Shmuel ThalerSanta Cruz Sentinel
Kent PorterSanta Rosa Press Democrat
Thomas R CordovaLong Beach Post
First place image did a great job isolating a part of the scene that has more emotional impact than focusing on the actual victim's feet in the background. We get a sense of his physical injuries by the attention of the first responders, but that empty shoe is a visceral clue of the impact. No doubt future months' entries from NPPA West in this category will be more spectacular fire coverage, but we loved the subtle hues and painterly aspect of this chopper evacuation. We get a sense of scale in this man v nature event with previously burned trees framing the current action. It's also reminiscent of battlefield rescues from Vietnam. The Standoff photo gave us that WTF second glance that draws readers into the frame. It's hard to tell if this happened for a split second or if his legs were dangling for several hours of the standoff, but the photographer did a great job of framing the moment using foreground to background.
Judges: Julia Robinson/Independent, Vivian Abagiu/University of Texas, Catalin Abagiu/Austin Community College