February 2014 Results

Donald Weber (@Donald_Weber), two-time World Press award winner, graduate of the Loyalist College photojournalism program and a member of the VII Photo Agency was the judge for February 2014 Photos of the Month. 

Disclaimer from the POM team: The judge's comments below does not necessary represent Loyalist College's photojournalism program.

Entries Stats:
Photographers — 20
Feature — 27
News — 7
Sports — 13
Portrait — 36
Multi Photo — 5 entries/37 photos

Judges' comments:
— You don't need to always crop, understand the frame of your camera and learn to see using those four sides
— I notice a lot of the pictures are ones that are saying everything in the photo. I am sure your teachers will kill me for this, but not always do you have to communicate everything. Sometimes I want to linger on a photo. I chose images that were a little more subtle, beautiful light, mood, composition...
— in general I find not enough understanding of composition, that it can be "fixed" later with cropping or... something else, magic beans? So, learn to see using four sides! 

1st - this is the only picture I didn't waver on, great, nice mood, nice colour, you relaxed and let the environment around you work instead of - gasp! - cropping it out!
2nd - nice colour, gentle, quiet. yes. sometimes you can do this and it works great!
3rd - experimentation is a good thing - if you can pull it off. sometimes, the scene tells you what to do. this is a case when it's appropriate to crop
HM - there were about 3 other photos I wanted here but this one always stuck out, when I went through the contacts it was the first one that just popped right out - and i trust my gut, always. don't think, shoot!

1. Emily Cumming
TORONTO, Ont. (20/02/14) - Tony Morrison, trainer at Sully’s Boxing Gym, scolds Cruz Caneo, 2, for misbehaving.  Caneo’s mother Michelle, 24, who cannot afford daycare brings her some to the gym while she trains.  Photo by Emily Cumming
2. Hannah Yoon
WATERLOO, Ont. (22/02/2014) —Asia Van Vlietat, 11, plays on her iPad at the  Grand River Rocks on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014. Van Vlietat often comes here with her family to rock climb. Photo by Hannah Yoon
3. Guillaume Nolet
KINGSTON, Ont. (20/02/14)--Close to 50 supporters gathered at JAKK Tuesdays Sports Pub in Kingston to cheer on Kingstonian Jayna Hefford during the women’s hockey gold medal win against the United States at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. 
H.M. Mandy Larade
BELLEVILLE, Ont. (04/02/14) - Friends and co-workers Duane Fitchett, Don Dafoe, David Stevenson, and Larry Mussio having coffee together at Y'Wanna Hav'A Cafe coffee shop in Century Place, downtown Belleville on Tuesday morning. The four friends all work for Bell Canada: Fitchett for 40 years, Dafoe for 26 years, Stevenson for 37 years, and Mussio for 35 years. The four meet for coffee every morning when they have a work break. Photo by Mandy Larade.
Judges' comments: 
— it sucks to be a news photographer in Belleville, I know.

1st - this surprised me. I like to be surprised. News is not always crashes. Go look at current events coverage (beyond the wires!!!!) and you'll see, check out work from the revolution in Kiev.

1. Sarah Vissers
BELLEVILLE, Ont. (04/02/14)--Backstage before the preview show of Leading Ladies, Sonya Zaback does the hair of Alexandra Bell, a musician in the play. The play is being put on by the Belleville Theatre Guild and performed at Pinnacle Theatre. It is running from Feb. 6-22, 2014. Photo by Sarah Vissers.

Judges' comments: 
— i see a class assignment.... canada...
— Some crazy photoshop happening! Why???? Why do photographers feel the need to meddle in their photos???? Stop it! You would've won.
— this is the strongest category by far... so many i had to chop but i really liked a lot of them. simple, clean, nice light, and most importantly, a lot of humanity showed (except through the haze of photoshop)

1st - lovely. just great. soft, gentle, humane, I get a sense of her. great.
2nd - great as well, popped out immediately. This is a great picture - sometime simple works, it's about the man - I could tell he was some sort of sportsman or explorer or scientist, good recognition on the eyes and the jacket (fur is a nice gift from the photo gods) and making the background simple.
3rd - great as well. in fact, i wanted to give all 1st place to these, but then you have to - wait for it - edit! so i edited. nice job, kind of vulnerable, good choice of light, nice rapport with subject. Yep, all good.
HM - people will scratch their heads at this one, I did to, I thought a long time about if this should make, but it always stayed with me. Why? Because it's just a real moment, simple. Photography is trying to capture a glimpse, nothing more, a sense of vulnerability into the person.

