the adventure of finding new spots to ride – just like these crazy brick transitions under a bridge in the south of England. Kelvin’s doing a grand job here, those transitions are TIGHT! The repetitive pattern of the bricks and curves draws you right in, seeing Kelvin roasting up there on the vert and then onwards, further into the frame to admire the entire brick structure. Although the choice of black and white and those strong patterns give it a very graphic, almost flat quality, the depth shines through and that’s what makes it such an appealing image to look at. Hats off to Gavin Ripton for capturing this one!
Robin Pearson – Ride UK BMX Editor in Chief
SECOND PLACE, AND TAKING AWAY A CANON PRIZE BUNDLE – SURF EUROPE
Love this shot by Rob Caddy of a winter warrior running out for a dip in the icy North Sea brine, for lots of reasons. The soft wintry light, the clean empty peak textured with a little bit of speed blur promising endless opportunities… and most of all the fact that our man in rubber looks like he’s all alone with his thoughts. A great capture of the essence of the lure of the sea.
Paul Evans – Surf Europe Editor in Chief
FIRST PLACE, AND TAKING AWAY THE WINNING CANON PRIZE BUNDLE – WHITELINES & ONBOARD
Saas-Fee is one of the first European snow parks to get going each winter and – with jagged peaks and glaciated terrain all around – it’s a great spot for shooting snowboarding. Scotty has gone for an unusual angle here, donning a fisheye and getting right into the action, but still capturing some of that insane scenery that Saas is all about.
Sam McMahon – Photographer and Video Editor Whitelines & Onboard
Thank you to everybody who entered the competition. Congratulations to all of our top pics, and of course to our two fantastic winners.
What’s your next first? Visit Canon and find out how they can help bring your first to life. They currently have great cashback offers on so don’t miss out!