The Spirit of Triathlon Photo Contest – The Envelope Please !!!

In January our Spirit of Triathlon Contest began with:

Everyone who spends time around triathlons and triathletes understand there is a special spirit that surrounds the sport. Thousands of triathletes are racing every weekend and tens of thousands of photos are brilliantly shot showing off their amazing efforts.

Now two months and over 100 entries later it is time to reveal the top 20 images.

But before we even get to how well an image portrays Spirit of Triathlon, the first level of review must be based on the quality of the photograph.

A successful photo must tell a story, be visually appealing and emotionally stirring. The image must immediately draw the eye of the viewer to its key element and must leave a lasting impression.

There are three critical elements in achieving a successful photo – Content, Composition and Color.

Content is capturing a peak moment, which may be a spectacular sunrise, a close up view on the bike or a battle for the finish line. This is the story, it is not an image of random activity; it has direction, flow and meaning. Content may also convey a sense of place or time.  This is what the viewer will relate to and remember.  Keep in mind, if you are able to capture this moment and it is out of focus – admit it, you missed the shot!

Composition is a key element of a great photo. As spectators we see everything from eye-level, but from a photographic standpoint most photos from eye level tend to be fairly mundane. The best way to view something is from an angle nobody else gets to see. It is important to have a nice clean background to avoid distracting the view from the image.

Color may be the tonal variations in the literal sense, but should also emotional color. I have galleries on my website dedicated to Celebrate and Suffer – these images are for pure emotion.

With this in mind, here are the top three photos!

The winning image is entitled Swimming into the Sunrise and was submitted by Debbie Faulkner, from Nottingham, England.  A sunrise start is one of the most inspiring times in triathlon. It is the only time during the race when you have a substantial group of athletes together. Here the group has one lead swimmer, captured between strokes. Adding to the context is an earlier wave swimming back with much greater distance between the swimmers. The slight fog rising from the lake adds to the atmosphere of the morning environment so you can almost feel the chill in the air. The image is visually very pleasing drawing the viewer in to have a closer look at the group.

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The start of the 2012 Vitruvian triathlon in Leicestershire, UK. An open water swim into the sunrise, by Deborah Faulkner

The number 2 image is entitled Anticipation by Dave Martinez from Atlanta, GA and is from the Mountain Madness 70.3 race in Ellijay, GA. This is clearly a view that cannot be seen by a spectator. Hats off to Dave for being able to shoot the athletes’ view of the start.

Anticipation at the Mountain Madness 70.3 race in Ellijay, GA. by Dave Martinez

Rounding out the podium is Second Place Suffering by Terry Van Oort from Ankeny, IA and was taken at the 2013 HyVee 5150 Championship. This images features 4-time Olympian Hunter Kemper wearing is USA Triathlon race kit with its Red, White and Blue side panel. Hunter is leaning over a stanchion covered in Red, White and Blue fabric, perfectly mimicking his race kit. Those who know me know that I believe that Every Shot is a Lucky Shot. No matter how great your planning, there was no way to anticipate that Hunter will stop and rest at exactly that spot setting up the perfect background for the shot. Terry did a great job in recognizing it!

Second place suffering for U.S. Triathlete Hunter Kemper at 2012 HyVee Triathlon, by Terry Van Oort

Your Think Tank Photo gear will be shipped out to you shortly, CONGRATULATIONS!

The remaining 17 images are presented in the slide show and are in order of the photographer’s last name.

Thank you all for participating! Race season is starting and it’s time for more photos!