1. Duncan Cairns-Brenner
ST. ANDREWS, N.B. (19/02/14) - Nancy Achen, a founding member of Save our Science, a St. Andrews, New Brunswick advocacy group, poses at Indian Point in St. Andrews, on February 19, 2014. Achen is fighting to bring awareness to budgetary cuts to federal oceanographic research at the St Andrews Biological Centre, one of Canada's most respected oceanographic research centres. After two weeks after the Biological Centre's library was renovated for $2.6 million, the federal government closed it, moving the entire collection to the Bedford Oceanographic Institute's library in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Photo by Duncan Cairns-Brenner 
2. Guillaume Nolet
MONTREAL, Qc. (18/02/14)--One of Canada’s most distinguished and accomplished explorers and mountaineers, Bernard Voyer has over 30 years of expeditions and adventures to his credit. He reached the North Pole in 1994, the South Pole in 1996, the top of Mount Everest in 1999, and summited some of the tallest mountains on the planet including the highest peaks of each of the seven continents. Officer of the Order of Canada, Knight of the National Order of Quebec and the Legion of Honour in France, he has received two honorary doctorates and the gold medal of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. In 2002, he was recognized by the Governor General of Canada as one of the 50 greatest Canadians of the past 50 years, a distinction that was celebrated by a series of stamps issued in his honour.
3. Hannah Yoon
WATERLOO, Ont. (28/02/2014) —Amanda St. Marie, 27, sits on her bed with her stuffed bear on Friday, Feb. 28, 2014. St. Marie has had the bear since 2007 and sleeps with it every night. She mainly finds comfort in it since she lives alone. Photo by Hannah Yoon
H.M. Justin Chin 
OTTAWA, Ont. (08/02/2014) — Manson Yan reads the newspaper at his home in Ottawa, Ont. on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014. Yan is a recent graduate of Queen's University and is pursuing to become a lawyer. Photo by Justin Chin
Judges' comments: 
— I once did sports, it was really difficult. not much to say.

1st - it jumped out - you;re exploring and not beholden to the usual modes of sports photography - but damn, watch your backgrounds! GATORADE!
2nd - nice, well done (although technically you need to master your camera a bit more, here's a case when you need to learn how photoshop can work for you instead of against you - no blown highlights! use your histogram!)
3rd - again, a little different, like the blur, like her face, like the hair whooshing around. good job.
HM - because I am not a total communist and I realize that not everyone photographs the way I do - so here we have a typical sports photo but it's done well. Just push yourself a bit.

1. James Wood
BELLEVILLE, Ont (01/02/2014) - Swimmers from across Eastern Ontario dive in for the Mixed 13 and Older 800 metre freestyle swim at the Quinte Sports and Wellness Centre, home of the Belleville Youth Swim Team. The BYST hosted the Eastern Ontario Swimming Association's latest regional meet this past weekend. Photo by James Wood  
2. Dillan Cools
BANCROFT, ON (02/02/14) Mike Vandolder is trailed by Colt Dellandrea and Andrew Darraugh through turn 4 of a Pro Champ race at the 2014 Hastings Cup in Bancroft on Sunday. Photo by Dillan Cools.
3. Emily Cumming
Toronto, Ont. (20/02/14) – Michelle Caneo, 24, trains at Sully’s Boxing Gym in Toronto.  Caneo balances her obligations as a single mother to her two-year-old son Cruz and her dedication to boxing.  “I want to be a champion.”  Photo by Emily Cumming
H.M. James Wood
BELLEVILLE, Ont (01/02/2014) - Belleville Youth Swim Team member Alexander Grant comes up for breath during the Boys 13-14 200 Metre Butterfly swim at the Quinte Sports and Wellness Centre. The BYST hosted the Eastern Ontario Swimming Association's latest regional meet this past weekend. Photo by James Wood  
Judges' comments: 
— I liked the portrait series, but a little cheesy at times. Let your subject relax, they all felt to me a little frightened, not quite ready to reveal themselves... just give it a little more time, make a dumb joke, tell them they look pretty, or whatever, just try to get them at ease. sometimes not talking makes your subject disappear into their own world
— multi pic was difficult because I couldn't really figure out what the stories were, repetitive in their sequences and editing wasn't so hot... you gotta stay there! come back! stay there! come back! a lot of this looks like you went for 7 minutes.
— was this an assignment at an old folks home?

