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Pixie 2009 Photo of the Year

Following the success of our "Photo of the Day" initiative which we started in 2009, we decided to look back through all the photos uploaded during the year and choose one for the title of Pixie 2009 Photo of the Year!

With over 500,000 photos uploaded in 2009, choosing just one was a real challenge...

How Did We Choose?

Firstly we didn't actually look at half a million photos, instead we used the Pixie sorting algorithm which produces a real time view of the top (best) photos for a given period of time. People always ask us how this algorithm works and we always decline to say :). Let's just say it works!

We produced a list of the top 10,000 public photos uploaded during 2009 as determined by the community and presented these photos on a single web page as thumbnails (oh yes... it was a big page). The thumbnails were presented in random order and without any details of who took the shots. We then painstakingly scrolled down through the list and any photos which caught our eye were clicked and viewed large. An exclusion policy was used to eliminate photos that had been uploaded less than 500px in size, photos that had overbearing watermarks or photos that were of poor quality when viewed large. Using a special pixie account we then voted for photos that when viewed large were what we considered to be "truly outstanding". The list was narrowed to 658 photos...

Another page was created, this time showing only the 658 photos and at a size of 240px. 158 photos were eliminated on this pass. We now had our longlist of 500 photos. Still way too many...

The list was whittled down to 250 photos and the eliminations were getting really really difficult now with some of my personal favourites being lost on this pass. Another page was created, this time showing the remaining photos at a size 800px. More eliminations took place until we had our shortlist - just 50 photos remained.

Choosing the Winner.

We didn't choose the winner... you did. Yesterday we asked people to DM their nominations for Photo of the Year using Twitter and overwhelmingly, one photo kept popping up. That photo was "Under the Rain" by GilesK and it featured on our shortlist. We had absolutely no hesitation in agreeing with the majority that this was to be the Pixie Photo of the Year.

UPDATE: 25th May 2010

And then just recently we discovered that GilesK wasn't exactly the great photographer we were all led to believe. In fact, it's likely that none of the photos uploaded to his account were taken by him. This doesn't in any way take away from the beauty or quality of the photos themselves, they remain absoultely inspirational... As someone put it on Twitter, at least he had good taste!

Putting Things Right!

This now presents us with an opportunity to put two things right: Let's choose another photo, this time from a photographer who actually took the photo themselves... and since we removed a shot, there's room for another: the missing "gig shot"... Congratulations to PunkRock, your gig shot has been added to the 50 top photos of 2009 (see last image below).

Pixie 2009 Photo of the Year

We asked you to leave a comment below with your choice for the new winner and overwhelmingly you choose Dylan by Danny O'Brien (Valentia) RIP.

"Dylan" by Valentia

Not only is this a huge honour to Danny from his peers, it demonstrates the real strength and commitment of the Pixie community, something that was clearly lost on the previous winner.

As the founder of Pixie, I am very proud to give my support to this choice and my thoughts are summed up by this comment (below) from summerhead below:

"Many great images. I think the award should go to Valentia for "Dylan". It is a wonderful image with a great connection with the viewer. Valentia was so obviously respected and an inspirational figure and the antithesis of the tawdry deception that occurred with the original selection. Given his passing and the honesty and capture of something special I am not sure further voting is that helpful. Just my thoughts."

Congratulations Danny!

The 50 Most Outstanding Photos in 2009

It breaks my heart to know that there are photos which deserve to be mentioned here, but with only 50 spots it was impossible to list them all. If one of your photos is not listed here, then I am truly sorry, it probably should have been... Here is the final list:

"boys!!" by elponio

"no future" by Hazel

"The-Panic" by TownieLee

"I dream in technicolour..." by jodonnell

"St Patricks Parade-72" by NMIPhoto

"SPF09-31" by DarrenG

"Outcast" by keithjack

"IMG_0001 double daff" by DamienAPicasso

"Amiensstreet" by Wisdo

"Odie" by jhenryexp

"Chill Out" by magdaluka

"4_mg8252" by gabsriel

"red arrows 3" by adrianmegahey

"When it's raining outside " by MorningTea

"The Skelligs v2.0" by Valentia

"Gannet Colony " by LifeByTheDrop

"DSC07925" by liamp

"luke danniells usa breakdancers" by lukedanniells

"Puppy Love" by shortars

"poulnabrone_clare" by latchiko

"BMX'ing @ Poleberry" by FajitasGTR

"Baloon Man" by brownie

"Carlow Tree" by LifeByTheDrop

"Ballymacad Hounds" by keithjack

"cow mouse and shoe shoes 3" by katiemaloe

"Got to love those ears" by kefln

"alone ..." by LukT

"Small Bee - Hylaeus Male" by oshead

"220809" by ronanpalliser

"John 3-7" by Valentia

"Lion, London Zoo" by henrystuart

"New York-4" by spike

"090909090909" by dakar

"mist" by dakar


"Lanc_Frei_800" by CabanSail

"The Nore at Mount Juliet - Early Morning" by mountjuliet

"Is there time to say a prayer" by dphotography

"IMG_3838" by hannedeneut

"mother and child" by liamp

"Imaginary Friend" by henrystuart

"Mahon Falls" by MddiEurphy

"cctv" by Hazel

"Phoenix Park Dublin10" by jennyrusks

"O'Donavan Rossa Bridge" by MickH51

"Loughness Seahorse Swan Monster" by LifeByTheDrop

"gherkin" by henrystuart

"Light Fighters" by TheSpaceBetween

"Restarts 25600 ISO" by punkrock

From all of us at Pixie - Happy New Year to all!



# by Janer on on 2010-Jan-01

Too many of the same genre and arty shots.

Not 1 gig shot.


# by barrywhelan on on 2010-Jan-01

Nice work! Must be a pretty harrowing job going through all those photos... Most of these I like, not mad on one or two others :)

As PunkRock said I probably agree that there's not enough variety, but other than that great work. Love the Photo of the Year and the Red Arrow photo as well.


# by pullandbang on on 2010-Jan-01

I think there's a great selcetion of work here and yes, there are some genres missinig - but so what? There's no pictures of cars, swans, pussycats or homeless people, but who cares. The selection above is varied and the winning shot is pure brilliance.

Well done to Giles and to all who made the last 50.


# by Janer on on 2010-Jan-01

You've contradicted yourself, you say that there is none of this and none of that etc and then you say the selection is varied!

Swans and pussycats would be covered under Animals which we have here via the Dogs :p

I just think TWO light trail pics are a bit much in a top 50 of the year.

No one disputes the winner, how could they!

I suppose like any best of lists their will always be disagreements about what is and what isn't.


# by Marcus on on 2010-Jan-01

@PunkRock - fair comment. This is the first time we've ever tried to put a list together and we'll definitely make sure we try to include more variety in future lists.


# by aafke on on 2010-Jan-01

just wondering... 500.000 pics: with subjects like nature, people, art, places, gigs, animals, sports, landscapes and probably even other subjects. how would percentage of each be? chance is that most photographed and uploaded subjects have biggest chance to 'pop up' in selection procedure/shortlist.


# by pullandbang on on 2010-Jan-01

@PunkRock I don't think I've contradicted myself at all. The selection of pics above is varied and is also missing some genres - you pointed out gig shots as that's your speciality. I still say there is a decent selcetion of photos in the last 50 (mind you, I'd agree on the two light trails) but katiemaloe's shoes and CabanSail's Lanc_Frei_800 are two extremes that demonstrate that variety.


# by dakar on on 2010-Jan-01

Great selection, and a superb winner.

I'm gobsmacked to have two shots in amongst this lot, especially since my camera has been mostly gathering dust for three months and have been very quiet on here.

Pixie was responsible for three of my best photo outings during the year, the St Patricks Festival, the Volvo Ocean Race and the LaChapelle talk. I don't do New Years Resolutions, but I really must get out with the camera more and start participating a bit more again.

Thanks again for some great opportunities this year.



# by Janer on on 2010-Jan-01

Good point aafke.

and sorta agree with some of ur reply P&B.



# by Janer on on 2010-Jan-01

Hah! Think I spotted a 3rd light trial, if the 1 around them stones is counted as such?

Also 3 from paddy's day parade!

I will now shut up! :D


# by aafke on on 2010-Jan-01

someone mentioned to me: "maybe limit to one shot per photographer next time?"


# by Valentia on on 2010-Jan-01

Like Darren I'm thrilled to have three shots after a year when I could have shifted my butt and done a lot more. I'm really happy to see Dylan in there. He's a dote!! My choice for photo of the year didn't make it in though whiv=ch make me wonder about my judgement....a bit. Fair play to the judges. Some tough job and no matter what you came up with there would be some undeserving omissions. It was me that mentioned to Aafke about the one shot per photographer next year? Logistically maybe difficult to do.

