All Eyes: Times photographer Loren Elliott writes about his POYi award-winning photo
Pictures of the Year International (POYi) is a professional photojournalism contest that receives entries from around the world. Broken into singles and portfolio categories, entries range from sports to conflict to feature. I entered this image into the Recreational Sports category, a fun one because subject matter is a lot more varied than football, basketball or baseball. It was the perfect place to submit a hunting photo, which I guess would be an "outdoor sport."
I took this photo while working on a personal project. I was home in California on winter break from school at University of Missouri, and wanted to delve into something different from what I'd been shooting at school.
Being out in a marsh at sunrise with a duck hunter and his dogs was incredibly peaceful. I wore camouflage, as the subject did, to hide myself from the ducks. Hiding in the reeds adjacent to the hunting blind, where Jim Kelly sat at the ready with his shotgun, I clicked away. The darkness of the early morning turned to pastels. Ducks started to fly overhead. His dogs, Mambo and Cricket, craned their necks in search of the next target in the sky.
This photo really came together by itself. I think it is an example of getting yourself into a situation with engaging subject matter and beautiful light. The rectangles come easy once that part is already in front of you. I'm honored to have received second place in the Recreational Sports category of POYi for this image. The recognition is a highlight of my young career, to be sure.