The Winner of Our Virgin Islands Shoot-Off Is...

The Winner of Our Virgin Islands Shoot-Off Is...

Last week, Lee Morris, Mike Kelley, and I posted our best image taken during our boating trip to the US Virgin Islands. We asked you which image was the best and who shot what. Today, we reveal the results to see who is the "greatest photographer of all time."

Here in Puerto Rico, we love to set up little photo challenges with the photographers who visit us. Mike Kelley has been down here for almost a month, and we couldn't let the opportunity pass without another shootout. In the past, Mike has battled Lee Morris in their epic architectural photoshoot challenges, with both of them splitting the winnings, 1-1. For the first time, all three of us would be competing to see who is the greatest photographer in the world (it's a joke title; we don't think we are actually that great).

The rules were simple: you had to take one photograph during the trip and you can use any camera you want. We traveled with a Nikon D850, a GoPro Hero 8, and each of us had our iPhones with us as well. Of course, any one of us could have also packed Mike's Canon R5 camera or Lee's Sony A7S III.

So, what was the big twist to this photo challenge? None could shoot their image while on solid land. Yep, you had to take your image from a stationary or moving boat or while swimming in the ocean. This meant none of us could easily bracket our shots, composite multiple exposures, or do long exposures. Basically, we were having to take the best glorified snapshot in one of the most beautiful locations in the Caribbean.


The Final Submitted Images

Image 1

Image 2

Image 3

The Results

You can watch our entire photoshoot and our reactions to the results in the video above. Although I'm a bit ashamed of all of our images, I'm excited to reclaim the title belt once again! As you can see in the results below, this one was pretty close.

More interestingly, however, is when we asked who took which images, almost all of our readers paired each photograph to the wrong photographer. The least common combination, the bottom on this chart, was actually the correct answer. The top two options, which had the most votes overall, both attributed my winning image (#2) to Mike Kelley. I know how many people respect Mike as a photographer, so even though these results suggest that you, our readers, have less faith in me, most of you were biased into thinking the best image was taken by Mike Kelley.

Overall, this was still an amazing trip, and we all had a great time despite the horrible weather and the lack of things to do considering the pandemic we are all living through. I hope to travel back to the USVI's soon and perhaps take a bit more time in capturing some great images. As always, the offer to compete stands to any of our photographer friends who visit Puerto Rico.

Patrick Hall's picture

Patrick Hall is a founder of and a photographer based out of Charleston, South Carolina.

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Worst set of 3 images ever to be presented by these 3, and that's why this was fun to watch!

I dunno, that sailboat shot is pretty incredible

it has an Ansel Adams vibe, yeah... guess you're right.

Now you see the true genius

Hey Patrick - Oh my goodness you're living in paradise (I'm in Minneapolis Minnesota... it was 15f this week).
These tests definitely determined the best photographer of all time! Hands down. Haha.

Hey - I noticed a typo in your headline. Virgin Islands not Virigin Islands.

Happy Holidays!