It has to be said that Pixie has made a massive contribution to the whole photography community and also to the development of social media in Ireland. Well done folks in what has been a tough business year and all the very best for the future. Thanks.


# by HughC on on 2010-Jan-02

Great selection in there, loved most of them. Lack of gig shots didn't bother me personally, I used to take a lot of gig shots on film decades ago but haven't had the inclination to revisit. The winner is pure class, congrats GilesK


# by sinead on on 2010-Jan-02

love love love the winner!  Great job all round guys


# by Aidan18 on on 2010-Jan-02

well done to pix.ie for letting us exhibit some of our photos and congrats to the judges on these selections, it is just so hard to please everyone all the time Here's to 2010 and more photodays.


# by TheSpaceBetween on on 2010-Jan-02

First of all i am even shocked to be in the shortlist, but i am totally delighted. Thanks to all who commented an voted and like my shot and especially thanks to pix.ie for showing our images and running a great site.. Heres to a great job by all and congrats to Giles on a fantastic shot....


# by Hazel on on 2010-Jan-02

brilliant idea coming up with a shortlist and an over all photo of the year, i love love love the winning photo!! delighted to be in the shortlist myself :D thanks a million,  also great to see "When it's raining outside " by MorningTeathat's a great shot! :)     great work!


# by TownieLee on on 2010-Jan-03

Delighted to have made the shortlist. Thank you, pixie!  I don't think next year's selection should be restricted to one pic per photographer as all the photographers who had multiple photos on the list had diverse and distinctively different types of photos which were all brilliant and well deserving for different reasons, e.g., Henry Stuart and Valentia. The list just wouldn't be the same if you had to eliminate two pics from each of them.


# by CabanSail on on 2010-Jan-03

WOW ... Only just found out I had a pic in this. Some great shots in that 50 so quite pleased to be included. Some amazing talent out there. The winning shot is a perfect moment captured. Well deserving winner. It also received a lot of praise on Boards.ie


# by SusieQue on on 2010-Jan-03

Love the winning photo & his work! Some amazing and inspirational work in this top 50 also.. Maybe have different categories.. as in amatuer (like me) and professional.. Just thinking out loud here.. But have to say, it doesn't bother me that much. I'm not on here to be a winner.. I'm on to share & learn and appreciate others amazing work. I love this site & find it so addictive. So much talent out there. Thank you for letting me be part of it!


# by henrystuart on on 2010-Jan-05

Thanks so much Pix.ie, super chuffed to be in the top 50 at all, let alone three pics!!! Over the moon. 

Huge congratulations to GilesK for the winning shot, a cracking choice. 

Pix.ie has encouraged and inspired me through the year since joining in the summer. I would not have thought to do the imaginary friend light trail shot had I not seen other examples like latchiko's above and had the help and inspiration of a Pix.ie friend in http://pix.ie/mango-pie  


# by Marcus on on 2010-Jan-05

Thanks for all the suggestions on Pixie's 2009 Photo Of the Year regarding making lists better / more inclusive going forward. A lot of the comments above are valid and will be taken into consideration in future lists.

The one thing I will point out however is that all names were removed during the selection process. The fact that multiple photos from the same photographer are showing up is purely down to the merit of individual shots... I don't think we will implement one shot per photographer, but we will certainly try to include a wider variety of genres.

Thanks again!


# by redmum on on 2010-May-25

I am an eejit and commented on the pic I think should get the best pic of 2009 seeing as how another should be choosen, its Hazel's http://pix.ie/Hazel/828607 :)


# by Marcus on on 2010-May-25

Nobody need feel silly for commenting on the photos he uploaded. They were GREAT photos and they deserved all the comments and praise they got. He didn't.


# by aafke on on 2010-May-25

not easy to make a choice again but i think little 'dylan' is my favourite. the reason for that might be clear: in the original choice for 2009 was an innocent child. i find some of that back in http://bit.ly/9arbX7


# by nonsequitir on on 2010-May-25

Given that the previous "winner" was outed as a cheat, I'd like to take the opportunity to nominate Valentia (Danny O'Brien) posthumously for the following reasons...

  • For having 3 quality entries (but I'd choose Dylan) listed in the final group
  • Being an inspirational community leader and mentor in the Irish photography space

# by Covey on on 2010-May-25

Dylan by Valentia is my choice.


