2013 Q4 Clip Contest Winners

Another year done. Tons of great photos and a fun competition to watch throughout the seasons.

Grand total winners for the year are:

  1. Jill Nance (The News & Advance) – 19 pts
  2. Parker Michels-Boyce (the News & Advance) – 11 pts
  3. Jonathan Gruenke (Daily Press), Peter Cihelka (The Free Lance-Star) and Mike Morones (Military Times) – 10 pts

Thanks to our judges from the Sunshine State, at the Naples Daily News: Scott McIntyre, Dania Maxwell, Corey Perrine and Carolina Hidalgo.


  1. Griffin Moores/The Free Lance-Star – a very intimate moment to go along with the story of his unfortunate incident. It has passion and emotion and hits you right when you see it.
  2. Jonathan Gruenke/Daily Press - Photo brings you into the soldier’s life and makes you want to know what his circumstances are. Very nicely composed.
  3. P. Kevin Morley/Richmond Times-Dispatch – A great way of seeing within such a boring thing like voting.


  1. Jonathan Gruenke/Daily Press – We liked the first place photo because of all of the emotion compacted into the single frame while keeping it aesthetically pleasing.
  2. Ryan Kelly/Daily Progress - We loved the emotion coming from the celebration with the small details like the water coming off of the hand, the ball, and the opposing player in the background.
  3. Jonathan Gruenke/Daily Press – We got the feeling of defeat in the picture. He almost looks childlike with his defenses completely down.


  1. Stephanie Klein-Davis/Roanoke Times – The first place photo does a great job showing how silly politics can be. The signage along with the fellow politician make it a whole photo that’s enjoyable to look at.
  2. Jonathan Gruenke/Daily Press - Second place photo we enjoyed the scale of the photo and the two people’s body language takes in the huge ship. Fun photo.


  1. Stephanie Klein-Davis/Roanoke Times – We were pulled in to want to know Mabel’s story. The light, her expression, and body language makes it a compelling and storytelling image.
  2. Jay Diem/Eastern Shore News - The weirdness of the image along with the composition make it a solid photo.
  3. Jill Nance/The News & Advance – We enjoyed being up close with the harmonica man and his concentration is telling and commend the photographer for getting up close and personal.


  1. Jill Nance/The News & Advance – The story was the clear winner with great seeing, good subjects, and it’s obvious that the photographer put a lot of time and effort into getting personal with the family.
  2. Rebecca Barnett/Roanoke Times - We thought it was a nice story while keeping a tight edit and solid moments.
  3. Mike Morones/Military Times – The relief story had some nice photos but the edit was sort of all over the place. It’s not really cohesive. Again, some solid photos.

The judges felt that they should exercise the weak category rule here, no awards.

2013 Q3 Clip Contest Winners

Just in time for Christmas we have some winners to announce! Results are in from the third quarter clip contest, we got a very nice set of images all around.

Thank you thank you thank you to our judges: Sefton Ipock, Ken Ruinard and Nathan Gray, at the Anderson Independent Mail.


  1. Sam O’keefe/The News & Advance – A pictoral look at swimming that reads well and has good visual qualities.
  2. Peter Cihelka/The Free Lance-Star - Good football action. Grabbed an unusual moment.
  3. Peter Cihelka/The Free Lance-Star – Good emotion and nice faces.


  1. Reza Marvashti/The Free Lance-Star – Clean image. Nice moment. Clearly the subjects forgot the photographer was present.
  2. Jill Nance/The News & Advance - Nice slice of life. Taking advantage of good color. Photographer found a person at a large event sort of to themselves.
  3. Jonathon Gruenke/Daily Press – Great moment. Needs a crop from the right to help clean up image.


  1. Peter Cihelka/The Free Lance-Star – Clear 1st place. Good emotion.
  2. Rebecca Barnett/The Roanoke Times - Peak moment from a dramatic rescue.
  3. Mike Morones/Military Times – Needs a tighter crop to pull the view into the faces and the emotion.