1st - thinking differently... but some of the portraits are a little odd, like i said up top there, just relax and your subjects will relax. 
3rd - I am giving two 3rd place spots, no 2nd, based solely on the fact that there are some good photos in there, but of these stories suffered from TERRIBLE editing. I had no idea what was happening. However, you saved yourself because there are some good images, but being a good photographer is not just about making pictures, but what do you do with those pictures?
HM - I can't believe you made a story about nail-polishing.

1. Annie Sakkab
COBOURG, Ont. (24/02/2014) - Don Dimmine is a retired provincial police employee and has been carving wood since 1987. Dimmine also works as an event piper at weddings and birthday parties. These portraits are of the members of the Seniors Woodcarving Club at Cobourg Community Centre and is part of an ongoing project that investigates old age and the social and mental issues that is associated with it. Photo by Annie Sakkab.
COBOURG, Ont. (24/02/2014) - Micheline Prendergast is a retired French Canadian secretary from the Peel District School Board. Prendergast has been carving wood for the past 9 years. Photo by Annie Sakkab.
COBOURG, Ont. (24/02/2014) - Jim McMartin took up carving three years ago after he moved to Cobourg for retirement. McMartin is a dedicated moose hunter and a motorcycle adventurer. Photo by Annie Sakkab.
COBOURG, Ont. (24/02/2014) -  Retired Tom Neill was a truck driver before he took up wood carving few years ago. Photo by Annie Sakkab.
COBOURG, Ont. (24/02/2014) -  Mel Richards is a retired custodian from the school board. Richards started carving when he went on a hiking trip 25 years ago while walking alone in the woods. Photo by Annie Sakkab.
COBOURG, Ont. (24/02/2014) -  Jerry Chatten is a retired custodian from the school board and will always find him sitting next to his long term friend Mel Richards at the Seniors Woodcarving Club. Chatten started his wood carving passion 3 years ago. Photo by Annie Sakkab
COBOURG, Ont. (24/02/2014) -  John Grieve, retired at the age of 75 and started carving 5 years ago. Photo by Annie Sakkab.
COBOURG, Ont. (24/02/2014) -  Mary Louise Tufford is a retired artist and amateur painter. Tufford has been carving and painting on wood for many years.  Photo by Annie Sakkab.
COBOURG, Ont. (24/02/2014) -  Enid Hiscox was a stay home mum. Hiscox has been carving and knitting for her children and grand children for 25 years and joined the seniors club 3 years ago. Photo by Annie Sakkab.
3. Annie Sakkab

COBOURG, Ont. (10/02/2014) - Members of the Seniors Woodcarving Club at Cobourg Community Centre in downtown Cobourg. These images are part of an ongoing project that investigates old age and the social and mental issues that is associated with it. Photo by Annie Sakkab.

3. Annie Sakkab
COBOURG, Ont. (07/02/2014) - Annie Cormier, a 61 retired Marketing & Communication Consultant at her home in downtown Cobourg getting ready to join The Gazelles, a women's walking club for seniors. Cormier moved to Cobourg three years ago with her husband Jim McMartin and joined The Gazelles to meet interesting women who share her love for adventure, walking and the outdoors. These images are part of an ongoing project that investigates old age and the social and mental issues that is associated with it. Photo by Annie Sakkab.

