The images didn’t have to be taken at the actual Olympic Games or Paralympics in London. Indeed, several people produced compelling images from other sports and events. Here are our thoughts on some of the strongest images just outside of the top three.

Samsung has kindly provided a 32GB Micro SD card, with SD adapter for the winner, and 8GB cards and adapters for the second and third places. Second and third places also get an Amateur Photographer Loves My Pictures mug.

As the London 2012 Olympics becomes a hazy memory all we can do is hope that the much talked about legacy lives on and that we have something to show for the billions spent on the spectacle. Wishful thinking aside, at a local level our August Olympic theme sparked interest amongst AP forum posters and there were some really inventive images submitted. Top marks for creativity go to londonbackpackr for his Lego boxing scene although I was slightly perturbed by the faceless boxer who still managed to stare me out even though he had no eyes, which is no mean feat. I also liked monkeys bunny’s wry comment on the amount of money spent on the Games – bank notes cleverly arranged to look like they are tumbling down the drain. A couple of people took the image of a podium as their inspiration and I particularly liked mike_morley’s and Chris Cool’s silhouetted images of figures against dramatic skies. Newbonic’s image of a person, arms out stretched on top of a cliff is another imaginative interpretation of the Olympic podium theme. Read on to find out the bronze, silver and gold medal snaring images for this round.

3rd place
Fen – ” ‘Olympian’ – The Ride of your Life”

Capturing a dynamic sports image takes skill, patience and crucially, perfect timing – three things that Fen has achieved brilliantly in this image of a cyclist. I love the look of sheer concentration on the cyclist’s face and his tense body language. He seems to be ‘in the zone’ and completely in his own world. I can’t help but wonder what is going through his mind – thoughts of crossing the finishing line or standing on the podium with a gold medal around his neck? Or maybe he’s thinking about tactics or what to have for dinner. Whatever he’s thinking, his serious expression forms the central focus of this image. One of the main challenges of photographing a moving subject is ensuring the subject is in focus and that the background is not distracting. Fen has managed both these things well – the cyclist is perfectly in focus and by tightly framing the scene he focuses our attention on the cyclist for impact and in the process crops out the distracting spectators.

2nd place
Scphoto – “Number 6”

I didn’t mean to choose another cyclist image for my top three but this picture caught my eye and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The exhaustion on this cyclist’s face is for me, one of the image’s key strengths. The utter relief on his face is quite striking (I am assuming the race has just ended as his arms and legs seem relaxed). I feel as though I have been through the race with him. It is his look of genuine expression so well captured here that is the main reason I chose this image as my second choice. Like Fen, Scphoto has opted for a horizontal image and a close crop, which again helps to minimize the background details although some of the onlookers are still just visible. I like the strong central framing and the colours give the image added ‘punch’.

1st place
Devon_Eric – “Future Olympians?”

This image stood out to me straightaway. I love the expressions on the children’s faces – their sense of anticipation, determination and focus is palpable. I’m not sure where this image was taken – perhaps it is a local swimming competition – but wherever it was shot, the image’s suggestion that these children may be Olympic champions of the future is a clever take on the theme. From a technical point of view, the lighting is great and the exposure spot on. The variety of tones and shadows on the figures coupled with the shallow depth of field helps to give the image depth. I also like how Devon_Eric has crouched down slightly to his subjects’ level to take the shot, which helps to draw the viewer into the scene. I also like how he has used the surrounding figures to frame the children who are the main subject and where Devon_Eric has chosen to focus. I was initially unsure about the square crop as it is an unusual choice, but the more I look at this image the more I am drawn into the scene – I am there on the starting line with the competitors.

Thanks to everyone who took part in this round. There are some really excellent pictures and it has been a great pleasure to look through them.

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