  1. Peter Cihelka/The Free Lance-Star – Has a whimsical quality. Good example of visualizing and executing a portrait.
  2. Mike Morones/Military Times - Took a tough situation and made a decent portrait. It’s more than a mugshot because of the selective focus. It brings you straight into the subjects eyes. Simply done.
  3. Parker Michels-Boyce/The News & Advance – In the end, the lack of a good crop brought it down. The frame is composed right but could have been cropped to eliminate the lamp, bottom of the table and light switch. You a get a feel that he is in his own element.


  1. Mike Morones/Military Times – Cleanest and most variety of the category. Had the strongest images.
  2. Jill Nance/The News & Advance - Good storytelling with a two or three images that could have been left out of the group.
  3. Sam O’Keefe/The News & Advance – A few good images but a couple of the photos brought the package down.

2013 Q2 Clip Contest Winners

Well done to everyone who had work included in the quarter two contest, we had one of our largest entrant fields in years! Here are the winners and judges’ comments below.

A big thank you shout-out to our judges, Seth Gitner and the Photo Grad Students at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications (absent Ross Taylor).


  1. Bob Martin/The Free Lance-Star – The juxtaposition of the past and the present makes it a nice moment. The moment with the horse is still moving adds a nice level. Nice found situation outside the reenactment.
  2. Elijah Nouvelage/The Free Lance-Star - Great looking moment great faces and reactions.
  3. Peter Cihelka/The Free Lance-Star – Nice found moment at an event.


  1. Mike Morones/Military Times – Crisp and clean composition, graphically interesting.
  2. Parker Michels-Boyce/The News & Advance - Good emotion.
  3. Parker Michels-Boyce/The News & Advance – Nice combo of feature and flood.
  4. (HM) Elijah Nouvelage,The Free Lance-Star
  5. (HM) Parker Michels-Boyce/The News & Advance
  6. (HM) Mike Morones, Military Times


  1. Kevin Morley/Richmond Times Dispatch – It’s surprising. It tells a great story and has interesting elements such as the magnifying glass.
  2. Jay Westcott/Freelance - Beautifully controlled and composed image. Great facial expression.
  3. Reza Marvashti/The Free Lance-Star – Interesting Story.
  4. (HM) Suzanne Rossi/The Free Lance-Star


  1. Griffin Moores/The Free Lance-Star – Nice shot of the player consoling her teammate.
  2. Parker Michels-Boyce/The News & Advance - Nice layering with the girls in the foreground/multiple layers of story.
  3. Bob Martin/The Free Lance-Star – Nice find from a usually generic event.


  1. Jill Nance/The News & Advance
  2. Kaitlin McKeown/The Daily Press
  3. Kevin Morley/Richmond Times Dispatch

2012 Annual Contest Winners

This is a massive gallery of some really stunning shots by photographers across our state. Seeing all this work together emphasizes the broad range of subjects we photograph over the course of a year and shows how, at it’s best, photography can be used to share stories of all kinds. Congrats to all the photographers who have work in this gallery, I hope you all continue to raise the bar again in 2013.

The VNPA 2012 Photographers of the Year are:
1st – Ross Taylor/The Virginian-Pilot
2nd – Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post
3rd – tie between Kyle Green/The Roanoke Times and Vicki Cronis/The Virginian-Pilot

I’ll be posting those winning portfolios in a separate post soon.

Sports feature
1st place: Ross Taylor/The Virginian-Pilot- Loss
2nd place: Rebecca Barnett/The Roanoke Times- Fries
3rd place: Bill Tiernan/The Virginian Pilot- NBA Bound
HM: Ryan M. Kelly
All four entries were contenders but in the end the composition, the color and the telling look of defeat in the winning image won out.

1st place: Suzanne Carr Rossi/The Free Lance-Star- Emmaus
2nd place: Jahi Chikwandiu/The Washington- Dreams
3rd place: Parker Michels Boyce-The News and Advance- Bluegrass
HM-Parker Michels Boyce/The News & Advance- Artist
Another tight race. All four winners occupied the top spot at some point during judging but in the end the wonderful mood of the 1st place entry gave it the edge.

1st Place: Ross Taylor/ The Virginian-Pilot- USA
2nd Place: Mike Morones/ Military Times-RNC
3rdplace: Jay Westcott/ Freelance- Gingrichs
Overall the judges felt this was a weaker category. Most of the entries felt cliche’d and lacked aesthetic polish or interesting content. The winner stood out as a great example of ignoring the podium to find a different take than the usual campaign tedium.

