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Our contest jury was comprised of seven Backpacking Light staff and members of our peer review committee, and included: Brian Barnes, Alan Dixon, Rick Dreher, Ryan Faulkner, Ryan Jordan, Mike Martin, and Don Wilson.

Photos were sent to jurors at 800 pixels on their longest side (unless they were submitted smaller) and blinded with respect to both captions and photographer identity during the scoring process.

Each juror selected thirty photos out of an initial pool of 312 entries. Then, thirty-three entries (which comprised those photos that were selected by at least four of the seven jurors) were assigned a score in each of the following categories:

  • RELEVANCE – How well does this photo reflect the activities of hiking, backpacking, and camping, especially as it related to Backpacking Light's Mission (multi-day, backcountry, self-supported, and lightweight)?
  • ORIGINALITY – How well does this photograph reflect an original scene unlike anything else you've ever seen?
  • TECHNICAL – How well does the photographer employ the appropriate technical photography skills to capture the image (exposure, depth of field, shutter speed, focus)?
  • COLOR – How well does the photographer use color (or lack thereof) and natural lighting?
  • AESTHETIC – How well does this photograph balance all of the above to elicit a "Wow!" factor when you look at the image?

Photos were given 1 to 3 points in each category:

  • The photograph does not meet expectations for minimum criteria in this category.
  • The photograph meets expectations for minimum criteria in this category.
  • The photograph exceeds expectations for minimum criteria in this category.

Each juror also assigned what they believed to be the importance of each category with a relative weighting factor, and the final weighting scale resulted from an average of the individual weights assigned by all jurors. Thus, the categories were weighted as follows:

  • Relevance – 23%
  • Originality – 20%
  • Technical – 17%
  • Color – 13%
  • Aesthetic – 27%

Finally, all photo scores were normalized on a scale of 1 (lowest) and 100 (highest), and ranked accordingly.

Prizes are awarded to the top three photographs, and we also recognize the thirteen photos that were scored in the final round.

Click on an image to open a larger version in the image gallery.


  • Jury Process
  • Grand Prize
  • Second Place
  • Third Place (tie)
  • Honorable Mentions
  • Closing Comments

# WORDS: 2220
# PHOTOS: 13

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