Photo Finish - TOP 30 Named

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It wasn’t easy. More than 600 photos were entered for this year’s Rockaway Times Photo Contest. The five categories in this year’s contest included Beach Life, Pets/Wildlife, Humor/Fun, Rainbows/Lightning and Rockaway Parades. The goal was to narrow the favorites down to a Top 30 with each category having five to seven finalists.

Seven judges were tasked with choosing their favorites in the various categories. We did the best we could with keeping it fair as the judges were sent photos with just numbers and no names attached.

If photos received more than one vote, it moved to a second round of judge voting. And this process continued until each category had between five and seven top vote-getters.

Beach Life was the most expansive category, with photos of Rockaway that didn’t quite fit other categories. It was also the category that garnered the most photos with more than 200. For this reason, we opted to have seven photos, the most of any category, move to the Finals.

The Top 30 finalists will have their photos enlarged to poster-size and be on display on the boardwalk, the ferry dock, Broad Channel or Riis Park. They are expected to go live around Memorial Day weekend and stay through July. At a ceremony on the boardwalk, at a yet-to-be-determined date, a winner will be chosen. The talented (and lucky!) winner will get $500 and have his or her photo on the front page of The Rockaway Times.

And though we can say unabashedly that the Top 30 are great, we know some wonderful and deserving photos did not make the cut. Some came up short in the voting but deserve some recognition, and therefore we selected 10 Honorable Mention photos that will also be made poster-sized and adorn one of the public display areas. These ten won’t be eligible for the grand prize but the photographers will be able to keep the enlarged photos later in the summer when the Expo ends.

Even with 40 photos getting selected for public display, there still were many that could’ve been finalists in other years. The 2019 competition was that tough. Some photos were excellent but could not be chosen because the resolution was not high enough and the photo would blur as it was enlarged. Cellphone photos are often good enough but sometimes a great shot loses quality when it’s blown up and can’t be a candidate for the boardwalk Expo. Keep this in mind for next year!

And even if your photo didn’t make the finals or get an honorable mention, there’s still the possibility that it will be the cover of The Rockaway Times Summer & Community Guide.

In fact, Rockaway Times publisher Kevin Boyle, who was not one of the seven judges, says three of his favorites are not in the finals but are being considered for the Guide's cover. That’s not a bad consolation.

There’s no telling who will win Photo of The Year, but we have to tip our lenses to John Reinhardt who has three photos in this year’s Top 30. Last year’s winner, Don Riepe, is back and like Reinhardt, has landed three of his photos in the finals as well. And Argirios Kostaras joins them as a triple threat as three of his were selected by the judges, too. Kudos!

The Rockaway Times and its co-sponsors, the Jamaica Bay – Rockaway Parks Conservancy (JBRPC), NYC Parks, and NYC Ferry, extend thanks to all who submitted photos and would like to exclaim: Rockaway’s Got Talent!

(See pages 39-43  for Top 30 choices. Honorable Mention photos will be in future editions of The Rockaway Times).

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