1st place: Amanda Lucier/The Virginian-Pilot – Foster
2nd place: Jahi Chikwendiu/ The Washington Post – heat
3rd place: Bill Tiernan/ The Virginia-Pilot-B-17 flight
HM: D Taylor – headless
This was a strong category that resulted in some heated arguments while judging. First place barely edged out second based on the strong moment and great use of color.

Sport action
1st place: Vicki Cronis/The Free Lance-Star- Grip
2nd place: Sam O’Keefe/The News & Advance-Splash
3rd place: Kyle Green/The Roanoke Times- Dive
The brutality of the moment captured is what won this category. While 2nd is a graceful image and 3rd had great composition and humor, the judges responded to the first place winner on a visceral level.

Spot news
1st place: Parker Michels Boyce/The News & Advance- Storm
2nd place: Kyle Green/The Roanoke Times- Derecho
3rd place: Ross Taylor/The Virginian-Pilot- Crash
1st place set itself apart with the storytelling aspects of the photo.

General news
1st place: Jahi Chikwendiu/ The Washington Post-Guantanamo
2nd place: Kyle Green/The Roanoke Times- Tears
3rd place: Bill Tiernan/The Virginian-Pilot- Goodbye
Another very contentious category. 1st and 2nd were very close but ultimately the superb composition gave the edge to the winner.

1st Place: Vicki Cronis/The Virginian-Pilot- Duncan
2nd Place: Jahi Chikwandiu/The Washington Post-Webs
3rd Place: Joe Fudge/The Daily Press-Stonecrusher’s Little Friend
There were some great entries in this category. The emotional content of the winner put it ahead of the graphic qualities of the second place entry

1st place: Jesse Hutcheson/Christopher Newport University-Waterwork
2nd place: Jesse Hutcheson/Christopher Newport University-Sandy
3rd place: Rebecca Barnett/Roanoke Times-Football
The judges liked the timeless quality in the winning image. Second place had an epic feel and third is a nice take on an ordinary assignment.

1st place: Ross Taylor/The Virginian-Pilot- Memories
2nd place: Ross Taylor /The Virginan-Pilot- Noir
3rd place: Kyle Green/The Roanoke Times- Smoked Fish
The winner in this category displayed great creativity to create a photo that rose above the rest. Judges liked the abstract quality and the great use of mood.

Feature picture story
1st place: Kyle Green/The Roanoke Times – Making it
2nd place: Parker Michels Boyce/The News & Advance- Wigwam
3rd place: Amanda Lucier/The Virginian-Pilot-Animals
Disappointing category due to the lack of stories containing any kind of strong narrative thread. While there were some strong essays the winner produced a powerful and well-executed narrative story that moved the judges.

News picture story
1st place: Ross Taylor/The Virginian-Pilot-Guns
2nd: place: Ross Taylor/The Virginian-Pilot Republicans
3rd place: Parker Michels Boyce/The News & Advance- Derecho
Another disappointing category. Most entries felt like loose essays cobbled together after the face or extended event coverage from a single day. While all three winners needed an edit, the winner presented a well-executed theme with a good variety

Sports picture story
1st place: Mike Morones/Military Times- Army Navy
2nd place: Bill TiernanThe Virginian-Pilot- Power Lifters
3rd place: Todd Spencer/The Virginian-Pilot-Alternative
Very weak category

2013 Q1 Clip Contest Winners

Results are in! Quarter one winners are listed below along with comments from the judges about their decisions. Thanks to everyone who entered and congrats to the winners!

Big thanks to our wonderful judges this round from the Flint Journal: Jake May, Lauren Justice, and Sammy Jo Hester.


  1. Niki Fox/Daily News-Record – Unique spot news event that draws you in and makes you want to know more. The leading lines bring you to the action and let you work around the frame. The caption was well-written and leaves no room for error.
  2. John Boal/Freelance - Fantastic moment. Making Sen. Angus King human by showing us a loving relationship with his granddaughter. An otherwise mundane event made into something beautiful.
  3. Jill Nance/The News & Advance – Color and graphic appeal really brings this photo together. The caption fell short for us, as we were hoping to hear from the mother photographed. A quote or more context could have elevated this to second place.


