Terry PiersonThe Press-Enterprise
Shmuel ThalerSanta Cruz Sentinel
Paul BersebachOrange County Register
It seems like most photographers do not have the resources or time to cover spot news much anymore. The strongest photos of the few that were submitted were from fires. Also, this happens every time we judge, but if you are going to submit a multiple-picture entry, you need to stop and ask yourself: Am I shooting myself in the foot here by entering a collection of images that don't communicate a larger story when grouped together, rather than picking the strongest one or two of the bunch and entering them as singles? Hint: The answer is almost always yes. If you are entering seven photos from the scene of a single shooting, please make sure that five of the seven are not pictures of police officers pointing flashlights at stuff; just one will suffice. Anyway: First place both conveyed the fire's terrifying sense of scale and the urgency of the firefighter in motion. Maybe could have cropped 1/4 off the left side but not a big deal. Second place really captured the frightening conditions that firefighters are working in - plus the silhouetted finials offer an eerie sense of where the structure used to be. Third place was a little less action-packed but the light is eerie and the fire's destruction is evident. Wish the photographer had been careful enough to crop a smidge off the right where it appears another firefighter was standing.
Judges: Tim Tai/The Philadelphia Inquirer, Heather Khalifa/The Philadelphia Inquirer, Steven M. Falk/The Philadelphia Inquirer