Winners announced! 2016 Mark Gunter Photographer of the Year Awards

by Wade Wallace

It’s been a wonderful six weeks of looking over the 1,200 jaw-dropping photos that were submitted for the inaugural Mark Gunter Photographer of the Year Awards. Thank you to every single one of you for making that happen.

Over the weekend our judges Graham Watson, Kristof Ramon and Jered & Ashley Gruber painstakingly deliberated over every photo in their shortlist to narrow down the winners. Suffice to say, it wasn’t easy for them. If you saw each of their galleries of shortlists, you’ll have noticed how different each of their preferences are.

Without further ado, we are proud to announce the following winners:


SmartPhone / ActionCam Winners

First place:

Submitted by Stephen Fitzgerald from the United States. “Don’t stay home. I almost stayed home. I didn’t even know that it had snowed up high but as I approached the hills I could see the perfect snow line halfway up the mountain. Eventually everything turned white around me. My hands were freezing because of the shade of the mountain. I didn’t want to stop but the road, the trees, the incredible whiteness. I really just wanted to share what I was seeing and the feeling that I was experiencing. It was worth stopping. I’m glad I didn’t stay home.”

There was not much debate amongst the judges on this one. The photo was obviously shot with an action cam on a drone, and the unique perspective looking down on the whiteness is something really special.

Well done Stephen! You’ve won a trip to the Tour de France, courtesy of BikeStyle Tours!

Second place:

Submitted by Szymon Kotowski from Poland entitled ‘Rollercoaster’ shot on a GoPro

If you recognise Szymon Kotowski’s name on this website, you’re not mistaken. He has help produce some incredible Roadtripping pieces such as Norway, Calpe, Ireland, etc. However, the judges didn’t know whose photos these were while choosing, such that any potential bias would be removed.

What the judges liked about this photo was not only the unique angle, but the movement gave it a blur and a sense of motion that extended all the way around the bend in the road.

If you’re wondering how Szymon took this photo, he holds the GoPro in his mouth! Well done Szymon! You’ve won a $500 gift certificate from the CyclingTips Emporium.

Third place:

Submitted by Calvin Miller from the United States: “Portland has a slew of cycling events held year round but some of the best racing action takes place at Tuesday night’s PDX Trophy Cup Series where racers battle it out between the tape, the trees and the absence of light. Photo taken with iPhone 6.”

There was lots of debate for the third place photo, but after a lot of discussion about how difficult this photo would have been to capture even on a professional-grade camera, it was a no-brainer. The negative space, the lighting, and the framing was impressive no matter what camera was used, nevermind an iPhone.

Awesome job Calvin! You’ve won a Bolle sunglasses and helmet prize pack!

DSLR Winners

First place:

Submitted by Stefan Feldmann from Canada: “Beauty & Danger of Racing – Unfortunate crash during the Womens 2015 Gastown Grandprix. Lindsay Bayer crashed on the hairpin corner but walked away from it and ended up finishing the race.”

This photo was the easiest to pick of the bunch. It was unanimous, and many of the judges said that as soon as they saw it, they knew it was the winner of its category. In fact, Kristof said that it may be one of the best photos of its kind that he’s ever seen. It captures everything: emotion, colour, speed, technical ability, luck of being in the right place at the right time, and the skill to pull off such a photo.

Well done Stefan! You’ve won a Specialized Allez DSW Road Bike!

Second place:

Submitted by Matthew Bailey from the UK: “Lennon & McCartney at Six Day London”

Second place in the DSLR category was a difficult one to pick, especially since there were so many incredibly strong photos submitted and such a diversity. However, this one of Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish from the Six Day London shows such emotion and the fact it’s of two legends of the sport carries a particular significance that had to be acknowledged.

From a technical point of view, the judges said that the shot was strong but could have been improved by less cropping (they would have loved to see a bigger view of the fans perhaps) and a little more depth added in post-processing. That said, the light in velodromes is very difficult to work with, so well done to Matthew for capturing this moment.

Congrats Matthew! You’ve won a new Dura Ace Di2 groupset courtesy of Shimano!

Third place:

Submitted by Eamon Fitzpatrick from Australia entitled “Jacobs Ladder, Tasmania”

This was another difficult one for the judges. Jacob’s Ladder is a commonly shot climb in the north of Tasmania, but it’s usually shot from the same angle. This is the same for many iconic climbs such as the Stelvio. What made Eamon’s shot special was that he chose to climb up high to get a different perspective, and caught the gloominess of the low clouds rolling in.

Well done Eamon! You’ve won a set of Bont Vaypor+ fully customised shoes (custom fitting, colour and name stitching) thanks to Bont Cycling!

Professional Winners

Without a doubt, the professional category was the most difficult to choose. The sheer quantity and quality of submissions was a testament to the respect that Mark Gunter’s colleagues had for him. It was also difficult for Kristof, Graham and Jered & Ashley to choose, because they were judging their very own colleagues’ work. Some worked for Getty Images, Reuters and other news organisations where post-processing is strictly forbidden, while others could be more creative.

The judges had such different opinions on their winning photos that we came to an absolute deadlock in every instance. Nobody lied down and gave into the difficulty of the task, however there were certainly compromises that had to be made in order to pick our winners. Otherwise we’d still be here arguing!

First place:

Submitted by Wouter Roosenboom of the Netherlands: “Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team pictured during stage 5 in the Eneco Tour, a 20.9 kilometres team time trial.

Out of the professional category, this one was perhaps the easiest to come to a decision on. The judges did deliberate on the amount of dodging in post-processing that would have been required, and where we drew the line. However, it was deemed to be acceptable and this amazing photo by relative newcomer to the professional scene, Wouter Roosenboom, gets top honours. Awesome job Wouter!

Second place:

Submitted by Bryn Lennon of the United Kingdom: “Preben Van Hecke of Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise leads Patrick Gretsch of AG2R-La Mondiale, Mark McNally of Wanty-Groupe Gobert and Jesper Asselman of Roompot Oranje Peloton ride in the breakaway on stage four of the 2016 Tour of Qatar, a 189km road stage from Al Zuberah Fort to Madinat Al Shamal, on February 11, 2016 in Madinat Al Shamal, Qatar.”

Deliberation over second place took over an hour while the judges agreed and disagreed on various photos in their shortlist. In the end, there was agreement on many aspects of this fantastic photo take by Bryn Lennon taken in Qatar last year. Well done Bryn! You have no idea how hard this one was!

Third place:

Submitted Jack Chevell of the United Kingdom. “Chris Froome cemented his Tour de France lead in the Megève Time Trial. He was clearly faster than his competition when he came through as the final rider on the road, electrifying everyone there to witness it.”

Third place was undoubtedly the hardest for the judges to pick. The standard of photos competing here was so high that such minute details separated them all, but the judges were miles apart in their preferences. In the end, Jack Chevell’s moment of Chris Froome and the kids screaming in the background took this highly contested spot in the most competitive category of the competition. Congratulations Jack!

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, a sunglasses/helmet prize pack from Bolle, and a $500 gift certificate to the CyclingTips Emporium.

Also, thank you to everyone who participated. Your entry fee was used to raise money for three charitable causes: Oesophageal cancer research (thanks to Tour de Cure, our donation recipient), young athlete assistance (nominations now open), and into an education trust for Mark and Leeanne’s son Lucas who is two years old.

Reminder: Nominations for the Young Cyclist Assistance donations is now open. Do you know of a young cyclist in need of some financial assistance to help her or him in their passion? Please enter here.

Winners will be notified by email on how to collect their prizes.

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