  1. Parker Michels-Boyce/The News & Advance – We wanted to award the best of the category. This photo captures a bit of humor through using all of the paintings of Abraham Lincoln, and most looking into the direction of the subject.

Comments: This is by far the weakest category of them all. With only 13 entries, the group as a whole failed to capture our attention. A lot of standard, and not enough ingenuity and personality with subjects.


  1. Jill Nance/The News & Advance – This photo is the complete package. Great caption helped elevate it to first, as well as the combination of a great moment and clean, but graphic nature of the image.
  2. Rob Obstermairer/The Daily Press - Very strong image. Another clean background with a moment. We awarded this second place because of caption information. We wish we knew the identities of the children in the lower right third, and more context to the situation.
  3. Jill Nance/The News & Advance – Moment! It’s touching and the light gracing their presence adds to the compassionate moment.
  4. (HM) Rebecca Barnett/The Roanoke Times – The lines and the graphic nature of the image is unique. We liked that you took a boring event and made it cool, and by stepping back you embrace the scene.


  1. Rob Obstermairer/The Daily Press – Good toning. Good content. Makes us cringe a little bit. Looks like it would hurt. Well shot, good moment. Caption helped it.
  2. Parker Michels-Boyce/The News & Advance - Unique perspective on a baseball practice assignment that combined great layers and color. The caption lacked, which hurt its placing, but the angle helped keep it in the top three. We encourage this photographer to go back and try this again, just get that building off of their shoulders and, at least, the batter’s name.
  3. Jonathan Gruenke/The Daily Press – Good emotion. Good moment. The lines of the seats work as somewhat of leading lines.

Comments: Overall, sports was a good category with both graphic, emotional content. Though, most action photos did not rise to the top, as many were standard.


  1. Jill Nance/The News & Advance – Unique collection of images. Even though there are two window photos, they are not repetitive. These images take a thoughtful approach to an annual assignment that showcase the photographer’s style and legwork.
  2. James Diem/Eastern Shore News - Interesting variety of angles and scenarios. Shows dedication to being at multiple scenes, though we thought a tighter edit would have elevated this essay.
  3. Ryan Kelly/Freelance – Good find on a rare story of a cross-country unicyclist. The edit was way too wide, but we found a few strong photos and storyline on a challenge of shooting a well-shot essay in a day deserved recognition. Less focus on the unicycle and more on the personality and lifestyle of Jeffrey Erickson would have made this better. Also, should include names for others outside of the unicyclist.

Comments: We were impressed with the number of approaches in a small set of stories/essays provided. Our top choices were easy to pick and order from the lot.

2012 Q4 Clip Contest Winners

Wrapping up a great year, here are the smoking, screaming, shooting results from the 4th quarter contest.

Using the system where each 1st place award receives 3 points, 2nd place receives 2 points and 3rd place receives 1 point, here are the top scorers from 2012 (complete standings below):

  1. Parker Michels-Boyce (24 pts)
  2. Kyle Green (23 pts)
  3. Ross Taylor (12 pts)

Big thanks to our judges this round from the Concord Monitor, photographers John Tully, Andrea Morales and Samantha Goresh.


  1. Kyle Green/Roanoke Times – The color, the lighting, and the concept was well executed.
  2. Ross Taylor/The Virginian-Pilot - The humor and subtle details were emphasized by the organized and well-lit frame. Organized chaos.
  3. Ross Taylor/The Virginian-Pilot – Nice light and interesting concept that connects back to the story. We understood the hand coming in the frame on the left, but could have done without it.

Comments: Mixed and interesting entries overall. The ones that rose to the top were executed the best. Colors and organization in the frame also helped.


  1. Rebecca Barnett/The Roanoke Times – Uses light really well and conveys a level of intimacy.
  2. Bob Martin/Free Lance-Star - Nice seeing. The lighting, the color, and composition all line up and work together.
  3. Ross Taylor/The Virginian-Pilot – Couldn’t figure out what the dog is doing, but we awarded this because of a level of commitment to the story. We would have liked to a little more of a connection to the people, but the ritual and idea of hunting as a family came across in the photo.

Comments: The category was fairly weak, with the award-winners rising quickly to the top. Most of the images feel like straight-forward event coverage or shoot-and-scoot mentality. We didn’t feel like the photographers brought much to the situations to tell a story.