# by Chorcai on on 2010-May-25

"Dylan" by Valentia


# by Chorcai on on 2010-May-25

All within 3 mins of each other ! http://pix.ie/chorcai/1694497


# by brian on on 2010-May-25

I go for "Puppy Love" by shortars, because its just nice 


# by Denise on on 2010-May-25

I love "Small Bee  - Hylaeus Male" by OShead.  It captures the wonders of nature and makes you realise how insignificant we are. 

# by aidan18 on on 2010-May-25

DYLAN by Valentia is my choice.


# by pullandbang on on 2010-May-25

I'd love to see Danny remembered so I'll go for Valentia and "Dylan"


# by sNarah on on 2010-May-25

+1 on Valentia "Dylan"

# by Dave66 on on 2010-May-25

Mist by Dakar would be my choice


# by DaviDOS on on 2010-May-25

Yeah, "Dylan" by Valentia gets my vote.


# by Janer on on 2010-May-25

"The Nore at Mount Juliet - Early Morning" by mountjuliet


# by BFassassin on on 2010-May-25

I like this one "Imaginary Friend" 

But Danny deserves recognition so Valentia "Dylan" gets my vote


# by yarrumk on on 2010-May-25

+1 on Dylan here too


# by SusieQue on on 2010-May-25

+1 on Dylan.. Love the eye contact and the storytelling! Met the little man himself some time ago! And this photo has pride of place on the wall and deserves to be a winner.. So many amazing images.. Well done to all!


# by 101001 on on 2010-May-25

"Lanc_Frei_800" by CabanSail


# by swingking on on 2010-May-25

no future by Hazel


# by Paul R on on 2010-May-25

"Dylan" by Valentia for me.


# by Dink on on 2010-May-25

Aye, "Dylan" gets it for me too 


# by TownieLee on on 2010-May-25

My vote goes the same way I voted in December: "Dylan!"


# by TBSteve on on 2010-May-25

+1 for Dylan. It is a great shot, and an excellent way to honour Danny.

P.S. - Shame on GilesK.


# by dakar on on 2010-May-25

So many great shots, I didn't envy pixie the decision first time round, but for so many reasons, not least the fact that it's a wonderful shot in it's own right: 'Dylan' by Valentia.

# by David on on 2010-May-26

I would pick http://pix.ie/dakar/1211363 for all the 9s. As my daughter was born on the 09-09-1999



# by manresa on on 2010-May-26

I vote for  adrian megahey's "red arrows3" http://pix.ie/adrianmegahey/1020633


# by henrystuart on on 2010-May-26

CCTV by Hazel gets my vote. Close second being the stunning balloon man by brownie


# by jackie on on 2010-May-26

"Dylan" by Valentia gets my vote, brilliant shot


# by summerhead on on 2010-May-26

Many great images. I think the award should go to Valentia for "Dylan".It is a wonderful image with a great connection with the viewer. Valentia was so obviously respected and an inspirational figure and the antithesis of the tawdry deception that occurred with the original selection. Given his passing and the honesty and capture of something special I am not sure further voting is that helpful. Just my thoughts.


# by Marcus on on 2010-May-26

Very well put Summerhead...


# by MiPiX on on 2010-May-26

I second the following:

Given that the previous "winner" was outed as a cheat, I'd like to take the opportunity to nominate Valentia (Danny O'Brien) posthumously for the following reasons...

  • For having 3 quality entries (but I'd choose Dylan) listed in the final group
  • Being an inspirational community leader and mentor in the Irish photography space

# by pullandbang on on 2010-May-27

Well done Pix.ie and a fitting tribute to Danny. I'm sure his family will be delighted to see this. Great to see a real artist being honoured by his peers. 


# by mountjuliet on on 2010-May-27

We are delighted to have been listed in "The 50 Most Outstanding Photos in 2009" with "The Nore at Mount Juliet - Early Morning" which was taken by Shane McDonald at the White Bridge in Mount Juliet.


# by slyno on on 2010-Jun-04

Can't say i'm too keen on any of these, over processed, too many gimmicks(wide angles, slowed down light|water) badly composed and examples of just about every photo in cliche in the book. The winner looks like something from an infant's clothes catalogue!

One possible esception: the man looking into the fog is verging on interesting and well composed

I'm happy to discuss any of the above.

I look forward to better work next year.

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