H.M. Elaine Bombay
WHITBY, Ont. (02/02/2014)--Miranda Morris paints her mother's nails in preparation for a Super Bowl party.  Morris, 14, learned nail art while in the hospital receiving cancer treatments in 2012-13.  Photo by Elaine Bombay

Points awarded
150 — Annie Sakkab
125 — Emily Cumming
110 — James Wood
100 — Sarah Vissers
100 — Duncan Cairns-Brenner
75 — Hannah Yoon
75 — Guillaume Nolet
50 — Dillan Cools
10 — Justin Chin
10 — Mandy Larade
10 — Elaine Bombay

January 2014 Results

Darryl Dyck (@DarrylDyck), freelance photojournalist based in Vancouver, B.C., was the judge for January 2014 Photos of the Month. 

Entries Stats:
Photographers — 17

Feature — 19
News — 14
Sports — 9
Portrait — 26
Multi Photo — 2 entries/36 photos

Disclaimer from the POM team: The judge reclassified some photos into a different category than when it was submitted. We understand judges normally don't do this. We believe as a team that the competition should be educational, rather than competitive. Students at Loyalist College would be able to benefit from seeing where photos should have been entered. Submitting photos into the right category is an art of editing itself. We hope by allowing these reclassification made by the judge, students are able to take away something from that. This does not mean students should randomly submit in the future and hope the judge would reclassify the submissions for them.

Judge's comments: The first place photo proves your feature photos don't have to be in your face. There's always a place for this type of photo. It was a pleasure to see someone be patient and make a photo that was unlike anything else entered, it easily stood out above the rest. To nitpick though it could be even better if some of the top and some of the right side of the frame were cropped out to balance the lighthouse and the person better.

Second and third place were the best of the rest. In the second place photo the power pole and the power lines need to be cropped out, better yet take a step to the right and fix this at the moment the photo is made in camera. It's important to watch the edges and corners to be certain nothing distracting is creeping into the frame. Easily fixed by cropping the top and right side of the image.

The third place image shows a photographer paying attention to what's around him or her and not just the obvious although this image too could benefit from a crop to balance things out and draw more attention to the subject. Crop the top considerably and the right side to near the edge of the backpack. Third place was pulled over to feature from portrait and was better than the remaining feature entries.

Too many entries were shot or cropped awkwardly tight. There was an image of a sledder flying through the air but it was either shot or cropped so tight vertically that it killed any impact the photo might have had. In all the categories there were too many tightly cropped vertical images that would have next to no chance of being used in a publication whether it be print or online. The majority of photos used are horizontal, it's evolved that way because of website usage. Take a look around the news portal and newspaper websites across the country and count how many vertical photos are on the main page. The number is likely to be next to none. 

Sometimes you just need to take a step back or pay more attention to what is around you when you're working. Many times the best moment will be behind you or just off frame. Be aware, show some context and give your photos some room to breathe. Give the person who will be using your photos options by not close cropping them. Make sure they are balanced, don't crop one side right up to the subject and then leave a mile of dead space. It's okay to have negative space just make sure the area where your subject is has room to breathe.

Lastly on features, just go out and make a nice photo that is visually pleasing. This should have been the easiest category to submit entries for and it ended up being one of the disappointments to judge. It was January, you've either now been in school a few months or completed a full year on top of that. Get out of your car, go for a walk and be patient. I know for a fact there's better to be had out there than kids sledding down a hill and statues covered in snow.

1. Anica James
PEGGY'S COVE, NS - A tourist's silhouette flecks the rocky, coastal landscape next to the Peggy’s Point Lighthouse in the idyllic village of Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia. Built in 1914, the lighthouse is celebrating its 100th year and continues to be a popular tourist attraction in the province. Photo by Anica James.
2. Bradley Ruszkowski
BELLEVILLE Ont. (01/27/14)  "Temporarilly retired" local resident Steve Kingston has no trouble finding work today.  Drifting snow had closed down schools and local transit temporarilly.  With another 4 cm. forcasted for tonight it is advisable to get the sidwalks cleared while you can.  PHOTO: Bradley Ruszkowski
3. Hannah Yoon (Originally submitted as Portrait)
BELLEVILLE, Ont. (31/01/2014) —Mackenzie Latter, 12, rests with her iPad before the final races at the Quinte Wellness Centre in Belleville, Ont. for the Eastern Ontario Swimming Association short course regional championships on Friday, Jan. 31, 2014. Photo by Hannah Yoon
Judge's comments: Lots of miscategorized photos. The top three were all entered in other categories but due to the lack of quality entries they have been pulled over to news. One was entered as a portrait and the other two were entered as features when they are all clearly news photos.