  1. Parker Michels-Boyce/The News & Advance – Works alright with space framing the artist’s head.

Comments:We had a tough time awarding images in the category because the portraits seemed like more fleeting moments that didn’t give enough sense of who the subject was.


  1. Kyle Green/The Roanoke Times – Great moment, nice light, with a clean enough background. Other emotions add to the excitement.
  2. Sam O’Keefe/The News & Advance - This is a common photo we see from cross country meets, but the frame was well-done and unusual. The light was used well and it was a well composed frame.
  3. Sabrina Schaeffer/The Daily Progress – Great moment. The eyes made it.
  4. (HM) Ross Taylor/The Virginian-Pilot – Sweet story but we wished it was composed a little better.

Comments: The category had a lot of nice images to choose from. The feature photos definitely stood out more than the action photos.


  1. Ross Taylor/The Virginian-Pilot – Nice composition that draws us in to an emotional moment.
  2. Andrew Shurtleff/Daily Progress - We awarded this because it was an interesting take on a news event. Went beyond the obvious photos we often see from spot-news events.
  3. (tie)P. Kevin Morley/Richmond Times-Dispatch – Pretty funny moment in a sea of chaos from an overly-staged event.
  4. (tie)Ross Taylor/The Virginian-Pilot – Hilarious moment from an annual, often treated mundane, assignment.

Comments: The photos that rose to the top did so because the photographer was able to step away from the obvious, yet still doing justice to the subject.


  1. Parker Michels-Boyce/The News & Advance – Found an interesting character and stuck with it to get a little bit beyond the surface. A few nice images with some minor redundancies.
  2. Rebecca Barnett/The Roanoke Times - Nice photos in a tight edit. Follows the process with a few surprises. Really liked the photo of J.D. kissing Jillian while outside.
  3. Kyle Green/The Roanoke Times – Some nice visual photos and details. Strong beginning, but a stronger narrative with a tighter edit would have carried this story in the category.

Comments: We liked a lot of photos throughout the entries, but we like to see more emphasis on telling a story rather than just a collection of images. Some entries would have benefited from a tighter, more thoughtful edits.

All scorers from 2012:

  • Parker Michels-Boyce (24 pts)
  • Kyle Green (23 pts)
  • Ross Taylor (12 pts)
  • Sam O’Keefe (8 pts)
  • Rebecca Barnett (8 pts)
  • Andrew Shurtleff (8 pts)
  • Jay Diem (7 pts)
  • Sangjib Min (5 pts)
  • Rob Ostermaier (5 pts)
  • Jill Nance (4 pts)
  • P. Kevin Morley (4 pts)
  • Bob Martin (4 pts)
  • Earl Neikirk (4 pts)
  • Ryan Kelly (3 pts)
  • Jeff Mankie (2 pts)
  • Stephanie Klein-Davis (2 pts)
  • Sabrina Schaeffer (1 pts)

River Men

I had to hike a mile down a mountain and along train tracks in the rain to photograph a crew of guys who are taking a batteau 360 miles upriver. It was probably the best day of work I have ever had.

More on my blog and at The News & Advance.

Kevin Ferrel (right) holds onto a guide rope that keeps the specially designed batteau aimed straight as crew members behind him struggle to hold their position against the strong rapids of Balcony Falls on the James River near Glasgow, Va.

Members and friends of the expedition stand on the shore of the James River before setting up camp for the night.

2011 Q4 Clip Contest Winners

…and last but not least, our winners for quarter four!

Thank you to our judges from the Indianapolis Star (who also gave our entries some wonderful titles!):
Matt Detrich – Staff Photographer
Danese Kenon – Assistant Director of Photography
Robert Scheer – Staff Photographer


  1. “Mariachi Band” – Sam Dean/The Roanoke Times – This photo took first because there weren’t a lot of moments in the category so the cool feeling , composition and light helped this come together.
  2. “Children’s Museum Extravaganza” – Ross Taylor / The Virginian-Pilot – Again no moments but the cool light and composition and timing helped this.
  3. “Meeting Snoopy” – P. Kevin Morley / Richmond Times-Dispatch – This pic had a moment but it was almost there…sweet face on the little girl and way to be ready when it happened.


  1. “Antsy To Find The Perfect Picnic Spot” – Ross Taylor | The Virginian-Pilot – PERFECT execution and full of fun information and a joy to have in anyone’s portfolio!
  2. “The Rise of Zombie Games” – Ross Taylor | The Virginian-Pilot – Another illustration packed full of cool visuals with a story telling edge!
  3. “Running Back” – Kyle Green / The Roanoke Times – Great portrait but we felt this should have been in the portrait category as we didn’t see any Photoshop manipulation.


  1. “Protestor Charged” – Robert A. Martin/Stringer – Super story telling image with great emotion that stood way above the rest!
  2. “Where Are The Jobs Protest” – P. Kevin Morley / Richmond Times-Dispatch – Nice “In Your Face” emotion that takes the reader where they need to be!
  3. “Grieving Father” – Kyle Green / The Roanoke Times – Another great emotion – great face but the photo could use a major crop to help get right into the emotion.


  1. “Strong Co-Captain – Ross Taylor | The Virginian-Pilot – Greta portrait approach with all the emotion and sense of place but now as we look closer should this be in the illustration category as it looks enhanced with photoshop.
  2. “Missing Mother” – Sam Dean/The Roanoke Times  - This was a fairly weak category…we felt this could have been lit better as the cross is blown out.
  3. “Track Star” – John Boal(?)/News & Messenger – We thought the lighting was flat and could be a little more dramatic but nice idea.


  1. “Celebrate and Complain” – Andrew Shurtleff / The Daily Progress – Great reaction photo of one girl celebrating while the other disputes the call. Fantastic job of capturing it all in one frame!
  2. “Exhausted Runner” – Kyle Green / The Roanoke Times – Another great shot that is helped by light and composition…great execution!
  3. “Celebrate Winning Goal” –  Jill Nance/The News & Advance – Super face anchoring the photo but a tighter crop would give it more impact.


  1. “Bass Elementary School” – Jill Nance/The News & Advance – Great in-depth story that is well-rounded and really shows the life and celebrations of the students and faculty!
  2. “Toys “R” Us” – Sam Dean/The Roanoke Times – Another well told story from a daily event. All bases were covered showing the craziness of the event!
  3. “Fox Hunt” – Andrew Shurtleff / The Daily Progress – VERY well shot story but started well and kind of fell off at the end. The three starting photos were awesome but the style fell off at the end where we though  there might have been more.

2011 Q3 Clip Contest Winners

First of all, I want to apologize for the delay in getting these results up. After losing Kim Raff to the Salt Lake Tribune it was a bit of a scramble to pick up the reigns and steer this clip contest in the right direction. Second, I have also been working a lot recently on updating this website. Some changes are already in place and there are more to come. If you have any suggestions, now is the perfect time to submit them!

Congrats to all the winners from quarter three!

Extra special thanks to our thoughtful judges at the Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune:
Parker Eshelman
August Kryger
Ryan Henriksen


  1. Kyle Green, The Roanoke Times
  2. Sam Dean, The Roanoke Times
  3. Andrew Shurtleff, The Daily Progress

Comments: solid find from a news event for first place, well composed graphic image for second, and nice moment for third.


  1. Jill Nance, The News & Advance
  2. Parker Michels-Boyce, The News & Advance
  3. P. Kevin Morley Richmond Times-Dispatch

Comments: Judges liked the mood of the first place photo, the fun scene and complete framing of second place, and nice face reaction of third place.


  1. Rebecca Barnett, The Roanoke Times
  2. Nikki Fox Daily News-Record
  3. Ryan Kelly, Christopher Newport University

Comments: Judges were really looking for peak moments or sports features they hadn’t seen before. Lots of generic action submitted. We liked the found moment of the first place feature, the jube of the second place, and the graphic quality of third.


  1. Ross Taylor, The Virginian-Pilot
  2. John Boal, News & Messenger
  3. Kim Raff, The News & Advance

Comments: Judges really liked the mood and feel of first place and second place, and elegance of third place.


  1. Sam Dean, Roanoke Times

Comments: Although all the entries in this category needed extreme amounts of editing, judges felt it necessary to recognize the work and effort put forth in the soldier