First place winner was chosen because of the emotion conveyed and because the photographer saw something other than the ordinary. The subject genuinely looks concerned and although the caption had to be read to determine what was going on it all makes sense and any editor would be happy to have this photo to go along with the story. 

Second place is another case of seeing something other than the obvious although I'm not sure why it was entered as a feature when the keywords field in the iptc clearly had "spot news" filled in. Third place might have placed higher if the crop had been cleaned up - video camera poking into the right side of the frame and the two photographers in the background. Crop the bottom and the sides. Honourable mention goes to the photographer who found something different at what could have been a mundane protest march. Nitpicking small details here but it would have been better if the photographer could have waited another moment until the two people taking photos and the man in the glasses moved along and weren't looking right at you.

It's fairly easy to find out about news events going on these days so there's no excuse for not getting out there and shooting more. Even the day-to-day protests, news conferences etc. can yield good pictures if you look for them.

1. Anica James (Originally submitted as portrait)
TRENTON, Ont. (12/01/14) - Frank Meyers, 85, sits in his truck watching and listening to the small but supportive group of protesters that had gathered in front of his Quinte West home on Sunday afternoon. Photo by Anica James. 
2. Alistair Maitland (Originally submitted as feature)
BELLEVILLE, ON. (2014/01/20) - Firefighters put out a car fire on Moira Street West, west of the bridge on Wallbridge-Loyalist Drive. The driver, Annemieke Terpstra was shaken but did not appear injured. The incident took place late afternoon in Belleville, ON on Monday, January 20, 2014. Firefighters were on scene. 
3. Solana Cain (Originally submitted as feature)
TRENTON, Ont. (20/01/14) - Lenora, with her daughter Isla, welcomes her husband home on Monday, Jan. 20, 2014 at CFB Trenton. Cpl Cameron Lane was stationed in Afghanistan for six months for Operation Attention, which has Canadian soliders assisting in the development of the Afghan National Security Forces. All personnel are expected home by the end of March, according to the Department of National Defence. Photo by Solana Cain
H.M. Justin Chin
OTTAWA, Ont. (26/01/2014) — Billie the dog walks among 2,000 people march the downtown streets in Ottawa, Ont. on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014 in support of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. They were protesting against the Canada Post's decision to stop door-to-door mail delivery, the only country among the G8 nations. Photo by Justin Chin.
Judge's comments: The winners easily stood out above the other entries here. First place had good colour and a clean background but I debated whether it was a portrait or a feature. In the end it was the most eye-catching and just barely won out over the second place image. This photo would have gone from good to great if the photographer had kept the bottom of the hut in and we could see the surface it was directly sitting on. Wondering if this is a case of centre-point autofocus since the subject's head is dead centre in the frame. Focus and recompose or take a step back. More room on the bottom would balance the frame better.

Second place was tough for me because the painting on the wall is unnecessary, the subject itself is so striking that if it was just a nice horizontal frame of him sitting in that chair with a clean wall behind him it would have jumped straight to first place and would have been one of the best images entered in any category for the month. Don't over-complicate things, many times just keeping things simple will yield the best result.

Third place is a nice moment between mom and son and proves a portrait doesn't have to be someone sitting or standing there for you. The two of them seem to have forgot you are there - well done. You've brought the viewer/reader into their world. Would be nice to have a bit more room at the bottom so the frame isn't cropped right up to his foot and maybe a bit of room of the left to balance the frame better.

Honourable mention was pulled from sports and could have placed much higher in the portrait category had the photographer cropped out the bottom of the image. He or she has clearly gone to the trouble of setting up two lights so use that to your advantage. By cropping the bottom and having just the subject and his two shadows you go from a very pedestrian photo to something striking. Also give the top and sides a bit of room to breathe so the edges of your frame aren't all the way into subject's shadows.

1. Hannah Yoon
GREATER NAPANEE, Ont. (21/01/14) - Joe Pickstock sits in his fishing hut as he prepares for a morning of ice fishing on Hay Bay near Greater Napanee, Ont. on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014. Pickstock is the owner of PB&J Charters where he provides guided walleye or salmon trips on the Bay of Quinte and Lake Ontario. Photo by Hannah Yoon
2. Giovanni Capriotti
TORONTO, Ont. (12/01/2014) - Mariano Gonzales is an "alias" to identify this former mexican wrestler. His real name cannot be disclosed as at the moment he illegally resides in Canada. This shot is part of a personal documentary project about clandestine immigrants and black market. Photo by Giovanni Capriotti
3. Emily Cumming
TORONTO, Ont. (27/01/14) - Michelle Caneo, 24, kisses her son Cruz, 2, in her home in north Toronto.  Caneo, a single mother, trains everyday at Sully's Boxing gym in Toronto.  "I want to be a champion," says Caneo.  Photo by Emily Cumming
H.M. Bryan Eneas (Originally submitted as sport)
BELLEVILLE, Ont. (18/01/2014) Connor Stone is a local skateboarder, and currently attends Moira Secondary School. Connor did a hardflip at the band shelter in Zwicks Park. This is a popular spot to skateboard in the winter time, because it is covered and it's easy to clean up if it is snowed in. Photo credit Bryan Eneas
Judge's comments: The sports category was a disappointment, the lack of entries and the quality of images left much to be desired. There's no excuse for not getting out there and working your butt off to make good sports images. Take a chance and try a position you might not immediately think of. You don't necessarily need a long lens to make a good sports photo. Pick a spot, let the action come to you and make images you are proud of. It should be standard by this point in your schooling that you can go out to a sporting event and make storytelling or just pleasing to look at sports pictures.

The three photos chosen were simply better than the rest of the entries. First place was clearly the winner with fist connected to face and a clean background. Second place was clean but could have been cropped better. Third place was the best of the rest and nice to see something other than action on the field of play. Nice work by the photographer paying attention to what was happening on the sidelines.

1. Dillan Cools
BELLEVILLE, ON (27/01/14) Jake Marchment of the Belleville Bulls receives a blow to the head from Kurtis MacDermid of the Erie Otters in one of four fights occurring in the bulls 4-1 loss at the Yardmen Arena on Monday night. Photo by Dillan Cools. 
2. Hannah Yoon
BELLEVILLE, Ont. (31/01/2014) —Rafik Jiwa, 13, of the Belleville Youth Swim Team (BYST) performs a breaststroke in the 13-14 boys 200 medley relay team in Belleville, Ont. on Friday, Jan. 31, 2014. The BYST placed fifth in the relay. Photo by Hannah Yoon
3. Dillan Cools
BELLEVILLE, ON (17/01/14) St. Lawrence Head Coach Barry Smith lashes out in frustration at Referee and former Mayoral Candidate Mitch Panciuk after being rewarded a technical foul late in the game as his team fell 64-93 to the Loyalist Lancers on Saturday night. Photo by Dillan Cools
Judge's comments: There were only two entries and although the winner chosen needed to be edited down to 6 or 7 photos from 10 it was still clearly better than the other entry. The other entry had 26 photos, didn't have captions, most were cropped badly, some were poorly exposed and the colour balance was all over the place. It also lacked focus, had no flow and could have easily been edited down to just a handful of images. Twenty-six photos is just too many in this case.

1. Justin Chin
HONG KONG, CHINA (04/01/2014) — Camel Fung (Not pictured), 61, stores his prosthesis legs at his home in Hong Kong, China on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014. Fung underwent an amputation surgery after a motorcycle accident 30 years. He is the first amputee in Hong Kong to compete in the Hong Kong Standard Charter marathon. Fung also participated in numerous hiking competitions, as well as a 100 kilometre trail walk recently. He is also the chairman of the Hong Kong Amputees Sports Association. JUSTIN CHIN


Points awarded
250 — Anica James
175 — Hannah Yoon
125 — Dillan Cools
110 — Justin Chin
50 — Bradley Ruszkowski
50 — Alistar Maitland
50 — Giovanni Capriotti
25 — Emily Cumming
25 — Solana Cain
10 — Bryan Eneas